Bike stores or coffee shops? What counts as essential in the Netherlands

A hard lockdown has started once again in the Netherlands. 😭 Among other things, non-essential stores must close their doors, and essential stores can only open from 5 AM to 8 PM. But what counts as an essential store this time around?

Some stores have remained essential throughout the pandemic, like pharmacies and supermarkets which carry essential products (who remembers the hamsteren (hoarding) of pasta and toilet paper at the start of the pandemic?). 

What is “essential” during the Dutch lockdown? 

According to the Dutch government, opticians, hearing care professionals, home care stores, and pet stores are considered “essential” so those with eye checks and pet check-ups can still make those appointments. 👀 

Further, gas stations, pharmacies, and shops at the airport will also remain open without any specific closing times, reports

And there are places with essential services, places that have important jobs to do for other people like town halls, libraries, veterinarians, funeral supplies stores, dry cleaners, car rental companies, and service points for post and parcels. 

Weirdly enough, bicycle repairs are open, but the shops themselves are closed (a bit unexpected for a country with more bikes than people). 🤔

An exception for… Christmas trees? 

Finally, shops that only sell Christmas trees at this time of year will stay open until 5 PM instead of 8 AM — so for any of those who procrastinated on their Christmas decorating, you’ll still get your chance to set up. 🎄

What do you think of what the Netherlands considers “essential stores”? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.👇

Feature Image: Kristaps Grundsteins/Unsplash

Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Third culture kid Katrien is a Philippine native living in the Netherlands to finish her master's degree in political communication. You can usually find her trying to organize everything on Notion and the sticky notes app, otherwise, she’s nose-deep in a good book or obsessing over film soundtracks and video games.


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