The whales were spotted in difficulty close to the shore on Tuesday and rescue efforts continued until midnight, without success.
It is extremely unusual for so many whales to be in Dutch waters, a spokesman for the Ecomare marine centre told local paper Noordhollands Dagblad. The area of beach where the whales were was closed to the public, to minimise the distress to the animals.
The Netherlands has set up a special protocol to deal with beachings following the death of a hump backed whale which stranded on a sandbank near Texel in 2012. The protocol states that efforts to save the animals will stop after they have been beached for more than 12 hours.
Two dead sperm whales washed up on the German Wadden Sea island of Wangerooge on January 8. They are thought to have been dead for some time.
— Texelse Courant (@texelsecourant) January 12, 2016
— KNRM (@KNRM) January 12, 2016
DutchNews.nl has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. You can donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal using this special account [link].