22 October 2022, by Victoria Séveno
It’s autumn, which means there are mushrooms aplenty in forests and national parks across the Netherlands. While it may be tempting to get into the spirit of the season by going out and foraging for mushrooms, State Forest Management (Staatsbosbeheer) has reminded members of the public that picking your own mushrooms is prohibited.
Dutch nature organisation reminds public wild foraging is prohibited
Thanks to the weather the Netherlands has seen this year, 2022 is set to be an extremely good year for mushrooms. This has, in turn, lead to a significant increase in the number of people heading out to pick their own mushrooms.
While rangers at the Staatsbosbeheer do tend to turn a blind eye when it comes to foragers, they’ve issued a reminder to members of the public, emphasising that it is technically prohibited to take anything from forests in the Netherlands, and that foragers risk a fine of up to 4.500 euros.
While the process of picking up a few conkers or some holly to decorate your home this Christmas is seen as “contributing to the experience of nature,” a spokesperson points out that “it becomes a different story when people walk out of the forest with whole shopping bags full [of mushrooms].”
20 people in the Netherlands poisoned every year by mushrooms
Recent figures published by the National Poisons Information Centre (NVIC) have revealed that, every year, 20 people in the Netherlands are poisoned by mushrooms they’ve picked themselves. Since 2019, four people have died after eating poisonous mushrooms.
The most poisonous mushroom found in the Netherlands is the Amanita phalloides, known more commonly as the death cap. It looks similar to other non-toxic varieties, but can in fact cause serious damage to the liver and kidneys. NVIC has therefore once again issued a warning to anyone planning to forage this autumn.