Everything you need to know about research with imported plant pathogens and prohibited plant material in the Netherlands

If you want to grow, import, export or move certain plants or plant materials, plant pests or soil, you will need to obtain a dispensation and an import license from the NPPO/NVWA before you import and start your research.

There are many pests and diseases that can seriously damage crops and plants in the Netherlands and other European Union member states. To protect plant health against these risks, the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO), as being part of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) sets policy and, in co-operation with customs, enforces controls and restrictions on the import, movement and keeping of certain plants, plant pests and other materials such as soil.

If you want to grow, import, export or move certain plants or plant materials, plant pests or soil, you will need to obtain permission from the NPPO/NVWA before you start your research.


European plant health laws regulate the import into and movement within the European Union of certain plants, seeds and organic matter - such as soil - and certain plant products, including fruit, potatoes, vegetables, cut flowers, foliage and grain.

Protection against introduction of quarantine organisms, and measures to prevent spread of harmful plant pests and diseases which are not established in the European Union, is important.

The rules differ according to the species - and whether or not it is classified as quarantine organism - but may include the need for a (EU) 2019-829-dispensation, an import licence and quarantine requirements.

If you find a quarantine organism or suspect you have one in your materials, you must immediately contact NPPO/NVWA.

Some plants and plant products are regulated. These are not allowed to enter the Netherlands from non EU countries.

Importers must check if a plant or plant product is regulated in the EU. If it is, then they must obtain both a dispensation and an import license from NVWA before they initiate the import of any regulated plant or plant product.

Dispensations and import licenses for scientific purposes

For research purposes it is possible to obtain a dispensation to import, move, use and keep forbidden material into NL/EU under the authority of NPPO/NVWA, subject to detailed quarantine and containment conditions.

The rules relating to this are set down in Regulation (EU) 2019/829 which allows importation of prohibited material only for:

  • scientific research purposes
  • trialling
  • work on varietal selections.

In case the materials are regulated and import is forbidden, NVWA can give a dispensation from this import prohibition and issue an import licence. Please contact the NVWA.

What to do before you can import plant material and plant pathogens for research into the Netherlands ?

In case you need to import the harmful organisms or forbidden plant materials mentioned in EU Regulation 2016/2031 (Annexes I, and VI), please contact the Biological Safety Officer (BSO) of your organisation. The BSO can inform you if your organisation has been granted a dispensation for prohibited plant materials or plant pathogens. The BSO can help to arrange for such a dispensation if necessary, and to apply for import licences linked to the dispensation, by contacting NPPO/NVWA by email at PD2008-61-EG@minlnv.nl.

All this information is available (Dutch only) on our website www.nvwa.nl. Here, you will also find application forms and information on costs.