Alcohol Act: age check for distance selling of alcohol

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, VWS
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, VWS

Do you sell alcohol remotely? For example, via an online shop or by telephone? The Alcohol Act defines a number of strict rules for selling alcohol online and by telephone. One of the rules is that you have to check your buyer's age.

How do I check that the person I sell alcohol to is over 18?

If you do not have direct contact with your buyer during the ordering process, you have to check their age twice:

  • before purchase
  • upon delivery

This is in the Alcohol Act. The rules only apply if your company and the customers are in the Netherlands.

Age check before purchase

You check the age of your customer before they complete the order process. Then young people under the age of 18 know that they are not allowed to buy alcohol, also not online.

Rules also apply to the way you age-check:

  • The customer has to participate actively. Such as entering their age or date of birth. Or tick a box stating that they are over 18 years old. You may not pre-fill the answer. Not even for customers who are logged in with a personal account and who have placed orders previously.
  • During the ordering process you must inform the customer that you will also check their age on delivery.

Selling via platform

Do you sell alcohol via an online platform? If the customer places the order on the platform, you must also check their age on the platform. If the platform redirects to another website for the ordering process, verify the age on that website instead.

Check the age upon delivery

You may only deliver the alcohol to the address specified by the customer. Or at a collection point. The delivery person or collection point may only give the order to an adult and must ask for identification.

Record how you check the age on delivery

Make sure everyone involved in the sale and delivery knows what the rules are. And that the product will only be delivered to someone over the age of 18.

Create a 'secured procedure'

Describe in a document how you will ensure that the product is not delivered to minors. This description is called a secured procedure (geborgde werkwijze).

This document explains how to monitor the age limit on delivery. For example:

  • You mark the product and explain it to the deliverers. This way everyone knows that it is an age-restricted product.
  • You only deliver to the address of the (adult) buyer or to an official collection point.
  • The delivery person asks for proof of identity upon delivery.
  • You ensure that everyone involved in the sale knows the secured procedure.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA, in Dutch) can verify if you check the age of your customers. And if you have a secured procedure. The NVWA must be able to view your secured procedure at any time.

Examples of secured procedures

The sector associations have examples of secured procedures. For instance, the Central Bureau for Food Trade (Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel, CBL) has an example for the supermarket sector (in Dutch). Koninklijke Horeca Nederland also has an example (in Dutch) for the secured procedure.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, NVWA