It is now very likely the legal age for buying wine and beer in the Netherlands will rise from 16 to 18, possibly even ahead of the September general election.
Labour, the Socialist Party and GroenLinks all agreed to include the new age limit in their election manifestos during party conferences this weekend, and the three Christian parties had already made public their commitment to a higher age limit.
‘There is now a clear majority in favour in parliament,’ Labour MP Lea Bouwmeester told news agency ANP. ‘We and the other parties are now working on draft legislation. We will be able to submit it to parliament before September 12.’
Responsibility for ensuring the ban is kept will be largely up to local authorities, Bouwmeester said. ‘At the moment there are just 18 inspectors for the entire country and that is not enough,’ she said. ‘Now we can finally bring in an effective alcohol policy.’
In May, the country’s regional health board chief said supermarkets should be banned from selling beer and other alcoholic drinks at a discount and the legal drinking age should be raised to 18.
Also in May, the senate passed legislation making it a criminal offence for the under-16s to be in possession of alcohol. While 16 and 17-year-olds are allowed to drink beer and wine, you must be 18 or older to buy spirits in the Netherlands.
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