Below you can find a list of types of animals in the Netherlands. We currently track 246 animals in Netherlands and are adding more every day!
The Netherlands (also known as Holland) is a small Western European country that has played an important role at the heart of post-Medieval European culture and politics. In Europe, the country sits between Belgium, Germany, and the Atlantic Ocean. It also encompasses the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius in the Lesser Antilles chain. Much of the country is located below sea level and therefore prone to regular flooding. As a result, the coastline has been altered dramatically over the years to prevent this. The Netherlands harbors quite a few species of bats, rodents, deer, water birds, songbirds, seals, and other large carnivores. Both cetaceans and sea turtles can also be seen off the shore.
Official National Animals
The lion is widely regarded as a national symbol of the Netherlands. Although lions haven’t existed in Western Europe for thousands of years, this animal was a popular regal symbol of strength and power throughout European history. It has been a part of the country’s coat of arms since its independence in the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition, the black-tailed godwit is the official national bird of the Netherlands. It is a long-legged, long-billed migratory bird that wades into the water to feed.
Where to Find the Top Wild Animals
Despite its small size and high population density, the country has plenty of national parks and nature reserves for wildlife lovers to enjoy native animals of the Netherlands. More than 20 of them cover the country’s diverse ecosystems. De Alde Feanen National Park in Gelderland preserves some 4,000 hectares of lakes, grasslands, and peat bogs in which you can find more than a hundred species of breeding birds. De Maasduinen National Park and De Zoom-Kalmthoutse Heide Cross-Border Park are also good sources of woodpeckers, falcons, hawks, nightjars, harriers, and much more.
The Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park near the center of the country boasts a crazy amount of glacially-shaped forests, meadows, and lakes inhabited by deer, foxes, woodpeckers, and birds of prey. De Maasduinen National Park, located in the country’s southeast region of Limburg, has a rich selection of wildlife, including beavers, bats, toads, snakes, sand lizards, butterflies, dragonflies, and birds.
Another resource is De Hoge Veluwe National Park, which is 55 square kilometers of heathlands, sand dunes, and woodlands. Here you can find red deer, roe deer, wild boars, mouflons, Eurasian wolves, foxes, badgers, and the European pine martin.
National Park De Biesbosch is one of the largest national parks of the Netherlands and one of the last extensive areas of freshwater tidal wetlands in Northwestern Europe. A reclamation project drove off many species, but now the Dutch government plans to return the area to nature and hopes to see the return of beavers, osprey, white-tailed eagles, salmon, trout, shad, smelt, bitterns, kingfishers, the great egret, and the little egret and the re-introduction of moose.
Situated in northwestern Europe, the Netherlands is mostly below sea level, giving way to multitudes of wetlands that provide habitats for hundreds of residential and visiting avifauna, particularly migrating waders. Other habitats such as forests, dunes, heathland, and lakes also render excellent areas for birdwatching. Some of the top birding sites include:
- The Delta – The southwest part of the country consists of estuaries of bisecting rivers is usually referred to as the Delta. Migrant waders and other waterfowl pass through this area on their routes, drawn to the quiet environment.
- Lauwersmeer – Alternatively, Lauwersmeer may be considered the most popular wetland for birding and is surrounded by grasslands, adding to the various species seen here. Rare geese species such as Ross’s goose, Lesser White-fronted, Red-breasted, and Black Brent stop over in the area during migratory season.
- Lapelaarplassen Reserve – Easily accessible from Amsterdam, this reserve is quite exciting to bird watch in, as species such as Bewick’s Swan, Brambling, Sparrowhawks, geese, and other avifauna stop over during the fall.
- In the northern, less-populated parts of Holland, there are many good birding spots, especially along the Usselmeer and Wadden Sea coast. Inland, the woodlands and moors attract red-backed shrike, tits, golden orioles, and many warblers and flycatchers.
There are countless other areas within the country to peacefully watch birds in their natural habitat, whether they’re simply passing through or reside permanently. Birds also flit through urban and suburban areas of the Netherlands, as well.
