Q: I’m a high school senior from the Netherlands. For my senior year, I have selected a research project. I chose to do my research on the influence of geothermal activity on the chemical composition of Icelandic soil. My school has organized a trip to Iceland, which gives me the opportunity to do part of my research over there. I was wondering whether it’s legal or not to take a few soil samples back to the Netherlands. This does not include rare gems or stones, just soil.
Benthe, the Netherlands
A: According to the Environment Agency of Iceland, a soil sample taken within a protected area requires the agency’s permit. The agency issues special research permits. Please visit its website for more information.
If the soil sample includes any natural features, such as rocks, it does require a permit from the Icelandic Institute of Natural History. You will find more information on the institute’s website.
Good luck with your research!