Dutch municipality of Vijfheerenlanden must include costs in its rates for RV parks
The RV parks (or motorhome campsites) of the municipality of Vijfheerenlanden (which includes the towns of Leerdam and Vianen, and which is located in central Netherlands) compete unfairly with other RV parks in the municipality. The municipality offers its RV camping spots for free. As such, it acts in violation of the Dutch law on competitive neutrality, the Dutch Act on Government and Free Markets. This is the conclusion of an investigation carried out by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). The municipality will therefore adjust its rates.
The municipality currently commercially exploits 10 RV parks at 4 locations. It offers the spots for free, although it does incur costs for construction and maintenance. In that way, it competes unfairly with other RV parks in the municipality, and citizens of Vijfheerenlanden thus co-finance a commercial activity of their municipality. Vijfheerenlanden has promised to start charging campers the integral costs, starting January 1. ACM may check that next year.
Fair competition with businesses
There are special rules in place for local governments that engage in commercial activities. These rules are laid down in the Dutch law on competitive neutrality, the Dutch Act on Government and Free Markets, which is part of the Dutch Competition Act. These rules ensure that governments compete fairly with businesses. ACM enforces compliance with these rules.