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Buying alcohol in the Netherlands is child’s play

17 April 2015

Despite rules restricting the sale of alcohol to people aged 18 and over, a group of eight 17-year-olds were able to buy over a four-day period 850 litres of beer, wine and spirits as part of a University of Twente experiment. The teenagers were only refused in one in 10 attempts.

The sale of alcohol to the under-18s has been banned since January 2014. Mystery shopper experiments usually involve sending - according to a strict protocol - teenagers to buy a small amount of alcohol. University of Twente researcher Joris van Hoof asked his guinea pigs to buy as much as they could carry, without using a shopping trolley and paid them a bonus for every litre they bought.

In total, the team bought 580 litres of beer, 230 litres of wine and almost 40 litres of pre-mixed cocktails in 134 visits to supermarkets. State Secretary of Health Martin van Rijn told the Telegraaf he was shocked by the results and will carry out independent research.



Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP
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