The Nature Balance 2005

08-09-2005 | Publication

The available resources for nature and landscape policies do not match Dutch and international policy ambitions. Not only are the financial resources limited, but because land in the Netherlands is also in short supply, a clear planning regime and political and administrative commitment is essential if we are to realise our objectives for nature and the landscape. The Environmental Assessment Agency also notes that the current decentralisation of decision-making on nature and landscape policies is putting a heavy burden on the shoulders of the provincial government.

Main Conclusions of Nature Balance 2005

Although the acquisition of land for the creation of the National Ecological Network is proceeding according to the timetable, the spatial connectivity and environmental conditions within the network are not good enough to enable full compliance with international agreements on biodiversity conservation. Additional measures will therefore be necessary. Key measures to be taken in the short term should include a strict land use planning policy, followed by measures to improve physical environmental conditions. Large nature conservation areas offer the best chance of success.

The government’s planned change in strategy for ecosystem and habitat management - from the purchase of land to the management of privately owned land by landowners and agricultural enterprises - will make it harder to ensure a coherent conservation management regime throughout the National Ecological Network. Moreover, there are indications that without complementary landscape works the current on-farm conservation schemes will not achieve the conservation objectives that can be realised by the conservation management organisations.

Not only is biodiversity in the Netherlands under threat, but so are Dutch landscapes. Landscape amenity in one-quarter of the Netherlands is impaired by expanding urban development. In practice, spatial and land use policies do little to protect landscape quality. Moreover, insufficient funds are available to fulfil the government’s high expectations with respect to the National Landscapes policy.


Each year the Environmental Assessment Agency draws up an Environmental Balance and a Nature Balance. These documents contain evaluations of the state of the environment and nature in the Netherlands, and discuss the implementation of environmental and nature policies. The quality of nature and the environment, and the extent to which these match the policies pursued, are also described. The Environmental Management Act requires balances to be prepared for the Dutch government and House of Representatives (the lower house of Parliament). However, the subject matter and the analyses contained in the Nature Balance makes it interesting reading for anyone who wants to know about the trends in nature and the landscape in the Netherlands, and how these are affected by government policies.


The Nature Balance is prepared jointly by a number of research institutes: the National Institute for Coastal and Marine Management (RIKZ), the National Institute for Inland Water Management and Waste Water Treatment (RIZA), Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

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The full Nature Balance is only available in Dutch.

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Facts and figures

The most recent facts and figures on the environment and nature in the Netherlands can be found on the Environmental Data Compendium website (in Dutch).

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