Open shops on Sunday increasingly normal in Netherlands

Fresh fruit aisle at a supermarket
Fresh fruit aisle at a supermarket. (Photo: JPS68 / Wikimedia Commons)

In almost 70 percent of Dutch municipalities stores are open every Sunday. And after the municipal elections, another 30 municipalities are expected to allow stores to open on Sundays, retail organization Detailhandel Nederland concluded after studying municipalities' plans, NOS reports.

"A great development", Sander van Golberdinge, director of the organization, said to NOS. "Consumers will be able to do their shopping when it is most convenient for them. Obviously we would also like to see a broader opening hours regulation in the other municipalities." 

Many municipalities also allow shops to open on public holidays. Almost half of the Dutch municipalities allow al stores to open on any public holiday. In other municipalities only some stores - usually supermarkets - may open on some holidays. Good Friday and Christmas Eve are most often excluded from this exemption.

In one in 11 municipalities, including Rotterdam and Almere, shops are allowed to be open throughout the year. Losser is the only municipality in the Netherlands with opening hours regulations with no restrictions. This means that shops can even be open at night. "Even if it is ot expected that this will happen", Golberdinge said to NOS. "Most people sleep at night."

According to Detailhandel Nederland, the support for open shops on Sundays is increasing rapidly, also among small businesses and Christian parties like the SGP and ChristenUnie. In Hardewijk, for example, the ChristenUnie approved opening shops on Sundays under certain conditions in the municipality's coalition agreement. The conditions include keeping shops closed on Sunday mornings to take church attendance into account.