What are the rules for travelling in and out of the Netherlands? Is there a quarantine period?
We give you the low-down on travel inside and outside of the Netherlands during the coronavirus crisis.
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This complete guide begins by running through what you can expect if you want to travel to the Netherlands from abroad in 2020: under what conditions that is permitted, which countries holidaymakers are allowed to travel from, and the dates on which regulations will change.
The second section of this guide covers travelling from the Netherlands to other countries. This is for residents of the Netherlands who might be wondering where they can go on holidays, how they can get there, and more.
The final section covers travel within the Netherlands. Can you take a holiday at home? What are the campsites doing? Are you allowed to take public transport? This section is also helpful for tourists coming to the Netherlands, for those who want to brush up on the regulations here before arriving.
|But first, a note: travel advice is changing rapidly. For international travel, refer to Netherlands Worldwide for real-time information about your destination country.|
Travelling to the Netherlands during coronavirus
We know you’ve missed us. And yes, you might be a bit too late for tulip season, but don’t worry — we still have all the hagelslag and stroopwafels you could possibly want. This summer, the Netherlands is opening to tourists from some countries, but not others (more details on that below). We’re also discussing travel to the Netherlands out of necessity, and what the regulations are in place.
Is the Netherlands open for tourists during coronavirus?
Travelling from European countries to the Netherlands:
The following countries are currently a code yellow. That means while travel is possible, there is still a risk. Note that the countries can change back to code orange at any time on short notice. If that happens while you are in those countries, you will need to quarantine upon arrival back in the Netherlands.
Tourists from EU countries, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, can all visit the Netherlands this summer for a holiday. There are some exceptions to this: Sweden, Bulgaria, Croatia, Malta, Aruba and Romania remain at code orange, which means that citizens of those countries visiting the Netherlands are expected to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Dutchies coming back from holidays in these countries also need to quarantine for the same period. Some particular areas of Europe have also been switched to code orange per August 15: Brussels, Paris, Ibiza, Bouches-du-Rhone, Salamanca, Madrid, the Balearics, Burgos, Almeria, and Navarra. These are either places where Dutch tourists cannot travel to any more, or places from where travellers to the Netherlands must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Travelling from non-European countries to the Netherlands:
For most countries around the world, travel from outside the EU to the Netherlands is only permitted when necessary, for example:
- for first or second degree relatives if there is a family funeral;
- to visit a terminally ill family member;
- for work-related activities.
Travellers from outside the EU are encouraged not to holiday in the Netherlands, and similarly Dutchies should not be holidaying outside the EU. For some countries, the EU-wide travel ban has been lifted, so travel to and from these countries is possible, though the urgent advice is still to quarantine for 14 days on both ends.
Can travellers from the US enter the Netherlands?
Travellers from the US will not be allowed to enter the Netherlands, unless they have proof of residency here. Exceptions may also be made if you are attending the funeral of a close family member, or visiting a terminally ill close family member.
Furthermore, if you are transiting through a Dutch airport on your way to another EU country, you might also be denied entry, the US Embassy in the Netherlands reports. So, if you’re planning a trip to an EU country that doesn’t have the same restrictions as the Netherlands, you should definitely book a direct flight there.
Will foreign tourists arriving in the Netherlands be tested for coronavirus?
Some European countries, like Greece, have been testing people as they enter their territory. However, if you’re entering the Netherlands from another country, you will not be tested on entry as standard. You are encouraged to self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival if you’re from one of the code-orange European countries, or from a non-European country.
Of course, foreign tourists, just like people who live in the Netherlands, can be tested if they display symptoms while in the country. Just like Dutchies, they should contact the GGD for a test.
We all know what a Dutch summer is like, so it’s only fair that many of us are itching to get away to somewhere sunny this summer. This section will cover where you can go this summer for a vacation from the Netherlands. It will also discuss what you can expect at Dutch airports and on planes leaving from the Netherlands.
Can people living in the Netherlands go abroad for holidays this year?
The answer is yes, mostly. Residents of the Netherlands can take a foreign holiday in some European countries. The Dutch government has changed its travel advice for most countries from code orange (avoid unnecessary travel) to code yellow (pay attention, safety risks). In practice, that means that residents of the Netherlands can travel to these countries this summer for a foreign holiday. It’s important to note that we’ve already seen travel advice switch to code orange for several areas in different European countries, so once again, remember that travel advice can change rapidly.
So where can you plan your next holiday? Netherlands Worldwide has a list of the countries you can holiday in here, but most European countries are open to Dutch tourists now. There are still some exceptions, such as Ireland, Finland and Malta, which are not letting Dutch tourists in at the moment. The Caribbean parts of the Netherlands are also open to Dutch tourists.
At the moment, Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Aruba and Malta are still code orange. A holiday in those countries is not advised by the Dutch government. Other European countries, such as Ireland, may reopen to Dutch tourists later in the year, in which case residents of the Netherlands would be allowed to holiday there. On July 10, travel advice for the UK was switched to Code Yellow, which means that a holiday there is once more possible for Dutchies.
Will travel advice change?
Government officials emphasise that the situation is changeable, and that the virus is still very much present. Travellers need to obey the local coronavirus rules even when on holiday, and if there is a resurgence of the virus, travel to these countries may be off the cards once more. This change could happen suddenly. For the most up to date information, check the Dutch government’s Netherlands Worldwide website.
Travel to non-European countries for vacation purposes is still mostly not permitted, with the exception of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. China may soon be added to this list.
What happens if the travel advice for a country changes back to code orange while you’re there?
The travel advice for different European countries can change from yellow back to orange if the situation in those countries changes, RTL Nieuws reports. This has already several times, particularly in certain regions of Spain and Portugal.
