The 21 national parks in the European Netherlands together make up a little less than 4% of the total area of the country. In order to be eligible for national park status, an area must have at least a contiguous area of 1000 hectares. It also needs to be generally open to the public and offer good recreational opportunities. Furthermore, it should accommodate a nature that is typical of the Netherlands or particularly worthy of protection. The Netherlands has been part of the National Union for Conservation of Nature's national park initiative since 1969 and has been setting up such protected areas since then. The two oldest national parks, Veluwezoom and De Hoge Veluwe , were founded in the 1930s as a result of private initiatives. The other parts of the kingdom have their own criteria as to when an area can be designated as a national park. In these regions there are therefore official national parks, some of which are considerably smaller than 1000 hectares.
The following table lists the national parks separated according to the named parts of the country. The special municipalities are listed separately:
↑ National park, 2018. In: clo.nl. Rijksoverheid, September 12, 2018, accessed October 24, 2019 (Dutch). Note: The site does not yet take into account the Nieuw Land National Park, which was established in 2018, so the proportion of the total surface area is currently slightly higher than stated here.