Dutch Cabinet presents amendment proposal to the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act

15 November 2019

Dutch Cabinet wants to make it impossible for minors to purchase alcohol via internet shops and home delivery services. Therefore they presented a bill to amend the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act with stricter rules for 'distance selling'.

Online alcohol shops and beer couriers must check at the time of ordering whether the buyer is 18 years old. A so-called age verification system must be used for this, for which the seller is responsible. Ordering alcoholic beverages by telephone is no longer permitted in the future, as age verification is not possible via telephone. In addition the seller becomes legally responsible for compliance with the age limit at the moment of deliverance. The seller and the delivery service must make agreements on this.

The enforcement of the new rules for 'distance selling' will be the responsibility of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). They may use young test purchasers during their enforcement actions. Adult inspectors may also present themselves online as minors.

Other proposals in the bill:
1. A ban on exorbitant stunts with alcohol by off-premise sellers. Offers are limited to a maximum of 25% discount (will also be enforced by the NVWA);
2. Criminalization of adults who pass on alcohol to minors in public (onward supplying);
3. Public possession of alcohol is not a punishable offence for 16 and 17-year-old test purchasers;
4. Public possession of alcohol is not a punishable offence for 14 and 15 year old students in the context of an internship in a hotel or restaurant;
5. Regulation of the independent position and reimbursements of the National Examination Board;
6. A lift of almost all the terms concerning the licensed outlet (such as height and the presence of toilets).
7. Municipalities will be given the option to lay down floor area requirements for bars, pubs and liquor shops.
8. Municipalities are given the option to allow liquor shops to organize workshops and tastings outside office hours.
9. The name of the law changes to Alcohol Act.

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