Dutch cabinet withdraws exception — HEMA and Action must close

In an abrupt decision this afternoon, the cabinet has announced that the rules for “essential” stores are being tightened. This is bad news for the retail chains HEMA and Action, who have just re-opened their doors with modifications, reports NOS.

Apparently, the modifications didn’t gain the government’s approval. Only shops that sell mainly food products, drugstore items, and pet food may remain open, the cabinet clarified this afternoon.

What’s essential

According to the cabinet’s restrictions, “essential” applies to stores that generate more than 70% of their sales from essential products. This applies to specific branches, rather than the company as a whole.

The cabinet had initially planned to allow for stores to open that get more than 30% of their turnover from essential items. This was under the stipulation that they close off the other parts of the store. But today, much to the dismay of HEMA and Action fans, this exception has expired.

According to Minister Grapperhaus, “if you sell half of the dresses and trousers and the other half sausages, then you are not allowed to open.”

What do you think of the cabinet’s decision? Should stores like Action and HEMA be allowed to remain open? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Feature Image: Abuzer van Leeuwen/Supplied

Brin Andrews
Brin Andrewshttp://brinandrews.com
Brin is an avid ice cream eater from the US, calling Amsterdam home since early 2019. As a lover of mountains, life below sea level has been a bit of an adjustment, but she manages to stay afloat with long runs, wine, and frequent travel. Incidentally, these are a few of her favourite topics to write about.


  1. No, they absolutely should not be allowed to open. This is not the time to be finding loopholes – very disappointing to see HEMA and Action do this. A small sacrifice now will lead to more long-term gains and freedom later, and will prevent many many deaths over the Christmas period.

  2. The definition of what is essential is arbitrary; what may be essential to one person is frivolous to another. What is nonessential today may very well be vitally essential another day; with the mild weather we are currently having an ice scraper is certainly not essential but what if A cold wave pushes through in late December or early January then ice scrapers will certainly be essential but since building stores and such are shut down what are people going to do?

  3. I don’t see why Hema should be open, but Action… There are a lot of products that people would need to buy during this lock down. Cleaning products for their homes. Baby products for the children, baby wipes, diapers, bath ect. Hygienic products for all of us to stay clean shampoos, laundry detergents ect. Food products. I’m sure you know what I’m getting to.

  4. Of course they should be able to open. The entire approach has been completely ridiculous. You can still go to Albert Cuyp market where there are literally hundreds of people on the weekends, a lot without masks. You can go into AH with far more people than are present at any one time on Hema or Action. The whole situation is ridiculous. You can stand outside any food outlet providing takeaways as close as you like to all the others and yet you cannot sit down in a properly controlled restaurant situation. I completely fail to see what the actual difference is.


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