Alcohol Laws in the Netherlands

Everything you need to know about buying and selling alcohol in the Netherlands as well as information about the Dutch regulations concerning drinking and driving...

Buying and Selling Alcohol

The sale of alcohol to people under 18 is prohibited. Supermarkets are not allowed to sell liquor and only sell beer, wine, fortified wines and distilled alcoholic beverages with an alcohol percentage of less than 15 percent.

Minors under the age of 18 may not buy alcohol; however, with parental consent they may drink at home. Minors may only enter a liquor shop if in the company of an adult over 21.

Those in charge of selling alcohol are responsible for checking a valid identification as proof of age.

Drinking and Driving

Anyone is prohibited to drive if they are over 0.5 per thousand litres blood to alcohol level. Driving under the influence is a criminal offence and applies to driving a car and riding a motorbike, scooter, moped or bicycle. All drivers under the age of 24 who have held their licence for less than five years are subject to stricter rules; the blood alcohol content must not exceed 0.2 per thousand. Breaking the law can result in a fine or loss of licence.

It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or medication which may impair the ability to drive.

Boat captains are also subject to drink-drive regulations, although the limit is 0.8 per thousand litres blood to alcohol level.

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