Rules for the recreational use of drones

The government wants to prevent accidents involving drones. Drone operators are therefore required to follow a number of rules. For example, they may not fly a drone higher than 120 metres. If you have a drone, you should check to see whether it is covered by your third-party liability insurance.

Rules on the recreational use of drones

The most important rules for the recreational use of drones are as follows:

  • A private drone must not weigh more than 25kg (including cargo). 
  • There are places where you are not allowed to fly a drone, such as over crowds or built-up areas or in the vicinity of airports and other no-fly zones. 
  • You must always keep the drone in view.
  • You are not permitted to fly higher than 120 metres, either above the ground or over water.
  • You are not permitted to fly in the dark.
  • You must always yield to other aircraft, such as aeroplanes, helicopters and gliders. This means that you must land immediately if you see an aircraft approaching. You should also stay away from accident scenes, since a drone can get in the way of emergency and police helicopters.
  • You can use your drone to take aerial photographs for personal use. This is considered ‘recreational use’. However, you are not allowed to violate other people’s privacy. For example, you are not permitted to secretly film someone. If you want to film or photograph a person, you must first get their permission.

 You can find all the rules on the use of drones in the Model Aircraft Order (in Dutch).

Fines for drone operators

If you don’t follow the rules, you can be given a warning or a fine. It is also possible that your drone will be confiscated. The amount of the fine or the type of penalty depends on the nature of the offence. For example, the authorities will consider whether you were using the drone recreationally or in a professional capacity. And whether your actions put any other people at risk.

Drone insurance

You are not required to have drone insurance to fly drones recreationally, though it is recommended. Not all types of third-party liability insurance cover damage caused by drones. If your drone causes damage to property or physical harm, the injured party can hold you liable. This is why it is important to make sure that your third-party liability insurance covers drone-related damage.

Paying for damage caused to other people can be expensive (up to thousands of euros).

Commercial use of drones

If you use drones to earn money in some way, you must comply with the rules for commercial use of drones.