Netherlands in top 3 EU countries with highest coronavirus infections, receives international scrutiny

The Netherlands is now among the top three countries in the European Union with the highest number of coronavirus infections relative to size, alongside Spain and France. Other EU countries have been surprised by and critical of the Dutch government’s policies.

In early September, the Netherlands was still comparable to its neighbouring countries in terms of relative infections. The drastic uptick in Dutch infections since then has drawn widespread international attention and scrutiny, reports NOS. French newspaper, Le Monde, calls the mention of face masks in the Netherlands, “the subject of a heated discussion.”

Flemish scrutiny

In regard to the idea that infections would not transfer from young people to the older age group, Flemish virologist Marc van Ranst says, “That was nonsense.” He saw the same misconception in Belguim and says, “The virus passes from young people to their parents and then to their grandparents, we see that happening day after day.”

A Norwegian response

Taking steps based on the number of new infections isn’t the solution. Amrish Baidjoe is a field epidemiologist and microbiologist in Norway, where daily infections are six times lower than in the Netherlands. Baidjoe calls the Dutch approach, “steering in the fog.”

He says the Netherlands needs to look at more than just the numbers. “That is an indicator that is good in itself but has the necessary delay.” He says, “It’s difficult to make a policy on the number of positive cases because in the Netherlands we are running up against the limits of test capacity.” At that point, the cabinet may be too late to intervene. The scientist warns, “We need to see the big picture.”

How do you think the Dutch government has handled coronavirus? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Sam Dixon/DutchReview

Brin Andrews
Brin is an avid ice cream eater from the US, calling Amsterdam home since early 2019. As a lover of mountains, life below sea level has been a bit of an adjustment, but she manages to stay afloat with long runs, wine, and frequent travel. Incidentally, these are a few of her favourite topics to write about.


  1. I am in Australia and our government has been great. They have been tough on us, locked us down, limited numbers in homes, restaurants and bars and it has worked. We worked from home, wore masks and closed shops. Just look at our numbers. They speak for themselves. The Dutch government needs to get tough with their rules. Your “intelligent “ lockdown hasn’t worked. Take a look at how we are doing it and maybe give it a go. It works.

  2. I’m absolutely amazed,by the very slack action ,from the government. It is clear ,that they are underestimating this resurgence. And,in typical Dutch fashion. They’ve been having talks,discussions,and more talks,without doing the right thing. They need to act now .

  3. I’m tired of being laughed at for wearing a face mask. I’m tired of idiot demonstrators in The Hague telling me to take off my mask. I’m worried about work, where no one is taking Covid 19 seriously.
    What is wrong with the Dutch? What is their problem? I don’t get it. Anything you can do to help stop the virus spreading, why would you have a problem with that? The sooner we can get it under control, the sooner we go back to normal. What is it with all these idiot conspiracy theories and thinking the government’s trying to take away your freedom? What freedom do you think you’ll have with Coronavirus raging? Wake up.

  4. In 1960 we made choice to leave the Netherlands and move to New Zealand, which we thought would be a better country for our future children.
    Still glad we did so and again we now see that this country is better to keep them alive!

  5. The way the Netherlands has handled the pandemic is too little too late from the get go. 7 months into the pandemic and we are still discussing whether or not to wear face masks. Jaap van Dissel is not helping the situation by stubbornly sticking to his point that the use of face masks has not been scientifically proven. Who cares? 1,5 meters distance has also not been scientifically proven to completely protect from the spread of the virus and yet it is promoted in NL as the holy grail against corona. Compared to Germany our countries measures are a laughing stock. We should learn from them, instead of wasting our time discussing every single step while the pandemic is spreading like wild fire.


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