What are the weird laws that the Netherlands has?
So there are some pretty weird laws that the Netherlands has. A lot that some other countries don’t have. A couple are a bit outdated now and the laws have changed since, but they used to be law and that’s weird enough. Some of these laws you may know and others you may not have known existed, so lets get to it.
#1: It’s illegal not to have lights and a bell on your bike, but not to wear a helmet
In a lot of countries, this is the other way around. This is mainly due to safety issues and of course if you’re out with a small child too, they usually have to wear some form of protection. Not in the Netherlands. As long as you have lights for visibility and bell to attract attention, you’re good to go. Safe or just stupid? The debate continues on whether we should all wear helmets. I guess we do have great bike lanes, which definitely makes it a heck of a lot safer.
#2: Bikes have right of way, they rule over cars and pedestrians
So say you were strolling along a bike path and a bike hits you. They are not necessarily liable, as they have right of way, even if it wasn’t your fault. The same goes for a car hitting a bike – that’s a big no, no too. Please people just watch out for bikes and cars watch out for them too. They rule us all 😉
#3: Fireworks are illegal apart from 3 days before NYE
It is illegal to purchase fireworks for intention to use, unless it is 3 days before NYE. Even then, they cannot be set off until NYE. Any time after that is also illegal. That means that New Years Eve itself, is wild as hell.
Again, another one that causes a debate every year. Shall we allow them every day or should we ban them completely? Put it this way, where I’m from we can have fireworks all year round and our firework problem is the fraction of what it is in the Netherlands. Solution? Probably shouldn’t risk it.
#4: Mandatory emergency drills need to be tested every month
You may have all heard that weird and loud sound going off on the first Monday of every month. The Dutch government requires that these emergency drills are mandatory and are tested at least once a month. A law that means we are going to have to listen to them every first Monday of the month FOREVER (well until the law changes, that is).
#5: You cannot marry legally in the Netherlands unless one of you is Dutch
This law is true, but only if neither of you has residency. So for instance, you can’t come here from abroad to marry, like other people do at beach resorts across the world. So if you’re wanting to get hitched on the canals of Amsterdam and neither of you are registered here, forget it.
#6: House sharing is technically illegal
3 or more young singles are technically not allowed to live together. This is to prevent a load of house shares. Yet this law is pretty much never enforced though, so it’s pretty pointless and bizarre.
#7: It’s illegal to go into a coffee shop if you’re under 18
Contrary to what the video suggests, it’s not illegal for under 18’s to go into a regular coffee shop (‘cafe’), but if it’s there to sell weed, you aren’t allowed in, soz. NO DRUGS FOR U18s. Seems fair enough, we can’t drink till we are 18 either.
#8: Trees must be reinforced to prevent them sinking by canals
Canal houses, including trees and other structures must be reinforced so they don’t sink. So it’s not just the houses, but the trees too! It’s great that trees are just as protected as the canal-side houses.
#9: Tenants have incredible protection when renting
Good for tenants and not so good for landlords, tenants have an incredible amount of protection. In fact, the landlord can’t kick you out unless it gets taken to court. Pretty bizarre if you aren’t paying the rent and trashing the place. Great if you don’t want to be made homeless by your landlord for literally no reason.
#10: You can only pee in a canal if you’re pregnant
Peeing in a public place is not allowed (hence the urinals everywhere) and many fatalities have happened from drunk people peeing canals. This is fair enough, however, when pregnant it is allowed. Not exactly safe though is it… this is one of the pretty weird laws that the Netherlands has.
There you have it, 10 weird laws that the Netherlands has.