The Netherlands is a cultural and historical powerhouse of a country. Outside its storied towns and cities, complete with comprehensive museums to tell you all about it, the Netherlands is pretty too. Tulips, windmills and waterways win the day. Coronadays or not, it’s cool here.
To help you navigate your travel plans through all the confusion, we’ve created this in-depth guide to the COVID entry requirements for the Netherlands. It includes information on what the Netherlands’ New Normal looks like, who can travel there, and what restrictions are in place.
This guide has everything YOU NEED TO KNOW for travelling to the Netherlands in 2020.
A message from Will, the OG Broke Backpacker
Amigos, let’s face the facts: travel isn’t what it was. Things have changed.
We strive at The Broke Backpacker to be the best source of up-to-date and relevant information in the travel-sphere. All the information here was sourced, checked, double-checked, and published on 16/12/2020. While the information was correct then—and we will outline any changes and updates that we do make in the future—it’s important to respect the immense changeability of this topic.
If you’re going to be travelling amongst the coronavirus world, you need to, do your own research and do it hard. No one blog or website is a sufficient source, and even if it was, it might all just go tits up anyway.
This information changes more often than I fart in a day. Tread with caution.
And if you do see some misinformation, please leave a (constructive) comment so that we can patch it up! We really do appreciate your support and input in these weirdest of times.
Who Can Travel to the Netherlands Right Now?
The Netherlands is open for leisure purposes or otherwise to all EU member states and Schengen area countries (including the United Kingdom). Travel is also possible for nationals or citizens of a select number of third-country states, included at the bottom of this list:
*Travel ban on these countries in place as of 27th October 2020
**Once China begins readmitting European travellers
The safe list as it appears above is subject to change, as the most recent (27th October) revisions indicate. Those not on this list, and those removed from it, are considered high risk by the Netherlands and may only enter for essential reasons such as business.
However, citizens and nationals travelling for leisure from high-risk countries may transit through the Netherlands. This must be within 48 hours of your arrival, and you must have proof of a connecting flight. Individuals may not leave the airport’s international transit zone during this time.
Those from countries not listed above may enter the Netherlands for tourism purposes if accompanying a family member who is an EU member state or Schengen area country.
Can Americans travel to the Netherlands?
American tourists are not permitted to enter the Netherlands at present.
Those travelling for reasons other than tourism (sports, business, diplomatic, etc.) may be able to visit the Netherlands on special exemptions. Americans involved in long-distance relationships with residents of the Netherlands can also apply for entry.
What Are the COVID-19 Entry Requirements for the Netherlands?
The Netherlands uses a colour-coded system to differentiate between high risk (orange) and low risk (yellow) countries and regions. Depending on where you’re travelling from, and whether or not it’s deemed high or low risk, the entry requirements for the Netherlands vary.
At present, no travellers to the Netherlands are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result on arrival.
Although testing is not compulsory, passengers are strongly advised to take a COVID-19 test at your port of entry if travelling from a high-risk country.
Health screenings and temperature checks are also not mandatory but may be carried out on arrival.
Some, but not all, visitors to the Netherlands will be required to self-isolate on arrival. This depends on their country of origin. If you are travelling from an “orange” country or region, then you must quarantine upon arrival for 10 days.
At present, that includes most EU and Schengen countries, except for Estonia, some regions of Greece, Iceland, some regions of Latvia, and Norway. See this list for a long list of specific areas for which self-quarantine is required.
Those included on the list of third countries will not be required to quarantine on arrival.
Quarantine can be done in your accommodation. Dutch authorities prefer visitors to self-drive or take a taxi to the accommodation, with public transport only used if there is no other option.
Rules of quarantine in the Netherlands include not having visitors, not using public transport, and only going grocery shopping for essential items if you have no symptoms. If after the initial 10-day period you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, you may end the quarantine.
If you are travelling to the Netherlands by air, all passengers must complete a health screening form. This form must be filled in prior to travel, and be available to present at any point in your journey. You can find the form here.
In addition, the form will be checked by public health and security authorities on arrival in the Netherlands. Your entry into the Netherlands may be refused based on their assessment of your health screening form.
