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The Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet): what does it mean for you?

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versie

In the Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet, Ow), 26 laws come together in 1 new law. This makes it easier to apply for permits for your company. For example, for a construction project. The Environment and Planning Act is expected to come into effect on 1 January 2024. From then on, there will be one central counter where you can check if you need a permit for your plans.

What is the Environment Act?

The Environment and Planning Act is a new law for spatial development. 26 existing laws (in Dutch) will be replaced by the new law. Such as the Spatial Planning Act (Wet ruimtelijke ordening), the Water Act (Waterwet), the Crisis and Recovery Act (Crisis- en herstelwet). The laws on ammonia (Wet ammoniak en veehouderij) and odour emissions in livestock farming (Wet geurhinder en veehouderij) will disappear.

You will have to deal with the Environment and Planning Act if you want to change something in the 'physical environment'. For example, if you want to start a construction project. Or if you want to convert the garage into business space. Or if you want to start a museum with café in an old mill.

Existing permits will remain valid when the new law comes into effect.

Apply for permits in 1 place

Once the Environment and Planning Act has come into force, it will be easier and faster to apply for permits. You submit 1 application at 1 counter and you receive 1 decision. And in most cases, your application will be processed faster: in 8 weeks instead of 26 weeks.

For some projects, an 'extensive procedure' applies. For example, if you want to renovate a national monument. You will then receive a decision within 6 months.

Digital counter: Digital System Environment and Planning Act (DSO)

You can check if you need a permit in the Digital System Environment Act (DSO). Each municipality is then connected to the DSO. In this digital counter you can:

  • look up the rules per location
  • check whether you need a permit or whether you need to make a notification
  • apply for permits or make reports
  • look up information about the quality of the living environment (this possibility will be added to the counter later)

Do your own research for your application

If you want to apply for a permit, your company needs to conduct its own research. Possibly, your project or idea has an impact on local residents or other companies in the vicinity. In that case, you must contact these people. Ask them what they think of your plan. When applying for a permit, you enclose their answers. That is called participation.

The application for the permit is often easier if participation has been applied. Sometimes participation is even mandatory. Read more about the application procedure (in Dutch) on

New compensation scheme

Is your company disadvantaged by the Environment and Planning Act? For example, because you have to incur extra costs for your construction project due to a rule in the law or a permit. You can receive compensation, called disadvantage compensation. The Environment and Planning Act will include a regulation that states when the government must compensate for damage that was caused as a result of a government decision.

Read what changes for disadvantage compensation on (in Dutch).

Read the Environment and Planning Act

Would you like to read what the Environment and Planning Act (Ow) says about your situation? The most important rules in the Ow have been elaborated in 4 decrees:

  1. Environmental decree (Omgevingsbesluit, in Dutch)
  2. Decree on construction works in the living environment (Besluit bouwwerken leefomgeving, in Dutch)
  3. Decree on quality of the living environment (Besluit kwaliteit leefomgeving, in Dutch)
  4. Decree on activities in the living environment (Besluit activiteiten leefomgeving, in Dutch)

Finally, there is the Environmental regulation (Omgevingsregeling, Or, in Dutch). These describe how the laws must be implemented.

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