Back in 1839, some wheeling and dealing between King William 1 and the then recently formed Belgian government led to the Netherlands gaining South Limburg and its chalk hills. This added the hazel dormouse, the fire salamander and the fly orchid to the biodiversity of the Netherlands.
The implications of the accession of the BES islands for nature management are not to be sneezed at either. The Netherlands is now responsible for nature conservation in these three municipalities. Currently plans are being drawn up for an appropriate nature policy and management. Later this year I hope to make my first field trip to the islands as vegetation researcher. Species such as the Caribbean flamingo and the green iguana take some getting used to. Perhaps we should make the hummingbird our national bird.