Dutch parliament passes curfew: here’s all you need to know about the “avondklok”

Wednesday’s press conference left many of us in the Netherlands on the edge of our seats. Will there or won’t there be a curfew? Our questions have now been answered — the Dutch parliament has given the seal of approval for the “avondklok.”

Following a debate that lasted most of today, the Dutch parliament has decided that a curfew will be in place throughout the Netherlands from the hours of 9:00 PM to 4:30 AM. It will be implemented within the next few days (by Saturday, at the earliest) and last until at least February 9.

This comes as little surprise, with Rutte all but confirming that the curfew will be approved by parliament during yesterday’s press conference. “Nobody wants a curfew — but we’re getting it.”

The curfew will now come into effect a half an hour later than initially expected, yesterday, it was believed that the curfew would begin at 8:30 PM. As a result of the debate, Rutte has now decided to accept the slightly later starting time.

Who will be exempted from curfew?

Not everyone will have to abide by this new restriction, for example, your work may be deemed essential during these hours. However, if this is the case you will need to prove it. Below are the list of those who may be exempted from following the Dutch curfew:

  • Your work has been deemed essential/necessary. In this case, your employer will be required to prepare a statement explaining why it is necessary for you to be out after curfew — for example, you may need to be on the streets after curfew to commute to/from your workplace.
  • Assisting a person in need of help. You may also break curfew if you are required to assist someone in need. This has been deemed “informal care.”
  • Medical help. If you or your pet are in need of medical help then you may break curfew to receive care.
  • To attend a funeral. You may also break curfew in order to attend a funeral.
  • To sit an exam. If you’re expecting to take any late night exams, fear not. You will be exempted from curfew in order to attend the exam as long as it concerns practical education, secondary education, vocational education or higher education.
  • A necessary trip abroad. You may break curfew if you are taking a necessary trip abroad. In this case, the trip must be due to instances such as family circumstances and not leisure. 
  • Taking part in a live evening TV programme. Perhaps the most bizarre of all exceptions, the curfew may be broken if you are taking part in a live TV show.
  • If you are a member of law enforcement or emergency services such as the fire brigade and ambulances. People who work in these areas will be automatically exempt from curfew and will not need to carry a form.
  • Travelling from abroad. If you are travelling from abroad during curfew hours you will be exempt so long as you can prove that you are currently travelling and that you must be on the streets at this time.
  • If you are homeless. It goes without saying that if you do not have a home to remain inside, you will not be fined for breaking curfew.
  • Walking your pet. You may break curfew if you need to take your pet outside for some exercise/to have a bathroom break.
  • In the case of a personal disaster. This one remains quite broad. If you or someone in your family is in an emergency, or if there is a serious family circumstance, you may break quarantine.

How do you feel about a curfew? Do you think these exceptions are justified? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! 

Feature Image: peter hessels/Flickr/CC2.0.

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.


  1. They should also minimize the non-essential travels. Now that students are not allowed to come to schools they should also be not allowed to go outside of their residences and gather around the streets and in public parks. They have NO businesses to do outside. Children are the super carrier of the VIRUS and viruses never travel people Do. Limit the age of people who are allowed to go outside and travel. Persons ages from 18 below and 65 above should not be prohibited to go outside of their homes. STAY AT HOME…VIRUS HAS NO BOUNDARIES.


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