Pols. push for new national parks

The national parks in the Netherlands need to be changed. They need to become bigger and more attractive.

The PvdA and the D66 advocated for this in the Second Chamber during the debate on the budget for Economic Affairs, under which nature is covered.

The Netherlands currently has 20 national parks. They fall under the provinces who have little money to manage them, explains Stientje van Veldhoven (D66). According to both parties, the extraordinary nature is too fragmented and not recognizable enough for visitors.

In Van Veldhoven and Lutz Jacobi's (PvdA) plan, new national parks will be at least 5 thousand hectares big. The current parks are at least 1 thousand hectares big. Old parks may merge into the new parks, but not necessarily. The management will remain with the provinces.

The new parks should be recognizable. They must have international allure, like parks in Canada and Scotland. This will let tourists see "that there is more than Amsterdam", says Jacobi.

The National Parks 2.0 should do more for nature education. Entrepreneurs should contribute to drawing tourists. According to Van Veldhoven, the current 20 parks support the plan.

A Council of National Parks should assess what nature area qualifies for the new status. 2 million euro should be set aside for the plan from 2017. Both MPs think that this amount will eventually have to be more.