The Netherlands is positioned with its coastline along the North Sea and rests mainly below sea level. Several rivers also run through the country and connect, forming estuaries and lakes. Good food, art, history, and scenery draw visitors to the Netherlands and fishing is often disregarded. However, some truly amazing fishing exists here. Listed are some top spots for fishing and what anglers may hope to hook:
- Rhine-Meuse Delta – Where the Rhine and Meuse Rivers merge, an estuary begins and holds quite the array of fish species, from carp and bream to perch and pike.
- Rotterdam Seaport Area – Not only are sea bass a common catch, but other species such as mullet, shad, and sole reign prevalent in the summer. Winter brings around pouting, cod, and whiting.
- Amsterdam – The canals of the city are not only good for bike riding and boating but they provide an opportunity for fishing in an urban setting. Zander, perch, rudd, pike, and carp are regular catches in these winding waters.
- The Lek River – Spanning the entire country, this large and long river is a particular favorite for fishermen in search of perch.
- Wadden Islands – This North Sea archipelago is great for any salt-water fishing, but is best known for the sea bass.
- The Zaan region – Close to Amsterdam, this area is popular for polder fishing, but you can also catch bream, roach, carps, zanders, and more.
Most Dangerous Animals
Experiencing a new culture with different people and nature and wildlife is always a thrill. However, it is important to look out for animals that might not be so friendly, such as venomous snakes. However, the Netherlands only has three species of snake and only one of them is venomous: the viper. Otherwise, snakes include grass snakes and smooth snakes, both of which are harmless to humans and tend to avoid them.
The Netherlands has very few types of animals considered dangerous. Many large predatory animals have been eliminated over the last several thousand years through hunting or loss of habitat. This has made it relatively safe for all human activity. Few species remain that could pose a threat to humans, including:
- Common European Viper – This snake roams a very widespread territory across most of Europe, which leads to quite a few bites every year, but the toxicity of its venom is fortunately quite low. Biting victims can expect mild symptoms to include pain, swelling, and tingling. On rare occasions, the symptoms can escalate into something more dangerous, like nausea, vomiting, fever, and lightheadedness. Regardless of the severity, seek medical attention after a bite, since symptoms may linger for quite some time and affect one’s functionality to a crazy extent.
- Wolves – Wolf sightings are very uncommon in the Netherlands, and those that do cross over are usually just temporary wanderers from France or Germany. However, as wolf numbers continue to recover, this species could conceivably establish a more permanent native presence in the Netherlands. While wolves almost never attack humans, they do have a tendency to hunt livestock, a main reason they were hunted to the point of extinction in Western Europe. Conservationists have tried to help wolves and ranchers co-exist by employing some protective measures to scare them away.
- Hedgehogs – A nocturnal animal, hedgehogs may look cute, but they have sharp spikes that can pierce skin and cause an infection.
- Wild Boars – These dark creatures are also called wild pigs because they are similar in appearance. They have a pointy snout and dangerous tusks that are used to dig for food in the wild. They rarely attack humans, but they can become aggressive if hungry or feel that their young are in danger.
- Ticks and Goats – There really are very few animals in Holland that are dangerous, so that leaves the threat of diseases that can be caught from carriers, which are most commonly ticks and goats in the Netherlands. Makes it seem like a safe country to visit!
From boating the canals of Amsterdam to strolling through countless tulips, the Netherlands boasts an array of opportunities for fun and exploration, as well as sights and wildlife to see. Some places to visit wildlife other than wandering forests or the wetlands is in zoos and wildlife parks. Here are several of the country’s top zoos to spend some time in:
- Royal Burger’s Zoo – Welcoming over 1 million guests each year, this Arnhem zoo is quite the attraction. Eight themed areas serve to separate animals into their shared natural environments. An adventure park also welcomes kids during their visit. Exciting events happen almost daily at the zoo including manatee births, breeding fiddler crabs, and sun bears enjoying giant pumpkins.
- Beekse Bergen Safari Park – Unlike other zoos, this zoo is set up in reverse: animals roam free while visitors are the ones entering in secure vehicles. The park is large, holding around 1,300 animals of 150 varying species. Boating and walking tours are available through some sections of the park, creating a fun and active environment within. Eagles, rhinoceros, cows, and many more species inhabit the park.
