Drinking age in European countries???

Jan 3rd, 2005, 11:54 AM
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Drinking age in European countries???

When I visit Europe this summer I will be 17. I was wondering what the official drinking ages in Italy, England, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland are. Also, will I be old enough to get into clubs and bars? Are the laws/rules heavily enforced? Thanks!
beautiful_banana14 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 12:01 PM
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UK is an ever-more enforced 18. France age for beer and wine is an unenforced 16, 18 for hard stuff - my son grew up in France and was buying hard booze in supermarkets way before 18 so not always enforced. 16 is legal age in bars for beer and wine. Holland i believe is 16 as is Germany and Italy i think but not sure. Point is you're legal in most of Europe. But Holland coffeeshops, where cannabis is legally sold is now enforcing the 18 yr old limit for these after a crackdown where some coffeeshops got their licenses suspended when caught serving under 18s - that said you wouldn't have any problems scoring. Switzerland is i believe 16 for beer and wine as well. Party down!
PalQ is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 01:11 PM
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My suggestion, Sounds like a guidebook aimed at young &/or budget travel might help you alot in your planning. Something like Let's Go Europe (Rough Guides, Lonely Planet, etc.). Check at the library or bookstore and see which ones answers your two questions for starters (how old to drink? how old for clubs?) and get a copy of that one. It will be money well spent.
suze is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 03:04 PM
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My daughter was a very young looking 18 when we visited Italy, France, Germany, and Greece, and no one ever asked her for ID when she ordered a beer or wine.
Postal is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 03:15 PM
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Drinking age in Portugal? No minimum age! that's what i read in some reliable source. Hard to believe but Europeans have traditionally treated wine and beer like food. Germany in fact claimed in the European Court that beer was food, in an attempt to keep imported beer that contained preservatives out of the German market where the ballyhooed Reinsgeboten law of 5,000 years ago or such bans preservatives from beer. Except in the UK you won't be checked - ever i bet. At least it just doesn't happen in France, where i have lived off and on, and according to my French son. France just recently made 16 the age to buy tobacco where there previously was no age limit. Europeans have treated teens much more like adults than the US; but this doesn't mean that youths don't abuse alcohol. Party On!
PalQ is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 04:10 PM
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When my daughter was a teen and we ordered a bottle of wine three glasses were always put on the table.

This was in Italy.

I think that when you would have a problem is if (and hopefully not) started binge drinking.

A glass of wine or a beer in Italy should not be a problem for a 17 year old unless you overstep the boundries.

LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 04:16 PM
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If a problem arises, I think it might be because you are a group of 10 kids traveling together (as mentioned in your other post). I'm not certain that this will be true, but it might call attention to your age more than if you were just a couple of people at a restaurant or bar.
suze is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 06:44 PM
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Hey loveitaly when we went to Rome this summer theye were giving my 8 year old a glass for wine at dinner everynight. That is normal in Italy for wine only I read that in the fodors book.
kr is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 06:55 PM
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I do some research and work in public health and international health issues, and commonly, 16 is the age in Europe for wine/beer and 18 for hard stuff. However, it can vary as to whether you are with responsible adults, especially parents, or not, so a place may not care much for someone with their parents, but might if three 14 year olds strolled into a bar.

Portugal does have an age limit, the same as many other countries, from what I've read from reputable international public health sources (16 for beer/wine, etc.). I think maybe they didn't used to, though, but it was changed (maybe 2001-2003?) due to the very high alcohol abuse rate in that country among teenagers. Switzerland is also 16/18.

Many countries have laws regulating sales, but not consumption, that is the difference. However, if you all are underage, sales would be illegal. Many countries are enforcing these laws more than they used to due to high alcoholism and binge-drinking problems.

Christina is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 07:07 PM
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Hi KR, that does not shock me. I can remember being younger than three years old (my brother was not born yet and I was one month short of being three when he was born) and I was given a small amount of red wine with water added to it.

I think as most posters have said, a teen with parents, or a teen having a glass of wine or a glass of beer with a meal will probably work.

But a teen without parents, or a teen overindulging, do not think that will be allowed in most places.

Sure hope that 17 year old beautiful_banana 14 knows what what she is doing.

LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 07:33 PM
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We have always been told that club age is 18 but the clubs will be more concerned with the way you are dressed than your age. My daughter didn't have any trouble getting into clubs at age 15 and she looks very young for her age. There are clubs that cater to the teens and they have no problem with groups.
kybourbon is offline  

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