Maximum flight altitude: In the Netherlands private multicopters can fly up to 300 meters. Commercial pilots are limited to a maximum flight altitude of fewer than 120 meters. The Dutch authorities also recommend recreational users to control their drone not higher than 120 meters above ground.
Maximum horizontal distance and FPV: The use of copters is only permitted within the sight. FPV flights are not allowed.
Compulsory insurance: Currently, to my knowledge, it is not mandatory to conclude an aircraft liability insurance policy. Nevertheless, I recommend you to cover your drone.
Maximum take-off weight (MTOW): Private used drones can weigh up to 25 kilos in the Netherlands.
Distance to airports: To airfields located in uncontrolled airspace, you have to keep a horizontal distance of 3 kilometers.
Other safe distances: You have to maintain a minimum distance of 150 meters to persons, populated areas, and moving vehicles.
Flight bans: Drones are not allowed to fly over populated areas, industrial facilities, ports, railways, gatherings of people and public roads.
Time of operations: Drones can only be carried out in daylight in the Netherlands.
Regulations for commercial pilots: For commercial pilots, you need an “RPAS pilot’s license,” and your multicopter must be certified. There are two certificates for local commercial copter pilots:
- RPAS Operator Certificate: Initial costs are around 10.000 euros (without drone). The maximum permitted flight altitude of 120 meters and a maximum horizontal distance of 500 meters is allowed. Drones can be flown up to a weight of 150 kilograms.
- RPAS Operator Certificate Light: Initial costs are around 600 – 1.500 euros (without drone). The maximum permitted flight altitude of 50 meters and a maximum horizontal distance of 100 meters is permitted. Drones can be flown up to a weight of 4 kilograms.
Phantom models are not allowed because all systems must be redundant. Each flight must then be reported to several authorities.
Foreign drone pilots can obtain an operating license through a special form without having to prove the certificates.
Good to know: Drones flights are permitted only in uncontrolled airspace (airspace G). This means that currently, no flights are possible on the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Due to the small measurements, the controlled airspace extends over the entire islands. Therefore, it is easier to leave the Copter at home.
Helpful links: ILENT, Rijksoverheid: Private Use, Rijksoverheid: Commercial Use, Official Map with No-Fly Zones
We have researched the listed drone regulations for the Netherlands to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in the Netherlands!