7 permits you want to know all about
In certain sectors in the Netherlands, authorisation is required. The necessary licence will have to be applied for and granted in order to be able to work in that sector. For example, in the hospitality industry (hotels, clubs and café’s), financial services, online gaming and betting, selling cannabis, taxis and passenger transport, certain mergers and acquisitions, technical installations/design, factories, etc. The website www.ondernemersplein.nl/brancheinformatie provides more information about this. These are some examples of licenses I have delat with in my book on Dutch Business Licences.
1 Financial services licence
The Financial Supervision Act (Wft) sets out the responsibilities of financial service providers including crypto services. The Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) carry out supervisory activities. A licence is required for the provision of the following financial services: advising on a financial product, mediating where there is a financial product, acting as a bank or agent in insurance, advising and/or passing orders on participation rights in investment institutions, offering loans and investment objects. Any party wanting to pursue the business of banking in the Netherlands must hold the appropriate licence from the European Central Bank (ECB). If a bank has its registered office in the Netherlands, then it must apply with the DNB for a licence. A licence is also required for advice and mediation in health and/or non-life insurance. In addition, employees who have contact with clients.
2 Licence for hotel, restaurant or café
The sale of alcoholic beverages requires a liquor and catering licence. The Beverage and Catering Act applies. In addition, an operating licence is often required for a café, restaurant, sports canteen or clubhouse. The application takes eight weeks to process. This period can be extended once by a maximum of six weeks. The type of hospitality company determines which information the applicant must provide. There are also furnishing requirements for the premises in which a Catering Establishment is located. The Activities Decree applies, which includes rules on noise. Catering Establishments are also subject to the Bibob Act (Promotion of Integrity Assessments by the Public Administration). The Bibob test is linked to the application for an operating licence. The municipality is responsible for catering licences. The regulations may also differ per municipality to a certain extent, for example the requirements for music in the hotel and catering business.
3 Gambling licence
Dutch Gambling law is on the move. That is caused by the rules prepared to facilitate remote gambling. Also legislation for casino’s will shake up the establishment in the near future.
The Netherlands Gambling Authority is responsible for regulation and supervision of gambling in the Netherlands. The following licences can be applied for from the Gambling Authority: one-off licence, multi-year licence, online gaming licence (see schedule), lotteries, model slot machines, etc. The government intends for The Remote Gambling Act (Wet Kansspelen op afstand, Koa) to come into effect on 1 January 2021. Licence applications for online gaming and betting may be submitted to the Kansspelautoriteit (Ksa, Netherlands Gambling Authority) as soon as the Remote Gambling Act enters into force. In the current timetable, the online gaming and betting market should open six months afterwards.
4 Selling cannabis in coffeeshop
In the Netherlands, the sale of cannabis for commercial purposes is decriminalized. More specifically, the Netherlands have a toleration policy regarding soft drugs. The policy was introduced for the sake of general interest, more in particular for the public health and security. It implicates that the sale of soft drugs is a criminal offense, which is not prosecuted by the Public Prosecution Service. Controlled sale through coffeeshops is permitted under strict conditions. However, the “famous” toleration policy is seriously questioned nowadays. It’s a recipe for legal trouble. Every coffeeshop owner needs a lawyer to keep his business running. At present, it is illegal to grow cannabis (hemp) plants intended for making soft drugs. A Bill has been passed to facilitate the cannabis cultivation experiment in the Netherlands. This is a trial called the Closed-Controlled Coffeeshop Chain Experiment Act (Wet experiment gesloten coffeeshopketen). Aim: to create a closed marijuana chain, so that crime disappears at the back door of the coffee shops. He participating municipalities have some 80 coffeeshops together. Because the demand for medicinal cannabis is so great and there is a need for further types medicinal cannabis, a procedure is being conducted by BMC regarding the selection of two producers to share a contract totalling 141 million euros.
5 Event permit
A licence from the municipality is usually required for the organisation of a (large) event, as discussed in the previous section. Sometimes a notification from the municipality is sufficient, the arrangements can differ per municipality. For small events such as a neighbourhood barbecue, a small-scale sponsored run or a neighbourhood party, a notification may be sufficient, provided the event meets the set criteria. For an event, other permits or exemptions may be required in addition to the event permit. For example, a notification of compliance with fire safety regulations; an environmental permit for conflicting planning use; an exemption for the provision of low-alcohol beverages; an appointment decision for event traffic controllers; an exemption from noise standards, etc. The municipal General Local Bye-Law (APV) may also contain rules for events that may differ from one municipality to another. Most regulations can be found on the website of the particular municipality.
6 Public space permit (foodtruck, bike/car sharing spots, beachclubs, etc.)
Public space in Holland is limited. That’s why it is necessary to fit and measure available parking spaces and to provide a place for a herring cart or food truck to operate as well. Bike and car sharing providers also need permits to use public space for their devices. And on the Dutchcoast, locations for beachclubs and beach pavilions are limited for all sorts of reasons. The competent municipality is allowed to grant a permit and draw up a policy for this: beach bills, parking policy; policy on mooring, etc. The decision of the Council of State of 2 November 2016 (ECLI:NL:RVS:2016:2927) concerning the anly gambling hall in Vlaardingen determines which rules apply in the event of a scarce permit. It follows from this ruling in the event of the distribution of scarce licences by the municipality, (potential) candidates must in some way be given room to compete for the available licence(s). This rules follows from the principle of equality, which in this context aims to offer equal opportunities. In order to achieve equal opportunities, the municipality must ensure an appropriate degree of publicity with regard to the availability of the scarce permit, the distribution procedure, the application period and the criteria to be applied. The administration should clarify this in good time, well before the start of the application procedure for the permit, by publishing information on these aspects in such a way that potential candidates can become aware of them. In addition, the scarce permit may only be granted for a limited period of time.
7 Environmental (building) licences
One of the best-known licences is an environmental licence for building something, which used to be called a building licence. If you are planning to build or demolish something, and building is not permit-free, or if you want to change the purpose of a building, you need an environmental licence. But the single permit also covers business activities that will cause potential nuisance to people and the environment. The single permit is governed by the Environmental Law (General Provisions) Act (Wabo). An application can be made at Omgevingsloket.nl. The single permit also regulates: change of zoning, demolition, fire safety, environmental aspects, tree felling, etc. Prior to the single permit, a separate permit was required for each activity. The Building Regulations Helpdesk provides more information about the single permit.
The Activities Decree contains environmental regulations, especially for companies unless they have little or no impact on the environment. Many of the rules of the Activities Decree are detailed in the Activities Regulations. The Activities Decree contains rules per type of environmentally harmful activity (e.g. metal processing) and by type of environmental impact (e.g. noise). It is sometimes possible to deviate from the rules of the Activities Decree with ‘customised rules’.
The Activities Decree has different rules for different types of businesses. The Activities Decree makes a distinction between companies in types A, B and C. The Decree sometimes obliges a company to make a notification when it starts op or makes changes.