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Licence for tattooing and piercing

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versie

Do you apply tattoos, piercings, or permanent make-up in the Netherlands? You must work according to hygiene and safety regulations. And you need to follow minimum age requirements. You will also need a licence from the Municipal Health Service (GGD) in your region (in Dutch).

Tattoo and piercing licence application

In order to obtain a licence, you need to submit an application form (see Aanvraagformulier Vergunning, in Dutch) to the Municipal Health Service that inspects your local municipality. The licence is for a specific location. If you perform these activities in more locations, you need to apply for a separate licence for each location. All licensed tattoo and piercing studios, beauty therapists, and jewellers are listed in a database (in Dutch) on the National Centre for Hygiene and Safety's website (LCHV).

Do you want to organise a fair or an event where visitors can get tattoos, piercings, or have permanent make-up applied? You have to apply for dispensation (in Dutch).

Entrepreneurs who only pierce earlobes must keep to hygiene rules, but do not need a licence.

Hygiene and safety when tattooing and piercing

You must comply with the hygiene regulations (in Dutch) referred to in the Tattooing and Piercing (Commodities Act) Decree (Warenwetbesluit tatoeƫren en piercen). There are guidelines for piercing, piercing of ears and nostrils, and for applying tattoos and permanent make-up (PMU). If you work in accordance with LCHV's guidelines (in Dutch), you will automatically comply with the law.

You should use approved latex or nitrile gloves. You must also inform your customers about the risks associated with tattooing and how to take care of their skin after a tattoo has been applied. It is also important to go through the questions on your consent form (in Dutch) with your customer. They are not obliged to sign the form. Regulators can request to inspect your consent forms.

The colours used to apply tattoos and permanent make-up must be microbiologically and chemically safe (in Dutch). A list of banned chemicals can be found in Annex XVII of the REACH regulation.

Please note: The technical requirements imposed by the Netherlands on tattoo colours differ from those of other EU Member States. If a tattoo colour is already permitted in another EU Member State, the Dutch government may only prohibit its sale in the Netherlands in exceptional cases.

Minimum age

Minimum ages apply to tattoos and piercings. The rules for tattoos also apply to permanent make-up and cosmetic tattoos.

  • You are not allowed to apply a tattoo or piercing on a person under the age of 12. You are allowed to pierce their earlobes.
  • You may only apply a tattoo or piercing on minors between 12 and 16 years of age, if they their parents or carers have given their express consent. A parent or carer must be present when you apply the tattoo or piercing.
  • In this age group (12-16 years), tattoos on the head, neck, wrists, or hands are not allowed.
  • You may not give under-16-year-olds genital piercings.
  • Girls under 16 are not allowed nipple piercings.

You are responsible for checking your customer's age (in Dutch).

Online application procedure via Message Box

You can apply for a licence for hygienic tattooing and piercing also via Message Box. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.

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