- Diergaarde Blijdorp – Located in Rotterdam, this zoo is not only home to native and exotic wildlife, a stunning botanical gardens, and a butterfly garden. but it also draws in many visitors. At 150 years old, the zoo is one of the oldest in the Netherlands and is regarded as one of the most beautiful. The zoo also participates in conservation, rehabilitation, and reproductive endeavours. Animals in the zoo range from giraffes to penguins to sharks and many more!
- Natura Artis Magistra – This zoo and botanical garden is in the centre of Amsterdam. Commonly called Artis, it is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and fifth oldest in the world. Artis also includes an aquarium, a planetarium, an arboretum, Micropia, and the Groote Museum.
- Apenheul Primate Park – A zoo in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, this one specializes in apes and monkeys. Opened in 1971, it was the first zoo in the world to have free-roaming monkeys in a forest where they can interact with humans. This park also has several playgrounds and the largest insect hotel in the world!
- Ouwehands Zoo – One of Holland’s most popular zoos is in Rhenen, in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It started out as a chicken farm with some exotic animals and now is a major zoo that saw the birth of a panda in 2020! It also has a Bear Forest where rescued brown bears live with wolves.
Adventuring through the nature and cities of the Netherlands is truly unbeatable, however, stopping by to support zoos and their efforts in conservation of local and other species around the world is a must, as these establishments provide fun and educational experiences and insights into animals and their habitats.
The Netherlands has some 36,000 native animal species. Around 500 of them are under the protection of national law. Despite all efforts to protect the country’s wildlife, the Netherlands is currently in danger of losing several species to extinction from a list of about three dozen that are threatened.
- Balearic shearwater – Considered critically endangered with extinction, this bird’s biggest threat comes from the development of resort hotels near its breeding sites on the Balearic Islands off the eastern coast of Spain. They sometimes migrate in the summer towards the UK and western Europe.
- European Mink – Critically endangered due to a variety of factors including climate change, loss of food supply, and competition with the American mink (although not closely related). It lives by forest streams and feeds on voles, frogs, fish, crustaceans such as crayfish, and insects.
- European Rabbit – Although originally endemic to Spain and Portugal, this rabbit was later introduced to the rest of Western Europe, sometimes causing harm to the local soil. It is considered to be endangered after years of declining populations.
- Hermit Beetle – Habitat loss and fragmentation have caused enough decline in this beetle’s population that it is protected with the highest priority in most European countries where it lives. Also known as the Russian leather beetle, its larvae develop in hollow trees, preferably oak.
The Cape Shark ( Squalous Acantahius) is also known as the spiny dogfish, spurdog, mud shark, or piked dogfish. It is listed as only “Threatened” globally, but in the Atlantic waters near the Netherlands it is listed as Critically Endangered, so there it would be one of the rarest fish to find. Overfishing is the major cause of the Cape Shark’s rapid decline, yet few regulations are in place to protect it. Not only are the fish it eats being overfished, but also the spiny dogfish itself because it is sold commercially as food.
The Cape shark is distinguised by having no anal fin, but it has a spine anterior to each dorsal fin, which it can use defensively by arching its back to pierce the predator and release a venom. It is a bottom dweller, so it lives in shallow waters and hunts in packs to find squid, fish, crab, jellyfish, sea cucumber, shrimp and other invertebrates.
The largest animal in the Netherlands may be the Highland Cow, which was brought over from Scotland. However, the recent introduction of the European bison to the Netherlands may take first place. The largest native animnal is the red deer, followed by the roe deer and the wild board. Another contender for the largest animal may soon be the moose if it is successfully reintroduced to the reclamation areas that are being returned to nature.
The flag of the Netherlands is made up of red, white and blue horizontal bands with each stripe holding its own unique meaning. Red symbolizes strength, bravery and valor, white stands for peace and honesty, while blue represents justice, truth, loyalty and vigilance. It is perhaps the oldest tricolor national flag having evolved in the 17th century from a previous orange, white, and blue flag. It was declared the official flag by edict in 1937.
Although the Netherlands has a reigning royal family, it is a republic. Since the royal family is from the House of Orange, and the old flag used to have an orange stripe, on special occasions the Dutch flag is flow with an orange banner.
