Initial reception centre for Ukrainian refugees to open in Amsterdam today

As of today, the first wave of Ukrainian refugees who fled to the Netherlands and need a place to stay can make their way to Amsterdam, where an initial reception centre has been set up for 80 people from Ukraine. The government is in talks with the municipalities of Zaanstad, Haarlem, Den Haag and Ede, the Ministry of Defence and other parties about the reception of Ukrainian refugees.

This is for the purpose of offering Ukrainian refugees initial shelter. In the meantime, the government is preparing more large-scale reception facilities in cooperation with municipalities and civil-society partners. The Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary will refer people who need shelter to the available locations when they arrive at the border. Ukrainian refugees who are already present in the Netherlands and are looking for a place to stay can report to the municipality where they currently are. Municipalities can contact the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) if they have questions about how to act.

Many other municipalities are interested in offering shelter to Ukrainian refugees as well. The VNG is calling on these municipalities to contact the VNG, so that it can obtain an overview of reception options nationwide.

In addition to municipalities, organisations like the Netherlands Red Cross, the Dutch Council for Refugees and the Salvation Army have also offered assistance. There have also been several heart-warming private initiatives. The government is currently considering its options as regards the types of assistance to be offered. It is very grateful to all parties for their initiatives and offers of support. ‘It’s great to see that municipalities and civil-society organisations are ready to help Ukrainian refugees. Our policy has always been to shelter people in the local region as much as possible. Now Europe has become that local region. We’ll offer people who come to the Netherlands all the assistance they need’, according to Minister for Migration Eric van der Burg.

For the moment, many refugees from Ukraine are finding shelter with family and friends in neighbouring countries. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is prepared to accommodate onward travellers.

Thanks to the association treaty concluded between the EU and Ukraine in 2017, citizens of Ukraine do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands. Those with a biometric passport have leave to remain for 90 days in any event. This is why Ukrainian refugees are not being directed to asylum seekers’ centres in the first instance. They already have leave to remain in the Netherlands. By consequence, special reception centres are being set up for them.