Protected animal and plant species

Do not bring in any protected animal and plant species to the Netherlands and the EU. And do not order these abroad. Protected animal and plant species are protected because these are threatened with extinction. Are you bringing these in anyway, or are these arriving in the Netherlands (for example following your purchase order)? You are then punishable. The protected animals and plants will be seized and an official report will be drawn up.

Examples of protected animal and plant species

Many animal and plant species are protected. Do not bring in any products made of protected species either. Examples:

  • tigers, bears, rhinoceroses, elephants, ivory
  • monkeys, snakes, monitor lizards and, turtles and their shells, lizards, crocodiles and many other tropical animals
  • butterflies and insects
  • fish, sturgeon, caviar, shark, shark's teeth, coral and (large) shells
  • parrots, macaws, parakeets and cockatoos
  • exotic plants, such as orchids and cactuses, so-called rainsticks (cactus root filled with seeds, creates the sound of rain)
  • traditional Chinese medicines and bandages

Also, for example, do not bring in from protected animals: eggs, stuffed animals, meat or parts of protected animals.

  • Parts of protected animals are often processed in:
  • handbags, belts, boots
  • lamps, ashtrays
  • clothing items, fur coats, caps and hats

Exception: a CITES licence included

Only if you have a CITES licence, are you allowed to bring in protected animal or plant species to the Netherlands. Please check with the embassy of the country you are coming from which export licence is required. Please check with Netherlands Enterprise Agency (protected plants, animals and nature) (only available in Dutch) if you need an import licence.

Do you have a CITES licence? Choose the aisle 'Goods to declare' at Customs.


  • You are allowed to bring in up to 125 grams of caviar from a country outside the European Union. But only if the package is sealed with a CITES label. Is the value of the caviar higher than € 430? If so, you will have to pay tax on it.
  • You are allowed to bring in 3 giant clams, weighing in total no more than 3 kg.
  • You are allowed to bring in 3 empty Queen Conches. It is not permitted to bring in the meat of a clam to the Netherlands and the EU.
  • You are allowed to bring in propagated orchids. You do, however, need to demonstrate that it is not a wild flower. And you must apply for a phytosanitary certificate. Read on the website of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) what you have to do.

Travelling and shipment within the EU

For a number of protected animal- and plant species and mammals there are also rules and restrictions in place when travelling within the European Union.

More information?

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