What you need to know when you travel to the Netherlands

There are certain things you need to know if you’re planning to travel to the Netherlands during the current pandemic. In this article Conrad van Tiggelen, director of strategy and branding at the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, helps fill you in so you can properly prepare for your trip.

Beach monument Palendorp in Petten aan Zee
Image: ©NBTC / Claire Droppert
Beach monument Palendorp in Petten aan Zee

What is the current situation in the Netherlands?

‘The Netherlands has re-opened for the most part. Some basic rules still apply, however: avoid busy places, stay 1.5 metres away from other people, wash your hands often and – if you have symptoms – stay at home and get tested. Face masks are no longer required in most public spaces. Public transport is the only exception: everyone aged 13 or older must still wear a face mask at stations and airports, on trains, buses and ferries, and in taxis.’

Is the Netherlands ready to welcome foreign tourists again?

‘Absolutely. The Netherlands is a welcoming country and is looking forward to receiving tourists in a safe, responsible way. We’ve missed having visitors from abroad and are excited for their return. The Dutch are always happy to put their knowledge of other languages to use to help foreign visitors.’

What do tourists need to bear in mind when travelling to the Netherlands?

‘Exactly what you need to bear in mind when travelling to the Netherlands depends on where you’re travelling from, how you are travelling and whether the country you’re travelling from is on the list of safe countries and regions.’

See the information below and this checklist for more about travelling to the Netherlands from abroad.

Find out whether you are required to self-quarantine and what documents you need when you travel via the check on reizentijdenscorona.rijksoverheid.nl. It will give you a personal travel overview, based on your travel details.

a summer terrace in Rotterdam
Image: ©NBTC / Ernst Wagensveld
A summer terrace in Rotterdam

What should tourists bear in mind while they are visiting the Netherlands?

‘You can have a great holiday in the Netherlands. Hotels, camp sites and holiday parks are all open. There may, however, be additional rules in place. Shops, museums, amusement parks and other sights and attractions are also open, but you may need to book tickets in advance. Make sure you find out ahead of time what rules apply at your accommodation and any locations you want to visit.

Restaurants, cafés and bars are open, although guests must be assigned a seat and everyone must keep 1.5 metres apart. Establishments serving food and drink may not stay open past midnight or open before 06.00 in the morning. Nightclubs and similar venues are currently closed.

Multi-day events with overnight stays are not permitted before 20 September. One-day events are permitted subject to certain conditions. Event organisers may request that you show a COVID certificate to enter – for this the Dutch CoronaCheck app is required.’

What should tourists do if they become ill while in the Netherlands?

‘Stay in your accommodation and do not leave except to get tested. You can make an appointment to get tested by calling 0800 1202 (or +31 850 659 063 if you’re calling from a foreign phone) between 08.00 and 20.00. COVID-19 tests are free of charge in the Netherlands at all test locations run by the municipal health services (GGD). If you test positive for COVID-19, follow the instructions given to you by the healthcare professionals. If your symptoms are life-threatening, call the Dutch emergency number 112.’

What should foreign visitors bear in mind before leaving the Netherlands to return home?

‘Many countries consider the Netherlands to be a high-risk area. Your home country may therefore require you to show a negative test result when you return. Before leaving the Netherlands, always check the latest rules for entering your home country.’

Bridge over the Maasduinen.
Image: ©NBTC / Sjoerd Bracke & Cuno de Bruin
National Park Maasduinen in Limburg

Do you have any additional tips for holidaymakers travelling to the Netherlands?

‘There is a lot to explore in the Netherlands within a relatively short distance. Avoid busy places and seek out different adventures. Stray from the beaten path and discover some of our country’s lesser-known spots. Do as the locals do and explore by bike, for example. There are many places in the Netherlands where you can rent bikes (including e-bikes). Visit Holland.com for inspiration.

Another option is to take in Dutch culture in our museums, many of which now offer reduced admission. If you are planning to visit several museums, the Netherlands Museum Pass could be a good option for you – it offers unlimited access to more than 400 museums across the country. Due to the restrictions in place, museums may require you to book tickets. You should therefore plan your visit in good time to be sure you can get in during your stay in the Netherlands.’