In a lithographic apparatus using exposure radiation of a relatively short wavelength, e.g. 157 or 126 nm, a laminar flow of N
is provided across parts of the beam path in or adjacent to moving components of the apparatus. The laminar flow is faster than the maximum speed of the moving components and the diffusion rate of air thereby minimizing the contamination of the N
by mixing with air. Laminar flow may be ensured by providing partitions to divide the beam path into separate spaces, by covering rough or non-planar surfaces in components on or adjacent to the laminar flow and by providing aerodynamic members.