Operating permit for a catering establishment

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Checked 30 Aug 2023
1 min read
Nederlandse versie

Planning to set up a café, restaurant or other catering business in the Netherlands? You may need an operating permit from the town council.

Find out more or arrange now

at your municipality, province, or water authority

Do you want to setup a catering establishment? Or do you intend to buy or expand an existing establishment? In many municipalities you need an operating permit for a catering establishment (exploitatievergunning horecabedrijf).

Operating permit conditions

An operating permit is permission from the municipality to run a catering business. The municipal authority decides which conditions catering establishments need to fulfil. You must always make sure your catering establishment fits within the municipalities’ zoning plan (bestemmingsplan). The conditions attached to this permit are related to public order, safety and decency in the vicinity of your establishment. You can find which rules and conditions apply in the General Municipal By-Laws (Algemene Plaatselijke Verordening, APV) of your municipality.

The management must also meet the requirements for serving alcohol. In addition, the municipal authority may ask you to complete a form under the Public Administration (Probity Screening) Act (Bibob).

Changes to your catering establishment

Do you wish to make changes to your catering establishment? Depending on the municipality in which you operate, you will need to change your permit or apply for a new one in certain situations. This can be the case if:

Monitoring and enforcement

The local police will check if you follow the local rules. Local authorities may impose sanctions for violations, such as a fine or even revoking your operating permit.

Online application procedure via Message Box

You can apply for and amend the catering business operating permit 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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Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO