Abstract The atmospheric chemistry and deposition model has been applied for calculation of nitrogen and sulphur depositions to the entire North Sea area for the year 1999. The total atmospheric nitrogen and sulphur depositions to the North Sea area were determined to 709 kton (kt) N and 551 kt S, respectively. Since the North Sea area was calculated to be 747,988 km 2, this is equivalent to an average deposition of 0.9 ton N km −2 and 0.7 ton S km −2, respectively. The depositions decrease strongly from the south end (about 2–3 kt N km −2) to the north end (about 0.2 kt N km −2) of the North Sea, due to increasing distance to the large source areas in the northern part of the European continent. The territorial waters of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany receive about 50% higher deposition densities than the average value for the entire North Sea area. For the remaining territorial waters of the North Sea the depositions follow more or less the fraction of the area. The results furthermore show that about 60% of the total nitrogen deposition is related to emissions from combustion sources (nitrogen oxides) and about 40% from emissions related to agricultural activities (ammonia).