Sedimentary basins in The Netherlands contain significant amounts of hydrocarbon resources, which developed in response to temperature and pressure history during Mesozoic and Cenozoic times. Quantification and modelling of burial, maturity and temperature histories are the major goals of this study, allowing for a better understanding of the general geological evolution of the different basins as well as petroleum generation. All major basins in The Netherlands encountered at least one time of inversion and therefore moderate to high amounts of erosion. In order to determine the amount of inversion the basins have experienced, a 1D study was performed on 20 wells within three basins (West Netherlands, Central Netherlands and Lower Saxony Basins). New vitrinite reflectance values were obtained and existing data re-evaluated to gain a good data base. The burial histories of six wells, two for each studied basin, are presented here, to demonstrate the differences in basin evolution that led to their present shape and petroleum potential. The Permo-Triassic subsidence phase can be recognized in all three basins, but with varying intensity. In the Jurassic, the basins experienced different relative movements that culminated in the Cretaceous when the influence of the inversion caused erosion of up to 2,500 m. Most wells show deepest burial at present-day, whereas the timing of maximum temperature differs significantly. © Springer-Verlag 2007.