Why fishing in The Netherlands is on the rise

While the Covid-19 pandemic has been responsible for surges in angling participation around the world, The Netherlands has been enjoying significant growth in the sport for the last four years. TTW investigates.

Even before the current pandemic, fishing was a growing sport in The Netherlands, a nation that has always held a special place for European anglers, thanks to its favourable mix of waterways and species.

From its wide canals, lakes, rivers, polders and extensive coastline, you can catch everything from bream, roach and tench to bass, pike, perch and carp, not to mention countless sea fish species.

Since 2016, the number of foreign VISpas (fishing licences) has more than doubled, from 41,260 to 83,650, which was a new record.

Much of this is down to the work of Sportvisserij Nederland (the Royal Dutch Angling Association) which actively promotes angling tourism in many ways but perhaps most noticeable through its multilingual (Dutch, German and English) website, www.fishinginholland.nl .

Easy access

The VISpas gives you access to plenty of excellent fishing waters throughout the Netherlands for only around €40s per year. With the VISpas and the free VISplanner app, you can use your smartphone to easily find a place to fish – and prove that you’re allowed to fish there.

While the website is designed to get international anglers excited about Dutch fishing with vital information about the permit, legislation and rules, news and current events in text, image and video in all three languages. Visitors can also find the best fishing regions and spots, professional fishing guides, suitable accommodations, excellent video content,and more.

The platform is clearly bearing fruit. Despite restrictions on foreign anglers travelling to The Netherlands due to Covid019 lockdowns in 2020, the website recorded a reach of 537,259 visits by 388,024 unique visitors and has grown by more than 28 per cent since 2019.
German anglers are the largest group of foreign visitors for recreational fishing, followed by Belgians, the French and, aside from 2020’s lockdown, the British.

The real number of recreational anglers visiting the Netherlands each year is actually much higher since a VISpas is not needed for sea fishing nor for those under 14. Sportvisserij Nederland therefore estimates that the actual number of anglers visiting The Netherlands to fish each year is closer to 100,000.

With Fishing In Holland also predicting a rise in domestic angling tourism contributing millions of Euros to the economy, project manager Robert de Wilt says there is much to look forward to.

He revealed: “The Netherlands’ fishing waters and excellent facilities mean that there is still plenty of space for more recreational fishing tourism. So, over the next few years, we’ll be investing more in attracting North American, English, French and Asian anglers.

“These target groups also represent even more socio-economic value per angling tourist. And, eventually, we aim to build a partnership with the tourism sector as a partner with a huge economic importance.”