Protected nature areas

The Netherlands has a number of protected nature areas, such as the Waddenzee region. They are protected by a range of laws and regulations.

National Landscapes

There are 20 National Landscapes in the Netherlands, each with its own unique combination of cultural heritage and nature. People live, work, do business and enjoy leisure activities in National Landscapes.

National Parks

A National Park is a contiguous nature area covering at least 1,000 hectares, which is home to rare or protected plants and animals. There are 20 National Parks in the Netherlands. They are part of the National Ecological Network (NEN).

Woodland

Some 10% (360,000 hectares) of the Netherlands consists of woodland, which is protected under the Forestry Act.

Wetlands

The Netherlands has over a million hectares of wetlands, including marshland, fens, peat bogs and lakes. They include the Waddenzee, the IJsselmeer region and the Biesbosch wetland. Wetlands are protected under the Ramsar Convention. They are also Natura 2000 areas, and are therefore protected under the Nature Conservancy Act 1998.

Wadden Sea

The landscape and wildlife of the Waddenzee are protected under the Ramsar Convention. The area is also protected under European legislation, including the Birds Directive, the Habitats Directive (Natura 2000) and the Water Framework Directive. The Wadden Sea is also part of the NEN, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The dunes on the islands of Texel and Schiermonnikoog in the Wadden Sea are National Parks.

North Sea

The North Sea coast, Voordelta and the 'Vlakte van de Raan' (Raan Flats) are Natura 2000 areas, and as such are protected under the Nature Conservancy Act 1998. The entire Dutch part of the North Sea is also part of the NEN.