Update: The European Accessibility Act and its impact on the Netherlands | Fieldfisher
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Update: The European Accessibility Act and its impact on the Netherlands



Recently, the English Football Club Newcastle United launched a vibrating shirt for deaf fans so they can truly experience the atmosphere in the stadium during a football match. [1]

This is an excellent example of economic operators becoming more and more aware that their products and services should become more accessible for consumers with some form of a disability.

Last year, we wrote an article about the European Accessibility Act ("EAA"), which sets out minimum accessibility requirements for a range of products and services, and its impact on the Netherlands. You can access the article by clicking here. In our previous article, we mentioned that the EAA had not yet been implemented in Dutch law. This is no longer the case. We can now inform you that the Dutch Implementation Act has finally been approved by Dutch Parliament.

Implementation in the Netherlands

The rules regarding products will be laid down the Commodities Act and underlying Commodities Accessibility Decree 2023, whereas the rules regarding services will be divided among different laws (depending on the type of service):

  • Electronic Communication Services – Telecommunications Act;
  • E-Commerce Services – Dutch Civil Code;
  • Consumer Banking Services – Financial Supervision Act;
  • Enforcement Rules – Consumer Protection Enforcement Act; and
  • Other services such as passenger transport services, e-readers and audiovisual media services – Equal Treatment of Disabled and Chronically Ill People Act

The Dutch legislator has opted for sectoral implementation in Dutch laws as the EAA encompasses a broad range of services. The abovementioned laws will all be updated in line with the EAA and refer to its Annexes to ensure alignment with the purposes of the EU legislator.

The road ahead for economic operators

It is of importance for economic operators to assess what obligations apply to their goods and/or services as there are some differences. Both the EAA and the Dutch implementation thereof do not provide a definition of what accessibility is. However, economic operators can consult Annex II of the EAA, which includes an overview of indicative and non-binding examples of measures enhancing accessibility.

Some requirements are:

  • Making goods and services available through more than one sensory channel;
  • Information must be presented in a clear and understandable manner, through the use of different fonts, sizes or shapes and using sufficient contrast;
  • Manufacturers of goods must ensure that their goods have CE marking demonstrating compliance with the EAA.

It is important for economic operators to implement accessibility rules in a timely manner in order to avoid any corrective measures from the supervisory authorities.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about the EAA, the implementation thereof in Dutch law and what this could mean for your organisation.

Areas of Expertise

EU Regulatory