BIO-Plan for De Maasduinen National Park

An important step in the transition to large-scale Regional Landscape

The BIO-Plan that we have drawn up for De Maasduinen National Park, updates the old management and design plan and is a foundation for the transition to a broader Regional Landscape.


Nationaal Park De Maasduinen, Noord-Limburg


Overlegorgaan NP De Maasduinen

Surface Area

18.000 ha

Design Year


One of the finest areas of natural beauty in the Netherlands is situated between Venlo and Gennep: De Maasduinen National Park. A management and design plan was drawn up for the area in 1999, on the basis of which all kinds of projects have been implemented in the past 20 years to make the Maasduinen more coherent and enjoyable. Two decades on, various sorts of new challenges have emerged such as the pressure on biodiversity from nitrogen deposits, drying out, climate change, fragmentation and the increasing demand for recreational space, as well as the acidification of the meadows, the drying out of fens and brooks, and the decrease of oak trees in the woods. On the other hand, new policy developments such as the regional programme to tackle nitrogen deposits, the new Water Management Programme of the Limburg Water Board, the North Limburg Regional Vision, and the Natura 2000 management plan also offer opportunities to strengthen the National Park. It is important to make good use of those opportunities. In short, there is reason enough to update the BIO-Plan.

The BIO-Plan that we have drawn up is broader than its predecessor. It outlines a possible future for the De Maasduinen National Park. The region is not only confronted with many new developments, but the funding of the National Park has also become uncertain. There is an urgent need to rethink the original aims of the National Park and of the accompanying organisational and financial structure. This BIO-Plan is s step in that direction. Besides updating the old management and design plan, it is a foundation for the transition to a broader Regional Landscape.

The new BIO-Plan targets the park and its surroundings. Proper management of the relations between them can benefit them both. The National Park can become a catalyst for the economic development of the region, while the region itself can play a more active role in the ecological development of the National Park.

Besides extensive woodland and meadows the Maasduinen include fens, sand ridges, brooks and marshes. Many environments with rich ecological gradients between them can be found on the relief of the Maas terraces and the complex of raised river banks and streams that cut deep into the valleys. This guarantees a large degree of biodiversity, with rare species such as the smooth snake, sand lizard, crane, night swallow and all kinds of bats, amphibians and butterflies.

The natural areas are historically closely connected with human activity: the meadows are the result of sheep grazing and the woods of later planting for pit-props for the mining industry. The interaction between humans and nature, both in the past, now and in the future, is a thread running through the story of the Maasduinen and the given on which our BIO-Plan is based.

The Maasdal and the Maasduinen form an inseparable two-in-one entity. We deploy this character in the BIO-Plan to strengthen the identity and to make it more attractive for residents, users and visitors. The plan sets out ambitions with regard to nature, recreation, agriculture, water, marketing and education and nature research.

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