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End of happy hours in sight - if the legal drinking age remains 16

Monday 15 October 2012

Dutch bars and cafes are prepared to abandon 'happy hours' - where youngsters are encouraged to drink more at cheaper prices - the hospitality sector lobby group has told the cabinet negotiation team.

According to the Telegraaf, the KHN, which represents some 20,000 cafes and bars, has agreed with its members to stop the popular 'buy-two-pay-for-one' sessions.

In return, however, the KHN hopes the next government will abandon plans to raise the legal drinking age from 16 to 18, the paper says.


A majority of parties in parliament favour an increase, including Labour, which is currently in talks on forming a new government.

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.

Sensible or cynical? Have your say using the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (15)

Happy Hour has nothing to do with encouraging youngsters to drink more. this is an absurd link. The intention of happy hour is to promote increased sales at normally slow period, and give exposure. It is a marketing strategy. To name this as a major problem related to youth drinking is rediculous. I assume that any discounts and promotions related to alcohol will also disappear as this marketing strategy is also a major problem related to youth drinking... p-lease

By Broseph | October 15, 2012 11:30 AM

It makes no sense to allow teenagers to have the right to drink alcohol. They have not built up a tolerance nor have the maturity needed to make informed decisions. The earlier a young person begins unsupervised drinking, the greater the risk of alcohol-related problems in later life. Make it 18 for all alcohol consumption with strict fines for alcohol-related offenses.

By M | October 15, 2012 1:13 PM

I totally agree with M.

By dee | October 15, 2012 3:21 PM

During a happy hour, I see customers order always bottled beer, they buy at least 6 bottles, they are opened but keep well until poured..12 bottles packed together will keep cold for a long time :)
So long the guv promotes a hard addictive drug like alcohol that causes many deaths, and keeps cannabis a soft drug that nobody has died from, illegal..then I will always wonder why so many people are fooled!

By The visitor | October 15, 2012 4:33 PM

I also totally agree with M. If somebody will tell me who exactly will be most responsible for changing the age limit on alcohol consumption I will send them the corroborated brain research on why kids (21 & under) should not drink alcohol on a regular basis.

By radio junkie | October 15, 2012 5:02 PM

yes! that's right! we need to close all coffeeshops and crucifie all cannabis consumers!!!
But... alcohol - a hard drug... NO PROBLEM!
It's a Party!! Congratulations World

By S. Lopes | October 15, 2012 5:10 PM

In Scotland you are required to produce a document to buy alcohol related drinks at age 25, if you are under that you will be refused, this applies for all 'off licenses', no alcohol drink will be bought after 2200 or before 1000hrs.

By AlMorr | October 15, 2012 5:31 PM

Texas banned 2 for price of 1 drinks a few years ago. Bars then simply marked their drinks to half price as a way to get around the ruling.

By Bobke | October 15, 2012 7:00 PM

It is about time that people woke up and recognised that alcohol is one of the hardest and addictive drugs in the world.There is no such thing as safe drinking. Tell that to 4 of my friends who are now dead because of drink. (2 were of a professional background, solicitor and the other a doctor.) Legalise Cannabis today-the safest and non toxic medicine on this planet. The govts. of the world are hypocrites.

By Andy Tours | October 16, 2012 8:13 AM

It just does not make ANY sense for government to not help coffee shops succeed instead of closing them down. (oh yea, the weed pass, its just a way they can start the first step in closing them down). The Netherlands like most of Europe has created an alcohol culture which has destroyed so many lives and yet they go after weed with a psycho vengeance. It's has got to be just so much corruption in that decision,so it has to comes down to REAL BIG money. There is SO much money involved in keeping weed "outlawed"....to the beer makers and the mob, both gaining so many millions from it.

By alanposting | October 16, 2012 8:42 AM

Why increase the VAT when the gov can just increase the tax on alcohol, tobacco and drugs? VAT will hurt pockets of poor people who do not consume those harmful things. It encourages the wrong type of businesses and wrong type of people.

By auto | October 16, 2012 9:32 AM

Tobacco is the big problem for young people. Whatever harm alcohol may cause, it's nothing in comparison. Having different ages, IDs, different enforcements and so on just makes tobacco more attractive because it's always easier to get. It also makes alcohol seem special.

I also think there's very little credible evidence to suggest alcohol is worse for young people or they are less able to make the choice themselves.

Personally, I favor the situation a few years ago, drinking age officially 16 and no one cares.

By Patrick | October 16, 2012 11:08 AM

I have to agree with Broseph: what does eliminating Happy Hour have to do with underage drinking? The operative word here is "underage". If you want to reduce the "underage" drinking, you should raise the drinking age to 18, plain and simple. Why penalize an entire population as well as cafe and bar owners in order to reduce the health hazards to our 16 and 17 year old's. Just raise the drinking age.

By Quince | October 16, 2012 11:28 AM

@Patrick. You are either in denial or not very well informed. Just google effects of alcohol on teenagers and you will find hundreds if not thousands of scientific articles regarding how dangerous it is.

By M | October 16, 2012 2:48 PM

@M. Yes, lots of studies all with sensational headlines -- for decades now. Also for weed and other drugs. The problem is you can 'prove' anything you want with a study.

Do you really believe for example that European brains are less developed than Americans, because they drink at a younger age?

Studies aren't funded by governments anymore, so who funds them? Tobacco or pharmaceutical companies? Drug cartels?

There are many more dangerous alternatives to alcohol, and Amsterdam can be a dangerous place if you go looking for the wrong thing. Many social problems can be caused by limiting access to alcohol.

Let them drink! It's better than the alternatives.

Who's in denial here?

By Patrick | October 17, 2012 9:26 AM

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