If you are holidaying in a European country, and the travel advice changes from yellow back to orange while you are there, you are expected to quarantine for 14 days on your return to the Netherlands. You will still be insured for your trip if the travel advice changes while you are there, but you are expected to return to the Netherlands as soon as possible. If you stay on, you probably won’t be insured, but this varies per provider. Your employer has to pay you while you quarantine at home for 14 days after you return to the Netherlands, as you are not responsible for the travel advice changing while you were there.
Your situation is different depending on whether you booked individual parts of the holiday yourself, or if you went with a travel agency. You will need to figure out your own way home if you booked your holiday yourself. If you went through a travel agency, they will help you get back to the Netherlands, and you may also be able to return for free.
If you had planned a holiday in a yellow-coded country, and before you leave the Netherlands’ travel advice for it returns to code orange, you should not go. If you decide to go, you will not be insured. The Dutch government will also not help you to return home. You will also not be entitled to pay from your employer while you quarantine back in the Netherlands, because you took the risk yourself.
If you pass through a high-risk area while travelling to another destination, then you do not have to quarantine when you return to the Netherlands. However, you should not get out of your car as you travel through a high-risk area.
Has the USA really banned Europeans until 2021?
In June, the US embassy in the Netherlands mistakenly confirmed to BNR Radio that Europeans would remain banned from the US until 2021. They confused a Presidential Proclamation about immigration and visas in general with the coronavirus related travel ban. Since March, the United States closed its borders to Europeans, unless they are citizens or permanent residents. There’s no news yet about when this ban will be lifted, but officially it has not actually been extended til 2021.
What are the rules on planes and at airports during COVID-19?
As foreign holidays become more possible, more and more people will be travelling by plane. But how does that work in the corona times?
Do I need to wear a facemask at the airport or on a plane during coronavirus?
First things first, you will be expected to wear a facemask on planes and at airports. This mask doesn’t need to be medical grade, it just needs to cover your nose and mouth, and stop you spreading your snot to other people, essentially.
Can I pick up friends and family from an airport in the Netherlands during the pandemic?
If you have family members coming to visit you in the Netherlands from abroad, you may be wondering if you can pick them up at the airport. Each airport has their own regulations, so there isn’t a uniform answer.
At Schiphol, for example, you can pick up your family, but you need to wait for them outside the terminal. You are also required to keep your distance from your family members that are arriving.
What should I do when arriving at a foreign airport during COVID-19?
If you’re entering a foreign airport, the restrictions and rules may be different, and you will of course be expected to obey those rules, even if they are different from those in the Netherlands. Pay attention to signage, keep your distance from other people, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.
What can I expect on a plane to or from the Netherlands during coronavirus?
While some airlines have stopped selling the middle seat, Dutch airlines are allowed to fly with full planes — even though it means not following the 1.5 metre distance rule. This is justified because planes have a different air circulation system to normal buildings.
However, every single passenger on a Dutch flight must wear a facemask at Dutch airports at check-in, at the gate and security checks, and on the plane. Travellers must also complete and sign a health certificate.
Are international trains running through the Netherlands during the pandemic?
If the idea of travelling by plane is frightening, you may prefer the train. But, take into account the following information:
- The Eurostar between the Netherlands and the UK is running; however, because the train runs through Belgium, travellers from the Netherlands will be required to quarantine for 14 days once they arrive in the UK.
- The Thalys between the Netherlands and Paris is still running. You will be required to fill out a passenger locator form upon arrival in France.
If my trip is cancelled or postponed, can I get a refund?
You’ve booked tickets, hotels, and then came coronavirus. So what’s the deal — can you get your money back? The answer is: it depends. The Dutch government has not released a travel cancellations scheme, but you may still be able to organise a refund through your travel provider. You’ll likely be offered a voucher, but in some cases can get a full refund.
Some of us might not feel comfortable yet with travelling abroad this summer, and might choose to vacation within the Netherlands. Or, you might be here on holidays from another country.
In either case, you need to know the rules for travelling within the Netherlands: how public transport works, and when you can use it. This guide also covers what will be happening at campsites in the Netherlands, as those will be popular places for holidaymakers in the Netherlands to spend time at.
Holidaying within the Netherlands during COVID-19
A holiday within the Netherlands is allowed, although some things are different: holidaymakers are encouraged to travel to their destination by bike or car, and to avoid public transport where possible, particularly during rush hour.
If you do take the train, bus or tram, then you are required to wear a facemask. This has been a requirement since June 1. If you don’t wear a mask on public transport you can be fined €95.
Also since July 1, Group Discounts are back, and you can once again take your bike on public transport.
Travelling by car in the Netherlands during coronavirus
You can still travel by car in the Netherlands. Until July 1 it was a punishable offence to have more than two people from different households in the one car. Now, that is permitted, but travellers are advised to wear face masks if they are travelling in a car with someone outside their household.
Camping in the Netherlands during the pandemic
If you’re holidaying at home, there’s a strong chance that camping might be involved. Since June 1, camping sites have been able to reopen their showers and toilets, which basically means that you can go camping again. Most will have additional regulations to make your stay there safer, like drawing up a schedule for shower usage and providing cleaning materials, NOS reports. But generally speaking, your stay there won’t be that different from normal: you will, of course, be keeping your distance from others and obeying the coronavirus regulations.
Some people have been worried, now that European borders are opening, that campsites will be filled with tourists from Germany and Belgium. According to the spokesperson for the Netherlands Bureau for Tourism and Congresses (NBTC), that’s not the case. “It is still difficult to say exactly how many tourists we expect for this summer, but there is still room at campsites. The perception is that everyone is going out, but it is not that bad. Many people are careful and do not book yet.”
Will you be travelling abroad this summer? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
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