All smoking rooms in the Netherlands are now banned

Following a ruling of the Supreme Court this morning at 10:00, all smoking rooms in the Netherlands are now banned.

Since July 1, 2008, a smoking ban has been applied in the hospitality industry in the Netherlands – with the exception of specially designated smoking areas. The anti-smoking association Clean Air Nederland (CAN) went to court to remove this exception. They argued that it was in contravention of a World Health Organisation (WHO) treaty which the Netherlands had also signed.

Legal history of the case

The court of The Hague had already ruled in favour of CAN, but the government decided to appeal to the Supreme Court. This morning the Supreme Court rejected the appeal and ruled that smoking rooms are not legal.

A few months ago, the Supreme-Advocate, the legal advisor to the Supreme Court, concluded that the exceptional position in the Dutch hospitality industry is illegal. Smoking rooms put social pressure on non-smokers to be in areas where they breathe in smoke. They also force staff, who must clean these areas, to be exposed to smoke. Furthermore, smoke will always make its way into the non-smoking areas of the establishment.

Smoking rooms need to be demolished right away

The government had appealed the earlier ruling by The Hague court on the grounds that it would ban smoking rooms later in 2022, in accordance with the prevention agreement of State Secretary Paul Blokhuis (Public Health). However, with today’s Supreme Court ruling, smoking rooms will need to be demolished this very day.

Impacts on the hospitality industry

This will have significant financial implications for businesses in hospitality, Breghje van Eupen of Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN) explains. “The impact of the ruling is huge. Research by KHN in 2018 shows that there are around seven thousand smoking rooms in the Netherlands. They can then no longer be used as smoking areas. That means that hotel and catering entrepreneurs have to demolish these smoking rooms or have to renovate them considerably. That entails the necessary costs.”

Local residents affected

Furthermore, the disappearance of smoking rooms may lead to new problems- which may affect local residents even more. Hundreds of people may end up smoking outside hospitality establishments, causing air pollution in the area outside the business. Of course, how this ban actually ends up being implemented remains to be seen.

What do you think about the new ban on smoking rooms? Will it help non-smokers, or make life worse for local residents? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature Image: Gerd Altmann/ Pixabay 

Ailish Lalor
Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.


  1. Awful idea, and completely illogical.

    I’ve crossed Sweden off my travel destinations, and absolutely will never visit the Netherlands. I will spend money in a senible country that respects individual freedom – a country with reasonable accommodations. NOT Holland.


  2. As usual it’s effects will be felt in the wrong areas…bars and cafes already have a difficult time to stay in business…. People will just stay at home and drink there, it they will flock in front of the establishment…. Women with babies in strollers will have to walk through the smoke…. How exactly is this benefitting us non smokers?

  3. To the smoker above…goodbye.

    Please understand – your “freedom” should not come at the expense of others, especially residents of that country. You will enjoy your smoke and will be gone, and we will be saddled with the long-term health side-effects of our visit. Which, when you consider it, is no different than when colleagues do this at work, or patrons at a restaurant.

    We had this conversation and changed the law 12 years ago. It’s time to make it stick.

  4. Whatever happened to Dutch tolerances? CAN have proved to be so self righteous as to damage the balance in a free society between individual freedoms and the good of society as a whole. It’s fascist to prevent others doing th8ngs that don’t harm you. And don’t give me that bs about staff cleaning smoking rooms. Wonder how they will feel without jobs

  5. This is a very big mistake as smoking and drinking have gone hand in hand for a very long time. I think that it will keep patrons away and even if they do come, they will not stay as long. The atmosphere will be different and a feeling of conviviality will be lost.

    Non-smokers have rights too, of course, and every effort must be made to keep them in a well-ventilated area where they are not bothered by the smoke. There is no reason why this cannot be done. It will cost some money but it might in the long run be more cost-effective than the loss of patrons.

    A country that is trying to come to terms with rising sea levels should certainly be able to come up with a simple solution to the question of smoking in public places where everyone is satisfied! What has happened to the Holland of my youth?


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