Public order and safety (General Municipal By-law)

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you have a commercial building, such as a shop or a catering establishment? You will have to comply with the rules in the General Municipal By-Law.

The General Municipal By-Law (Algemene Plaatselijke Verordening, APV) lays down the municipal regulations on public order and safety. Each Dutch municipality has its own APV, which applies to everyone in the municipality. The rules in the APV tell you if you need a permit for certain activities.

What is the General Municipal By-Law (APV)?

The APV describes various rules that apply in your municipality. The APV includes rules on, for example:

Public order and safety

Protection of nature and the environment

Other matters

Rules for the retail sector

For the retail sector the APV contains rules on:

Rules for the hospitality industry

For the hospitality industry the APV contains rules on:

The APV and the environment plan

Municipalities have laid down rules about the physical environment in the APV, zoning plans, and other regulations. Under the Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet), all rules on the physical environment have to be transferred to 1 environment plan (omgevingsplan). Municipalities have to do this by 2032. So up to 2032, the place where you can find the applicable rules is different for each municipality. You can find the environment plan and zoning plans in the online service counter Omgevingsloket (in Dutch). The rules about public order and safety remain in the APV.

Do you want to open a café, for instance? Then consult the environment plan to find out at which location you are allowed to open a café. The APV will tell you what the rules are on noise and the size of your terrace. You may have to report an activity or apply for a permit at the municipality as well as the Omgevingsloket.

Permit check and APV check

Do you want to know which rules apply to you? And whether you need to apply for a permit? To find out, you must:

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO