Dutch Civil Code

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 otherwise:
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 immovable thing;
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 someone's land
- 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 ways.

Article 5:23 Tracing down and removing an object or escaped animal
- 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 the State
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 this maintenance.

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 deed
- 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 observed.
- 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 water.
- 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.

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