More than 10 percent of the Dutch land area ((3,447 km²) is occupied by woods. This corresponds to the total land area of the province of Friesland. The area of woodland per capita is 211 m².
In the period 1996-2006, the wooded area in the Netherlands increased by 210 km². In the same period, 115 km² disappeared. Overall, the area occupied by woods grew by 95 km². Trees are predominantly planted and cut down in agricultural areas. The area of woodland also expands as open, dry, natural areas are gradually covered by trees. Trees are also felled and woodland disappears when land is cleared for residential and non-residential building purposes.
Top 10 municipalities by area of woodland, 2006
Apeldoorn has largest wooded area
With 166 km², the municipality of Apeldoorn has the largest area of woodland in the Netherlands, but with 67 percent, the small municipality of Rozendaal has the largest area of woodland in relation to its size. Rozendaal has also the largest area of woodland per capita ((12,417 m²). The municipality of Westerveld occupies second place with 3,788 m² per resident.
Top 10 municipalities with largest proportion of woods, 2006
Many parks and public gardens in the Randstad region
The tree density is also often high in parks and public gardens, but the area covered by parks and public gardens is often much smaller. If parks and public gardens are taken into account, the effect on the top 10 list of municipalities with the largest area of woods is negligible.
Parks and public gardens are important, because they establish a connection between urban life and nature. Large areas of woodland are often situated outside built-up areas. The largest area occupied by parks and public gardens in relation to its total land area is found in the municipalities of Rijswijk and Rozenburg ((17 percent). Other municipalities in the Randstad region, like Zoetermeer, Nieuwegein, Delft and Capelle aan den IJssel (each with 10 percent of the total land area) also enjoy a lot of nature within their borders. With 87 m², the municipality of Rozendaal has the largest area of public gardens per resident in the Netherlands.
Area covered by parks and public gardens per municipality
Chantal Melser and Hans Visser