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Netherlands – Retail and Consumer Issues

The Netherlands is known for its retail industry, with a diverse range of shops and products available to consumers. In this article, we will discuss typical opening hours of shops, forms of payment accepted, major supermarkets in the Netherlands, online shopping popularity, expat-specific shops, and consumer rights.

Typical opening hours of shops in the Netherlands and forms of payment accepted

Most shops in the Netherlands are open from Monday to Saturday between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Some shops may open earlier, and some may close later, but this is the general rule. On Sundays, shops are usually closed, except for a few exceptions such as souvenir shops, museums, and some supermarkets.

As for the forms of payment accepted, most shops in the Netherlands accept both cash and debit card payments. Credit card payments are also accepted in some shops, but it is not as common as in other countries.

Major Supermarkets in the Netherlands and differences between them

There are several major supermarkets in the Netherlands, with the three biggest ones being Albert Heijn, Jumbo, and Lidl.

Albert Heijn is the largest and most popular supermarket in the Netherlands, with over 1,000 stores. It is known for its wide range of products, including its own brand of high-quality food products. The prices at Albert Heijn are generally higher than at other supermarkets, but the quality of the products is also higher.

Jumbo is the second-largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, with over 650 stores. It is known for its low prices and wide range of products, including its own brand of products that are generally cheaper than other brands.


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Lidl is a discount supermarket chain with over 400 stores in the Netherlands. It is known for its low prices and good quality products, including fresh produce and baked goods.

Online shopping popularity and main websites

Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands, with more and more people opting to shop online instead of in physical stores. Some of the most popular online shopping websites in the Netherlands include:

  • Bol.com: This is the largest online retailer in the Netherlands, offering a wide range of products, including electronics, books, clothing, and more.
  • Coolblue: This website specializes in electronics and has a wide range of products, including smartphones, laptops, and TVs.
  • Amazon.nl: Amazon recently launched in the Netherlands, offering a range of products from electronics to books and household items.

Shops in the Netherlands specifically for expats and finding international products

There are several shops in the Netherlands specifically for expats, catering to their specific needs and tastes. Some of these shops include:

  • The American Book Center: This shop is located in Amsterdam and specializes in English-language books and magazines.
  • Kelly’s Expat Shopping: This is a chain of shops located in Amsterdam, The Hague, and Wassenaar, offering a range of international products, including food, drinks, and household items.
  • Taste of Home: This shop is located in Rotterdam and specializes in British and Irish products, including food, drinks, and household items.

For finding specific international products, expats can also try visiting ethnic food stores or online retailers, such as World of Food, which offers a range of products from different countries.

Consumer rights and contact details of main consumer organizations in the Netherlands

Consumers in the Netherlands have several rights that are protected by law. These include the right to a refund, the right to a replacement product or service, and the right to cancel a contract within 14 days of purchase.

If consumers have a complaint or dispute with a business, they can contact the Consumer and Market Authority (Autoriteit Consument en Markt or ACM). The ACM is responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws and can impose fines or penalties on businesses that violate these laws. Consumers can file a complaint with the ACM online, by phone, or by mail.

In addition to the ACM, there are several consumer organizations in the Netherlands that can provide information and assistance to consumers. Some of the main organizations include:

  • Consumentenbond: This is the largest consumer organization in the Netherlands, with over 400,000 members. The Consumentenbond provides information and advice on a range of consumer issues, including product testing and comparison, financial services, and energy.

  • Juridisch Loket: This organization provides legal advice and assistance to consumers who have a dispute with a business or organization. The Juridisch Loket can provide information on consumer protection laws, and can help consumers file a complaint or take legal action.

  • Nibud: This organization provides information and advice on financial matters, including budgeting, debt management, and financial planning. The Nibud can also provide assistance to consumers who are experiencing financial difficulties or who are struggling to make ends meet.

Consumers can contact these organizations by phone, email, or through their websites for assistance with consumer-related issues.

In summary, the retail industry in the Netherlands offers a diverse range of products and shopping experiences for consumers. Most shops are open from Monday to Saturday between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, and accept cash and debit card payments. The major supermarkets in the Netherlands are Albert Heijn, Jumbo, and Lidl, each with their own unique selling points. Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular, with websites like Bol.com, Coolblue, and Amazon.nl offering a wide range of products. For expats, there are shops specifically catering to their needs, as well as ethnic food stores and online retailers. Consumers in the Netherlands have several rights that are protected by law, and can seek assistance and information from organizations such as the ACM, Consumentenbond, Juridisch Loket, and Nibud.


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