Sunday Shopping

Back in July, I wrote about a debate going on regarding shops opening on Sundays. Outside of restaurants, coffee shops, and some grocery stores, most businesses here in Utrecht remained closed by law. Despite a referendum (with around 65% being opposed to Sunday openings), the city council voted this past Thursday to allow Sunday openings of all stores.

Opinion remains divided and there was lamenting that this past Sunday would be the last quiet one to be had. The new openings begin this weekend on the 17th. The vote broke down to some of the left-leaning parties voting in favor of the shopping Sundays, while more of the Christian/right-wing parties seemed in favor of keeping stores closed. Yet there are many people who support the shops staying closed who don’t base their decision on religious beliefs. I myself would have preferred that we stick to the first Sunday of the month as the sole shopping Sunday and leave the rest of the month to a quieter city center, as we’ve had.

In theory, the daily shopping will perhaps make things easier for some people who are unable to get everything done during the week or on Saturday. After all, most shops close early during the week, except for Thursdays. On the other hand, there is concern that the Sunday openings won’t be a problem for larger stores, but may present difficulties for smaller stores.

We’ll have to wait and see how it works out, although I can’t imagine them voting to go back to just one koopzondag (shopping Sunday) a month. Looks like I may need to get out earlier to enjoy the peace and quiet on Sundays from now on.


14 thoughts on “Sunday Shopping

  1. I think Almere is one of the next cities where they’re going to debate the open-on-Sundays rule. I liked it when I lived in the city center because the crowds were so bad on Saturdays.

    But I sympathize with the small business owners who can’t afford or don’t want to be open seven days a week. In Almere, it’s already true that only big chains like H&M, C&A, HEMA, etc. are open on Sunday.

    • I was relieved when the grocery stores started opening on Sundays, and I know I’ve had times when I wished shops were open on Sunday, but I also really like the calm. It’s not as if Utrecht is dead on Sundays, especially with the almost monthly cultural Sunday events. I hope they don’t suffer as a result.

  2. Pingback: Sunday Shopping |

  3. I don’t agree with the decision to allow Sunday opening hours at all. Over 50% of the population of Utrecht voted against it (there was another referendum years back, where a majority also voted a firm “no”), what was the point of voting then? Smaller shops won’t be able to keep up with this 24 hour profit economy. Plus, like you said, the city centre won’t have any quieter days left were everybody, and especially the inhabitants that live in that area, can enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. Boo to the city counsil on this one šŸ˜¦

  4. I didn’t get your comment that regular shops closing early during the week (except on Thursdays). Shops closing at 6pm/18.00 is very normal and not considered early at all. I suppose it is in the US?

  5. Oh, to have quiet in the streets on Sundays! Here in Manila, shops are open daily, usually from 7am to 8pm (the malls are open until 10pm), including on Sundays so there may be heavy traffic on the streets even then. That shops close much earlier and on Sundays was one thing I had to get used to when I visited Europe, but I think it IS a good thing.

    • The number of stores open 24-hours a day in the US seemed to be growing. They also used to open later on Sunday, but now they open normal weekday hours. I’m sure hours are even longer since I left. It’s all a bit much now that I’ve gotten used to quiet Sundays.

  6. Most supermarkets are open till 21.00 hr. in groningen. For me that is more than enough time to do my shopping. I like the town to be calm en carless on Sundays. Not for religious reasons, I’m as heathen as they come, but I don’t like this 24hours economy. We consume enough as it is already. And for the bored shopaholics. there is always de Meubel-boulevard! (don’t know how to translate that to english šŸ™‚

    • Most supermarkets here stay open until 21:00, as well, except on Sunday. šŸ˜‰ It’s certainly more than adequate for our needs. Of course, in the US, more and more grocery stores stay open 24 hours a day. If you do factory work or late-shift work, I’m sure the hours can be convenient, but I wonder just how necessary it really is.

    • But here in the city center, it’s just not necessary really. And there are plenty of shopping places closer to people living outside the city. If anything, I would think the Sunday shopping hours would be better in less urban areas.

  7. I agree, but then the more rural areas are usually the more conservative, and the ones that actually want the religious “zondagsrust” to be observed.

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