The senate on Tuesday evening passed legislation which makes it a criminal offence for the under-16s to be in possession of alcohol in public places.
‘Using alcohol at a young age is very damaging to children. This law offers new measures to combat drinking under the age of 16,’ health minister Edith Schippers said. The legislation has been nine years in the making.
Dutch teenagers are among the heaviest drinkers in Europe, although recent research from the World Health Organisation showed young teens are drinking less than they used to.
The new law means the under-16s caught with alcohol will face on-the-spot fines and will be handed over to the police. Cafes and shops supplying alcohol to youngsters will also face heavier fines. Those caught supplying young teens with alcohol three times within one year can lose their licences.
Local councils will be responsible for policing the new bill and many have not yet worked out how to do this, the Telegraaf reports.
‘Ensuring the law is kept will be difficult,’ Wim van Dalen, of the alcohol abuse prevention group STAP told the paper. ‘You need properly trained people and many councils say they don’t have the money to do it properly’.