Over the last years, the concept of clustering has become a central concept for analysing the competitiveness of nations, industries and firms. The cluster concept can be usefully applied to study clustering of maritime activities. Maritime activities, such as shipping, shipbuilding and port and maritime services, are clearly geographically concentrated in a number of maritime clusters. Due to ongoing internationalization in these industries, the concentration of maritime activities in clusters is likely to increase. This observation leads to two important research questions: what are the advantages for firms to locate in clusters and what factors influence the development of maritime clusters? This study identifies four agglomeration economies that attract firms to cluster: a joint labour pool, a broad supplier and customer base, knowledge spillovers, and low transaction costs. Furthermore, it discusses the effects of aspects of the cluster structure, being the presence of internal competition, the heterogeneity of the cluster population, the entry and exit barriers, and the presence of (above mentioned) agglomeration effects. It also briefly discusses the important issue of cluster governance. This overview allows one to develop a theoretical framework to analyse clusters. In the empirical part, this framework is applied to the maritime cluster in The Netherlands. Based on empirical data, from surveys amongst firms in the maritime cluster, studies commissioned by the Dutch maritime Network and regional statistics, the presence of agglomeration economies in the cluster is shown. Secondly, it is shown that the cluster structure is beneficial for the performance. This paper finishes with conclusions and suggestions for further research.