Natura 2000 in the Netherlands

From 2010 to 2014, I was involved in a research on Natura 2000. Natura 2000 is Europe’s network of protected nature areas. I looked at the implementation of Natura 2000 in a Dutch area called Geuldal, Province of Limburg.

Natura 2000 implementation was seen as a pretty straightforward process. It resembled the Dutch way of looking after nature and the implementation of it should be easy. But the case of the Geuldal, a case that was even known as one of the good examples of Natura 2000 implementation, shows that any change in policy results in unexpected reactions. The drafting of the management plan was done rather quickly in 2009 but did not sufficiently address all the consequences. This uncertainty still has a big effect on the people living in the area. In particular the farmers see Natura 2000 as a possible future threat.