Iceland and Netherlands Join Artemis Accords

Iceland and Netherlands Join Artemis Accords

NASA heralded another signatory to the Artemis Accords yesterday when the Netherlands joined during a ceremony in Washington, DC.  To the surprise of many, that made Netherlands the 31st country, not the 30th, to join the non-binding principles of responsible behavior on the Moon. With no public fanfare at all, Iceland had joined in October.

Crafted by NASA and the State Department in 2020, the Artemis Accords spell out 10 principles for how countries should work together on the Moon: peaceful purposes, transparency, interoperability, emergency assistance, registration of space objects, release of scientific data, preserving outer space heritage, space resources, deconfliction of space activities, and orbital debris. They only apply to governments, not the commercial sector, and only to civil activities, not national security.

Eight countries became the original signatories in October 2020 and many more have joined since.  Germany became the 29th signatory in September, and the Netherlands was expected to be the 30th.

NASA issued a press release on November 1 showing NASA and Dutch officials at the signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., but surprisingly said Netherlands was the 31st country to join.

L-R: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson; NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy; Harm van de Wetering, director of the Netherlands Space Office; Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States Birgitta Tazelaar; and Chiragh Parikh, executive secretary of the White House National Space Council. November 1, 2023. Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.

NASA keeps track of the Artemis Accords signatories on a graphic on its website that on November 1 included Netherlands as one of 30 who had signed.

However, buried in the press release was the fact that “Iceland became the 30th country to sign the Artemis Accords in October.”

NASA later updated the graphic to show 31 signatories, including Iceland.

NASA told on November 7 that the Embassy of Iceland in the United States hand delivered a copy of the signed document to NASA on October 31 (the day before Netherlands joined) and the document is dated October 10. “We hope to jointly celebrate Iceland’s decision to join the Artemis Accords family in the coming weeks.”


Note: this article was updated on November 7 after NASA replied to our November 2 query about why the fact that Iceland had joined was made public only as a sentence in the press release about Netherlands.

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.