About city tax

We always get plenty of questions about how city tax actually functions in the Netherlands. And that's understandable, because it's not always very clear what needs to be paid and how. At Hotels.nl we like to keep things simple, especially when it comes to the price that hotel guests have to pay. As such, we've written a short summary for you to explain city tax.

What is city tax?
City tax, according to Article 224 of the Local Government Act is:
To the purpose of a stay within the municipality by persons who are not registered in the municipal's local records as being residents, a city tax can be levied.
In layman's terms it just means that the municipality can impose a tax on persons who do not officially live in the city in which they are staying (i.e. tourists). Municipalities officially do this because tourists make use of municipal facilities. The income generated from a city tax allows the municipality to maintain and perhaps also improve its facilities.

Who do I pay city tax to and how?
You don't pay city tax directly to the municipality. Instead, it is collected by the hotel, apartment, bed and breakfast or other type of accommodation in which you're staying, who will then pay this to the municipality.

How much is city tax?
Perhaps the most interesting question. The municipality determines whether a city tax should be levied and how much this should be. Hotels therefore have absolutely no say in the matter! If the municipality opts for a city tax then there are basically four ways in which this could be charged:

  • - You pay a fixed price per person, per night.

  • - You pay a fixed price per booking: for the entire stay.

  • - You pay a price per room, per night.

  • - You pay a percentage of the room price.

The first three are self-explanatory; although please note that the amount varies per municipality and can also differ per type of accommodation. For instance, a different city tax rate may apply to an apartment than to a hotel.
The version with the room price is a little more complicated and that's why we offer some further explanation below. All the more so because major hotel cities such as Schiphol and Amsterdam use this version. If city tax is a fixed percentage of the room price then it doesn't matter how many persons are staying in the room as the percentage always stays the same.

There are municipalities who employ variations other than those listed above. For instance, Maastricht has determined that the amount charged for city tax is to be subject to the number of stars a hotel holds, while in Terschelling a portion of the city tax is already included in the ferry ticket to the island. It therefore requires a bit of calculation and unfortunately we can't make it any more fun than this!

On Hotels.nl we always show rates including city tax if this is a fixed rate of the room price. This is never subject to the number of persons staying in the room. If city tax is variable, for example if it is subject to the number of guests, then we will clearly state the city tax rate per night next to the room price.