A detailed analysis of high-quality 3D seismic and borehole data provides new insights into the Palaeogene tectonic history and inversion of the West Netherlands Basin. The inversion characteristics are compared with those of other basins in the region, to provide constraints on the Palaeogene compressional tectonic movements in NW Europe. The inversion of the West Netherlands Basin, which is characterized by the doming of the basin centre and by the reactivation of pre-existing faults in a reverse mode, was found to be the result of a continuous inversion process rather than a distinct tectonic pulse. The intensity of the tectonic movements was not uniform throughout the Eocene and was strongest during the Latest Eocene. These characteristics are similar to those of other basins in the southern North Sea region and in the English Channel area. In addition, a good correlation exists between Alpine tectonic events and the Palaeogene inversion phases. In light of these observations the Latest Eocene inversion pulse in the southern North Sea region can be considered as the culmination of a long-term inversion process that originated from the Alpine collision.