Step-by-step plan event permit

If you are organising a music or theatre festival in a public space, screening a film or building an installation, in most cases you need to apply for a special event permit. Even if you play in the street for a short time, as a street artist, to promote your festival or performance, you have to deal with local rules. The procedure is laid down in the General Local Regulations (APV) and is therefore different for each local authority. This text is about Amsterdam.

1. Find out whether you need a permit

In almost all cases (90% of special events) a special event permit is required. For small-scale events that are held in the daytime, are not attended by more than a hundred visitors at the same time, and that do not cause any noise or traffic disturbance, it is enough to notify the district authority. In the Netherlands you are not allowed to just stand on the street somewhere to play music for example. Therefore, take a good look at the conditions that go with your plans. You can find the precise conditions on the local authority website. Do you want to shoot a film on the streets? Then you must ask permission from the district where you will be filming. You do this by filing a notification. In some cases you need a permit.

Notification of a special event is free of charge. A special event permit costs money, varying from € 1,046 for an event with less then 500 participants to € 16,757.40 for an event with more than 10,000 participants. Sometimes you also need additional permits such as an object permit or a water permit.

2. Apply for your permit in time

On the website of the City of Amsterdam you can find all the informationa you need to apply for a permit. From forms to example documents. You should apply for a special event permit at least ten weeks in advance. For notification of a special event, two weeks in advance is sufficient. You must make the application much earlier for events with more than 2,000 visitors. You should notify the municipality before October in the year before your event takes place. Then, at least 16 weeks before the set up of your event, you will apply for the permit.

In Amsterdam you apply for a special event permit to the chairperson of the district authority, or to the mayor if more than one district authority is involved. You can always make an appointment with the district authority permit department to discuss your application beforehand.

3. Take the following factors into account

Various agencies and factors play a role in the organisation of an event. You justify the choices you make in the areas of safety, noise, sustainability, hygiene and logistics in your permit application (or notification). You take into account regulations of the police and fire brigade for order and safety.

Depending on the type of event, you must also apply for a separate object or environmental permit for the placement of stages, food stalls or traffic signs, for example, apply for a water permit via Waternet's environmental counter or arrange an exemption for serving alcoholic beverages.

4. Wait for the application to be dealt with

On the basis of your application, the police, fire brigade, medical aid for accidents and catastrophes, health and safety authority, Amsterdam canal board, public domain department of the district authority, building inspectorate, environment and building inspectorate and the coordination system (list of events) may be asked for their advice. A processing time of one week is observed for notifications, eight weeks for events with less than 2,000 visitors and ten weeks for events with more than 2,000 visitors.

5. Communication with the neighbourhood

If the permit is granted, the organisation must send a letter announcing the event to residents and companies that might be adversely affected by it.

6. The Occupational Health and Safety Law and volunteers

In organising a special event you must also take into account other regulations such as those laid down in the Occupational Health and Safety Law. If you work with volunteers, you must make sure that they have third party insurance. If you work with children you will need to issue a statement on behaviour, or if the volunteer works behind the bar you will need an alcohol certificate. Volunteers from outside the EU require a work permit.