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Applying for excavation permits and filing discovery reports

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If you want to perform excavation activities in the Netherlands, your company needs a certifcate. Archaeological discoveries must be reported. Read more.

If you want to perform excavation activities in the Netherlands, your company needs a certifcate. And you must report archaeological discoveries. Note that the term 'excavation' here means archaeological investigations, exploratory boreholes, and the removal or relocation of objects that belong to Dutch cultural heritage.

Reporting an archaeological discovery

Have you made an archaeological discovery, for instance when working in the soil? You must report your archaeological discovery to the Cultural Heritage Agency (in Dutch) or the municipality. Did you find a maritime artefact? You should use the form for maritime finds (in Dutch).

Do you own an archaeological business? Then you have to report your finds in the Archaeological Information System Archis (in Dutch), a national system that contains Dutch archaeological data, such as information on archaeological discoveries.

Excavation permit

In the Netherlands, it is prohibited to perform an archaeological excavation without a certificate. If your company has a certificate (in Dutch), it means you work according to the standards and guidelines of the Dutch Archaeology Quality Standard (KNA).

You can apply for a certificate to a certifying body (CI’s, in Dutch). The certifying body checks each year if you work according to the quality standard. A certificate is valid for 4 years, as long as you pass the yearly audit. Costs involved depend on the protocols you must comply with. Costs and application periods may differ between CI’s.

Excavation by a foreign company

Do you own a foreign company and do you want perform an excavation in the Netherlands? You do not need a Dutch certificate for excavations in the Netherlands if:

  • you only excavate in the Netherlands occasionally
  • you have a valid permit or similar document from another EU country. You must comply with the same rules as companies with a Dutch certificate
  • you submit your report about your research to Archis (in Dutch) within 2 years after the excavation has taken place. Archis is the Dutch national system in which monuments, reports of archaeological discoveries, and excavation reports can be found, together with their geographical location. You can write your report in Dutch, English, or German.

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Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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