The regional, coupled atmosphere-ice-ocean model RCA4-NEMO developed at the SMHI is evaluated on the basis of an ERA40 hindcast. While the development of the regional climate model is continuing a first assessment is presented here to allow for an orientation about the status guo. RCA4-NEMO in its present form consists of two model components. The regional atmosphere model RCA4 covers the whole of Europe and is interactvely coupled to a North Sea and Baltic Sea ice-ocean model based on NEMO. RCA4-NEMO is currently being used to downscale CMIP5 scenarios for the North Sea and Baltic Sea region for this century. As a part of the validation of RCA4-NEMO we present an analysis and discussion of the hindcast period 1970-1999. The model realization is compared to observational records. Near surface temperatures and heat fluxes compare reasonably well with records of in-situ measurments and satellite derived estimates. For salinities and freshwater fluxes the agreement with observations in not satisfactory yet. The momentum fluxes transferred from the atmosphere to the ice-ocean model are identified as on of the sensitive processes in the coupling of both model components. Except for the freshwater exchange between atmosphere and ocean the climatological near surface properties and corresponding fluxes compare well with climatological estimates for the period 1970-1999.