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If you apply tattoos, piercings or permanent make-up in the Netherlands, you will need a licence from the Municipal Health Service (GGD) in your region (in Dutch). The licence is linked to a specific location. If you perform these activities in several locations, you need a separate licence for each location. If you want to apply tattoos, piercings or permanent make-up at fairs or other events, you have to apply for dispensation (see Meldingsformulier Evenement, 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. 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). Entrepreneurs who only pierce earlobes are required to adhere to hygiene rules, but do not need to apply for 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 tatoeëren en piercen). The colours used to apply tattoos and permanent make-up must be microbiologically and chemically safe. You should use approved latex or nitrile gloves. If you work in accordance with LCHV's guidelines (in Dutch), you will automatically comply with the law.
It is mandatory to inform your customers about the risks associated with tattooing and how to take care of their skin after a tattoo has been applied.
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 ears.
- You may only apply a tattoo or piercing on minors between 12 and 16 years of age, if they are accompanied by their parents or carers and they have given their express consent.
- 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).
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.
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.