Verband Deutscher Naturparke e. V.
The Association of German Nature Parks

The Verband Deutscher Naturparke (VDN) is the umbrella organisation of German Nature Parks, representing 97 of the 104 Nature Parks in Germany. In accordance with the Federal Nature Conservation Act, we at VDN want to promote the development of Nature Parks to model regions for integrative nature conservation where the protection and use of landscape are combined within the meaning of sustainable development.

Covering 27 % of the countries surface, Nature Parks in Germany represent a strong network for nature conservation, environmental education and environment-friendly tourism. It is the experts of the Nature Parks themselves who, with their competence and commitment, shape the work of the VDN.

The Verband Deutscher Naturparke was founded near Trier in 1963 by the 17 first Nature Parks in Germany back at this time. The VDN acts as advisor, expert panel and initiator to Nature Parks.

Projects and activities

To further improve the work and management of our parks and to promote their achievements to policy makers and the general public, we at VDN have initiated numerous projects and activities. For example, with our Nature Park´s Quality Campaign we provide an instrument to our members, to continuously improve and monitor their work by self-assessment. Within the campaign we give advice for further improvements and facilitate the professional exchange between parks.

Other projects focus on environmental education and education for sustainable development. At present, we help in establishing long-lasting partnerships between schools and Nature Parks, where participating schools are awarded as “Nature Park School”. In cooperation with the association of Austrian Nature Parks, we successfully transferred the Austrian Nature Park School concept to German Nature Parks.

In another project, the VDN analysed the contribution of Nature Parks to the conservation of biological diversity and the establishment of a nationwide biotope network. Furthermore, to foster inclusion of handicapped people, we started a campaign to extend accessible tourism offers in German Nature Parks.

The European Declaration

In 2013, the VDN celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Naturpark Barnim, close to Berlin. On this occasion VDN, together with EUROPARC Federation and many other Nature-Regional-Landscape Park associations, signed a EUROPEAN NATURE PARKS DECLARATION, with the objective to raise the profile and emphasise the value and benefits of these protected areas.

Arising from that declaration the idea was born to launch a project to improve the exchange of expertise and experience between European Nature-Regional-Landscape Park associations. If you are a Nature-Regional-Landscape-Park expert or a member of a park association, please do not hesitate to contact us and join this forward looking project to improve the work of all European Nature-Regional-Landscape Parks and declare their value throughout Europe.