95 Netherlands

Three equal horizontal bands of red (bright vermilion; top), white, and blue (cobalt). Similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer. The colors were derived from those of WILLIAM I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish sovereignty in the latter half of the 16th century. Originally the upper band was orange, but because its dye tended to turn red over time, the red shade was eventually made the permanent color. The banner is perhaps the oldest tricolor in continuous use.

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

Distinctive architecture along an Amsterdam street.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Netherlands is a member of ICAO, EUROCONTROL, JARUS, EASA, and the EU.
Last updated on April 18, 2024


According to Britannica, the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. The monarchy is hereditary in both the male and female lines. The constitution, which dates from 1814, declares that the head of state, the monarch, is inviolable and thereby embodies the concept of ministerial responsibility. It further provides that no government may remain in power against the will of the parliament. The States General (Staten-Generaal), as the parliament is officially known, consists of two houses: the First Chamber (Eerste Kamer), or Senate, whose members are elected by the members of the councils of the 12 provinces; and the directly elected Second Chamber (Tweede Kamer), or House of Representatives. Both houses share legislative power with the government, officially known as the Crown (Kroon), defined as the head of state acting in conjunction with the ministers. The two houses control government policy. The First Chamber can only approve or reject legislation but does not have the power to propose or amend it.

Every four years, after elections to the Second Chamber have been held, the government resigns, and a process of bargaining starts between elected party leaders aspiring to form a government that will be assured of the support of a parliamentary majority. It usually takes a few months of maneuvering before a formateur, as the main architect of such a coalition is known, is ready to accept a royal invitation to form a government. The head of state then formally appoints the ministers. In the event of political crises resulting in the fall of the government before the end of a four-year period, the same process of bargaining takes place. The monarch, acting on the advice of the ministries, has the right to dissolve one or both chambers, at which time new elections are held.

In local government, the most important institutions are the municipalities (gemeenten). Since World War II the number of municipalities, which once totaled more than 1,000, has been dramatically reduced as a result of redivisions. Each municipality is run by a directly elected council that is presided over by a burgemeester (mayor), who is appointed by the national government and serves as chairman of the executive, the members of which are elected by and from the council; in the early 21st century, there was active discussion of directly electing mayors. In those areas to which the councils’ own ordinances are applicable, the municipalities are autonomous. In many instances, national legislation or provincial ordinances provide for the cooperation of municipal authorities.

The country is divided into 12 provinces: Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Flevoland, Gelderland, Utrecht, Noord-Holland, Zuid Holland, Zeeland, Noord-Brabant, and Limburg. Their administrative system has the same structure as the municipal government: directly elected councils (staten), which elect the members of the executive, except for the chairman, who is appointed by the national government. The main functions of the provinces include oversight of the municipalities within their borders and of district water-control boards (waterschappen).

In the Netherlands the ordinary administration of justice is entrusted exclusively to judges appointed for life; there is no jury system. There are cantonal courts (kantongerechten), which exercise jurisdiction in a whole range of minor civil and criminal cases. More-important cases are handled by one of the district courts (rechtbanken), which also can hear appeals from cantonal court decisions. Appeals against decisions from the district courts are heard by one of five courts of appeal (gerechtshoven). The Supreme Court (Hoge Raad) ensures a uniform application of the law, but it cannot determine constitutionality. In the legislative process itself, the government and the parliament together pass judgment on the constitutionality of a bill under consideration. Laws that are at variance with the country’s international agreements cannot be enforced by the courts.

The Netherlands also plays an important role in international law. The Hague is the seat of the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and Europol.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate operates under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The agency provides oversight and regulates aviation in The Netherlands, including airports, aircraft, and pilots.


