Dutch government protects retailer against forced Sunday work


Western Europe


Closed on Sunday. Photo ANP, Jeroen Jumelet

The Dutch government is going to protect shopkeepers from forced openings on Sundays. A change in the law has the support from the Lower House.

Underminister Mona Keijzer (Economic Affairs) proposed that shop holders could not be forced by the owner or an association of shopkeepers to work on Sunday. The retailers must first approve that themselves, the Dutch Reformatorisch Dagblad reports.

Until 1996 almost all shops were closed on Sundays. Nowadays, it’s up to the municipality to decide about the closing times. But in practice, most town and cities have given the green light. In some shopping centres, the owners’ association has fined shopkeepers for not opening. This is especially difficult for Christian retailers, who see Sunday as the day of rest and church life.

A proposal by the Reformed party SGP, together with the leftist group SP to leave all retailers free to open on Sundays or not, doesn’t have the support in the parliament. That means that it still possible for shopping centra to demand all shops to get open on Sunday.

Also, the government warned against this proposal. According to underminister Keijzer, this might lead to a situation in which an owners’ association will not rent a shopping space to somebody who doesn’t want to open on Sundays.

The Dutch Council of State, which advices about all bills, doubts the added value of Keijzer’s proposal. Especially small retailers have not a negotiation position towards big companies, according to the Dutch Reformatorisch Dagblad.



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