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Up to which age is one regarded as a child and young person respectively?


In the Netherlands, persons under the age of 18 years are considered minors by law (Burgerlijk Wetboek/Civil Code). From 18 years people are considered adults.

In Dutch youth policy, youth is generally defined as the age group 0-25 years. Within this age group a distinction is made (in policy, not in laws) between Children (0-12 years), Young people (12-18 years) and Young Adults (18-25 years).

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Are children/teens allowed to stay in public places?


There is no legal restriction for minors to be in public places without parents or legal guardians. A local authority (cities, municipalities) can however issue a local order which allows for young children, who are on the streets in certain areas after a certain time (for instance 21.00) without supervision, to be brought back to their parents by the police.

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Are children/teens allowed to stay in restaurants or dance halls / ballrooms?



Yes, although not all restaurant owners cater for or have specific provisions for (families with) children. There is no formal age limit.

Dance Halls:

There are no legal restrictions barring children/young people from dance halls/ballrooms. As regards discos and other establishments where alcohol is served, they generally have a policy restricting access to people over 16, 18 or older.

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Are children/teens allowed to stay in night clubs, bars, casinos, places for gambling etc.?


Access to night clubs, bars etc. is generally restricted to people aged 16 years or older. Unaccompanied children under 16 will not be allowed in night clubs or bars, most of such establishments have higher age restrictions (mostly 18 or 21 years). These rules also apply to attendance at dance events.

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Is it allowed to sell spirits to children/teens?


The use of alcoholic beverages is regulated by law. For consumption on the other hand, there are no legal provisions.

Selling spirits to minors (<18 years) is not allowed. Parents have a responsibility to look after the best interests of their children and to learn them to handle alcohol responsibly.

Young people can buy light alcoholic beverages from over 16 years.

In order to purchase alcoholic beverages in bars and nightclubs, the person must be 18 years old. In addition, there are no statutory provisions as to when young people may consume high-proof alcoholic beverages. The state Office of Public Health points out that young people should be at least 16 years old.

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Which restrictions are there for children/teens to visit public film screenings?


There are no legal restrictions for young people to visit cinema’s. It is up to the parents and to cinema-owners to decide which films are suitable for children or not. In the Netherlands there is a system of information, which classifies films for their suitability for certain age-groups. This system, called “Kijkwijzer” (roughly translates as “Look smart”), is jointly operated by the audio-visual branch itself (see http://www.kijkwijzer.nl/index.php for more information )

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Are children/teens allowed to smoke in public?


To young people under 16 years of age may not be sold tobacco products.
Smoking in public places is restricted for everybody as of 1 july 2008.

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Is it allowed for children/teens to go to internet café?


There are no information.

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Which restrictions are there about carrying knifes, martial arts equipment, weapons?


Schools are responsible for the safety of their pupils. In the Netherlands it is not allowed to carry weapons of any kind without a permit. A permit can only be issued to adults.

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Which regulations are there concerning sexual relations with children/teens?


The age of consent in the Netherlands for voluntary sexual relations is 16 years (Penal Law Code, art. 244 and 245).

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Which restrictions are there if foreign young people want to work temporarily?


You need a work permit to work in the Netherlands and a permit to legally reside in the Netherlands (verblijfsvergunning / residence permit).

From 13 years on young people can do (light) work.

Holiday Work: When you have a work permit and a residence permit.

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To which institutions can children/teens turn to if they need help?


There are a variety of institutions young people can turn to, such as the Children’s Helpline (Kindertelefoon) or Bureau for Youth Care or Centre for Youth and Families, most of which are organized on a local level (cities, municipalities)

German Embassy

Groot Hertoginnelaan 18-20

2517 EG Den Haag

phone: 0031 70 342 06 00

Fax:0031 70 365 19 57

see: http://www.den-haag.diplo.de/Vertretung/denhaag/de/Startseite.html

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Useful internet sites about youth protection


More information


embassy Kingdom of the Netherlands (10/2008)

For the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the information we can not guarantee.