Policy on nature and biodiversity

Nature policy aims to preserve and strengthen the Netherlands' natural environment. It also encompasses the national and international preservation and sustainable exploitation of biodiversity.

Conserving and strengthening Dutch nature

The Dutch government wants to preserve and strengthen the Netherlands’ natural environment and biodiversity. Biological diversity refers to the wide variety of plants, animals and other living things, and to the ecosystems that they form. An ecosystem is made up of all living things in an area, and the interactions between them.

Dutch nature areas are protected by several national and international laws and rules. The National Ecological Network (NEN) and Natura 2000 are designed to protect nature areas, and to consolidate them by linking them more effectively with each other and with surrounding farmland.

Countryside stewardship schemes

In the Netherlands, much of the farmland and countryside has great natural or landscape value. The provincial authorities want to consolidate these natural values. Farmers, nature organisations and other private landowners can get grants to manage the land in a nature-friendly way.

Conservation of major aquatic ecosystems

The Netherlands has several major aquatic ecosystems: the Waddenzee, the Southwestern Delta region, the IJsselmeer region, the North Sea, the coast and the major rivers. The government wants to safeguard the future of these aquatic ecosystems. It has published an exploratory policy paper, with others, setting out a long-term vision on aquatic conservation with a view to  2050-2100.

Green growth

The government is keen to reduce our environmental burden and our dependence on fossil fuels, while at the same time making the Netherlands more competitive. That’s why the government promotes ‘green growth’ – economic growth that does not have a negative impact on the environment. New technologies play a key role in driving green growth.

International conservation and sustainable exploitation of biodiversity

The government supports the conservation and sustainable exploitation of biodiversity at both national and international level. It has set out its plans in the Natural Capital Implementation Agenda. The plans are in line with international biodiversity agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the European Birds Directive and Habitats Directive.

Management and sustainable exploitation of the natural environment in the Caribbean Netherlands

The government wants to see good management and sustainable exploitation of the natural environment in the Caribbean Netherlands. This is set out in the Nature Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands 2013-2017.

International protection of endangered species

International agreements on curbing trade in endangered plant and animal species are laid down in CITES. The Netherlands is a signatory to this convention.

Responsibility for policy on the natural environment

Central government is responsible for setting the framework for and defining the goals of nature policy. The provincial authorities are responsible for filling in the details and implementing the policy. This arrangement has been formalised in a special agreement. It is also laid down in the Nature Conservation Act.