Book 5 Real property rights
Title 5.3 Ownership of immovable things
Article 5:20 Scope of the right of ownership of land
- 1. The ownership of land comprises, as far as the law does not provide
a. the topsoil;
b. the layers of earth beneath the topsoil;
c. the groundwater that comes to the surface
naturally or through an installation;
d. the water above the soil unless it has an
open connection to water covering another’s land;
e. buildings and constructions permanently
attached to the soil, either directly or through a connection with another
building or construction, unless they are a component of someone else’s
f. plants (vegetation) and trees connected
to the soil.
- 2. Contrary to paragraph 1, the ownership of a network, existing of
one or more cables or pipelines which are used for transporting fixed,
liquid or gaseous substances, energy or information, which are or will
be installed in, on or above the land of others, belongs to the person
who has lawfully installed them or to his legal successors.
Article 5:21 Right to use the space above and under
- 1. The right of the owner of the land to use it includes the right to
make use of the space above and under its surface.
- 2. Others may use the space above and under the surface of the land
provided that they make use of it so high above or so deep under the surface
that the owner has no interest in opposing against it.
- 3. The previous paragraphs do not apply to the right to fly in airspace.
Article 5:22 Walk on someone's land
When land is not fenced off, everyone may walk on it, unless the owner
may suffer damage as a result or it becomes a nuisance for him or unless
the owner has announced clearly that it is prohibited to enter his premises
without permission, without prejudice to what the law provides for public
Article 5:23 Tracing down and removing an object or
- 1. When an object or animal due to another reason than intention or
gross negligence of its owner finds itself on the land of someone else,
the owner of that land must allow the owner of the object or animal, when
asked, to go on the land to trace and remove the object or animal.
- 2. The owner of the object or animal must compensate the damage that
the owner of the land has suffered due to the trace or removal. With regard
to this debt-claim the owner of the land has a right of retention over the
object or animal.
Article 5:24 Abandoned immovable things belong to
Immovable things that have no owner are owned by the State.
Article 5:25 Ownership of the bottom of the sea
The bottom of the territorial sea, including the Dutch part of the Wadden
Sea, is owned by the State.
Article 5:26 Ownership of sea beaches
The State is presumed to be the owner of the beaches between the sea and
the foot of the dunes.
Article 5:27 Ownership of public waterways
- 1. The State is presumed to be the owner of the bottom of public waterways.
- 2. This presumption does not apply towards a public entity:
a. that maintains the waters and that has not
taken over this task from the State;
b. that maintained the waters earlier and which
task was taken over by the State or by another public entity.
Article 5:28 Ownership of public immovable things
- 1. Immovable things that are freely accessible for the public, with
the exception of sea beaches, and that are maintained by a public entity
are presumed to be owned by that public entity.
- 2. This presumption does not apply towards the one who has taken over
Article 5:29 Land at a bank line
The boundary of land alongside water moves together with the bank line,
except in case of intentional draining or a temporary flood. A flood is
not temporary if, ten years after it first occurred, the land is still
flooded and drainage has not yet begun.
Article 5:30 Marking out boundary
- 1. A movement of the bank line no longer changes the boundary after
that boundary has been marked out, either by the owners of the land and
water in accordance with Article 5:31, or by the court upon a legal claim
of one of these owners against the other in accordance with Article 5:32.
When the boundary has been marked out, this has effect towards everyone.
- 2. If, instead of the true owner of the land, someone else who was registered
as such in the public registers has been a party to the marking out of
the boundary, then the previous paragraph still applies, unless the true
owner has opposed against the registration of the deed of transfer or
of the judgment prior to the moment on which the other person was registered
in the public registers as owner.
Article 5:31 Marking out by registration of a notarial
- 1. The marking out of a boundary by the owners of the land and water
shall be effectuated by means of a notarial deed, drawn up for this purpose,
followed by its registration in the public registers for registered property
within fourteen days.