SkyVectorGoogle MapsADS-B Exchange

ICAO countries publish an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). This document is divided into three parts: General (GEN), En Route (ENR) and Aerodromes (AD). ENR 1.4 details the types of airspace classes they chose to adopt from classes A through G. Netherlands AIP

Class A

Class B

Class C

Class D

Class E

Class F

Class G

Drone Regulations

Drone laws

Rules for the recreational use of drones

The government wants to prevent accidents involving drones. Drone operators are therefore required to follow a number of rules. For example, they may not fly a drone higher than 120 meters. If you have a drone, you should check to see whether it is covered by your third-party liability insurance.

The most important rules for the recreational use of drones are as follows:

  • A private drone must not weigh more than 25kg (including cargo).
  • There are places where you are not allowed to fly a drone, such as over crowds or built-up areas or in the vicinity of airports and other no-fly zones.
  • You must always keep the drone in view.
  • You are not permitted to fly higher than 120 meters, either above the ground or over water.
  • You are not permitted to fly in the dark.
  • You must always yield to other aircraft, such as aeroplanes, helicopters and gliders. This means that you must land immediately if you see an aircraft approaching. You should also stay away from accident scenes, since a drone can get in the way of emergency and police helicopters.
  • You can use your drone to take aerial photographs for personal use. This is considered ‘recreational use’. However, you are not allowed to violate other people’s privacy. For example, you are not permitted to secretly film someone. If you want to film or photograph a person, you must first get their permission.

You can find all the rules on the use of drones in the Model Aircraft Order (in Dutch).

Fines for drone operators

If you don’t follow the rules, you can be given a warning or a fine. It is also possible that your drone will be confiscated. The amount of the fine or the type of penalty depends on the nature of the offense. For example, the authorities will consider whether you were using the drone recreationally or in a professional capacity. And whether your actions put any other people at risk.

Drone insurance

You are not required to have drone insurance to fly drones recreationally, though it is recommended. Not all types of third-party liability insurance cover damage caused by drones. If your drone causes damage to property or physical harm, the injured party can hold you liable. This is why it is important to make sure that your third-party liability insurance covers drone-related damage.

Paying for damage caused to other people can be expensive (up to thousands of euros).

Commercial use of drones

If you use drones to earn money in some way, you must comply with the rules for commercial use of drones.


  • Recreational use of dronesTightening of current regulations regarding recreational use of drones. Extract from Letter to Parliament dated 22 April 2016

Rules for the commercial use of drones

If you earn money with your drone, you must comply with the rules for commercial use of drones. You will also need certain licenses. This is how the government ensures that drone use is as safe as possible.

‘Commercial use’ means that you make money from using your drone. Some examples:

  • taking aerial photos for a video production company;
  • making a promotional video for your business;
  • using a drone in your business operations. This might be the case for inspection companies that need to view sites that are difficult to access.

Applying for a drone license for commercial use

If you use a drone commercially, you need certain licenses. If you fly the drone yourself, you also need to have a pilot’s license.

You also have to follow the same rules that apply to the recreational use of drones.

Penalties for the unlawful use of drones

If you break one of the rules, you may be penalized. This penalty could take the form of a fine. The police may also confiscate your drone. People who repeatedly break the rules could be sentenced to prison.

Registering as a drone owner (operator)

Do you own 1 or more drones? If so, in some cases you must register as the owner (operator) , for example if your drone has a camera. You register by applying for an exploitantnummer (operator number) from the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer – RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority). Lees deze informatie in het Nederlands

When do I need a drone operator number?

You must apply for an operator number if:

  • your drone weighs 250 g or more;
  • your drone has a camera.

Do you have a toy drone with a camera? If so, you only need an operator number if your drone weighs 250 g or more.

Applying for a drone operator number

You can apply for an operator number from the RDW. The operator number should be stuck to the exterior of the drone. The operator number is valid for 1 year. After that, you can apply to the RDW for an extension.

