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 electronic risk analysis, we select containers for inspection. We can remove these containers from the logistics chain and inspect them.


We base our approach on 2 types of security:

  • 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

Receiving and exchanging information through the Customs Manifest system

We want to work in a fast way to avoid logistical delays for you. At the same time, we must carry out proper checks and prevent unsafe 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, registration is required. You apply for this by submitting the application form 'Electronic Messaging Registration'. Please read the information and general conditions that apply.

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

Declarations on the entry of goods

The entry process includes the entry summary declaration (ENS) and the temporary storage declaration (aangifte tot tijdelijke opslag, ATO).

The entry summary (ENS) declaration

An ENS must be filed for goods that are being brought in. This declaration is forwarded to the Customs Manifest (DMF) system via the Single Window for Maritime and Aviation.

Temporary storage declaration (ATO)

For goods that are to be unloaded, an ATO must be filed. This declaration is also forwarded to the DMF via the MSW and ASW. Based on the ATO, the goods can be stored temporarily at an approved location.

For all goods listed on the ATO, a subsequent (customs) declaration must be submitted in order to place the goods under an authorised customs procedure if the goods are to be re-exported, submitting another customs declaration won’t be necessary. For more information please check the Handboek Douane, onderdeel 12.00.00, Plaatsing van goederen onder een douaneregeling (Customs Manual, section 12.00.00, Placing goods under a customs procedure (only available in Dutch)).

We compare the subsequent declarations with the ATO. We do that with the following data:

  • prior arrangement (the Bill of Lading and serial number)
  • packing unit
  • number of packages
  • gross weight

If these data match, an ATO or part of the ATO has been written off. These write-offs are made automatically when a subsequent declaration is made electronically in AGS, NCTS or DMF. The ATO is deemed to have been cleared when all goods have been written off.

Correcting discrepancies of (bulk) goods in the subsequent declaration

It may occur that the quantity or the weight of (bulk) goods in the ATO differs from the subsequent declaration for the same cargo, such as a declaration for customs warehouse or an import declaration. You can read more information about what you should do in that case on the page Correcting discrepancies of (bulk) goods in the subsequent declaration.

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.
    Furthermore, the vessel will not load victualling supplies and/or cargo in the Netherlands. For more information on the statutory exemptions, please check the Handboek Douane, onderdeel 24.00.00 Douanevrijstellingen (Customs Manual, section 24.00.00 Customs exemptions (only available in Dutch)).
  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, please check the Handboek Douane, onderdeel 10.00.00, hoofdstuk 3 Binnenkomst in douanegebied Unie (Customs Manual, section 10.00.00, chapter 3 Entry into customs territory of the Union (only available in Dutch)).

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