The Zechstein salt in the Dutch part of the North Sea Basin played a key role in the generation of successful petroleum plays. This is not only because of its sealing capacity, but also because the salt occurs in structures that provide lateral and vertical traps. The structural styles of areas with thick salt and those with none- or thin salt are completely different during phases of extensional or compressional tectonics. This indicates that, indirectly, the depositional thickness of the main Zechstein salt is essential in regulating the loci of the Dutch petroleum systems. In this paper we aim at quantifying current ideas on the relationship between 1) depositional salt thicknesses; 2) structural style of the main structural elements identified in the Dutch subsurface; 3) timing of deformation; and 4) thickness of the overburden. By finalisation of TNO's subsurface mapping program (see Kombrink et al., this issue), several data products are available that allow evaluation of these relationships. The depositional thickness of the salt was estimated using iterative smoothing of the present day thickness, the results of which account both for regional thickness variations and volume preservation (99%). Fault-distribution analysis shows that faults are only able to penetrate salt with a depositional thickness of <300 m, a transition that demarcates the division between thin- and thick-skinned salt tectonics. In the southern offshore where the salt is thin or absent, the overburden shows the same fault pattern throughout the stratigraphic sequence. In the northern realm, where salt is thicker than 300 m, the salt layer acted as decollement and sub- and supra salt strain are dissimilar. A strong genetic and temporal relationship exists between periods of regional tectonism, halokinetic intensity and thickness distribution of the Zechstein overburden. This relationship is further proven by burial history analysis across two selected profiles in the northern offshore. The analysis focuses on the vertical distribution of the salt by taking into account the depositional and erosional history of the salt overburden, without a-priori defined periods of salt flow. The results corroborate the notion that platforms and highs experienced less extension during the major phases of Jurassic rifting and further suggest that the absence of a thick Jurassic overburden precludes major salt flow during this tectonic phase. Main salt flow was triggered during the Sub-Hercynian and later phases of compression resulting in salt pillow geometries. In the basinal areas, where the Jurassic succession is thickest, salt diapirs and walls formed that are almost exclusively linked to major subsalt faults. Main salt flow occurred during Late Kimmerian rifting, whereas some minor structuration occurred during Sub-Hercynian inversion.