If you’re planning to travel to the Netherlands, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic
The Netherlands introduced a strict lockdown in December 2020, following a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases. The country’s first night time curfew since World War II was brought in in January, leading to rioting in major cities.
The Netherlands has since eased restrictions as it looks to return to normal life — although the Dutch prime minister has apologized for easing restrictions too soon, and brought some of them back in.
What’s on offer
Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ biggest draw, with its picture-perfect canals, spectacular architecture and cafe culture. But beyond the capital there is much to love, from elegant administrative capital The Hague to the increasingly hip port of Rotterdam. Outdoor lovers won’t feel shortchanged either, with excellent cycling routes and water sports options on offer.
Who can go
European Union residents are allowed to enter the Netherlands for any reason, but there are different rules for those traveling from “safe” areas within the EU/Schengen area and those traveling from areas deemed high risk.Travelers arriving from safe areas must fill in a health declaration before their arrival and take a Covid test once they’ve entered the Netherlands, while those coming from high risk areas must provide either proof of vaccination, proof of recovery from coronavirus or a negative Covid test result.Visitors from other countries not deemed very high risk (with a variant of concern) can enter the Netherlands.Currently, the following destinations are considered “safe”: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United States. A full list of safe countries, regularly updated, can be found on the Dutch government website.Destinations outside the EU deemed “very high risk (with a variant of concern)” are currently: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela. From those countries, no leisure travel is allowed.The same applies to countries considered as “very high risk,” which currently includes the United Kingdom, Fiji, Kuwait, India, Mongolia, Namibia, Oman, Seychelles and Tunisia.From September 4, US, Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia will be designated very high-risk areas.Any countries not listed are deemed high risk and travelers are subject to restrictions depending on their vaccine status. See below.
What are the restrictions?
Travelers from “safe” countries do not need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter the Netherlands.Those coming from “high risk” countries (any country not listed above) must either show proof of vaccination (approved by the European Medicines Agency or World Health Organisation) or quarantine for 10 days at the traveler’s specified address.Arrivals from countries deemed “very high risk” and “very high risk (with a variant of concern)” must self-quarantine at their own address in the Netherlands for 10 days regardless of their vaccine status. They must complete a mandatory quarantine declaration and show the results of a negative PCR or antigen test (taken within 48 and 24 hours respectively if arriving by plane). Returning a further negative test on day five of quarantine means visitors from these countries can move around the country freely. You can make an appointment to get tested once you are in the Netherlands by calling 0800 1202.All travelers must complete a health screening form, which can be downloaded here.
What’s the Covid situation?
Covid cases spiked in mid-July in the Netherlands, albeit from a low base, driven in part by the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant. Cases have been trending downwards. As of September 3 there have been just under two million cases in the country, with 18,495 in the past week. There have been 18,385 deaths from Covid. So far, just over 62% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Daily reported Covid-19 cases
What can visitors expect?
The Dutch government relaxed restrictions in June, before bringing some of them back on July 9, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologizing for having eased them too soon.Nightclubs have been closed again, and there will be no summer festivals.Restaurant guests must be seated and socially distanced to a 1.5 meter distance, including outside.The current rules are up for review on August 13.While masks are no longer required in indoor public spaces, the Dutch government recommends they be worn when a social distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained. However, everyone over 13 must wear one on public transit, as well as on platforms and in stations. Those who do not do so could face fines of €95 ($112).