Experiences Involving Food in Amsterdam
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
What are some of the basic principles?
Considerate chefs are the best chefs.
For example, here’s what Host Alissa recommends: “I always make sure that my kitchen is spic and span, that I only use fresh ingredients and that I tell my guests about the ingredients I use. I also ask my guests in advance about any food allergies they may have and religious or philosophical codes that I need to keep in mind when I prepare a meal to share with them."
My experience will involve serving food to guests (outside of a licensed restaurant, café or food business). What rules do I need to follow? Do I need any licenses?
Offering meals for commercial sale is a regulated activity in the Netherlands. The rules of the Dutch Commodities Act (Warenwet) will apply anytime food is cooked or handled for paying guests. The Dutch Food and Product Safety Authority regularly enforces these rules. Details on the requirements for food safety can be found on the Nederlandse Voedsel – en Warenautoriteit NVWA website.
When your experience includes the serving of alcoholic drinks alongside food, you will need to comply with the best practices mentioned in the [Experiences Involving Alcohol] section.
Food hygiene and food safety
If your Experience involves the cooking or handling of food served to paying guests (other than close friends and family who may just be paying you to share the cost of the ingredients), you will need to make sure that you follow the rules in the Dutch Commodities Act (or Warenwet). The Dutch Commodities Act imposes stringent standards on food hygiene and food safety. These standards apply regardless of whether you are running a commercial restaurant or engaging in a more amateur, occasional 'home cooking' activity.
The Dutch Commodities Act contains a large number of rules on hygiene and safety. In summary they revolve around three general points:
- The food you serve should never endanger the health and safety of your customers (this includes meeting the requirements on the hygienic preparation and labelling of foods, such as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)).
- You should make sure that (a) the nature, substance and quality of the food you serve or sell meets the customer's expectations; and (b) you continuously monitor whether the food safety requirements are being met.
- You should make sure that you do not mislead your customers when labelling, advertising and presenting your food.
It can be very helpful to read the Dutch Commodities Act to familiarize yourself further with the rules that are explained here. You can also find more information here. Your local council may also produce guidelines or leaflets on food safety, which you might find helpful. Legal requirements on hygiene can be found on the Netherlands Food and Product safety authority website here.
The Dutch Commodities Act is enforced by the Dutch Food and Product Safety Authority Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit or the NVW. The NVW is entitled to inspect homes and conduct investigations, and can do so in reaction to complaints. The NVW may first issue a warning prior to imposing a fine for violations. You should be aware of potential criminal offences for failure to comply with this legislation, which may include financial penalties and the possibility of a custodial sentence.
If you love cooking as a hobby chef and you want to share that love occasionally with guests and you’re not doing it to make money -- the price you charge only covers your direct and indirect costs -- you may not need a license.
However, if you sell food to people outside of your circle of friends and family, or charge a price which covers more than your direct and indirect costs, you will need to obtain an exploitation license from the City of Amsterdam. Here is a helpful FAQ from the City of Amsterdam on how these rules work.
Exploitation licenses can be granted to applicants 21 years and older. The application fee is €1,041 and the application typically takes eight weeks to be processed. Once granted, the exploitation license is valid for a term of three years and it is renewable at the end of the term.
Here is an examples of a situation where you probably need to apply for an exploitation license:
- I cook and serve meals at my home to my guests that don't come from within my own circle of friends and the guests pay a fee that covers more than just the costs.
Here are some examples of where you may not have to get the exploitation license (but check with the authority to confirm):
- I cook and serve meals at my home to my guests that come from within my own circle of friends and I either don't charge any money, or the charge that I ask for only covers my direct and indirect costs.
- I plan to host guests at my local favourite, licensed restaurant and I ask the local chef to give a tour of her kitchen and even a cooking class in her restaurant kitchen.
- I’d like to take guests along to a festival where food is served by the festival organisers.
We recommend you also read our other information pages on [What if I am a business?]. If you're in any doubt, we recommend you get in touch with your accountant or legal advisor to find out whether you're operating as a business.
If alcoholic beverages are served or sold within a commercial setting, hosts are required to obtain an SVH Social Hygiene Certificate (Stichting Vakbekwaamheid Horeca). This certificate is part of a set of training courses that is meant to provide an education on food health and safety. Education and course options, as well as the necessary requirements as set out under the law can be found here.
Good practices include keeping records of food supplied to you or your business, for example documenting the names and addresses of the supplier in each case, as well as the nature of the product and date of delivery.
Food Information disclosures
Practicing good hospitality also means being mindful of allergies and the special needs of those guests who may be pregnant, children, or who have other medical, religious or personal needs. It’s good practice to ask guests upfront if there are any dietary restrictions that you need to keep in mind.
What is a huiskamerrestaurant (or living room restaurant )?
A Huiskamerrestaurant is a place where meals are offered as a way to share home cooking to a closed group of people in an intimate “living room” (or huiskamer). In addition to food hygiene and safety considerations, Hosts should keep in mind that this is an informal manner to share meals within their circle of friends and family. If done regularly and for profit, the activity may be deemed a restaurant activity. If you operate a restaurant, you need a license (see above). For more information from the City on this, see here (Gemeente Amsterdam, Exploitatievergunning). You should also check if you’re subject to zoning approval requirements. If you are unsure about how the laws or this information may apply to you, we encourage you to seek advice from the City of Amsterdam, or a local legal advisor.
Is there anything else I should think about?
Yes. If your experience also involves serving or providing alcohol, we recommend that you take a look at our information about [Experiences Involving Alcohol]. If your experience will involve combining food with another activity (for example, a guided tour of the city), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
We recommend you also read our other information pages on business licenses. If you’re in any doubt, we recommend you get in touch with your accountant or legal advisor to find out whether you’re operating as a business.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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