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All Drone Laws In The Netherlands In 2023: Rules To Follow

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: January 1, 2023

In recent years, drones have become an increasingly common sight in the skies above the Netherlands. From delivering packages to providing aerial photography services, these unmanned aircraft are being put to use in a variety of ways.

Drone Laws In The Netherlands

While some people view drones as a nuisance, there is no doubt that they have the potential to revolutionize the way we live and work. As technology continues to develop, it is likely that drones will play an even more important role in our lives in the years to come.

As drones become more prevalent, countries are starting to implement laws and regulations for their safe use. In some cases, these laws are very strict, while others have a more relaxed attitude.

If you're considering flying a drone in the Netherlands, it's important to be aware of the rules that apply. Here is an overview of the drone laws in the Netherlands.

Is it Legal to Fly Drones in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is well-known for its liberal approach to many things, and the law around drones is no exception. In general, it is legal to fly drones in the Netherlands as long as you follow some basic rules. As long as you obey these rules, you should be able to enjoy flying your drone without any legal problems.

General Drone Rules in the Netherlands (2023)

After scouring the internet and reading multiple interpretations of the law, we have compiled a list of what we believe to be the most important rules for flying drones in The Netherlands.

Drone Laws In The Netherlands
  • If you're flying a drone in the Netherlands, you need to be aware of the country's airspace restrictions. In most cases, drones are only allowed to fly in category G airspace. This map shows the areas where drone flights are not permitted.
  • The DGCA (Drone Gender Creative Association) authorizes drones to fly up to 50 meters in the Open category and 120 meters in the Specific category. Exceptions may be made for those operating specific category drones.
  • The drone operator must have a clear line of sight at all times, and the maximum operating distance should not exceed 500 meters.
  • It is unsafe to fly too close to residential or populated areas.
  • A safe distance to maintain around residential areas is one kilometer.
  • You must stay at least 500 meters away from isolated buildings, people, vehicles, animals, and structures unless the owner/person consents.
  • For a safe flight, maintain a distance of at least eight kilometers from airports and three(3) kilometers from heliports.
  • You are not allowed to fly a drone at night.
  • You cannot fly drones over, within range of, or near military installations, public utility installations, archaeological sites, or public or private facilities.

Rules for recreational use

If you're flying a drone recreationally in the Netherlands, follow these general guidelines in addition to the regular rules:

  • Never fly your drone over a group of people or buildings that are close together.
  • The maximum weight for drones flown by individuals is 25 kilograms.
  • Although recreational users may only use your drones to make aerial films and photographs for personal use, you must be sure not to violate anyone's privacy rights.

Rules for commercial use

If you want to fly a drone for commercial purposes in the Netherlands, you must adhere to these additional guidelines in addition to the general laws.

  • For commercial drone operations in the Netherlands, drone pilots need to have a pilot’s license, while companies or organizations managing the operation must have a ROC permit.
  • Drones weighing 4 kg or less may apply for a light permit.
  • If you want to operate a drone commercially in the Netherlands, you'll need to get insurance.

Registering as an Operator

European Regulation (EU) 2019/947 requires UAS operators to register (not the UAS itself). The UAS Pilot, or Remote Pilot (RP), is the person who controls the UAS flight.

They are responsible for making sure that the flight is safe. The UAS Operator is responsible for the management and operation of drones. This could be an individual or a company, and they are held accountable for all drone activity conducted on their behalf.

In many cases with OPEN-category drones, the Pilot and Operator are one in the same person. In order to operate in the OPEN category, registration is compulsory for operators if :

  • Any UAS that weigh more than 250 g
  • Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) that weigh less than 250 grams
  • can go faster than 90 kilometers per hour
  • If your device is equipped with a camera or microphone,

All operators must register under the SPECIFIC category. You must renew this UAS operator registration yearly, following the same process each time. operators always use the same number unless they are permanently deregistered from the registry.

Operation Categories

The European Union has four categories of drones, each with a unique set of rules and regulations.

Open category

Open-category drones are those that can be flown without specific approval from authorities, provided they adhere to certain safety requirements. For instance, these drones must weigh less than 25kg and not be used for commercial purposes.

