Rules & Regulations for Residents

In this part of our housing section we aim to provide you with a general overview of your rights and obligations as a resident of the Gemeente Maastricht. This means that the following rules apply to all of us living & studying in this pretty little city, including rights and limitations that go along with being a resident. Further, we are providing you with a handful of tips regarding personal and material safety.

There are two important things you should know regarding safety. The first are the basic laws applicable to you as a resident. You should know these so that you do not break any law unwillingly just because you were unaware of it. The second is how to keep yourself and your belongings secure, and how to contact the police should you or someone you know become a victim of crime. Checkout this comprehensive document of rules and advice provided by the police in Maastricht.

your right to vote

Non-Dutch nationals can vote at the local level in the municipal and water board elections. Without Dutch citizenship, however, it is not possible to take part in other elections. However, executing the right to vote, as minor and regional the election might appear, should go without saying. After all, participation is key to a vibrant and unique community.

Municipal Council Elections
The municipality is the level of government that is closest to the people.  The council sets the agenda such as job creation, improved public transport etc. and the municipal executive then carries out the priorities of the council. The municipality plays an important role in shaping the city.

One example is the purchase of the MECC this year and the promise of €15 million investment over the coming years. If there are other areas you would like to see improved in Maastricht, make your vote count at the next elections.

The Water Board Elections
Water management is something particularly relevant in the Netherlands, a country renowned for its canals.  The Water Boards perform the water management on behalf of their citizens, making sure there are proper dikes securing the waterways and that waste water is correctly purified etc. Different parties will prioritize different approaches, so make sure you vote carefully.

To vote you must be:

  • 18 years of age or over
  • A Resident of the Maastricht municipality/Water Board territory on nomination day.
  • A Dutch/EU citizen
  • If you are not an EU citizen, you must have been living in the Netherlands for at least 5 years.

If you are eligible to vote in these elections, the Maastricht municipality and the water board will send you your voting card in the post prior to the election date. You need to bring this voting card, along with valid ID to the polling stations.


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18 years is the legal age requirement for purchasing alcohol in the Netherlands. According to Dutch Law, mildly alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine and low alcohol content spirits can be sold in supermarkets and licensed liquor stores. Petrol stations are not allowed to sell alcoholic drinks. The sale of stronger alcohol (spirits with an alcohol content higher than 15%) is restricted to licensed liquor stores.

As a student you should also be aware of the large fines associated with excessive drinking behaviour. We give some examples below but if you want more information you should download this document.

  • urinating in public: €140
  • making too much noise (loud music or shouting): €140
  • drinking in public: €140
  • being obviously drunk in public: €90
  • insulting a police officer: €500 or more

Cycling when drunk is a common cause of injury among students in Maastricht. So refrain from doing it.

Cannabis and Drug Regulations

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It is important to inform you about the legal situation of cannabis in the Netherlands, and more specifically in Maastricht. Many students are not fully aware of the drug laws. The possession of cannabis is legal in designated smoking areas (i.e. coffee shops) and having up to five grams on you for personal use is decriminalized (i.e. it is tolerated by the authorities). It is illegal to have more than 5 grams or to smoke in places other than your own home or the designated coffee shops.

Dutch Law decriminalizes the cultivation of small amounts (up to five plants per household) but most landlords will clearly state that it is not allowed on their property. A new law introduced in early 2015 makes selling growing equipment and offering growing services illegal. This means that the police will take away plants, if they find any, regardless of the amount of plants.

Important is the differentiation between decriminalized and legalized, because they do not imply the same; to quote the student contact officer: “It’s not allowed to have any kind of drugs. Not even soft drugs or 5 plants. Till 5 grams of weed or 5 plants you don’t get a fine. It can and will be confiscated, the difference is that you won’t get a fine. Sometimes students ask me why I confiscate drugs because they think it is allowed. It’s not allowed, it can be confiscated but you won’t get a fine.”

The individual provinces of the Netherlands are allowed to choose their own policies related to Cannabis. Maastricht has decided to allow its inhabitants to visit coffee shops if they are in possession of a proof of residence. This proof of residence can be obtained at the municipality and is called a ‘Afschrift van gegevens uit de basisregistratie personen‘ (or short: BRP). This document grants you access to the coffee shops that are still open in Maastricht. If you have a DigID you can also request this document online. Since recently it is also possible to show your certificate of enrollment with the University and a picture-ID instead of the BRP. Be aware that the UM card is insufficient, because it doesn’t proof that you are currently enrolled with the University.

Hard drugs like cocaine or MDMA are not tolerated anywhere in the Netherlands. If the police find hard drugs on you they will confiscate them immediately. You may be arrested and the police will be sure to file a public report. Despite police discouragement hard drug use exists among students in Maastricht.

Burglary & Theft

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Maastricht is generally considered a very safe city. Nevertheless there is some basic advice that is worth following. Bike theft is extremely common so use a good lock and try to lock it to a bike rack. Also, try not to leave your bike lights attached to your bike.

Burglaries in student residences are on the rise so keep your doors locked when away and lock your valuables in drawers or cupboards. Common mistakes to bear in mind are leaving doors unlocked or windows open when popping out to the shops. Check our section on contents insurance if you want to be on the safe side.

Personal Safety

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Bear in mind that mixing alcohol and soft or hard drugs can be dangerous. Always keep an eye on your drink when in a pub or nightclub to make sure nobody slips you a pill.

It is illegal to carry weapons such as pepper spray or knives with you in the Netherlands. Instead of protecting yourself you are actually committing a felony. If you are concerned about personal safety late at night then ask a friend to walk you home or take a taxi.

House Parties

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House parties are a great part of your social life, but be sure to respect the local residents and the community you live in. Noise pollution is one of the major irritations voiced by locals. Often house parties are organised without informing neighbours which inevitably leads to them calling the police to complain about loud music or people loitering in the streets. The police can fine you and is allowed to confiscate your equipment if the noise continues.

So if you decide to have a house party then alway remember the idea of mutual respect. Tell your neighbours that you’re thinking of having a party and try to keep noise levels to a minimum (especially after midnight). Keep the party inside and keep doors and windows closed. Drink responsibly and keep a healthy distance from your neighbour’s property. Some landlords don’t tolerate house parties of any kind so check your contract if you don’t want to lose your deposit or be held responsible for damage to the house.

Police Contact Information

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If you are in trouble or if you have witnessed a crime, call 1-1-2 from any telephone. This call is free of charge but should be used only in an emergency. To report a non-emergency minor crime you can call 0900-8844. If you wish to do so anonymously then dial 0800-7000. There is also a police officer appointed student contact officer, who maintains close contact with the university and student related problems. His name is Mr. Remco Arets & his Email-address is

The address of the police station is: Prins Bisschopsingel 53, 6212AB, Maastricht. The police station is open to the public every day from 08.30h until 22.00h.

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