Beyond its famous windmills, wooden clogs, canals and colorful homes, did you know The Netherlands is often synonymous with the tulip flower? It’s no surprise that the tulip is Holland’s national flower.
These beautiful flowers are thought to have arrived in Vienna in 1554 as a gift from the Ottoman Empire, which covered much of Eurasia and the Middle East. They soon became wildly popular all over Europe. In fact, from 1634 to 1637, tulip bulbs were the object of a speculative market that drove the price beyond the annual salaries of most artisans: 3,000-4,500 guilders! Fortunately, when the bubble burst, the strong Dutch economy did not suffer much.
Instead, Holland made tulip growing an industry for which it is still famous, growing billions of them every year in a wide variety of colors. There are now about 75 species of this member of the lily family.
Dutch Animals List
- Admiral Butterfly
- Asian Lady Beetle
- Atlantic Cod
- Barn Owl
- Barn Swallow
- Bed Bugs
- Beewolf wasp
- Biscuit Beetle
- Black Widow Spider
- Blackpoll Warbler
- Brown-banded Cockroach
- Brown Dog Tick
- Camel Cricket
- Carpenter Ant
- Codling Moth
- Common Buzzard
- Common European Adder
- Common Frog
- Common Furniture Beetle
- Common House Spider
- Common Loon
- Common Raven
- Common Toad
- Crab Spider
- Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle
- Dog Tick
- Dung Beetle
- Dutch Shepherd
- Edible Frog
- Eurasian Bullfinch
- Eurasian Jay
- European Goldfinch
- European Robin
- European Wildcat
- Fallow deer
- False Widow Spider
- Fire-Bellied Toad
- Fire Salamander
- Fleckvieh Cattle
- Flying Squirrel
- Fruit Fly
- German Cockroach
- Glass Lizard
- Golden Oriole
- Gypsy Moth
- Hamburg Chicken
- Hawk Moth Caterpillar
- Highland Cattle
- Honey Bee
- Honey Buzzard
- Huntsman Spider
- Jumping Spider
- King Eider
- Long-Eared Owl
- Long-Tailed Tit
- Marsh Frog
- Mole Cricket
- Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
- No See Ums
- Old House Borer
- Orb Weaver
- Ortolan Bunting
- Peppered Moth
- Peregrine Falcon
- Pike Fish
- Pine Marten
- Pompano Fish
- Pond Skater
- Pool Frog
- Purple Emperor Butterfly
- Puss Moth
- Quahog Clam
- Raccoon Dog
- Red Deer
- Red-Eared Slider
- River Turtle
- Roe Deer
- Rough-Legged Hawk (Rough-Legged Buzzard)
- Saarloos Wolfdog
- Sable Ferret
- Sand Crab
- Sand Lizard
- Sea Eagle
- Short-Eared Owl
- Skink Lizard
- Slow Worm
- Smokybrown Cockroach
- Snowy Owl
- Song Thrush
- Spadefoot Toad
- Spider Wasp
- Stag Beetle
- Stick Insect
- Swallowtail Butterfly
- Tawny Owl
- Teacup Miniature Horse
- Thornback Ray
- Tiger Beetle
- Tiger Moth
- Tree Cricket
- Tree Frog
- Water Buffalo
- Water Vole
- Wax Moth
- White Ferret / Albino Ferrets
- Wild Boar
- Wolf Spider
- Woodlouse Spider
- Woolly Rhinoceros
- Xeme (Sabine’s Gull)
The Netherlands FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What animals live in Netherlands?
The Netherlands contains plenty of native bats, rodents, hares, shrews, weasels, deer, boar, songbirds, water birds, and birds of prey. Because of its long coastline, the country also has quite a few aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, including seals, whales, and marine turtles.
What is the most common animal in the Netherlands?
Although an exact count hasn’t been done, the most common animals are probably insects such as flies or ants, while the most common mammals are likely mice and rats.
Are there bears in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands no longer has any native species of bears. It is believed that the brown bear disappeared from the country in the 11th century.
What animals once lived in the Netherlands?
Along with the brown bear, the Netherlands was once home to the European elk, Eurasian lynx, European mink, and the now extinct aurochs, a species of wild cattle. Many of these species were driven out by hunting or habitat loss.