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Rules on advertising

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you advertise in the Netherlands, you must observe the rules on misleading and comparative advertising. Advertising is misleading if you make claims which are incorrect or incomplete. It is comparative if your advertisement refers to the name of the competitor's product or service. Comparative advertising is permitted, but may not be misleading.

What rules apply to advertising?

The Dutch Advertising Code Authority (Stichting Reclame Code) has drawn up the Dutch Advertising CodeExternal link (NRC, pdf). The NRC lays down rules to be met by advertising. Special advertising codes apply to certain products, such as foods, travel offers, alcoholExternal link and tobacco products.

Social Media

When using social media advertising, you must adhere to the Social Media Advertising CodeExternal link (pdf, page 61). If you put paid messages on for example Twitter or Facebook, this must be clear for the reader. You could do this by adding the hashtag #spon (sponsored post) or #ad (advertisement) to the message.

On Check it with SRC!External link (in Dutch) you can check if your advertising complies with the Dutch Advertising Code.

Advertising Code Committee

If a consumer believes that they have been misled by your advertising, they can submit a complaint to the Advertising Code Committee (Reclame Code Commissie). If their claim is granted, you can no longer use that particular advertisement. In some cases you may also have to publish a rectification.

Distribution of unsolicited commercial messages

You are not permitted to send any electronic messages for commercial, non commercial or charitable purposes to private individuals or companies by email, telephone (sms or mms) or through social media like Twitter and Facebook without the recipient’s express consent (spam). They must also be able to see who is sending the message. In addition, they must always have the opportunity to 'opt out' of receiving email advertising.

If you still receive unsolicited email, you may want to report it as spam to the Dutch Consumer and Market AuthorityExternal link and file a complaint via Spamklacht.nlExternal link (in Dutch).

This article is related to:

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO