As of July 1st 2021, a new alcohol law (or Alcoholwet, in Dutch) entered into force. What are the main changes?

Discounts on alcohol

Online and offline retail stores (e.g. supermarkets) aren’t allowed to offer more than a 25% discount on alcoholic drinks. Deals like ‘buy one, get one free’ are also not allowed anymore.

Giving minors alcohol

It’s an offense for adults to give minors alcohol in publicly accessible places, like bars, restaurants and festivals.

For the rest, rules remain as they were:

  • The legal age requirement to buy alcohol in the Netherlands is 18.
  • Being visibly (and disruptively) drunk in public is considered an offense (more below).
  • Mildly alcoholic beverages like 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 drinks (spirits with an alcohol content higher than 15%) is restricted to licensed liquor stores.

What about cycling while drunk?

If you’re cycling home after a night out, your legal drinking limit is approximately two glasses, or 0.5 BAC. If you go over this, you could get a fine or a driving ban for a few hours. The fine is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Drinking in public places

Drinking and carrying open bottles in public areas (basically areas that are not a private residence or a bar, restaurant, etc.) is also illegal.

Public nuisance

The large fines imposed for being visibly and disruptively drunk in public. 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: €300 or more
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