Entry of goods

Customs checks and promotes the safety of goods traffic crossing external borders of the European Union (EU). It is the task of Customs to prevent dangerous goods entering the Netherlands (or entering the EU via the Netherlands).

Based on an electronic risk analysis, containers are selected for inspection. Customs can extract containers from the logistics chain and inspect them.


Customs divides safety into 2 concepts:

  • social safety
    • preventing the entry of goods that may disrupt social life in connection with terrorism
    • the protection of public health and the environment
  • product safety
    • goods of inferior quality
    • counterfeit goods

Customs Manifest

The logistic chain is under pressure. This is due both to international trade having grown enormously in recent years as well as to the increasing phenomenon of ‘just-in-time-deliveries’. Vessels and airplanes are continuously becoming larger and transport increases the quantities of goods. There is then both an increase in goods flow and at the same time the goods must reach their destination ever more quickly.

This also has major consequences for Customs. The Netherlands is a distribution country. It is therefore essential that logistic delays are restricted to a minimum. Customs then needs to act swiftly in order to prevent delays in the logistic chain. On the other hand, it has to carry out adequate checks and prevent high-risk goods from entering the EU unchecked.

This is why we use the Customs Manifest (DMF) system. This system receives and exchanges electronic information about transport modalities and goods entering the EU.

How does the Customs Manifest work?

You communicate with Customs through the central electronic government transaction portal. Your electronic messages must comply with prescribed message specifications. To be able to send electronic notifications, you must have an ‘Electronic Messaging Registration’. You apply for this by submitting this application form.

Also read the information and general conditions.

More information about the process steps in customs entry is found in the Customs Manual:

Clearing seagoing vessels through customs in small ports

In clearing through Customs the seagoing vessels that enter the EU small ports of the Netherlands, 3 different situations may occur.

  1. There is no cargo and also no victualling supplies on board above the statutory exemption (only available in Dutch).
    Furthermore, the vessel will not load victualling supplies and/or cargo in the Netherlands.
  2. There is no cargo and also no victualling supplies on board above the statutory exemption.
    The vessel will load cargo and/or victualling supplies.
  3. There is cargo and/or victualling supplies on board above the statutory exemption

Which procedure to follow, depends on the situation. For more information, see the Manual (only available in Dutch).

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