Fleeing the hard lockdown: Dutchies outsource Christmas shopping to Belgium

No, no, no instead of ho, ho, ho. ❌🎅🏻 Since the weekend it’s official the Netherlands is going into a hard lockdown a mere five days before Christmas. The solution for many Dutchies? Flocking to cities in Belgium for some last-minute Christmas shopping. 

The Belgium border towns Antwerp and Gent are especially attractive for desperate Dutchies in need of some wrapping paper, reports NU.nl

Why Belgium?

We’ve all been there — it’s five days before Christmas and at least half of all the presents are still missing. Online shopping won’t cut it, because nothing would arrive in time. 

Well, for Dutchies this year, this poses a real problem. All non-essential stores are closed until at least January 14. Sure, there may still be some supermarket pepernoten on offer but that’s about it. 

Pssst: But you know where there isn’t a hard lockdown and Christmas shopping is still possible? Belgium 👀!

Ho, ho, ho, off to Belgium we go

Naturally, many Dutchies take the opportunity to swarm Belgium shopping streets en masse. The NOS has talked to Belgians and Dutchies alike, asking their opinion on the sudden influx of Dutch tourists in Antwerp. Here are some of the highlights:

“Yeah, you know how it is. When the Netherlands is closed, the Dutch go to Belgium where things are open… or to Germany. And when everything is closed in Belgium and the Netherlands is open, then the Belgians come to us,” one interviewee says. 

“Sometimes when you need something, you just have to break the rules.”

NOS Interviewee

To the question of how Belgium can stay so lively while the Netherlands had to close everything down, one interviewee says: “I think it’s because they did everything sooner and faster here (in Belgium). In the Netherlands, they do everything last-minute just when they realise that things are going wrong.” 

Belgians are prepared

Are we really that surprised? The Belgians sure aren’t. “We have also seen it last year and are prepared for it,” tells Paul Van Miert, mayor of Turnhout, NU.nl. “Whether you’re coming from Mol, Herentals, or Tilburg doesn’t really make a difference. If it gets busy here, it’s on us to keep everything under control.”

While there are also concerns about the new Omicron variant and a possible spike of infections in Belgium, the Dutchies remain welcome for now. Belgian authorities have announced that they will deploy additional personnel to ensure that everyone is keeping a 1.5-metre distance and keeping that mondkapje on. 

What do you think of the Dutchies flocking to Belgium for their last-minute Christmas shopping? Let us know in the comments!

Feature Image: Ale_Mi/depositphotos

Cara Räker 🇩🇪
Cara moved to the Netherlands at fifteen and she is here to stay! After all, there is so much to love about it, except maybe the bread (as every German will tell you). Next to finishing up her bachelor's degree in European politics (dry), Cara loves to do yoga, swim, and cook delicious veggie food.

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