Travelling to, from and within the Netherlands: What are the rules?

Travelling to, from and within the Netherlands: What are the rules?

At the moment, and ever since the safety measures have been in place to prevent further spread of coronavirus, travel has been confined to only essential journeys until further notice.

As restrictions are being eased, many people are wondering how this will affect them travelling within the Netherlands and travelling abroad. Lots of people are wondering if there is any chance of (or point in) planning holidays. We have put together a guide to travelling, in relation to the Netherlands.

Travelling into the Netherlands

Regarding entering the Netherlands, the ban on non-essential travel implemented on March 19 has been extended until June 15. This means that all travel from third countries to Europe (all EU countries, Schengen area countries and the UK) is not permitted unless absolutely essential. If your reason for travelling is deemed unessential, you can be refused entry into the Netherlands.

Exceptional cases would include visiting a terminally ill family member or attending a family funeral, and these exceptions are intended for first and second-degree family members. KLM and other airlines have amended their timetables and these reduced schedules will last until July 3, in which only five to 10 percent of the normal number of flights will be operating.

The particular flights that operate change each week, so if you’d like to ascertain if a certain flight is due to take place, contact the particular airline in question. Wearing a face mask onboard flights is mandatory until at least August 31, 2020.

On arrival in the Netherlands from most countries, the government does not require that you go into a 14-day quarantine unless you are displaying symptoms of possible COVID-19. 

Travelling within the Netherlands

Travel within the Netherlands is discouraged, unless for essential reasons, such as going to work. From June 1, public transport will run on its regular schedule again, however, the Dutch government is urging people to only travel by public transport if there’s absolutely no alternative. 

The wearing of non-medical face masks will be compulsory for passengers aged 13 and over on trains, trams, metros and buses from June 1. Failing to wear one could lead to a fine of 95 euros. On platforms and at bus stops, face masks are not obligatory.

Travelling abroad

The Dutch government strongly advises against travelling abroad at the moment, whether by plane, car, train or ferry. The essential travel advisory applies to the entire world, including the Schengen and EU countries. This means that, for instance, travelling by car to Germany or Belgium is equally as inadvisable as flying to another EU country farther afield.

Travel abroad is difficult in any case because travel operators tend to follow government measures, therefore there is a dramatically reduced number of planes and international trains scheduled.

Planning, cancelling or postponing holidays

Although the Dutch government strongly advises against travel, holidaymakers from certain countries are allowed to travel into the Netherlands from June 15, with the gradual easing of restrictions, also depending on the measures in other countries. Holiday parks and campsites in the Netherlands are to reopen completely on July 1, meaning that communal washing facilities and campsite toilets will be made available again. 

So if you’re planning on having a Dutch holiday, there will be many options available by July. Holiday parks and other recreational sites in the Netherlands are still taking steps to ensure people stay at least 1,5 metres apart. 

At the moment, though, the authorities advise against holidays abroad as they are considered non-essential travel. Travellers are advised to check with their travel operators as to whether their flights are going ahead. Many countries have strict rules about denying entry to foreign travellers, but for many foreign destinations, it is too early to ascertain whether these rules will still be in place this summer, or if countries will relax rules to keep their tourist industries afloat.

The European Commission has asserted that airlines and travel companies must provide refunds to customers whose flights have been cancelled for reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic. If you have been offered a voucher in return, the Dutch government encourages you to accept it in order to reduce the burden on the travel companies, though you are legally entitled to a full refund.

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

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