Dutch Postcode Lottery grant to boost wildlife comeback in Europe

February 16, 2024

The Dutch Postcode Lottery has awarded Rewilding Europe a special grant of 2.2 million euros for the European Wildlife Comeback Fund. A huge boost for wildlife comeback in Europe, the grant will be used to support efforts to restore wildlife populations across Europe, with wide-ranging benefits for nature and people.

A Eurasian lynx is released from a crate by Wildlife Comeback Officer Wiebke Brenner in Poland.
The new Dutch Postcode Lottery grant will accelerate the creation of viable wildlife populations that deliver wide-ranging benefits to European nature and people.
Neil Aldridge


Critical contribution

NPL 2-22Rewilding Europe’s European Wildlife Comeback Fund was launched in September 2022 to scale up the reintroduction and population reinforcement of keystone species across Europe. In 2023 alone, 16 translocations involving 13 wildlife species in nine European countries were supported by the fund, within and outside Rewilding Europe’s rewilding landscapes. Together, these rewilding initiatives received funding amounting to nearly 800,000 euros. The fund will support an equally impressive range of initiatives in the years to come.

In fantastic news for the further return of wildlife in Europe, the Dutch Postcode Lottery has just granted the European Wildlife Comeback Fund 2.2 million euros, which comes on top of annual grants made by the lottery to Rewilding Europe. Together with 2.8 million euros already secured from other donors, the new grant takes the budget of the fund for the period 2022 – 2026 to 5 million euros, meaning a significant financial target has now been reached.

“This new grant, for which we are hugely grateful, will increase the number of initiatives that the European Wildlife Comeback Fund can support, and potentially the amount of funding provided to each one,” says Rewilding Europe’s Rewilding Manager, Sophie Monsarrat. “This, in turn, will enable the release of more animals, accelerate the creation of viable wildlife populations, and deliver wide-ranging benefits to both nature and people across Europe.”


The lottery funding will increase the number of initiatives that the European Wildlife Comeback Fund can support
Neil Aldridge


Why do we need more wildlife?

There are many reasons to support wildlife comeback in Europe. Through their interactions with other species, and the landscapes where they are present, all wildlife species contribute to the health, balance, resilience, and functionality of nature. Large, free-roaming herbivores such as European bison and wild horses promote biodiversity through their natural grazing, for example, while vulture species help to dispose of carcasses. Restoring wildlife populations also has the potential to increase the absorption and storage of atmospheric carbon, thereby helping to mitigate the scale of climate change.

Last but not least, the return of wildlife – particularly iconic animal species such as European bison, Eurasian lynx, and vultures – can support the development of nature-based tourism. By providing a range of socio-economic benefits, this can help to revitalise European economies and communities, many of which are facing a range of challenges from issues such as rural depopulation and land abandonment.


Funding from financial partners such as the Dutch Postcode Lottery is helping Rewilding Europe make Europe wilder. Here are some of the highlights from last year.


Hope for the future

The latest edition of the European Wildlife Comeback report – commissioned by Rewilding Europe and published in September 2022 – shows that the populations of many European wildlife species have grown –  both in size and geographical range – over the last 40 to 50 years. Offering real hope for the future, this shows that nature can and will bounce back if we give it space and take measures to live alongside it.

Yet this comeback is only the start of what is possible, and also what is needed. With appropriate measures and an increasing tolerance of wildlife species by people, an ever-growing number of European wildlife populations can and will continue to increase in abundance and recolonise areas where they existed before. The European Wildlife Comeback Fund is designed to play an important role in this scaling up process.

“We are proud that we are able to provide financial support to the European Wildlife Comeback Fund, thanks to the people playing in the lottery,” says Jonne Arnoldussen,  Managing Director of the Dutch Postcode Lottery. “The fund has had such a positive impact since it was founded. Return of European wildlife is good for European nature and for Europeans, and we look forward to seeing that impact scaled up moving forward.”


Examples of releases funded by the European Wildlife Comeback Fund to date


Making a difference

Unrestricted funding from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, which has supported Rewilding Europe since 2011, has been instrumental to the growth and impact of our initiative, and pays testament to the success of our rewilding efforts. We are deeply appreciative of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, and all its participants, for their longstanding and highly valued support, which is helping to make Europe wild again.

Every year millions of euros in charitable donations are made possible by the more than 3 million people who participate in the Dutch Postcode Lottery (a minimum of 40% of every ticket goes to charity). The lottery, which has been raising funds since 1989 to support organisations working towards a fairer and greener world, is now the biggest charity lottery in the Netherlands. It has now disbursed 8 billion euros to beneficiaries since foundation.

The Dutch Postcode Lottery is part of the Postcode Lottery Group, a social enterprise that has now established the unique Postcode Lottery format in five countries. The Postcode Lottery Group is the third largest private donor to charities in the world, donating a record amount of more than 900 million euros to charities and cultural partners in 2023.


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