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A guide to drinking outside in Holland

Last updated: Apr 26, 2018

As just about every traveler over a certain age knows, attitudes and laws about drinking, especially when done outside, off the premises of a bar or tavern, can vary greatly from country to country and even county to county. Here Trippy.com members tackle the issue of drinking outside in Holland.

Q: Drinking outside in Holland?

Do you happen to know (and if so, could you tell me) what are the legislation's (and general public's) opinion about drinking (alcohol) on the streets or at the parks in the Netherlands (mainly in Amsterdam)? For example, could I set up a picnic to some park without getting trouble with the local police? :)

Laws and attitudes about drinking outside in Holland

Generally speaking, it’s not so much the laws you need to be concerned about in Holland, but the general feeling about drinking out of doors. The consensus is that consumption is fine but overconsumption is not.

“We are very tolerant, but there are laws about underage (16 years AND low alcohol percentage!) drinking.”
“Hey, I think drinking alcohol outside away from a pub might be illegal at some points (In my town in some of the parks you can't anymore) But I think it helps if you don't appear to be a bum, don't litter, and stay polite to the policeman if they come up to you. I think the punishment at the most would be turning in your booze. That's a risk you can take, what's nicer than a picnic on a sunny day! (are any of us invited?)”
“Drinking (alcohol) is not a problem at all. Being annoyingly drunk might be and getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking a lot is asking for troubles. To make a picknick (if you find clean and good spot) is absolutely possible and pouring a few glasses of wine will only be charming! It is however wished for to leave the spot as you found it. So ... have great fun and enjoy the atmosphere.”
“You certainly could!! Provided, of course that you won't walk around drunk. If you would have a picnic I would suggest going to the Vondelpark.”
“Legislation: Public drunkenness is prohibited by law since 1886 (art. 453 Wetboek van Strafrecht).”

Laws and attitudes about smoking outside in Holland

If you’re thinking about lighting up on the streets, that’s probably fine, too. Although there are a million other reasons not to, legalities aren’t something you should worry about.

“Outside smoking can be no problem as long as you don't litter.”

And as for uh, other substances? Here’s the general attitude:

“No one is angry if you walk through Amsterdam smoking grass, so no one would be angry if you drink alcohol.”

What to eat at your picnic in Holland

Although some of our members disagree on this one, mustamakkara, which is a black sausage is a big favorite for some (and not for others). Equally polarizing is kossu, a spirit that’s popular in Finland although not with this Trippy member:

“I dislike the taste of Kossu after all - especially with orange juice it tastes really horrible.”

So, basically, public drunkenness is frowned on, not so much actual drinking outside. As long as you drink responsibly and don’t act like the clueless tourist, you should be just fine!



Here's the original discussion:



a VirtualTourist member from Kangasala asked on May 5, 2003

Amsterdam

Drinking outside in Holland

Do you happen to know (and if so, could you tell me) what are the legistation's (and general public's) opinion about drinking (alcohol) on the streets or at the parks in the Netherlands (mainly in Amsterdam)? For example, could I set up a picnic to some park without getting trouble with the local police? :)



13 Answers


answered on 5/5/03 by
a VT member from Hengelo

We are very tolerant, but there are laws about underage (16 years AND low alcohol percentage!) drinking, no public sex (but some people are just creative). Outside smoking can be no problem as long as you don't lither. Check the Vondelpark Must See tips at Amsterdam (or enter Vondelpark in the keyboard search). PJ




answered on 5/5/03 by
a VT member from Hengelo

In some cities the situation is improved: dogowners have to clean up the mess after the dogs do their business. But it's not countrywide yet. And it's not only dogs, there are some isolated spots that birds favor: Dam square pigeons and there used to be numurous blacbirds under the Central Station roof in Amsterdam.




answered on 5/5/03 by
a VT member from Leiden

Hey, i think drinking alcohol outside away from a pub might be illegal at some points (In my town in some of the parks you can't anymore) But I think it helps if you don't appear to be a bumb, don't litter, and stay polite to the policeman if they come up to you. I think the punishment at the most would be turning in your booze. That's a risk you can take, what's nicer than a pic-nic on a sunny day! (are any of us invited?)