- 2. The keeper of the public registers is entitled to give notice of
the registration to every person registered as proprietor or seizer of
one of the involved properties.
- 3. As far as the description of the marked out boundary in the notarial
deed differs from the bank line at that time, that bank line may still
be regarded as the boundary by third parties who, at the moment of registration
of that deed, have a real property right in one of the properties or who
were lessees (tenants), farm lessees or seizers of one of these properties.
Article 5:32 Boundaries marked out by court order.
- 1. A legal claim to mark out the boundary
can only be awarded if its filing (institution) has been registered in
the public registers and all who were registered as proprietor or seizer
of one of the involved properties have been called (summoned) to the court
with adequate notice.
- 2. The court marks out the boundary in accordance with the bank line
at the time of registration of the legal claim. Before awarding the legal
claim it may order such measures and the submission of such evidence as
it finds useful in the interests of other interested persons who did not
appear in court.
- 3. The costs related to the legal claim are charged to the applicant.
- 4. An appeal against a judgment in default, an appeal to a higher court
and an appeal in cassation before the Supreme Court must, under the penalty
of inadmissibility, be registered within eight days after it is filed
in the court's registers meant in Article 433 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Contrary to Article 143 of that Code, the period for lodging an appeal
against a judgment in default starts from the day on which the judgment
has been served by a bailiff on the person who is registered in the public
registers, even when it was not served on him in person, unless the court
has ordered for that purpose further measures and these have not been
- 5. The marking out shall take effect at the
moment that the judgement, in which the legal claim is awarded, is registered
in the public registers. This registration shall not be made before the
judgment has become final and binding.
Article 5:33 Movement of the bank line after the boundary
has been marked out
- 1. Where, after the boundary has been marked out, the bank line of a
public water moves inland, the owner of the flooded land must tolerate
the use of water by others in accordance with its function.
- 2. Where, after the boundary has been marked out, the bank line of water
which may be used for a certain purpose by the owner of the adjoining
land, moves in the direction of the water, the owner of that land may
demand that one or more easements on the dried up land are granted to
him so that he is able to continue to exercise his rights of use of the
- 3. The previous paragraph applies accordingly to someone who may use
the water of another person for a certain purpose and who has acquired
for that reason an easement upon the land plot were that water is located.
- 4. In the event that the boundary has been marked out in accordance
with Article 5:32, the previous paragraphs already apply from the moment
on which the legal claim was registered in the court's register, even
before the bank line started to move.
Article 5:34 Determining the bank line
A bank line in the sense of the previous five Articles is determined by
the normal water level or, for waters were the level changes periodically,
by the normal high-water mark. For this purpose, however, land overgrown
with other plants (vegetation) than those usually living in water, is
allocated to the land side of the bank line, even when that land is flooded
at high tide.
Article 5:35 Movement of dunes
- 1. A new dune formed on the beach belongs to the owner of the dune that
adjoins that beach, when both dunes have become one dune in such a way
that they can no longer be distinguished from each other.
- 2. This owner will on the other hand loses the land which becomes a
part of the beach because the dune has calved down.
- 3. The formation of new dunes and the calving down of existing dunes
as meant in paragraph 1 and 2 no longer leads to a change in the property
of the land after the boundary has been marked out, either by the owners
of the beach and dune or by the court upon a legal claim of one of them
against the other. Article 5:30 up to and including 5:32 apply accordingly.
- 4. In other situations than those referred to in paragraph 1 and 2 an
increase or decrease of dunes does not lead to a change in the property
of the land.
Article 5:36 Waterway or a dense partition wall serving
as boundary line; common ownership
Where a wall, fence, hedge or trench or a non-navigable flowing water,
ditch, canal or similar waterway serves as boundary between two properties,
the middle of these objects is presumed to be the legal boundary line
between the adjoining properties. This presumption does not apply if a
wall supports a building or a construction only on one side.