AbstractLong and consistent wave data are important for analysing wave climate variability and change. Moreover, such statistics are also needed in coastal and offshore design and for addressing safety-related issues at sea. Using the third-generation spectral wave model WAM a multi-decadal wind-wave hindcast for the North Sea covering the period 1949–2014 was produced. The hindcast is part of the coastDat database representing a consistent and homogenous met-ocean data set. It is shown that despite not being perfect, data from the wave hindcast are generally suitable for wave climate analysis. In particular comparisons of hindcast data with in situ and satellite observations show on average a reasonable agreement while a tendency towards overestimation of the highest waves could be inferred. Despite these limitations, the wave hindcast still provides useful data for assessing wave climate variability and change as well as for risk analysis, in particular when conservative estimates are needed. Hindcast data are stored at the World Data Center for Climate (WDCC) and can be freely accessed using the https://doi.org/10.1594/WDCC/coastDat-2_WAM-North_Sea (Groll and Weisse, 2016) or via the coastDat web-page http://www.coastdat.de.