answered on 5/5/03 by
a VT member from Arnhem

Drinking (alcohol) is not a problem at all. Being annoyingly drunk might be and getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking a lot is asking for troubles. To make a picknick (if you find clean and good spot) is absolutely possible and pouring a few glasses of wine will only be charming! It is however wished for to leave the spot as you found it. So ... have great fun and enjoy the atmosphere. Greetings, Paul




answered on 5/5/03 by
a VT member from Heerenveen

You certainly could!! Provided, of course that you won't walk around drunk. If you would have a picnic I would suggest going to the Vondelpark.




answered on 5/5/03 by
a VT member from Kangasala

eiskje: On some sunny weekend (maybe on sunday) during this month, you may find me having picnic with my girlfriend in Vondelpark. So everyone's invited - I just don't know the date yet :)




answered on 5/5/03 by
a VT member from Hellevoetsluis

Legislation: Public drunkeness is prohibited by law since 1886 (art. 453 Wetboek van Strafrecht).




answered on 5/6/03 by
a VT member from Kangasala

So if public drunkenness is prohibited by law, I may have a picnic but not to get drunked. Well, I guess that's fine by me. I think there are many people more dunked on the streets during weekends than me after the picnic. ;-) And to GILI_S: I guess I won't find any Kossu here in Holland (well I heard there is some place in Rotterdam which might sell it, but I doubt it anyway), so I have to settle for local supplies. I dislike the taste of Kossu after all - especially with orange juice it tastes really horrible. I might even try to drink some wine, since I'm "trying to learn" to enjoy them. (Most of the wines I do not like. I rather drink water, milk, coffee, beer or some stroger such as whisky). But anyway, getting drunked isn't the main thing about that picnic (surprise surprise, when said by the Finn?).




answered on 5/6/03 by
a VT member from Kangasala

I actually did some wine (and cheese) tasting last saturday with my girlfriend. We only had one bottle of some italian wine and three different (dutch) cheeses with crackers and bread. We really enjoyed that! And the wine was ok too. :)




answered on 5/6/03 by
a VT member from Leiden

Please enlighten me, what is Kossu? And for a beginner in wines, may I suggest a Rosé? Perfect for a picnic! And as for the public drunkiness, we always had the rule everybody had to be able to get themzelves home safely, even if it was a little unsteady :-)




answered on 5/6/03 by
a VT member from Kangasala

Oh, I didn't know there was an "official" website for Kossu. :) Thanks for the tip. Though nowadays there are websites for almost everything. Try out also http://www.reklaamikari.fi/musta/ for the delight of my home city. That [mustamakkara] would be nice to have as a snack at Vondelpark - would give something to wonder about for the locals...




answered on 5/6/03 by
a VT member from Heerenveen

Locals in Amsterdam aren't that easily wondered or shocked though




answered on 5/21/03 by
a VT member from Heidelberg

noone is angry if you walk through amsterdam skoming grass, so noone would be angry if you drink alcohol, nevertheless it isn´t illegal.






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member from Houston asked on Jun 26, 2003

Amsterdam

drinking age?

hey everyone! i am 19 and going to amsterdam with boyfriend who is 22,will i have a problem drinking at the local bars etc.....? thanks!



9 Answers


answered on 6/26/03 by
a VT member from Madison

Nope.




answered on 6/26/03 by
a VT member from Sydney

well, i had no problems when i was 17.




answered on 6/27/03 by
a VT member from Arnhem

Absolutely not. Drinking is allowed to anyone (even recommended). (-: If it's about drinking alcohol, then the official age-limit to buy (and thus sell to) is 18 years old, though between 16 and 18 getting "booze" is also not a problem. Enjoy, within limits of course ...




answered on 6/27/03 by
a VT member from Lint

...This is not Amerika...!!...:-) Drinking for everyone, but be careful, don't drink too much, and above all 'no drinking and driving' PP




answered on 6/27/03 by
a VT member from Hengelo

The only drinking problem is the higher alcohol percentage in beer, so you will get drunk much sooner! PJ




answered on 6/27/03 by
a VT member from Gorinchem

You can drink beer or wine when above 16!! The higher alcohol holding liquors are stricktly prohibited for the over 18!!! Although stricktly????? Never met a waiter who was asking for the age of my sons when they wanted to have a beer!! You just have to look at about the right age!! They won't serve beer to seven year olds, but what parent would allow that??? LOL




answered on 6/27/03 by
a VT member from Luxembourg

Yes, at 19 - or 22 - you can legally buy alcohol in the Netherlands. Another difference from the United States is that they don't allow you to buy handguns.....




