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Nature Conservation Act (2015).

Type of law
Date of original text

This Act provides an integrated and simplified legal framework for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components and for the implementation of the Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna and the Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the conservation of wild birds, and various conventions on biological diversity and the protection of endangered animal and plant species and their natural living environment. The Act is divided into 12 Chapters: General Provisions (1); Natura-2000 Areas (2); Species (3); Forest resources, Timber and Timber Products (4); Exemptions, Decisions and Obligations (6); Financial Provisions (6); Enforcement (7); Miscellaneous Provisions (8); Transitional Provisions (9); Amendment of other legislation (10); Concurrence With Other Bills (11); Final Provisions (12). Most provisions of the Act also apply to the Dutch EEZ but not to matters covered by the common European fisheries policy.
There shall be a National Nature Vision (to be adopted by the Minister), which contains the main points of the government policy to be pursued aimed at preserving and, if possible, strengthening biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the protection of valuable landscapes, in a national and international context, and the conservation and where possible, strengthening the recreational, educational and amenity value of nature and landscape, in conjunction with the policy to achieve a more sustainable economy. It shall contain, as far as possible, a quantification of the conservation objectives for the habitats and species to be protected in Natura 2000 areas and special national nature reserves and, in conjunction with this and in conjunction with the conservation status of these habitats and species, provide insight into proposed changes of the decisions designating Natura 2000 sites and special national nature reserves. Provinces shall adopt a provincial nature vision. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency issues a scientific report to the Minister once every four years, describing the situation and expected developments with regard to nature, forests and landscape.
The Act furthermore provides, among other things, for; reduction of the percentage of the area of nitrogen sensitive habitats in Natura 2000 areas and nature improvement of such areas; general management of Natura-2000 areas and national special protected natural areas; protection so species and habitats; hunting and wildlife management (also in respect of harmful animals and invasive or exotic species); trade in and possession of plant and animals; trade in timber products; enforcement. Timber felling shall be regulated and monitored mainly by the provinces but the Minister shall prepare a code of conduct for such activities. In general, there is a prohibition to act against EU law and national regulations.
Date of consolidation/reprint
Consolidated version of the Act of 16 December 2015 as amended last by Act of 1 January 2020.
Source language


Legislation Amendment
Original title
Wet Natuurbescherming.