Further easing of restrictions not yet possible

Please note: this news item was published on 8 March. Read more about the current approach to tackling coronavirus in the Netherlands.

The rate of coronavirus infection and the pressure on hospitals are still too high. It would be unwise to ease the restrictions further at this time. We need to keep following the rules that we can see are working.

The government has made minor adjustments to the current measures and is looking ahead. There may be more scope for easing restrictions as of 31 March. It may be possible for restaurants and bars to open outdoor seating areas and for shops to open, subject to strict conditions, but only if the numbers allow.

Current measures extended

All current measures will apply up to and including Tuesday 30 March

At the next press conference on 23 March the government will announce what will be possible after 30 March.

The curfew will be extended until 04.30 on Wednesday 31 March

This means that everyone has to stay inside between 21.00 and 04.30. Additional exceptions will apply during the parliamentary elections. 

The advice not to travel abroad will apply up to and including Thursday 15 April

Stay in the Netherlands. Do not travel abroad in the period up to and including 15 April. Do no travel outside the Netherlands unless absolutely necessary. At the next press conference, on 23 March, the government will announce a new travel advisory for the period after 15 April.

Minor adjustments to current measures as of 16 March

The government has made a number of minor adjustments to the current measures.

As of Tuesday 16 March, the following changes will apply:

Swimming lessons

Children aged 12 and under can attend swimming lessons to achieve their A, B or C diplomas.

Shopping by appointment

Shops will be allowed to admit 2 customers per floor or 1 customer per 25 square metres, up to a maximum of 50 customers at a time, if the shop is big enough. Everyone must stay 1.5 metres apart. The rule that appointments must be made at least 4 hours in advance still applies and each customer slot must be a minimum of 10 minutes.


Adults aged 27 and over can participate in sports activities at outdoor sports facilities in groups of up to 4 people. They must stay 1.5 metres apart. Adults aged 18 to 26 were already allowed to participate in team sports at sports facilities without staying 1.5 metres apart. The municipality may in certain cases also offer other opportunities for participating in organised sports.

Driving theory tests and lessons

Theory tests and lessons relating to driving or maintaining a motor vehicle may be offered on site for certain businesses and for people who need to attend such a course in order to perform their work or are required to attend after committing a driving offence.

More exemptions to entry ban

An entry ban is in place for people travelling from outside the EU. A number of exemption categories had temporarily been removed from the list, but have now been added again. People in the following categories are allowed to enter the Netherlands for a short period again: business travellers, students, highly-skilled migrants, professionals from the cultural and creative sectors and people in long-distance romantic relationships.

Minor adjustments to current measures before 16 March

Visitors to nursing homes

Nursing home residents who have been vaccinated can receive 2 visitors per day. These can be different visitors every day. This change applies with immediate effect.


The ban on flights and ferries from the United Kingdom will be lifted at 00.01 CET on Tuesday 9 March. The ‘UK variant’ of coronavirus has now spread in the Netherlands, so there is no reason to maintain the flight and docking ban. The existing negative test requirement for travellers from the United Kingdom and the urgent advice to self-quarantine on arrival will continue to apply.

Possible easing of restrictions as of Wednesday 31 March

The government is planning to ease some restrictions as of 31 March, but only if the number of intensive care admissions remains stable and the reproduction number stays close to or below 1. A decision on this will be taken on 23 March.

Outdoor seating areas

hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars may be allowed to open their outdoor seating areas subject to certain conditions.

Retail shops

Shops may be given more scope to open further.


People may be allowed to receive up to 2 visitors aged 13 or over at their homes each day.


Institutions of higher professional education (HBO) and universities may be allowed to offer students in-person classes at least 1 day per week, subject to certain conditions.

Basic rules

The better we comply with the basic rules, the fewer infections there will be and the sooner we can do more. Sticking to the rules will also increase the scope for easing the restrictions as described above.


Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Keep 1.5 metres away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.

Limit contact with others

Minimise your contact with other people: avoid busy areas, work from home if you can and limit visits.

Stay at home and get tested

If you have symptoms, stay at home, even if your symptoms are mild. Get tested as soon as possible. Stay at home while you are waiting for the result and if you test positive.


The rollout of vaccinations also affects the infection rate. More and more older people are being vaccinated, and this is leading to a drop in the number of infections in nursing homes. The current prognosis is that everyone aged 18 and older will have received at least 1 vaccine injection by July.

Visit the Coronavirus Dashboard (in Dutch) for more information about the numbers, such as the rate of positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants and the number of COVID-19 hospital admissions.