In the Netherlands, shops may be open on working days and Saturdays from 06:00 to 22:00 hours. This also applies to market and street trade (itinerant trade).
Your shop must be closed after 19:00 hours on:
- Good Friday
- 4 May (Remembrance Day)
- 24 December (Christmas Eve)
Your local council may allow you to stay open for longer. You should check trading hours with your municipality.
Your municipality determines if Sunday openings are allowed and the number of Sunday openings. You are not obliged to open your shop for Sunday shopping.
Your shop must be closed on public holidays. Your municipality can allow opening on these public holidays:
- New Year's Day
- Easter Monday
- Ascension Day
- Whit Monday
- Christmas Day and Boxing Day
Exemption for Sunday openings and holidays
Some shops are exempt from the Trading hours act (in Dutch). These shops may always open be on Sundays and public holidays, for example:
- petrol stations
- shops in hospitals and care facilities
- shops in museums
- shops in railway stations
- shops in airports
Changing trading hours in a contract
Did you enter into a contract/rental agreement with an owners’ association (VvE), retailers’ association, or cooperative and does the contract state trading hours? If you agree with these trading hours and you signed it, you must keep to these opening hours. Your retailers' association or landlord cannot simply change the opening hours (for instance for trading on Sundays) if you do not agree. As a shopkeeper you explicitly have the right to consent. This means that the trading hours only apply to you if you actively agreed to them. Even if the contract states that the landlord or association has the right to change trading hours, you must still agree with the change.
The right to consent does not apply to the catering / hospitality sector and to market vendors. If the municipality changes the trading hours, you must keep to these trading hours.
Exemptions under the Trading hours act
If you want to open your shop outside the statutory opening hours, you will need an exemption under the Trading hours act (in Dutch). You can apply for an exemption to the municipal authorities (in Dutch). There are various types of exemptions:
- Due to religious considerations, you want your shop to be open on Sundays instead of, for instance, Fridays.
- You want your shop to be open on a Sunday to mark a special occasion, for example, to celebrate your shop's anniversary.
- You want your shop to be open after 22:00 hours because you have a night shop.
- You want a tourism exemption to stay open late during peak season.