(CNN) – If you are planning to travel to the Netherlands, here is what you need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Netherlands introduced a strict lockdown in December 2020, following a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases. The country’s first nighttime curfew since World War II was introduced in January, sparking riots in major cities. The Netherlands entered another strict lockdown on December 19 due to a further rise in coronavirus infections.
As restrictions were relaxed as the country sought to return to normal life, authorities have since been forced to bring back some due to a rapid increase in cases.
What’s on offer
Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ biggest draw, with its perfect canals, spectacular architecture and cafe culture. But beyond the capital, there is a lot to love, from the elegant administrative capital The Hague to the increasingly trendy port of Rotterdam. Outdoor enthusiasts won’t feel left out either, with excellent cycle paths and water sports on offer.
Who can go
Residents of the European Union are allowed to enter the Netherlands for any reason, but there are different rules for those traveling from “safe” areas within the EU / Schengen area and those who are traveling from areas considered to be high risk.
Travelers arriving from safe areas must complete a health declaration prior to arrival and take a Covid test once entering the Netherlands. Currently, no country in the EU / Schengen area is designated ‘safe’.
People arriving from destinations considered ‘high risk’ within the EU / Schengen area must provide proof of vaccination, proof of recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test result.
As of December 22, all travelers from non-EU / Schengen countries who are not considered “at very high risk” with a variant of concern must produce a negative test before entry, as well as proof of vaccination or evidence of recent recovery from Covid-19.
Those in destinations that have been designated as “very high risk” areas are required to self-quarantine for 10 days. The quarantine period may be shortened if the traveler returns a negative test result on the fifth day of isolation.
The other destinations outside the EU considered to be “very high risk” are: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
What are the restrictions?
Those coming from “very high risk” countries must present the results of a negative PCR or antigen test (carried out respectively within 48 and 24 hours if arriving by plane).
From 22 December, travelers arriving from safe areas outside the EU that are not designated ‘very high risk’ must provide proof of vaccination, or a negative PCR test result or antigen test performed. within 48 hours (or collected within 24 hours for antigen testing).
Travelers from “very high risk” areas outside the EU are required to self-quarantine for 10 days. The return of a new negative test on the fifth day of the quarantine means that visitors from these countries can move freely around the country. You can make an appointment to get tested once you are in the Netherlands by calling 0800 1202.
What is the situation of the Covid?
Covid cases increased in mid-July in the Netherlands, albeit from a weak base, driven in part by the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant. Cases had trended downward, but have started to rise again in recent months. As of December 29, there had been more than 3.1 million cases in the country, including more than 87,000 last week. There have been over 21,000 deaths from Covid. So far, nearly 67% of the population is fully vaccinated.
What can visitors expect?
The Dutch government eased restrictions in June, before bringing back some on July 9, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologizing for easing them too soon.
On December 19, the Netherlands were once again locked up. Non-essential shops, venues and cultural institutions are now closed, while schools will remain closed until January 9.
Indoor gatherings are currently limited to a maximum of two guests per household, but this is to be expanded to four guests over Christmas and New Years.
Mandatory mask wear in indoor public spaces was reintroduced on November 6, and residents were urged to work from home where possible.
Partial containment had already been put in place in November due to the emergence of the new Omicron variant.
It was announced that for at least three weeks hospitality and cultural venues like cafes, museums and cinemas were to close before 5 p.m., as well as non-essential businesses such as hairdressers. Public places must close between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Home gatherings are also limited to a maximum of four, while people are advised to work from home when possible.
The country has also introduced a coronavirus entry pass system, which is available to those who are fully vaccinated, or have valid proof of recovery or a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken less than 24 hours before in order to enter specific areas. premises.
The list of places where a coronavirus pass is required has since been expanded to include restaurants, museums, cinemas and gyms.
Our last blanket
Joe Minihane and Julia Buckley contributed to this report