Membership of Dutch private nature conservation organisations, 1989-2013

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There was a considerable increase in the total membership of private nature conservation organisations between 1990 and 2012. However, the two largest organisations - the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Natuurmonumenten - have seen a steady and a declining trend, respectively, in recent years. The declining Natuurmonumenten membership levelled off in 2013 for the first time in years, while membership of WWF showed a slight drop.

Role of nature conservation organisations

Private nature conservation organisations play a large role in the Netherlands in managing nature reserves and in raising the profile of nature conservation. It would appear that safeguarding nature through acquisition and conservation has the greatest appeals for the general public, as the three organisations that focus on this together account for 86% of the membership of nature-related organisations. Natuurmonumenten and Provinciale Landschappen focus on the acquisition and conservation of Dutch natural areas, while the World Wildlife Fund focuses on global nature.

Membership in 2013

Natuurmonumenten and WWF were financially supported by 10% and 11% of Dutch households, respectively, while Greenpeace came a solid third with 6%. Provinciale Landschappen was supported by over 4% of Dutch households in 2013. All the nature, environment and animal protection organisations together had over 3.7 million members in 2012. The organisations that focus mainly on nature, 43 of which are included in this study, had more members than the organisations that focus mainly on the environment (14, Greenpeace being the largest) or animal welfare (22 organisations, the largest being Dierenbescherming and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW).

Membership trends

Membership of the larger nature conservation organisations grew considerably in the 1990s, but this started to change in 2000. Between 2002 and 2011, there was a decline in the membership of Natuurmonumenten, and the WWF currently has the most members. Membership of Natuurmonumenten did not fall any further in 2012. WWF membership remained stable after 2006 at just above 900,000 members, but dropped in 2012 to about 870,000 members. By contrast, membership of the Dutch bird protection organisation Vogelbescherming remained fairly constant after the 1990s, and even increased in recent years. Membership of Provinciale Landschappen also increased slightly after 1990.

Technical explanation

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Reference of this webpage

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2024). Membership of Dutch private nature conservation organisations, 1989-2013 (indicator 1281, version 11,

) Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.