The Netherlands adjusts policy on travelling within EU, multi-day events with overnight stays cancelled until 1 September

The government is changing its policy on travelling within the European Union (EU). This decision is based on three positive developments regarding the coronavirus pandemic in Europe:

  1. more than half of all adults in the EU are now fully vaccinated. In the Netherlands 83.5% of adults are partly vaccinated and 59% are fully vaccinated;
  2. despite the growing number of infections, hospital and ICU admissions are manageable;
  3. member states agreed to facilitate travel within the EU as of 1 July with the Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) scheme.

The amended policy on travel creates more certainty and clarity for people who want to travel within the EU. Requiring people to get tested before returning to the Netherlands can help avoid a possible flare-up of infections here. Travelling within the EU is possible, but not carefree. Measures are still necessary to ensure travel across borders is safe and responsible. Download the BZ Travel App and add your destination country to favourites in order to receive the latest travel advice. Read the travel advice on before you leave.

Before leaving the Netherlands

As of Tuesday 27 July 2021 the Netherlands will not designate EU countries as ‘orange’ solely on the basis of the number of coronavirus infections there. An EU country can still be designated as orange, but only if a new variant of concern is present there. This effectively means that the government is no longer advising against travel to any EU countries, which are all to be designated as either yellow or green. This brings the Dutch travel advice in line with the advice of many other EU countries. However, other countries can still impose extra requirements on people coming from the Netherlands. Read the latest travel advice for your destination, and the rules that apply there (in Dutch only).

Now that many countries are easing coronavirus restrictions, increasing infection rates are inevitable. If we continue issuing travel advice based on infection rates alone, it is likely that in the coming weeks we would have to discourage unnecessary travel to more and more countries. In view of the changed situation in the EU (vaccination coverage, situation in hospitals, introduction of the COVID certificate), the government believes this is no longer necessary or proportionate. As of 27 July countries will be designated as orange only if a new variant of concern is present there that is not yet widespread in the Netherlands.

Before returning to the Netherlands

To avoid people bringing the coronavirus home, as of 8 August 2021 travellers aged 12 and older need to show a COVID certificate if they are returning to the Netherlands from an EU country that has been designated as yellow. People who have been fully vaccinated or who have recovered from a coronavirus infection can show this using the CoronaCheck app. Other travellers must get tested abroad no more than 48 hours (PCR test) or 24 hours (antigen test) before returning to the Netherlands. They may only enter the Netherlands with a negative test result. People who are not travelling in their own vehicle will have to show a COVID certificate before boarding. This can be a negative test result, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery. There are no measures for travellers returning from green countries.

Four countries in Europe are currently orange: Andorra, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain. As a result of the new policy, the travel advice for these countries will change to yellow on 27 July. This means you can travel, but there are risks. People travelling from these countries were already required to show a COVID certificate.

After arrival in the Netherlands

Everyone who arrives in the Netherlands, even if they have been fully vaccinated, is advised to get tested. This is because even people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from a previous coronavirus infection can carry the virus and infect others. People travelling from yellow countries who have not yet been fully vaccinated and have not had coronavirus are urgently advised to do a self-test or get tested for free at the municipal health service (GGD) on day 2 and day 5 after their arrival in the Netherlands. Even people who have no symptoms can carry the virus and infect others. People travelling to the Netherlands from other EU member states are not required to quarantine on arrival, unless there is a variant of concern in the country they have been in.

Travel safely and prepare well

The government stresses that it is important to check the travel advice or in the BZ Travel App. If you live in the Netherlands and are going abroad, add your destination to favourites to stay informed. You should check the travel advice not only when you book, but also shortly before travelling, during your stay and when you return. A country that is designated as green when you leave the Netherlands may, if the coronavirus situation changes, be yellow or orange when you return. You should therefore add proof of vaccination or proof of recovery in the CoronaCheck app, even if you don’t expect to need it. It is also a good idea to find out before travelling where you can get tested at your destination.

Returning or entering the Netherlands from a country outside Europe

For travel outside Europe, the EU list of safe countries applies. From 8 August people travelling from countries on this list can enter the Netherlands but must show a negative test result or proof of vaccination.

Multi-day events with overnight stays cancelled until 1 September

Following consultations with the events industry, the government is extending the ban on all multi-day events until 31 August 2021. The ban applies to multi-day events that include overnight stays, for which visitors would have required a coronavirus entry pass. Organising multi-day events safely and responsibly is complex. Industry representatives themselves state that this is currently not feasible for multi-day events planned in the second half of August. Due to the existing logistic challenges (availability of sufficient staff, arrangements with suppliers, organising tests), organisers needed a clear decision now – any further delay was undesirable. It is, however, not possible to accurately predict epidemiological developments between now and 14 August and which precautionary measures, if any, would be necessary at multi-day events after that date. The government therefore decided to extend the ban on multi-day events involving overnight stays.

On 13 August the government will make a decision on one-day events due to take place between 14 August and 1 September, based on advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT). Organisers of multi-day events with overnight stays that were planned between 14 August and 1 September can apply for financial compensation under the credit guarantee scheme for events or the supplementary compensation scheme for events. The maximum grant available under the guarantee scheme was recently increased to 100% of the incurred costs.

Government meetings on COVID-19 during the summer recess

The government is officially in recess from 9 July to 8 August 2021. However, the ministers most closely involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to meet during that time. These ministers will, in principle, meet twice a week: in-person every Monday, after which they will give a short briefing to members of the press, and via a conference call on Wednesdays. But if the situation demands it, and decisions need to be made, a meeting of the Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 will be called.

From 9 August, the government will go back to meeting several times a week to discuss the pandemic. On Friday 13 August, during the first cabinet meeting following the summer recess, the entire package of measures will be reassessed on the basis of the most recent information.