Should you visit the Netherlands and Europe right now

Corona Virus image.

Photo: Vektor Kunst.

Current to the best of our knowledge on March 12th, 2021
Important: Always base your decision on your governments official health and travel advice.

We're are now past one year Corona, but the pandemic still holds us in its grip. Summer did not slow it down as we all hoped. And during winter it peaked again. Finally, there is a glimmer of hope with the vaccine rollout. But still there is a lot of uncertainty, will it work longer term, wil you still get infected. Can you infect others even after the vaccin? And availability. So, where does this all put us? Is it wise to travel?

We are not medically trained and don't want to advise for that matter in any way, shape or form. However, we also understand people might come to this website to find out more information about their (upcoming) trip to Holland and learn more about what is, and what isn't possible right now.

It felt weird just to promote the beautiful side of Holland, while all this is going on in the world, and not addressing limitations that the Corona virus brings with it. That's why we created this page. We want to inform you about the current status from a tourists perspective.

Official government travel advice is leading and changing almost by the minute

Your countries' official travel and health advice is always leading, also now with the Coronavirus. If you're already in the Netherlands, the RIVM advice is leading. See the links below.

Would we advise people to visit the Netherlands right now?

No. 

Infection rates are lower in Europe, compared to the US, but it's still significant. There are also regional differences in Europe, and many measures are in place that limit freedom of movement in an attempt to control the spread of the virus. These measures differ on a local level, making it very confusing for travellers.

In addition if you're from outside the EU, or even from some EU countries right now. It's simply not possible to travel to Holland for holiday purposes due to government measures.

What is the current situation in the Netherlands from a tourist perspective?

  • There is a curfew in place form 9pm until 4:30am, the next morning. Breaking the curfew leads to a €95 fine. It's strictly enforced, very few exceptions apply to the rule.
  • The government demands to keep a distance from people, 1.5m (5ft). If you don't comply you face a fine up to €95. Households can only receive 1 visitor per day. Outside, you can not be with more than 3 adults at any given time.
  • All Museums are closed.
  • The above also applies to other cultural venues like concert halls, theaters, cinemas et cetera.
  • The Efteling amusement park is closed.
  • The Keukenhof will remain closed for 2021.
  • All events up to 2021 are now canceled, including sports games, conferences, trade shows, liberation celebrations et cetera. There is no outlook this will change any time soon.
  • Supermarkets, food-, and drugstores are open, other stores are closed, except for click and collect and if you hold an appointment to shop. You need to contact the store at least 4 hours before your planned  visit, and make an appointment to enter. Only a very limited number of customers can be in a store, and you can't stay longer than 10 minutes in most. Some offer longer slots like IKEA (45 minutes).
  • Most restaurants, bars and cafes are open a for take out and delivery only.
  • Flights are re-starting and borders are re-opening. Still, many countries have their own limitations to travel. Wether you're able to visit or not, depends just as much on your home country's regulations. Note that the Netherlands does not accept travellers from most countries outside the EU. A few exceptions are in place like Australians and Canadians. Most notable the borders are closed to all US citizens. You can not visit Europe right now for tourist purposes if you're from the US.
  • Hospitals in the Netherlands have enough capacity to give people the care they need, both on the ICU as regular care. 

Do you personally feel safe in the Netherlands at this moment?

We do, kind of. Infections are worse elsewhere. But also not as good as they can be,  and, most people are starting to lose a sense of urgency and become more relaxed.  Personally we feel people are getting impatient too soon, and it might be a perfect breeding ground for another wave of infections. Hopefully we're wrong. We personally still avoid travelling and close contact with other humans as much as we can.

It's also a blessing we have a good social system, taking care of people when income or revenue dries up. Our health care system is one of the best in the world and is accessible for all, which gives some sense of relieve. I feel we're in a much better place than many other countries around the world, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be careful.

At the same time Herman still has his day job and works in a hospital on the front lines, having to deal directly with Corona patients. That gives a different dimension to it all and it adds stress to our life. We also have fragile parents.

However, worry doesn't help any of us. We need to find positivity where we can. And listen to the experts: Keep 5ft/6ft distance -  Don't visit fragile and elderly friends and family members - Wash our hands before we go outside and when we come back home - Don't overcrowd shops, parks, and nature. Wear a mask when distance can't be maintained. If your government has more restrictive measures than that, of course follow those too!

What will happen to flower season, Formula 1, 75 years Liberation, Euro 2020, Eurovision, Gay Pride (Canal Parade) and SAIL?

The Keukenhof will not re-open in 2021. It will be 2022 at the earliest.

UEFA Euro 2020 the European Soccer competition (celebrating its 60th anniversary this year) has been cancelled. New dates have not been set, the name will remain Euro 2020.

The Canal Parade at Gay Pride no official announcement has been made for 2021. But expect it to be cancelled.

SAIL 2020 is officially cancelled. This one is especially sour for many people, since it has also been said it can not be postposed. Normally the event only occurs once every five years. That means the next edition will be in 2025. It's a long wait.

When is the next best time to travel to Holland?

Holland is beautiful to visit year-round. But we don't expect any major changes in 2021 as far as Corona measures goes. We would advice to use 2021 to plan your perfect trip, visit Holland virtually (we created a perfect post for you here) for now, and come in person in 2022. We'll all be here when you do. 

Did this post help you?

We hope this post helped with making a decision. Once more, please check with your local (health) authorities as well.

If you can cancel travel plans for 2021, please do. Holland will be there, also when this passes. And we'll welcome you with open arms when that moment comes (in the mean time let's stay in touch via our newsletter, see below).

Join the conversation at the bottom of this post and lets us know how Corona affected your travel plans. Are you now planning for 2022 instead?

If you're already here or you are still coming soon, and you need practical help from a locals perspective, please ask us below. We'll try to help as best as we can.

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