In the upper house of the Dutch parliament, two parties – the Christian CDA and the right-wing PVV – have made a policy U-turn. On second thoughts they want to raise the age at which it is legal to buy or possess alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine to 18.
The upper house adopted a motion on this subject today. Student societies have always opposed the raising of the drinking age because of their 17 year-old members. It would make it harder for first years at applied sciences universities, who join higher education after a slightly shorter high school course, to join the societies and that would not be good for their diversity.
A debate on new laws about drink and the catering branch was in the upper house held two weeks ago. Then labour party PvdA senator Pauline Meurs argued for raising the legal age for non-spirits to 18. At that time the conservative VVD, the CDA and the PVV were all against the idea because it is already so difficult to enforce the age limit of 16. Now the CDA and the PVV have had second thoughts and are supporting the PvdA motion.
The motion calls on the government to raise the legal age for buying and selling drinks such as beer and wine to 18. The same suggestion has been made in the lower house of parliament and it is in the CDA's manifesto.
The National Chamber of Associations predicted (link to Dutch article) that the legal drinking age would go up one of these years. This will mainly pose problems for those societies which include 17-year-ol first years. 'First-years at applied sciences universities might not join anymore', said board member Antoon Kanis from Wageningen. 'That is not good for the diversity in the societies.'