What are the rules for travelling in and out of the Netherlands? Is there a quarantine period? Which countries can you holiday in this summer? 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 the summer of 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:
Tourists from EU countries, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, can all visit the Netherlands this summer for a holiday. There are two exceptions to this: travellers from the UK and Sweden must go into a 14-day quarantine when they arrive in the country. In practice, that means that a holiday here from either of those countries will be difficult to carry out.
At this stage, it’s unlikely that tourists from the UK and Sweden will be able to visit the Netherlands this summer.
Travelling from non-European countries to the Netherlands:
When it comes to travellers from outside the European Union, the current plan is to open the country to them from June 30 onwards — under certain conditions. Currently, 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.
Holidaymakers from non-EU countries could be welcome after June 30. However, tourists from high-risk areas, such as the US and the UK (and certain parts of Italy and Spain) will be required to carry a Health Certificate with them. They will also be required to quarantine for two weeks after arrival, so holidays from these areas will be few and far between.
Tourists from outside the EU must also have a reservation for holiday accommodation when they enter the country, or they could be denied entry. All tourists, no matter where they come from, will need to obey the Dutch coronavirus regulations or face a fine.
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 the UK or Sweden, 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. The GGD is still figuring out exactly what that process will look like,reports RTL Nieuws.
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 from June 15 onwards. The Dutch government has changed its travel advice for the below 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.
So where can you plan your next holiday? Try: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, France, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic and Switzerland. The Caribbean parts of the Netherlands also fall under this regulation.
Meanwhile, the UK, Sweden, and Denmark are still code orange, and will likely remain so for most of the summer. A holiday in those countries is not advised by the Dutch government. Other European countries, such as Ireland and Spain, may reopen to Dutch tourists later in the summer, in which case residents of the Netherlands would be allowed to holiday there.
And, if you’re planning an island holiday, Greece will currently enforce testing on anyone coming to the country from the Netherlands. While you wait for the results of the test, you need to be quarantined for one day. If you test positive, then you will be quarantined there for two weeks. This measure will lift from June 30, after which only randomised testing will be in place.
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 not permitted, and will likely remain so for most of the summer — and perhaps longer.
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 Holland and London is cancelled until June 28.
- The Thalys between the Netherlands and Paris is still running, but at a reduced schedule. However, facemasks are mandatory and you must present a certificate of urgent/necessary international traffic to France at the border.
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 should travel to their destination by bike or car, but not by public transport, Prime Minister Mark Rutte says. Public transport is still reserved only for journeys that are absolutely necessary, not for day trips.
If you do need to 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.
There is also no Group Discount available at the moment on trains, which makes sense as the NS is trying to discourage people travelling in groups. No bikes have been allowed in trains since May 12.
Travelling by car in the Netherlands during coronavirus
You can still travel by car in the Netherlands, although certain rules must be kept:
- if you do not belong to the same household you must be 1.5 metres apart. There are no exceptions.
- You can have up to two people who are not from the same household in one car. Three or more people who do not belong to the same household but are travelling in one car can be fined, unless it includes a child under 12.
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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