Even though a permit isn't necessary to fly open-category drones, you still need to follow the EASA's general rules and regulations.

More and more people in the European Union have been using open-category drones for various reasons over the past few years. Some use them commercially, while others enjoy them recreationally.

There are several advantages to these unmanned aircraft that have helped contribute to this popularity, like how budget-friendly they are, how easy they are to operate, and all the different ways they can be used.

Open-category drones are not only "user-friendly" but play an important role in future aviation and transport within the EU, despite some challenges.

Specific category

The specific category is often more limited than the open category, so keep in mind that not every commercial activity is allowed.

For example, you need explicit consent to photograph or film people. There are also a number of other restrictions for specific-category drones, so speak with the EASA before attempting to use one.

You need a specific permit from the EASA to fly a large commercial drone. These drones weigh between 25kg and 150kg, so they require extra permission.

If you want to use one of these large drones for commercial purposes, make sure you get the appropriate permits before taking it out for a spin!

Certified category

A certified category drone is a safe choice for anyone purchasing and flying an unmanned aircraft. The EASA has different certification programs that cover various types of drones, so be sure to check with the agency before flying one of these devices.

A category-certified drone is a machine that has been designed and manufactured to meet EASA safety standards. These are drones that weigh more than 150kg, and they can be used for commercial purposes. You need a permit from the EASA to fly one of these types of drones.

Netherlands Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

The Netherlands Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is responsible for regulating airspace and aviation safety in the Netherlands.

Drone Laws In The Netherlands

The DGCA also oversees the use of drones, which are becoming increasingly popular for both recreational and commercial purposes.

In order to fly a drone in the Netherlands, pilots must obtain a permit from the DGCA. The permit process includes an online test that covers topics such as drone regulations and air traffic rules.

Once a pilot has successfully obtained a permit, they will be able to fly their drone within the designated airspace. The DGCA is working to ensure that drones are safely integrated into Dutch airspace and that all pilots are aware of the rules and regulations.

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of drones operating in European airspace. In order to achieve this, the agency has established a set of rules and regulations that drone operators must follow.

Drone Laws In The Netherlands

These include prohibitions on flying near airports and other sensitive areas and restrictions on the maximum altitude and range at which drones can operate.

EASA also requires drone operators to register their drones with the agency and to obtain a permit before flying. By following these regulations, EASA ensures that drones are operated safely and responsibly, minimizing the risk of accidents or incidents.

No Drone Zones In The Netherlands

Drones are becoming more and more popular, but there are still some places where they are not allowed. These places are called No Drone Zones. No Drone Zones are areas where drones are not allowed to fly for safety or security reasons.

Drone Laws In The Netherlands

There are three types of No Drone Zones: Temporary Flight Restrictions, National Security Areas, and Permanent Flight Restrictions.

Drones are not allowed in Temporary Flight Restrictions unless they have permission. National Security Areas are off-limits to drones at all times. Permanent Flight Restrictions are in areas where drones are always banned, such as national parks.

How to know about No Drone Zones?

The most up-to-date information about No Drone Zones can be found online. The DGCA and EASA websites have detailed maps showing where drones are not allowed to fly.

Additionally, pilots should check local regulations before flying a drone to ensure they are not entering any restricted airspace.

Conclusion

In conclusion, drones are making an increasingly big impact on society both recreationally and commercially worldwide. The Dutch government has implemented several regulations to ensure that drones are operated safely and responsibly.

It is important for operators to follow these regulations, as well as familiarize themselves with No Drone Zones and obtain liability insurance in case of an accident or incident.

With proper care and attention, drone pilots can enjoy a safe and enjoyable airspace experience. Hope you found this article helpful! If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below.

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Richard J. Gross

Hi, my name is Richard J. Gross and I’m a full-time Airbus pilot and commercial drone business owner. I got into drones in 2015 when I started doing aerial photography for real estate companies. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but it turns out that police were called on me shortly after I started flying. They didn’t like me flying my drone near people, so they asked me to come train their officers on the rules and regulations for drones. After that, I decided to start my own drone business and teach others about the safe and responsible use of drones.

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