Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP

STAP is a national, independent knowledge institute of alcohol policy. It was established in 1994 and it advocates effective alcohol policies and greater public awareness of the risks of alcohol. STAP works towards dissemination of objective information about the health risks of alcohol and other forms of alcohol related harm.

In recent years STAP conducted research for more than 100 municipalities (both large and small), mostly compliance research. STAP is one of the most experienced consulting organizations for alcohol policy in the Netherlands. STAP bases its recommendations on scientific knowledge and on proven effective experiences.

Activities in 2020

STAP will give in 2020 priority to the following specific activities:

1. Disseminating knowledge about the health consequences of alcohol use.
STAP works for social awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol use on health, in particular on the development of (breast) cancer. Few Dutch women are aware of the risk of developing cancer as a result of even moderate alcohol consumption. STAP also manages a website with actual information and ten theme pages, including "alcohol and cancer", "alcohol and brain" and "alcohol and pregnancy".

2. Lobbying against increasing availability of alcohol.
If the number of outlets is limited, the number of users decreases. And vice versa: if the number of outlet goes up, the number of users increases. And an increase in the number of users leads, by definition, to an increase in problems. That is why STAP is opponent of the private member bill submitted by MP Erik Ziengs in June 2018. This bill seeks to relax the rules for selling and serving alcohol in the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act. In practice it will mean that mixed forms of retail and hospitality are allowed.
STAP is also critical of certain proposals in the bill of State Secretary Paul Blokhuis (November 2019). The main objection of STAP to this proposal is the removal of the obligation that the size of a bar/pub/restaurant must be at least 35 m2. That means that small bars can be set up in shops and department stores. STAP finds it very undesirable to expand the number of points of sale.

3. Contributing to better compliance and enforcement of the 18-year purchasing limit.
STAP performs compliance investigation together with the University of Twente and, in that context, provides policy advice aimed at better compliance with the 18-year limit.
STAP supports the Dutch Association of Alcohol Licensing and Catering Inspectors (NVDI), which was established to improve enforcement expertise, for instance through the exchange of knowledge and experience.

4. Promoting introduction of a minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks.
STAP makes a strong plea for the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol. Research from the University of Sheffield has clearly shown that the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol has an effect in particular on heavy / harmful drinkers. They drink a large proportion of the very cheap alcohol. The moderate drinker is hardly affected by the introduction of a minimum price. This is because the moderate drinker drinks little in the first place and in the second place usually does not drink the very cheap alcohol. STAP wants a minimum price in the order of 35 cents per bottle of beer. Then a crate with 24 bottles would cost at least € 8.40. Such a minimum price would lead to at least € 2.20 for a bottle of wine.

5. Advocating a ban on alcohol advertising and alcohol sports sponsorship.
STAP advocates at national and European level, a total ban on alcohol advertising and a ban on sports sponsorship by the alcohol industry. Scientific studies have shown that alcohol consumption among young people is stimulated by advertising via radio, TV, billboards and social media.
STAP also regularly submits complaints about alcohol ads to the Advertising Code Committee. In the meantime it has becomes clear that the voluntary regulation of alcohol advertising by the alcohol industry (self-regulation) is insufficiently effective. That is why legislation must be introduced, preferably a total ban.

6. Promoting the 3 Best Buys.
STAP advises authorities to give priority to the 3 Best Buys, which are policies that - internationally recognized - are affordable, practicable and cost-effective, namely: an increase in the price of alcohol, a reduction in the number of outlets and a ban on alcohol advertising.
STAP frequently points out the importance of these measures through the media and through contacts with politicians and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, for example in the context of the National Prevention Agreement.
STAP has taken the initiative to come to an Alcohol Alliance to spread this message together with other health organizations. They are working together since January 1, 2020 as AAN: Alliance Alcohol Policy Netherlands. Various civil society organizations have joined this initiative.

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