Rules on protection of plant and animal species

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVOLast updated on Nederlandse versie

You may not harm protected animals or plants and you are not allowed to own, trade, or transport certain protected animals or plants. You can only do so in specific cases and then you will need an exemption or a permit.

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at your municipality, province, or water authority

The Nature Conservation Act and the CITES regulations regulate the protection of plant and animal species. You will have to deal with the regulations on protected animals and plants if, among others, you:

Construction and maintenance

Do you plan to (re)build, demolish, or maintain and manage structures? And are there any protected species present (in Dutch)? In most cases you have to apply for an exemption to the provincial authorities. You have to apply for an exemption to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO, in Dutch) if the work is carried out under the direction of a national body, such as works for energy and gas transport, or for coastal protection.

Outdoor events

Do you plan to organise an outdoor event, such as a concert or a motocross race? And are any protected species present at this location? You must take protective measures to avoid any disturbance of, and damage to protected species (in Dutch). You can also consult a list of protective measures you can take for various species (in Dutch). If your event is harmful, you must apply for an exemption for an outdoor event (in Dutch).

Code of conduct

If you work with an approved code of conduct under the nature conservancy act, you may automatically be exempt.

Consult an ecological expert

Do you want to find out if protected species are present in the area you want to use for your activities, for example construction or outdoor events? You can consult an ecological expert (in Dutch). An ecological expert can advise you and help determine if and which protected species are present. They can also help you to implement protective measures for your activities.

Trading, owning, or transporting protected plants and animals

Do you trade in, own, or transport protected plants or animals (or their parts or products)? In some cases you need dispensation for the possession and transport of protected animals and plants from the provincial authority or RVO (in Dutch). Certain animal species or animal species from specific countries are banned. You cannot apply for an exemption for these animals.

Does it concern a CITES species? You may require an EU certificate or CITES permit. You must comply with CITES regulations. You may for instance have to register some of these species.

Sheltering protected animals

To give shelter to protected animals such as hedgehogs, seals, or roe deer you must apply for dispensation to RVO (in Dutch).

Trade, possession, and transport of bred animals

Do you intend to keep or transport certain bred animals that are protected species? For primates, hawks, and feline predators (Felidae) you must apply for dispensation to the provincial authority or to RVO (in Dutch). Bred protected native or exotic birds must be fitted with a leg ring.

Education and research

Sometimes your activities can be harmful when you are active in education, research, repopulation, or reintroduction of protected animal or plant species. In such cases you need an exemption under the Nature Conservation Act (in Dutch). You can apply for this exemption to the provincial authorities or to RVO.

Harmful exotic species

You are not allowed to keep, grow, breed, transport, import, or trade in harmful exotic plant or animal species on the list of Invasive alien species (in Dutch). You can do so only for specific purposes, for example scientific research, with a permit from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (in Dutch).

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.

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