Those entering the Netherlands’ borders by car or ferry/boat services are not required to complete the health screening form.
Travellers will also need to complete another health screening form for their return journey.
In addition, though not compulsory, visitors to the Netherlands are advised to download the CoronaMelder app. This is a track and trace system that alerts users if you have been near somebody who has been tested positive for COVID-19.
The visa requirements for the Netherlands remain the same as they were before the coronavirus pandemic. Visa applications may still go ahead, and there is no change to the list of countries that are exempt from visas for the Netherlands.
Currently, nationals and residents of the EU and Schengen area (and the United Kingdom) do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands. There are other countries outside of this region where visa-free procedures still apply.
To check if you need a visa for the Netherlands or not, please use this government website.
Visa-free travellers to the Netherlands visa-free are not required to have travel insurance. However, to cover the cost of healthcare, or trip interruptions and extensions due to COVID-19, travel insurance is highly recommended.
Please see our travel insurance section for more information.
Travellers who need to apply for a Schengen area visa are required to have travel insurance with up to €30,000 coverage.
Netherlands’ Travel Restrictions – On the Ground in the Netherlands
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Dutch authorities have put measures in place for travellers to follow during their trip to the Netherlands. As with many New Normal regulations in place across the world, these start with basic health guidelines, including:
- Social distancing (1.5 metres)
- Limit contact with other people
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow
- Avoid busy places
- Wash your hands often
Wearing a mask is mandatory in some situations. The Dutch government has not made it compulsory in all situations, but as of 30th September, their “clear national advice” is to wear a face mask in all indoor and outdoor public spaces where social distancing cannot be observed.
Stricter measures in place from 14th October have made it compulsory to wear masks while at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, on public transport and private commercial transport (i.e. taxis and planes).
Those not wearing masks on public transport, including ferries, can be fined €95.
In restaurants and theatres, you may remove your mask when seated. But when leaving the table, for example, to use the bathroom, a mask should be worn.
The government advises to avoid taking your mask off as much as possible. Children under the age of 13 are not required to wear a mask.
Visitors to the Netherlands are also advised to steer clear of popular tourist sites and to consider instead visiting cities or regions that are not tourist hotspots. Travel off-season is also recommended. Walking and cycling should be used over public transport where possible.
There are no restrictions on travel around the Netherlands; visitors may move freely between cities and regions.
What Tourist Services Have Reopened in the Netherlands?
As of 3rd November, the Netherlands has tightened restrictions, with measures in place to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed due to COVID-19. Until 19th November, many services that would usually be open for visitors are now closed.
Those still open include:
- Campsites and holiday parks
- Hotels, hostels, guesthouses
- Tourist areas
Restaurants (except those offering takeaway services and those in hotels), bars, cinemas, museums, and most other cultural venues are currently closed.
New Normal guidelines, such as social distancing and wearing a mask, should be observed at all services still open to the public.
Now, while travel insurance is not a mandatory entry requirement for Netherlands, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. You really shouldn’t ever be travelling without insurance, and that goes double for the pandemic!
Keeping yourself covered against coronavirus mishaps is a complex subject, however, Americans get it easy. Our favourite insurance provider World Nomads just got favourite-r! They’re covering against COVID-related incidents and will also count for countries where corona coverage is a requirement.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple—just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Is there a backup option? Sure is—SafetyWing Travel Insurance! SafetWing is the cheap, long-term insurance for cheap, long-term travellers. And now, they’ve stepped up to the plate and may be able to cover travellers and digital nomads against COVID related medical expenses… at a bargain!
And if neither of those two choices are right for you? Well, in that case, I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend doing your own research on the top travel insurance companies and finding one right for your trip.
And Keep Smiling
The Netherlands isn’t going anywhere. It’s still the same country with the same cultural credentials. You just might have to wait a little while until it can be enjoyed fully.
New Normal regulations continue to fluctuate in the Netherlands, as in many countries. Things get strict, restrictions loosen and then tighten again. But there’s always hope for the future.
So, if your country is currently on the Netherlands travel ban, or if you’d rather just wait until you can enjoy all its bruin cafes and museums, it’s a waiting game. But you can always plan ahead!
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