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Government tightens rules for Sunday store openings

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE — The Balkenende-cabinet has agreed to tighten the regulations for store openings on Sundays. Municipalities are currently allowed a maximum of 12 Sunday shopping days a year. They could easily increase this number by declaring that opening on more Sundays serves tourism. The cabinet will be redefining what constitutes 'tourism.'

Municipalities that want to use this rule in future must 'carefully weigh' the matter. Additionally, affected parties such as resident groups and churches could ask the courts to ban Sunday shopping altogether.

The Dutch Retail Trade Council terms the cabinet decision as incomprehensible. Supermarket sector organization CBL terms the cabinet proposals absurd and is now targeting Labour (PvdA) to get the changes dropped. The subject was included in the blueprint when the coalition was formed at the insistence of the Christian Democrats and even more strongly by junior cabinet partner ChristenUnie.