Laws and regulations (in Dutch)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 on the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aircraft, Article 14

Regeling onbemande luchtvaartuigen (Regulation on unmanned aircraft), Article 9

Applying for a drone pilot license

Do you want to fly a drone weighing 250 g or more? If so, you will need a pilot license. You do not need a pilot license for a drone weighing less than 250 g. Lees deze informatie in het Nederlands

Drone pilot license for low-risk flights

You need a drone pilot license if your drone is going to make a low-risk flight (in Dutch). This is referred to as the “open” category. A low-risk flight means that the risk of an accident is low, for example because you are not transporting hazardous substances.

Rules for medium- and high-risk flights

Medium- and high-risk flights (both links in Dutch) are subject to different rules. For example, you need a permit for medium-risk flights.

Subcategories of low-risk flights

The open category for low-risk flights has three subcategories: A1, A2 and A3. Do you want a drone pilot’s license for one of the subcategories? Then you must meet the following conditions:

Conditions for drone pilot licenses if you are not going to fly near people

Are you not going to fly near people? Then you will probably need a license for subcategories A1 and A3. To obtain a drone pilot license, you must take a knowledge test. The tests are held at a flight school.

 Conditions for drone pilot licenses if you are going to fly near people

Do you want to obtain a drone pilot license that allows you to fly closer to people? Then you will need a subcategory A2 license. In addition to the knowledge test at a flight school that is also compulsory for A1 and A3 licenses, there are additional requirements for the A2 license:

  • take an additional knowledge test. This test covers the weather, for example;
  • undergo practical self-training. You train yourself to fly a drone.

The drone license for subcategory A2 is also referred to as a ‘vaardigheidsbewijs’ (certificate of proficiency).

Applying for a drone pilot license for drones weighing more than 250 g

You must have a drone pilot license to operate a drone weighing more than 250 g. You can apply for the drone license from the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer – RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority). You must always carry the drone pilot license with you when you fly your drone. The drone pilot licence is valid in all Member States of the European Union (EU).

Help with the drone rules 

Use the Regelhulp drones (online help) to obtain more information about flying drones (in Dutch), for example which rules apply to your drone.

Laws and regulations (in Dutch)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 on the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aircraft

Other information

Map of no fly zones for drones

Where am I allowed to fly my drone?

You are allowed to fly in the uncontrolled section of airspace, in other words: airspace that doesn’t fall under the authority of air traffic control. Certain sections of airspace are subject to temporary or permanent no-fly orders. You are not allowed to fly over crowds or in the vicinity of airports. You need a permit to fly over protected nature areas.

Drone map of the Netherlands

There is a map that shows which areas are partly or entirely off-limits to drones. If you wish to fly your drone in an area with low-flying aeroplanes, you must bring along a second person to act as a spotter, who can warn you about approaching aircraft. You must always yield to aeroplanes or other aircraft.

Drones are only permitted to fly in uncontrolled sections of airspace

Unless you have been granted an exemption, you are only allowed to fly in the uncontrolled section of airspace. It does not matter if you are using your drone for recreation or to earn money (commercial use). In addition to whatever specific rules may apply to the area where you have chosen to fly, you must always comply with the general rules for flying drones.

No-fly zones for drones

Certain sections of airspace are temporarily or permanently off-limits to drones, like the airspace above the Royal Palace in Amsterdam or major events like Sail.

License to fly over Natura 2000 areas

If you wish to fly over Natura 2000 areas (protected nature areas), you will need to apply for a permit from the provincial authority in question.

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)

2019 – Dutch companies launch consortium to progress urban air mobility

Dutch Drone Delta – integrating UAM and AAM into The Netherlands


Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of using a drone to film in Amsterdam, pictured above.

They need you to mention any national laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in and whether or not you need an airspace authorization.

Does it matter whether or not you are a citizen of the country?

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

Do you need a certificate to fly UAS?

If so, how do you obtain one?

Are there fees associated with this?

If so, how much?

Question 3

May you operate beyond visual line of sight?

If so, what procedures must you follow?

Question 4

Does the country have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 5

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.





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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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