New Alcohol Act comes into effect today

1 July 2021

As of today, the Alcohol Act replaces the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act. There are several new regulations. Three more legislative changes will be made at a later date.

Below is an overview of the changes in alcohol law that come into effect today:

Tightening age limit
• Adults who order alcohol for minors and then pass it on to them in places accessible to the public (especially in the catering industry) are now punishable by law.
• Young people between 12 and 18 years old are not allowed to have alcohol present or ready for consumption in passenger transport, at army camps and airports (after customs).

No more exorbitant price promotions
• Price promotions in the retail sector, with more than 25% discount on the price that is normally asked, are no longer allowed.

Tightening of the rules for distance selling
• Online liquor orders may only be made through a website that only offers products and services that liquor stores are allowed to sell and offer.
• Online and telephone orders for alcoholic beverages may only be made if the purchaser has to take an active action to indicate his age (eg ticking age) before completing the purchase process. These “remote sellers” must use a secured method of delivery.

More powers for municipalities
• Municipalities are given the option to set higher floor space requirements for catering areas and liquor stores (minimum is 35m2 for catering areas and 15m2 for liquor stores).
• Municipalities will be given the opportunity to allow liquor stores to organize tastings outside opening hours (max. 3 per week).
• Municipalities can designate alcohol nuisance areas where the provision of low-alcohol drinks is restricted or prohibited and permits can be refused.
• Municipalities can require that commercial providers on (party) boats and other means of transport (beer bicycles) have a Certificate Responsible Serving.

Some new enforcement rules
• 16- and 17-year-old test buyers who work in the context of enforcement are no longer punishable.
• Some of the new provisions will be supervised by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
• The NVWA supervisors may use a fictitious identity when monitoring compliance with the age limit for online sales.

Adjustment of the building requirements of licensed outlets
• The Decree on building requirements for licensed outlets will be withdrawn. Some provisions are transferred to the Alcohol Act, such as the minimum floor space requirement for catering areas (remains 35 m²) and liquor stores (remains 15 m²) and the mandatory hallway between a liquor store and another shop.
• A new definition of 'confined space' will be introduced in the law.

Relaxations for the drinks industry
• 14 and 15-year-old students who serve alcohol as part of an internship are no longer punishable.
• The access age to liquor stores (was 18 year) will be lifted.
• In casinos with gaming tables, alcoholic beverages may be served in the area with the gaming tables.

Some parts of the Alcohol Act will come into effect at a later date:

• Mandatory age verification systems will be introduced for remote sellers.
• An independent National Responsible Serving Committee will be established. It will manage the new Responsible Serving Register.
• Only the floor-managers of certain licence holders need to be listed on the appendix to the licence. Only those floor-managers will be screened in the licence-granting procedure, others not.

alcoholwet---officile-versie-per-01-07-2021-_3.pdfalcoholwet---officile-versie-per-01-07-2021-_3.pdf (185 kB)


Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP
P.O. Box 9769
3506 GT Utrecht
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30-6565041
F: +31 (0)30-6565043