Bible Belt stranglehold loosens, seven-day shopping in most of NL

A busy shopping street in Amsterdam. Photo:

Stores are now open every Sunday in 70% of the country according to retailers lobby group Detailhandel Nederland. And at least 30 new councils elected in March have plans to allow Sunday shopping, public broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday.

‘It’s a very nice development,’ said Detailhadel Nederland’s director Sander van Golberdinge. ‘Shoppers can pick the time that suits them best. Eventually we would like to see broader opening hours in other communities.’

Until fairly recently, towns and villages not considered ‘tourist attractions’ were restricted to 12 Sunday openings a year but legislation now allows local councils to decide whether or not to sanction Sunday shopping every week.


In nearly half of all Dutch communities shopping on all public holidays is now permitted. In other places, some shops, mostly supermarkets, are open on certain public holidays although the evening of December 24 and Good Friday are mostly exempt.

Nevertheless, the small religious parties ChristenUnie and SGP, which have staunchly opposed having shops open on a Sunday, are also beginning to come round, Detailhandel Nederland said.

Sunday shopping was first introduced in the Netherlands in 1984 and restricted to four days a year.

In 2015, the Dutch Bible belt town of Ede in Gelderland rejected all forms of Sunday shopping in a local referendum.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation