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Dutch invade German borderlands for beer
Photo: DPA

Dutch invade German borderlands for beer

Published: 18 Jan 2013 15:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Jan 2013 15:20 GMT+01:00

The flood of Germans coming back from Holland with secret stashes of cannabis has been replaced by Dutch people going in the other direction, their cars loaded with beer, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

The alcohol tax in Holland was raised to 14 percent at the start of the year. This came hot on the heels of a two-percent increase last year in general value added tax rates to 21 percent. German beer is thus now significantly cheaper than in Holland, where taxes account for €5 per case, the paper said on Thursday.

"This huge difference has enormous consequences," said Cees Jan Adema of the Dutch Beer Association. "It is causing a lot of headaches. We estimate that every 10th beer consumed in Holland comes from Germany."

The commerce is particularly prominent in the border regions between Germany and Holland, where entrepreneurial Dutch tourism operators have organised special bus tours to Germany for Dutch beer drinkers.

Discos catering to young people in German border regions are also profiting, the paper said, as the Dutch taxes have made the price of not only beer, but other alcoholic drinks sometimes double what they are in Germany.

There are even disco shuttle buses taking Dutch youth to German clubs on the weekends, the paper said.

The bus companies have two requirements though. There is a no vandalism rule. Those who do not abide can count on paying at least €100. Also anyone who has had too much to drink and vomits has to pay a €50 cleaning fee.

German border towns are very grateful for the business. The head of an Aldi discount supermarket near the Dutch border said; "Basically without the Dutch the whole town could close up."

He said Dutch tourists were mainly interested in buying hard liquor, which is not available in Dutch supermarkets. The price difference for spirits was even greater than for beer, he said, adding that bus-loads of people had shown up from Amsterdam on shopping trips.

There is, however, hope for the Netherlands. The paper reported on Friday that German tourism to Holland boomed last year, posting a three percent increase. For the first time more than three million Germans took their holidays in the Netherlands, drawn mainly to the beach, but also to city tourism.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:22 January 18, 2013 by Englishted
I have seen them staggering about on those wooden clogs they all wear.
21:15 January 18, 2013 by Motorhead
The Netherlands has flowers and cheese. Germany has beer, cheese, and a national football (soccer) club.
00:39 January 19, 2013 by floridahank
I live in Florida, USA, and only drink European beers, esp. dark. Outiside of many small craft beer makers in the USA, most popular American beers have little flavor and no distinct taste. Keep producing your excellent beers.
19:06 January 21, 2013 by truth is treason
May be we can have the police check to see if they have winter tires in this bad weather. Most the coffee shops near the boarders are now closed because of the foreigner rule.
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