Unfortunately, it is not a given that websites and apps are equally usable for all people. To motivate website owners to make their websites more accessible, legislation seems to be truly necessary.
At this moment, governments, such as municipalities, provinces, and similar organizations, are busy making their websites and apps more accessible. They do this largely to comply with legislation on digital accessibility. For several years now, these organizations have been required to conduct accessibility studies, publish statements, and actively continue to work on the accessibility of their websites.
The beautiful thing is that it works. From my own experience, I can say that digital accessibility has greatly improved at many of these organizations. Unfortunately, it is currently primarily governments, banks, and insurers that are involved in this. But luckily, change is in sight.
The European Accessibility Act 2025
For many commercial organizations, such as online stores, streaming services, and booking websites, accessibility is not a requirement. The websites that actively make their websites and apps more accessible do this because they want to, not because of legal obligations.
This situation will not remain as it is. In 2025, the European Accessibility Act (EAA) will come into effect. This pan-European legislation is aimed at digital accessibility and applies in all member states of the European Union. But, what does the European Accessibility Act actually involve?
The EAA was established to make online life easier for people with functional disabilities. The legislation states that online shopping or buying a train ticket should be just as easy for all Europeans. This means that online stores will also fall under the European Accessibility Act.
What does the European Accessibility Act mean for online stores?
According to the schedule, the European Accessibility Act will come into effect in July 2025. At this moment, there is still much unknown about the legislation itself. In the following paragraphs, you will find important facts about the European Accessibility Act for online stores.
The requirements of the European Accessibility Act
Currently, the legislation on digital accessibility in the Netherlands is based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines assist in investigating the accessibility of a website or app. During an accessibility study, a website is tested at level A and level AA of the WCAG. This is followed by an accessibility statement. Version 2.1 is currently applicable. The new version of the WCAG, version 2.2, will soon take effect.
It is not yet clear whether online stores will also be tested according to the WCAG method under the European Accessibility Act. Although it is plausible, the European Union may also choose other methods.
Curious about how your online store is currently doing in terms of accessibility policy? Then request a quick scan of accessibility for online stores. This scan highlights inaccessibilities, so you can immediately start improving accessibility. These inaccessibilities will also be identified through other testing methods.
New or existing online stores
At this moment, there are multiple uncertainties around the European Accessibility Act for online stores. For example, it is not yet known whether this legislation applies to online stores that are published from July 2025, or applies retroactively.
The EAA states that all products published from June 2025 must comply with the accessibility guidelines. But, what is the difference between a completely new online store and an update to an existing online store? There is currently a lot of uncertainty about this question.
Minimum turnover of online stores for the European Accessibility Act
There are also suggestions of a minimum turnover value that online stores must meet to fall under the legislation. When making a webshop accessible would cost more than the annual turnover, a requirement would cause more problems than it solves.
It therefore makes sense that a minimum annual or monthly turnover is determined. Online stores that exceed this limit will then have to comply with the legislation. But, no decisions have been made on this point yet.
The European Union wants to help not only people within the EU with this legislation, but also people outside of it. One of the ways the EU wants to do this is by requiring companies that do business in the EU to comply with the European Accessibility Act.
Suppose this requirement is extended to suppliers of e-commerce software. In this case, the responsibility may lie with the suppliers, instead of with the online store owners.
In this case, companies like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and WooCommerce could be put to work. After all, these companies have more resources available to make their software more accessible. This mainly concerns the technology behind the website. Online store owners will remain responsible for the content they upload.
The enforcement of the European Accessibility Act
The supervision of the extent to which companies comply with the EAA is done by the member states themselves. This means that the Dutch government will be responsible for the digital accessibility of the business community in the Netherlands.
Companies that do not comply with the EAA can be fined by the Dutch government from July 2025. The size of this fine is not yet known.
At the moment, the Dutch government is already responsible for checking the accessibility of municipalities and other government institutions. You can read how this works in the article Supervision on Digital Accessibility.
Bill from the cabinet to make products and services more accessible
In June 2023, Minister Helder of Long-Term Care and Sports sent a bill to the House of Representatives. This bill discusses several amendments to laws aimed at complying with the European Accessibility Act in 2025. The directive therefore also focuses on smartphones, streaming services, online stores, ATMs, and travel information in public transport. This approach is in line with the European Accessibility Act of 2025.
According to Minister Helder, the Netherlands still has to take steps to become more inclusive for people with disabilities. The cabinet is therefore now working hard to ensure that people with a disability have the same opportunities as people without a disability. Minister Helder states that this proposal is an important step towards an inclusive Netherlands.
Make an online store accessible for the EAA
Curious about how your online store stands in terms of digital accessibility? An accessibility study provides insight into the extent to which your online store currently complies with the WCAG. Learn more about accessibility studies from Digital Accessible, or contact us without obligation.”