Bed and breakfast is an overnight stay in a house where the breakfast for the next day is included. This is also referred to by the English term Bed and Breakfast (literally ‘bed and breakfast’, often abbreviated to B&B).

A B&B in Great Britain is a small-scale accommodation that offers the possibility of a tourist and often short-term stay, where breakfast is also served. Accommodation and breakfast are offered in a house or annex that is operated by the owners of the house in question.

Guests spend the night with families and may sometimes choose whether they want their breakfast in bed or in the dining room of the residents. It is an alternative to rooms in the usual hotels, with a full English breakfast included in the price.

It happens that every room has its own bathroom, it also happens that the sanitary facilities are shared with other guests and / or with the residents.

When rooms are still available, this is indicated with Vacancies.


The principle of bed and breakfast has existed since the beginning of humanity. For example, monasteries have been offering bed and breakfast accommodation for centuries and they still do so in some places. Well before the twentieth century it was common for travelers to spend the night with private individuals.

Guest room

Bed and breakfast was especially favorite with European travelers. The European settlers brought the principle of bed and breakfast to the United States. On their travels they looked for a safe place to live in houses and hostels. It was true that the social status of the person seeking shelter had to match that of his host. Some of these historic locations still serve as a B&B hotel.

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, many people opened their homes to travelers to earn extra income for the family. After the Depression, this type of accommodation declined in popularity and Bed and Breakfast accommodations were given the image of low budget accommodation. With the arrival of the motorways, motels were created and the B & Bs disappeared into the background.

Due to internationalization, the sharp increase in the number of travelers and the advent of the internet, the concept of Bed and Breakfast was rediscovered at the start of the 21st century. B & Bs are no longer seen as a low budget provision, but as an attractive alternative to the regular hotel room. There are B & Bs that offer facilities that are not inferior to the most luxurious accommodations. The term B&B has become a global concept.

Small scale

Also outside the United Kingdom it is a small-scale overnight accommodation that is part of a home. The accommodation and breakfast facility is a secondary function, in addition to living or the agricultural function. A B&B has an average of 2.5 guest rooms and 5.3 sleeping places.

With a B&B with more than seven rooms, the size of the accommodation is lost and the accommodation becomes more like a guest house or hotel. A B&B with more than seven rooms is difficult to operate by one or two people and will have to hire staff. Market research (2006 and 2007) shows that the turning point of small-scale accommodation is at seven chambers. A border of seven rooms is also common in other European countries.

A B&B clearly distinguishes itself from a hotel or guest house. Bed and breakfast accommodation often has no provisions for storing luggage and departure and arrival times are more limited.

France: chambre d’hôtes

In France, bed and breakfast exist as chambre d’hôtes, ‘room of the hosts’. There are various gradations, ranging from very simple to very luxurious night stays. In France there is a classification system for the various chambres d’hôtes. There are the organizations Clé Vacances and Gites de France. It is up to the owners to decide whether or not they want to be eligible.

In France, the distinction between bed and breakfast and hotel is based on the number of beds. From 15 rentable beds, it is automatically a hotel and one falls under a completely different regulation.

If you want to start a bed and breakfast in France, just register this activity with the mayor. Further development and promotion is of course in our own hands. The mayor may not forbid anyone without good reason to start a bed and breakfast or a farm campsite, a camping à la ferme.

Under the name B&B there is a chain of budget hotels with self-service options in France. So it is not about bed and breakfast.

Bed and breakfast in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, only the term “bed and breakfast” was used for a long time. In 2017, people in the Netherlands also speak predominantly of the English term “Bed and Breakfast”. “Guest room” is also sometimes used.

Almost all B & B’s are family-driven and the accommodations can be found all over the Netherlands, both in the countryside and in the city. There are all types of buildings, for example: monuments, farms, old schools, country houses, presbytery and mills. In 2009, according to “Guide to the Bed and Breakfast sector” of NRIT, there were an estimated 5,000 bed and breakfasts in the Netherlands.

Since 2007 there has been a classification system for B & Bs in the Netherlands. The term “Bed and Breakfast” is not legally protected, unlike the term “Hotel”, so classifying a B&B is not necessary. More than 500 were classified in November 2018.

Quality shield of the Bed & Breakfast Netherlands Foundation

The quality of B & B’s that do want to be classified is indicated by one to five tulips. By filling in a list of standards on the internet, participants are classified in one of the five categories. This classification is provisional until one of the “mystery guests” has visited the B&B. Only then will the classification become definitive. The Bed & Breakfast Netherlands Foundation maintains the Dutch Bed & Breakfast Classification, manages the “mystery guests” and subsequently certifies the B & Bs.

Germany: Gästezimmer

In Germany, bed and breakfast is referred to as the Gästezimmer or Hotel; the mention Zimmer frei indicates that one or more rooms are still available in the establishment. A common concept in Germany is Hotel garni. This is often a small, privately owned guesthouse, which is situated between a hotel and a B&B and where rooms with breakfast are offered, but where there is usually no restaurant.


In Denmark, despite the name, an overnight stay in a B&B is not always inclusive of breakfast. However, there is a fully fitted kitchen that can be used by the guest. The guest is expected to also take care of the dishes.