Dutch bars and restaurants make room for social-distancing life by spilling onto streets

Restaurants and bars across the Netherlands are rushing to get ready for June 1, when they can reopen — while complying with social distancing measures. While the clock is ticking, some Dutch municipalities are making it a little bit easier.  

Eating a lekker meal on a sidewalk, square, road, or parking space will become a possibility — nee, a norm — as municipalities grant restaurants and bars more space to, well, create more space.

When catering facilities reopen on Monday, they need to be able to keep customers and staff one and a half metres away from each other to comply with social distancing rules. Of course, in the Netherlands space is scarce, so that’s not an easy directive.

Utrecht underway

Utrecht has been preparing for the changes for weeks, with a test setup in Neude considered ready to go. The municipality has strict conditions, such as only allowing restaurants and bars who previously has a terrace to expand.

Additionally, establishments can’t take advantage of the rules to have more seats than before — rather, the seating areas can only be expanded to be as close as possible to the original number of seats, while still taking into account social distancing rules.

Amsterdam has a plan

But, the latest announcements from some Randstad cities will ease the pain. In Amsterdam, mayor Femke Halsema explains sidewalks, squares and parking spaces can host restaurant facilities for a limited period of time.

“We have said that joint initiatives by entrepreneurs are given priority, and we hope that this will reduce mutual competition,” says Halsema.

She’s urging Amsterdammers to be responsible with distance, but admits she’s looking forward to enjoying a glass of wine on a terrace.

– 1,5 M afstand – Met de naderende maatregelingen is Nicolette van Dam ons al voor gegaan. Zij geeft even een masterclass serveren! Wij hebben er al zin in!

Geplaatst door Lunchrestaurant Hofje zonder Zorgen op Donderdag 16 april 2020

Rotterdam gives a damn

In the port city of Rotterdam, De Witte de Withstraat will temporarily say doei to cars and welkom to terraces. Nearby restaurants will take over the sidewalks, while pedestrians will walk on the now car-free road. 

It’s actually a plan that has been considered for years — but coronavirus has made it necessary for the small businesses to survive.

But it’s not just De Witte de Withstraat in Rotterdam. The municipality has also announced that Schouwburgplein, Boulevard Nesselande, Middellandplein and Binnenrotte will all become new temporary terrace squares.

Is your city also making space for restaurants and bars? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Kaboompics.com/Pexels

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.


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