Do you want to cut down trees (or have them cut down) or standing timber outside built-up areas in the Netherlands? You must notify the provincial authority 1 month in advance. In some municipalities you need an All-in-one Permit for Physical Aspects in addition to the notification of tree felling. You must also reforest the area within 3 years, even if the trees died as a result of a calamity or livestock.
Do you need to cut down trees to work on projects of national interest, such as work on motorways, railways, waterways or the energy and gas network? Then you have to notify the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO, in Dutch).
When to notify
You have to notify the authorities if you are planning to cut down trees or standing timber outside built-up areas,
- if the area is at least 1,000 m2, or
- if you want to cut down 21 or more trees in a row.
Standing timber includes for example:
- trees and forests
- wooded banks
- (shrub) hedges
Please note: you must also notify if trees or thickets die as a direct or indirect result of your actions. Also if they are destroyed by livestock you own.
Exemption of notification
In some cases you do not have to report the felling of standing timber. This is the case for:
- standing timber in built-up areas, gardens, or yards.
- maintenance to create more living space for other trees and bushes (thinning).
- rows of poplar or willow trees lining roads, waterways, or farmland.
- the regular cutting down of willow trees in wetlands or coppice.
- fruit trees and trees used as windshields for orchards.
- cultivation of nursery plants (kweekgoed)
- pine trees of no more than 20 years of age, to be used as Christmas trees.
- the regular pruning of poplar, willow, ash, and alder trees for the production of biomass.
Other rules may apply in the situations mentioned above. Check with your local municipality (in Dutch) which rules apply in your situation. Some municipalities may require you to apply for an All-in-one Permit for felling trees.
You must reforest the land within 3 years. You must plant as many new trees as you have cut down. If you have replanted the necessary number of trees, you must notify the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (option Herplant) for approval.
If you transfer the land to a new owner or user within this period, you must inform them of the reforestation obligation.
Exemption of reforesting
In some cases you can get a deferral, exemption, or compensation of your duty to reforest. This can be the case when your project is delayed or overrun. You can submit a request to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (option Ontheffing, uitstel of compensatie, in Dutch). If you are not able to reforest the original area where you cut down trees, you can apply for permission to use a different area (option Herplant op andere grond, in Dutch).
Notification and obligatory reforestation after a calamity
Have trees perished as a result of fire, storm or disease? Reforestation duty still applies. You need to reforest the area within 3 years. You still must submit a notification of tree felling, even if the trees have already gone.
Submitting a digital report with Message Box
You can digitally submit a tree-felling report or submit a request as a result of the replanting obligation to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency using Message Box. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.