The authorisation to operate a public house

Last modified:

Friday 10 September 2021

Authorisation is required from the municipality to open a public house. 

Fermented drinks

A positive opinion from the municipality is required to open and operate a public house (beers and wines). This checks the conditions of good character of the operator, as well as the hygiene conditions of the premises if the activity is permanent.

Spirit drinks

The sale of spirit drinks (alcohol) is subject to a licence. The licence can be requested from the municipality. the municipality checks the good character of the operator and checks the hygiene conditions in case of a fixed operation.

What if the spirit drinks are sold or offered to the public for free in premises open to the public during a special evening or event? The event organiser is not required to apply for a licence. Some municipalities require "special authorisation from the college of the mayor and aldermen" for the sale of spirit drinks during cultural, sporting, or political events. Contact the municipality for more information.

Who do I contact?

Generally, these authorisations are issued by the self-employed department in the municipality where the establishment is located. Some municipalities have a department specifically for Horeca activities.
The municipality generally requires a certificate of good character and a photocopy of your identity card.

How much does this cost?

Depending on the municipality, a fee may be charged for the application. 

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