Amsterdam cafe owners shocked by soaring terrace tax


Café owners in Amsterdam have been shocked by the huge bills they have been sent by the city council in the form of a “terrace tax” and are calling for action.

In the city centre, bar owners have to pay €170 per square metre of terrace and that means those with large outdoor spaces are facing bills of up to €20,000 or more, industry association Horeca Nederland told broadcaster NOS.

The KHN is concerned that bar and café owners may be forced to put up their prices to pay the tax, which in some cases has tripled in size. The situation is “absurd”, spokesman Pim Evers said. 

Amsterdam had been planning to increase the tax in stages but stopped levying it altogether during the coronavirus period. That means café and bar owners are now facing the entire increase in one go. 

“This is not about bullying café owners,” city finance chief Hester van Buren said. The terraces are in a public space “and if people want to earn money from it, it is only reasonable that they should pay.” 

In The Hague bar owners pay nothing to the local authority to have an outside space, in Rotterdam the first 50 square metres are tax-free and in Utrecht the fee is €58 per square metre, NOS points out.

Some of the city’s sports clubs have also been sent terrace tax bills and fear they may have to put up their membership fees to pay, the Parool reported at the weekend. 

However, Van Buren told Dutch News that this is down to a mistake in the system. “I’m going to solve it,” she said.

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