answered on 6/27/03 by
a VT member from Gorinchem

LOL!!! Thank God for that!!! Enough to worry about here without handguns on the free market!!!




answered on 7/4/03 by
a VT member from Wassenaar

Nope drinking age is 16, absolutely no problem. Make sure you take a look at the coffee shops too and red light district just so you can say you've been there (the age for this is 18). Also a great place to go in Amsterdam is the heineken brewery and the sex museum (for a good laugh)






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member from Andover asked on Jan 23, 2004

Amsterdam

Drinking age

I plan on going to Amsterdam in July, we were wondering what the drinking age there is??



3 Answers


answered on 1/23/04 by
a VT member from Ningbo

In The Netherlands you are allowed by law to drink alcohol at the age of 16. But they dont sell spirits and other drinks with a high alcohol level to people over 18. So 16 ---> Beer, Wine 18 ----> Spirits etc




answered on 1/24/04 by
a VT member from The Hague

Hi Sam, I don't think you are the first one to ask these questions, so the information will be interesting for many visitors to Amsterdam. But don't worry! Drinking The Dutch law says that you may buy and drink beer, whine and mixes with less than 15% alcohol from the age of 16 years. These drinks are sold not only in bars and special alcohol shops, but also in supermarkets. If you are 18 years or older, you may also buy alcoholic drinks above 15% like wodka, jenever or rum (you cannot buy these drinks in supermarkets). Smoking If you are below 16 years, you may not buy sigarettes or tabacco. You may not smoke in public buildings or in public transport. Softdrugs are officially illegal, so you may not sell weed or hash. But the use and keeping of max 30 grams of these softdrugs is tolerated. You may also graw a maximum of 5 plants of canabis in your garden or where you like. If you are below 18 years, you may not buy any softdrugs in coffeeshops. Harddrugs like xtc, cocaine or canabisoil is always forbidden! Don't buy it, don't use it! One tip: be careful and don't use big amounts of weed or cannabis. The weed is much stronger than a few years ago so you get stones much faster. It's easier to get an overdosis and you will be pity for the rest of your life. Don't buy xtc-pills on the street or in clubs. The stuff can be dangeroes because they often mix xtc with other drugs. Have fun in Amsterdam! ------------------------- Original Message from sam Received 2004-01-23 13:57:07.0 > i was wondering if you know the drinking age in amsterdam? We plan on > going there in July. Is there a legal smoking age?




answered on 1/24/04 by
a VT member

from 17 you can purchase beer .






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member from Leeds asked on Feb 27, 2005

Amsterdam

Nice Drinking Holes!

Visiting soon and wanting places to go to chill and have nice beer.
Also maybe nice pub food.
Prefer to go where 30's+ hang out.
I am not a youngster anymore!!
Thanks



5 Answers


answered on 2/27/05 by
a VT member from Queens

Cafe Belgique
Cafe Indewaag
Brouwerij t'Ij


Www.beeradvocate.com




answered on 2/27/05 by
a VT member from Boston

I like cafe Oosterling, on the Utrechtse straat. Very characteristic old style neighborhood pub with a real cross section of local people and jolly bartenders.
But really, Amsterdam is littered with nice pubs and as long you stay away from the Damrak, Rembrandtplein, Leidseplein, and the red light district, it's hard to go wrong.




answered on 2/28/05 by
a VT member from Ipswich

being also over 30 !!! my favorite is Cafe Corso ... plenty of passing trade (tourists ) and good regular trade (locals )... see my travel page for review.

also the beer and drinks are very reasonably priced. hic !




answered on 2/28/05 by
a VT member from Hengelo



answered on 3/3/05 by
a VT member from Liverpool

I have found that it doesnt matter how old you are or were you go everyone is welcome there doesnt seem to be age policys anywhere.





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