Drones in the Amsterdam port area

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Drones in the port area
Marine drones
Aerial drones
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Port of Amsterdam supports the development of emerging technologies such as the use of drones to facilitate more efficient, smarter, cleaner and safer operations in the port of Amsterdam. All information concerning the use of marine and aerial drones in the port of Amsterdam is shown on this page.

Icoon Drones in het havengebied van Amsterdam


Drones can be both unmanned (aerial) vehicles and diving or marine vessels. A combination is of course also possible. Drones can serve as an extra pair of eyes for Port of Amsterdam in our supervisory duties, support inspections of infrastructure, or assist in the event of emergencies. There are also ample possibilities for parties that are active in the port of Amsterdam; examples include maintenance inspections on board of a ship or at a terminal or the monitoring of activities at the terminal for operations and safety. Drones can also be used to record images for promotional purposes, for instance.


Applications of drones (theoretical)

  • Maintenance inspections on quays, buildings, pipeline routings and other infrastructural objects
  • Inspections of material such as cranes and cargo holds
  • Use in incidents and emergencies
  • Support in supervisory duties of authorities
  • Measurement of environmental aspects and quality in both air and water (CO2, NoX, particulate matter)
  • Inspections of solar panels or detection of leaks of volatile substances with a thermal imaging camera
  • Finding drowning/drowned persons
  • Determining volume or dimensions of bulk goods or building pits, for example
  • Recording images (for promotion of own company) or on commission


Use of drones in the Port area

Illustratie varend schip

Marine drones

A test zone for marine and diving drones has been available in the Moezelhaven section of the Port since 5 April 2017. This test zone, where innovative businesses can test and demonstrate new models in practice, is located behind the Prodock innovation hub, in the Moezelhaven.

Prodock test zone

Prodock is the innovation hub of the port of Amsterdam. By opening this test zone we intend to bring together drone innovators and businesses that are interested in their applications. The opening of the test zone is an invitation to innovative parties to demonstrate what is already possible. Innovation is often a question of trying, coming up against a problem and trying again. And that is something we are eager to accommodate. Prodock has applied for an event licence for the test zone, and the Port Office has granted permission.

See the Prodock website for more information on testing with drones.

Illustratie vliegende drone

Aerial drones

For aerial drones (also known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft System – RPAS), the situation differs per section of the port of Amsterdam, given the proximity to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Standard rules naturally apply, for instance that you are not permitted to fly higher than 120 metres above the ground or water, must give priority to all other aircraft at all times, must fly at a safe distance from people and buildings, the drone must always be visible, flying in the dark is not permitted. You also need to take account of privacy laws if you want to take photographs or create video recordings with your drone. You are required to comply with the privacy laws; more information on this is available via the link Manual on drones and privacy.

Zones and regulations

Since March 2018, it is also possible to fly a drone for professional purposes within part of Schiphol’s Control Traffic Region (CTR), namely in the outer 3700 metres of the CTR. In consultation with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland (LVNL)), certified drone parties are permitted to carry out flights there. The map at the bottom of this page depicts where this area is located (no rights can be derived from this map). Therefore, the port of Amsterdam is divided into three zones that have their own separate rules for using a drone:

  1. Red zone, flying prohibited. At present, flying drones is still prohibited at all times in the inner ring of the CTR.
  2. Orange zone, flying permitted to a limited extent. Flying a drone is permitted subject to strict conditions in the area within the CTR with an isorand of 3,700 metres from the outer boundary of the CTR: by pilots of certified businesses, via a filed flight plan, and there must be communication with air traffic control via a transponder. This zone covers around 60% of the Amsterdam port area.
  3. Free zone, area outside the CTR. The standard laws and regulations imposed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment apply in this zone. Bear in mind that the map on this page does not show rules such as the prohibition of flying near traffic, contiguous built-up areas or crowds, designated nature conservation areas above which a prohibition applies, or temporary restrictions or prohibitions! A distinction is drawn between private/recreational use and professional use. For more information see: the website of Ilent.

It is expected that the restrictions will be eased further in the period ahead and that flying drones will be permitted throughout the entire Amsterdam port area in due course.

Drone flying area

The drone flying area for the Amsterdam port area only is shown on the map below. Outside the red and orange zones (at IJmuiden, for instance) the standard laws and regulations imposed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment apply, supplemented by local laws that apply for the local helicopter landing places at the site concerned.

Illustratie meest gestelden vragen over dit onderwerp aan Port of Amsterdam


At present, Havenbedrijf Amsterdam NV does not impose additional restrictions on flying drones in our port area, on top of the existing laws and regulations imposed by the Ministry and Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL). To safeguard security, notification will however be made of drones observed flying in the Amsterdam port area.

The map at the bottom of this page outlines which regulations apply in which areas. Flying is prohibited in the inner ring of the Schiphol CTR. In the outer ring, flying is permitted to a limited extent subject to strict conditions and in consultation with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL). Outside the CTR, the standard laws and regulations for flying drones in the Netherlands apply. For information about this see: https://www.ilent.nl/onderwerpen/drones

No rights can be derived from the map on this page!

Most information about flying drones is available on the website of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT): https://www.ilent.nl/onderwerpen/drones (Dutch).

The process schedule below sets out the steps for determining whether or not flying is permitted at a specific location. In case of doubt, always contact the relevant authorities.

The waters behind Prodock at the Moezelhavenweg have been opened as a test zone for marine drones. For more information about the procedures to be followed, go to https://www.prodock.nl/varende-drones/


Contact our experts

For questions, requests and more information about drones 

Joost Zuidema

Joost Zuidema

project manager Strategy & Innovation
Tel: +31 6 409 05 886
E-mail: joost.zuidema@portofamsterdam.com

Updates about drones