Starting a hospitality business in Maastricht

Maastricht offers an ideal business climate and a municipality that will help any way possible with the procedures for regulations and legislation you will have to deal with as an entrepreneur in the hospitality business. Where can you turn to with your questions, and which regulations do you have to comply with? How can the Maastricht Business Team help you and when should you contact the, so called, horeca case manager? The details are explained below.

Who can you turn to?

Maastricht Business Team

If you want to start a hospitality business in Maastricht or if you are looking for a suitable location, please, read this information first. If you still have questions, contact the Maastricht Business Team

Horeca case manager

In the following situations, you can call 14 043 or e-mail to horeca [at] maastricht.nl to contact the Maastricht horeca case manager directly:

  • You have found a property that seems suitable for starting your hospitality business but the zoningplan at this location is not listed as hospitality (horeca).
  • You would like to know more about one of the permits listed below

The regulations

As an entrepreneur in the hospitality business, you are subject to

  • national laws and
  • local regulations established by the municipality of Maastricht

The national laws at a glance

  1. Dutch Spatial Planning Act (Wro): zoningplan
    The hospitality business you want to start must comply with the guidelines as laid down in the zoningplan. If you have property in mind and you would like to know whether you can start a hospitality business there, check the zoningplan of the property at www.ruimtelijkeplannen.nl or contact the municipality at 14 043. 
  2. Dutch Environmental Permitting (General Provisions) Act (Wabo): refurbishment or historic building
    If you are going to refurbish an existing hospitality property or start work in a historic building you will have to take into account the Wabo (Dutch Environmental Permitting (General Provisions) Act. This act regulates the environmental permit, a single permit for housing, heritage buildings, spatial planning, nature and the environment. If you want to know whether your plan is feasible or not, it is advisable to first submit  a request in principle than immediately applying for an environmental permit.
  3. Dutch Alcohol Act: licence to serve alcohol
    If you are going to serve your guests wine, beer or liquor, the Alcohol Act will apply. Needles to say, a hospitality business must be permitted in your property in accordance with the zoningplan. On our page Alcohol Act licence (Alcoholwetvergunning - in Dutch only) you can read exactly what you need to do to obtain a licence.

The municipal regulations: licences and hospitality policy document

Depending on the kind of hospitality business you want to run, you will need a number of licences in Maastricht:

  1. Operating licence: no alcohol, still regulations
    If you do wish to serve alcohol, but only soft drinks, coffee and tea or fresh smoothies, you will still need a licence. We call this an operating licence (Exploitatievergunning - in Dutch only). You also need a operating licence if you are going to sell food from a vending machine or if you want to start a take-away business.
  2. Terrace and pavement café licence: exploiting outdoor opportunities
    We understand that a terrace can be attractive for your hospitality business. For this you will need a terrace licence, (Terrasvergunning - in Dutch only) even if the terrace is on your own property. A terrace affects the appearance of the public space, which is why as a municipality we are very alert to its affect. For this reason, you are not automatically entitled to a terrace. It is permitted only in places where the municipality finds it appropriate. A terrace always has to be tailored to the situation. If you want to set up a terrace on public space, you have to pay taxes to the municipality. This is a municipal levy (Precariobelasting - in Dutch only) for encroachments on public land.
  3. Gambling machine licence: slot machines
    We want to keep a grip on the number of gambling machines in the city. If you would like to install, for example, a slot machine in your bar, you must apply for a gambling licence (Gokautomatenvergunning - in Dutch only). 

Shop premises hospitality

If you have a shop and want to offer your customers a cup of coffee or a snack while they shop in your establishment, that's no problem. There are, however, a number of conditions. The most important are listed below:

  • you may only use a small part of your store for this purpose
  • your business must continue to look like a shop
  • you may not advertise this part of the business

For more information, check the dropdown menu at the bottom of this page or contact the horeca case manager.

Notification of use: fireproof

A building where many people come together must be fireproof. In Maastricht, this is of great importance. If more than 50 people can be present in your building at any given time, you must submit a notification of use (Brandveilig gebruik gebouwen - in Dutch only) to the municipality before you open your hospitality business. A notification of use indicates that the building is fireproof and safe.

  • Food

    Shop premises hospitality at a supermarket is not allowed (food-food).

    Non-food

    Shop premises hospitality is possible at non-food stores under the terms listed below: 

    • Shop premises hospitality can only take place alongside the main activity, if the zoning plan directly allows this or with an exemption from the zoning plan;
    • Shop premises hospitality is supportive and secondary to the main activity (not being a food);
    • The opening hours of the shop premises hospitality are the same as the opening hours of the main activity and therefore conform to the regulations in the field of shopping hours;
    • Access to the shop premises hospitality takes place exclusively via the main activity; there is therefore no separate entrance;
    • The shop premises hospitality may cover 25% of the floor space accessible to the public and must not be visible from the public road;
    • There is the one manager for both activities;
    • There is a freely accessible sanitary area in the building;
    • The shop premises hospitality may not be advertised visibly from outside the establishment;
    • No terrace is allowed;
    • The sale of alcohol is not permitted.