If you’re going on holiday, make sure you travel smart

Texel lighthouse during sunset Netherlands.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, summer 2020 will be very different to what we’re used to. From 15 June, travel restrictions to some countries in Europe have been eased, but going on holiday cannot be taken as a given. If you do decide to go on holiday, the government’s advice is to prepare well and make sure you’re well informed about the local situation and the regulations in place at your destination.

During the summer, everyone should:

  • follow the basic rules and advice to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as avoiding busy places. If you have coronavirus-like symptoms, get tested and stay home.
  • travel by car, bike or on foot and only use public transport if there is no other option.
  • travel off-season if possible, if you aren’t bound to school holidays.

Explore the yellow zone
As of 15 June, ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advisories for several European countries have been changed from orange to yellow. That means that the risk to health in these countries is comparable to that in the Netherlands and that these countries are happy to receive Dutch tourists. Other countries, for instance Spain, still need to decide whether Dutch tourists are welcome this summer.

On the national government’s website, government.nl, you will find the latest advice on travelling abroad. At www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl you can see which countries have been declared safe – or at least, are in the ‘yellow zone’, which indicates countries to which you can travel safely, provided you heed the local regulations. Make sure you know what the rules are in the country you’re travelling to, especially with regard to Covid regulations – so don’t forget your face mask! Know what your travel insurance covers and stay up to date with the latest information during your trip, for instance by using the ministry of Foreign Affairs travel app. Travel advice can change quickly, so make sure you read the news while you’re away. Borders may close again due to local corona virus outbreaks, and the Dutch government has announced that it will not organize repatriations for tourists who get stuck abroad.

Travelling outside Europe
In order to limit the risk of a new outbreak as much as possible, travelling outside Europe is not recommended. Travel advisories for countries outside Europe and outside the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will therefore remain orange for the foreseeable future. This means you can only travel there if it is absolutely essential. If you do go, you are strongly advised to self-isolate at home for 2 weeks upon your return to the Netherlands.

Foreign tourists in the Netherlands
Tourists from countries where the risk to health is either comparable to or lower than that of the Netherlands can visit the Netherlands this summer. They must of course follow all the rules in place in the Netherlands to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It is vital to avoid busy places, so you may want to avoid the major tourist hotspots.

With all these caveats, travelling may not really seem like a holiday this year… But if you decide not to risk a holiday abroad, no worries. The Netherlands is a lovely country, and there is much more to see than you can ever cover in one summer. You might love it so much, you will stay in the Netherlands next year as well!

Written by Saskia Roselaar