Dutch retailers revolt: this time with municipality backing

After suffering more than €2 billion in losses and seeing patrons take their shopping across the border to Belgium and Germany, Dutch shops have had enough.

In a direct violation of the coronavirus lockdown measures, retailers are once again opening their doors for customers.

“It’s essential for us to open again now — or we’ll close forever,” one entrepreneur tells the NOS.

From playful demonstrations to civil disobidience

Some shops in the Netherlands have already made careful attempts at opening. Mostly these were “playful demonstrations” where they simply invited customers in for a cup of koffie and a chat.

READ MORE | Several Dutch shops open in protest against coronavirus measures

However, as the next press conference approaches — accompanied by increasing rumours that we’ll see very few relaxations, entrepreneurs are revolting.

To enforce or not to enforce

In Sittard, retailers attempted to open fully earlier this week but were promptly closed down by municipal enforcement officers (BOAs). The city’s shopkeepers say they receive very little support from the municipality.

Other municipalities are more understanding, however. In Didam, 20 non-essential shops and catering establishments are planning to open this Saturday — as the municipality has informed that no BOAs will stroll along the shopping streets. 👀

READ MORE | Dutch municipalities sign letter asking cabinet to reopen non-essential shops

The retailers association Gastvrij Didam doesn’t want shops to throw all regulations out the window, however. While they hope to see similar openings across the country, they urge entrepreneurs to enforce the basic coronavirus measures.

And indeed Didam isn’t the only city where shopkeepers enjoy the support of their municipality. Also in Aalten, Montferland, and Oude IJsselstreek will shop-invite customers back in — without BOAs crashing the opening. 💃

What do you think of shops opening despite the ongoing lockdown? Tell us in the comments below!

Image: mangostock/Depositphotos

Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelor’s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafés (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).


  1. they should be able to open to 2G customers only, like other countries that aren’t in lockdown are doing. vaccinated people have had enough of restrictions caused by the stubbornness of the unvaccinated.

  2. Open everything immediately. The biggest error was in not letting the virus spread during the summer. Vaccine passes are irrelevant they neither stop infection or transmission. If anything they do the opposite in allowing those vulnerable to imagine they’re safe. The argument we need to know more doesn’t stand up either. All the govt needs to do is look at the UK. If the only contingency an Outbreak management team has is to close down and bankrupt a country I would suggest the govt find another team.


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