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Licensing regulations

If you’re in the hospitality business, i.e. if you run a hotel, restaurant, café or bar, you are likely to need a wide range of permits and licences from various administrative bodies such as the local council (whether in the shape of the mayor or the Municipal Executive) in order to operate your business. These include the following:

  • A licence under the Licensing and Catering Act (Drank- en Horecawet). Under this act, people are prohibited from operating a hotel, restaurant or bar if they are not in possession of a licence issued by their local authority.
  • A pavement terrace permit. Under the general municipal by-laws (Algemene Plaatselijke Verordening or APV), anyone wishing to open a pavement café on or in the vicinity of a public highway, regardless of whether he or she actually owns the land, must be in possession of a ‘pavement terrace permit’ (terrasvergunning).
  • An operating permit (exploitatievergunning). Many local authorities have included clauses in their general municipal by-laws preventing people from operating a hotel, restaurant or bar without an operating permit. The purpose of this permit is to protect the quality of life of local residents and/or to safeguard public order in the vicinity of the business in question.
  • A gaming licence (speelautomatenvergunning). Under the Betting and Gaming Act (Wet op de kansspelen), those operating a hotel, restaurant or bar are required to be in possession of a gaming licence if they wish to install a gaming machine on their premises.
  • An event licence (evenementenvergunning). If you are the operator of a hotel, restaurant or bar and you wish to organise a public event, the general municipal by-laws state that you must first apply for an event licence. An event licence may not be required if the event in question is very small-scale, although you will need to notify the council in advance that you are planning to organise it. Generally speaking, though, it is safe to assume that you will need to obtain a licence for your event. Your local authority may even have a ‘calendar of events’ so that it can stagger the public events held locally, as part of a general policy on public events.

Closing down your business

If you do not hold a valid licence, or if complaints are made about noise or other forms of public nuisance caused by your business, the administrative authority may decide to close down your business, either temporarily or permanently. Obviously, this is a situation you wish to avoid.

Why choose RWV Advocaten?

In short, anyone operating a hotel, restaurant or bar can easily run into all sorts of legal problems. Our role is to help you solve them or, as the case may be, to prevent them from arising in the first place. We will be pleased both to supply you with sound, clear advice and to draw up a notice of objection or notice of appeal for you, should this be necessary.

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