Rules on protection of plant and animal species

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

The 2017 Nature Conservancy Act regulates the protection of plant and animal species. It regulates matters such as management, damage reduction, hunting and trading in and possession of protected species. In some cases you need to apply for exemption from this Act (in Dutch), which is issued by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. You also may need an all-in-one permit for physical aspects, that can be obtained from your provincial authority.

Registering protected plants and animals

If you own or deal in protected plants or animals, you need to keep records on some of these species.

Harmful exotic species

You are not allowed to keep, grow, breed, transport, import or trade in harmful exotic plant or animal species. Check this list of Invasive alien species (in Dutch). These species may only be kept for specific purposes, for example scientific research. In that case you will need a permit from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (, in Dutch).

Harmful activities and protected species

If you plan activities that might be harmful for protected species or, for instance, plan to organise an outdoor event (in Dutch) such as a motocross race, you are obliged to take protective measures to avoid any disturbance of and damage to protected species. For various species there are specific measures to be taken into account (in Dutch). For further information as to what these measures are, please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

Compensation restricted areas

When an area has been designated as a restricted area, you may suffer damage, for instance because you have to relocate your farm. In that case you may apply for compensation to your provincial authority.

Feeding deer and boars

Feeding red deer, fallow deer, roe deer and wild boars is prohibited. However, in case of special weather conditions or a temporary food shortage, you can apply for an exemption to your provincial authority.

Please note: the technical requirements imposed by the Netherlands in respect of some protected animal and plant species differ from those of other EU Member States. If a protected animal or plant species is already allowed in another EU Member State, the Netherlands may ban its sale in the Netherlands only in exceptional cases.

Online application procedure via Message Box

Using Message Box, you can apply digitally for an exemption or dispensation to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency or the provincial authority. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.

At the province of Noord-Brabant you can also use Message Box to apply for dispensation on the protection of native species, as well as an exemption on feeding animals and for compensation restricted areas.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO