This paper provides global terrestrial surface balances of nitrogen (N) at a resolution of 0.5 by 0.5 degree for the years 1961, 1995 and 2050 as simulated by the model WaterGAP-N. The terms livestock N excretion (Nanm), synthetic N fertilizer (Nfert), atmospheric N deposition (Ndep) and biological N fixation (Nfix) are considered as input while N export by plant uptake (Nexp) and ammonia volatilization (Nvol) are taken into account as output terms. The different terms in the balance are compared to results of other global models and uncertainties are described. Total global surface N surplus increased from 161 Tg N yr-1 in 1961 to 230 Tg N yr-1 in 1995. Using assumptions for the scenario A1B of the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as quantified by the IMAGE model, total global surface N surplus is estimated to be 229 Tg N yr-1 in 2050. However, the implementation of these scenario assumptions leads to negative surface balances in many agricultural areas on the globe, which indicates that the assumptions about N fertilizer use and crop production changes are not consistent. Recommendations are made on how to change the assumptions about N fertilizer use to receive a more consistent scenario, which would lead to higher N surpluses in 2050 as compared to 1995.