Sunday shop opening is deregulated to the municipal level in the Netherlands. Despite positive effects on economic growth and employment, many municipalities restrict Sunday shop opening. Based on 2003 data we will show that diverse local characteristics, as the size of municipalities and religious and political affiliation, play a major role in decisions about Sunday shop opening. The evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that municipal control results in a considerable variation in policies. As this variation is related to significant differences between municipalities, reasons exist to decentralize the decision on Sunday shopping opening. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007.