Stiffer penalties for selling alcohol to Dutch youths

13th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Supermarkets could face heavy fines or be banned from selling alcohol if they persist in breaking the law.

THE HAGUE – The government will impose tougher penalties on supermarkets which sell alcohol to young people below the legal age limit.

The bill, jointly proposal by Interior Minister Guusje Ter Horst, Health Minister Ab Klink and Youth Minister André Rouvoet, was approved by the cabinet on Friday.

In the Netherlands the age limit at which young people can buy alcohol is 16 for wine and beer, and 18 for spirits, which are not on sale in supermarkets.

It is also illegal for anyone over the age of 16 to buy alcohol and give it to someone under the legal drinking age.

Small vs big supermarkets
A small supermarket would face a 900-euro fine if caught red-handed for the first time. If caught a second time, the store would face fines of up to EUR 1,800. If the supermarket breaks the law for a third time, it could be banned from selling alcohol. The local mayor would set the length of the ban, which could apply for up to 12 weeks.

Large supermarkets would face double the fines of supermarkets.

According to the National Institute for Public Health and the environment (RIVM), although alcohol consumption in the Netherlands as a whole is below the European average, Dutch youngsters drink more than their peers in most other countries in Europe.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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