The Fishing Portal - fishing tips and practical advice

Tips and advice about fishing trips, fishing methods, good fishing spots, species and sustainability. Do you miss something? Contact us, so we can add it.

Fishing is extremely popular in the Netherlands: about 2 million inhabitants are fishing. This country is a paradise for anglers: the Netherlands offers lakes, polders, canals, rivers and seas, which makes fishing one of the must-do’s when visiting this country!

It’s easy to get a licence and start fishing immediately
The name of the Dutch fishing licence is VISpas. To be able to fish, you need a VISpas AND the official List of Fishing Waters, which is called “Lijst van Viswateren”.
When purchasing the VISpas, you’ll get a booklet (Lijst van Viswateren) in which all waters are listed, where you’re allowed to fish. Instead of the booklet, you can also download the free app Visplanner at: www.visplanner.nl.
These two documents together make up the fishing permit, so you need to always carry both with you when you’re fishing!

Where can I buy a fishing licence in the Netherlands?
1) You can easily buy the fishing licence: VISpas online at: www.vispas.nl. You will immediately get an e-mail with a temporary permit and you can start fishing directly!
2) You can purchase your licence in a fishing shop as well.
3) Often, guides/providers on our website can also arrange a licence for you.

There are different types of the VISpas (for adults or for children <14 year).
The cost of the permit is 30-40 euro for one calendar year. When buying the VISpas, you need to choose and join a (local) fishing club. The local fishing clubs are associated with Sportvisserij Nederland (The Royal Dutch Angling Association).

Where can I fish with my license in the Netherlands?
You can fish in the majority of the waters in the Netherlands with your VISpas (in more than 90% of the waters!), independently from the chosen local fishing club. However, to fish in some (usually smaller) waters managed by a fishing club, you need to be a member of that club.
When you would like to fish in the sea, no license is needed.
On www.visplanner.nl you can check where you can fish and whether you need to be a member of a local club to fish in a specific water.

The main rules and regulations:
- there are periodic bans on fish species (closed time)
- there are periodic bans on certain types of bait (closed time)
- there are rules regarding the types of bait: for example live bait is forbidden in the Netherlands
- for certain fish species a minimum size applies and there are also protected fish species
- for night fishing, you need to have an extra permit (night fishing permit)
- to use a third rod, you need to purchase a Third Rod Permit.

Different rules apply for sea fishing and freshwater fishing. You can find more information on the following link: https://www.sportvisserijnederland.nl/vispas/vispas-english/fisheries-act-and-rules.html

Responsible angling
Dutch fishermen actively promote sustainable fishing. Responsible angling is important to many of them: for example catch and release is very popular compared to other countries in the region.

The Netherlands is a densely populated country with 17 million inhabitants living over an area of 41.543km². The country has twelve provinces. The capital city is Amsterdam, but the government and parliament is seated in the Hague.

Languages
The spoken language in the Netherlands is called Dutch. Most people from the Netherlands can speak and understand English very well. In fact, the Netherlands is one of the best English speaking countries of the world! Besides, most people can understand German and even speak this language a little bit.

Holland vs. the Netherlands
The Netherlands is often called “Holland”, but from origin, Holland is the name for the western part of the Netherlands: the provinces Noord- and Zuid-Holland together. Nowadays, however, Holland is used as a synonym of the Netherlands by both tourists as well as by inhabitants when they talk English.
So, people won’t be confused when you talk about Holland, but you mean the Netherlands, but actually, Holland is just the two provinces Noord- and Zuid-Holland together.



Nature
“The Netherlands” means “The lower countries”: it is a very flat country and around one third of the land lies below sea level. There are no mountains, but you can find some (very low) hills in the south of the province Limburg and in some places where hills were formed by ice during the Saalien ice age, like de Utrechtse Heuvelrug.

Water dominates the Dutch landscape, which is good when you like fishing! It has the North Sea, Waddenzee and plenty of rivers and lakes. Three big European rivers (Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt) reach the ocean via the country. Polders are something typical Dutch: low water tracts surrounded by dikes of which the water level can be regulated. These waters originally belonged to the sea or rivers. 

Most nature you will see in the form of meadows. Heathlands, like those of national park Hoge Veluwe, are certainly worth a visit, especially when they are flowering (half August till half September). The Netherlands has 20 National Parks. Go and rent a kayak in the Biesbosch, sail on the Lauwersmeer or hike in the dunes next to the sea in Zuid-Kennemerland. You can find all national parks here.
Last but not least, the Netherlands has five islands in the north: the Waddeneilanden. It is really recommended to visit at least one of them during your stay in this country.

Food
As breakfast and/or lunch, many people eat bread with cheese or chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag in Dutch). Warm meal is served normally for dinner. The traditional Dutch dinner contains potato, meat and vegetables like Brussels sprouts.
A traditional food (especially during winters) is the stamppot: mashed potato mixed with a vegetable. Kale and endive mash are the most popular one, together with a mash made of carrot and onion called hutspot. People eat these mashed with a sausage called rookworst.
When you go to a street market, you can try several typical Dutch foods. There will be cheese, of course, but also raw herring (haring in Dutch), which you will love or hate. The stroopwafel is a waffle with two thin layers of baked dough filled with syrup. Sometimes they also sell poffertjes: small, puffed pancakes with butter and powdered sugar. Some treats are related to a special occasion, like oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts) on New Year’s Eve and kruidnoten (little nutmeg cookies) during Sinterklaas.

Sport
During your visit, you will see many people on a bicycle. Cycle racing is popular, but most Dutch people use their bicycle only as an easy way to get from a to b.
Dutch people love watching sport, especially football and ice skating. When there is a European or World championship football event, you will see the streets turning into orange: the Dutch national colour. Dutch ice skaters are the best of the world for years, winning almost every championship.
You can practice almost every sport you want in the Netherlands. You can even go skiing and snowboarding in indoor halls. And last but not least: fishing is one of the most popular sport in the Netherlands!

Typical Dutch
Tulips

Tulips originate from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and they were imported into Holland in the sixteenth century. They became quickly popular, which resulted in a period called “Tulip mania” in the seventeenth century. The Netherlands is still the world’s largest producer of tulip bulbs.
A must-do when visiting the Netherlands is going to the Keukenhof, where you can find the world's largest permanent display of tulips.

Clogs
Clogs are not really used any more in the Netherlands, so it has a very small chance for you to see one person wearing it. Rarely, but clogs are still used by farmers on the countryside. However, you will find a lot of clog-shaped souvenirs.

Cheese
Cheese is really something typical Dutch. There are many cheese factories and markets which are worth a visit. Cheese is offered in many flavours (Edam cheese, Gouda cheese, Leerdam cheese, Maasdam cheese and much more) and many inhabitants eat cheese every day.

Mills
Some centuries ago, mills were needed to regulate water levels. Although most mills aren’t used anymore, you can still visit a few of them and learn about their function throughout the history. The Kinderdijk, for example, is one of the most famous place to visit.
 

What else to visit or to do?
As a tourist and a fisherman, you shall visit a traditional fishing village. Volendam is the most famous one: you can get a picture in traditional clothes, eat the most delicious eel from Lake IJssel (IJsselmeerspaling) or herring, or you can learn about the many famous Dutch artists who were all born in this small village. Next to Volendam, you find Edam, which is famous for its cheese.

There are many museums in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, you can visit Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank Huis or NEMO.

Other things to do is going to Madurodam (a miniature park), visiting a Zoo, doing an Amsterdam canal cruise or renting a pedal boat and going through the canals of Utrecht. We also recommend visiting Efteling, which is a beautiful theme park full of wonders.