Protecting nature online on donation platform

Zuid Hollands Landschap
Government & Non-profit


Zuid-Hollands Landschap (ZHL) is a non-profit organization with one social goal: the protection and preservation of the natural landscape in the province of South Holland. In terms of funding, the foundation must rely entirely on donations. With this, ZHL purchases land and turns it into nature reserve. These lands are maintained and open to the public. ZHL’s struggle in South Holland is fierce.

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Land acquisition for conservation is a fraught task. Because this province is the most important economic region of the Netherlands. With 3.5 million residents, a world port, the national political heart and three leading university cities, South Holland shows quite a bit of traffic and bustle. In such an environment, conservation is “sometimes” overlooked.


Many people are diverting to other provinces to enjoy nature. We found out that all other provinces consist of an average of 12 percent protected nature. South Holland gets no further than a measly six. Time for the barricades. Because acquisition of new territory for nature proved very difficult, ZHL – more or less forced – shifted its focus to preserving and protecting their current nature reserves. With no real prospect of expanding that dismal six percent. But people are not willing to donate to organizations that are already weeding and hoeing their way to a status quo.


We decided to turn things around. To show people that the tight six percent is not enough. By selecting, claiming and paying for square footage in Google Maps online and in real time. We realized the complex technical database links to finally make online square footage shopping possible. We filmed families and couples claiming their own square footage and showed them as ads on Facebook and as video pre-rolls on YouTube. Produced an animated video and released it both online and in theaters. Barry “with his heart in the right place” Atsma did the radio commercial. We used the daily newspaper for the ad and banners on the various online counterparts. We sponsored a young up-and-coming film talent who made it to regional television with his film about nature in South Holland.


Campaigning with the gathering of donations as the main goal takes a long breath and considerable stamina. Perseverance. Don’t give up. Continuously confronting a painfully lousy low amount of protected nature, in the most flourishing province of the Netherlands. But most of all, break with the now milked-out form of communication in the established media. So from now on, respond to personal gain, one’s own immediate environment. And using news and social media more than ever. We have linked the surrounding nature to human nature. A breath of fresh air for the region.

45MFrom some 45 million square meters in Google Maps, click and pay for your own meters.
25m2For one euro, choose and adopt 25 square meters of nature in your neighborhood for a year.

“For one euro you adopt 25 square meters of nature. A new and clever way to recruit donors. Because for the younger generations, a membership in our foundation is not so obvious.”

Michiel Houtzagers, director of the Zuid-Hollands Landschap

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