Two years into the pandemic: can (should) you visit The Netherlands right now?

Corona Virus image.

Photo: Vektor Kunst.

This page was last updated on March 7th, 2022

Wow we're already two years into the pandemic. You would think the world would have figured out travel by now. Unfortunately, no matter how hard everybody is trying to find a balance between opening the world and mitigate risks, it's still a big web of rules out there. With (regional) QR codes, vaccination certificates (that are not always compatible), testing rules and quarantine rules that vary in, as it seems, almost every country. Then there is 3G, 2G, 2G+, and 1G.  All make it so much more complicated than we could have ever imagined. In this post I try to make sense of it all. With the focus on current regulations applicable for The Netherlands.

However, it's important, that before we continue, to note I'm not medically trained and don't want to advise for that matter in any way. At the same time, I also understand people want to know if they can even consider a trip to The Netherlands right now, how things work here and learn more about what is, and what isn't currently possible.

It felt weird just to continue to promote the beautiful side of Holland, during the pandemic, and not address this topic. So I do my best below:

Official government travel advice is ALWAYS leading

Your countries' official travel and health advice is always leading to determine if you can or should leave the country, and the Dutch government advice is leading for entry into The Netherlands.

Can you visit the Netherlands right now?

The answer is yes, if... you can show proof of full vaccination.

When you travel from country that is NOT within the EU:

If you travelling from ouside the EU (The US, or The United Kingdom for example) you also need to be able to show a negative test that is no older than 24 hours before departure. When you  travel by air you also need to complete a health declaration form (12 years and older).

When you travel from country that is within the EU:

If you’re travelling from a country within the EU your EU Corona QR code is enough to enter. 

Once you’re inside The Netherlands:

Once you're in the country there are no QR checks anymore for activities. Except for large festivals where 1G applies (everybody needs a test, no matter if you're vaccinated, or unvaccinated). Large festivals (when indoors, and have more the 500 visitors) are currently the only restriction in regards to testing.

You do not need to self-quarantine after arrival. You can immediately start your trip.

The EU QR code and 3G, 2G, 2G+, 1G explained

In most of Europe and also in The Netherlands the QR code or the Corona passport is now only used for travel. Expect checks at airports, railway stations and harbours (if you travel internationally). Once inside the The Netherlands there are no QR checks anymore to gain entry to venues.

The one exception to this are large indoor festivals of more than 500 visitors. There 1G applies. Meaning everybody needs a negative test result from the past 24 hours. 

When you're traveling to other EU countries, their policies my vary. You might read things like 3G, 2G+ et cetera. This is what they mean:

3G: 1. Vaccination (in the past 270 days) 2. Recovery (in the past 180 days) 3. a Test (< 24 hours old).
2G: 1. Vaccination (in the past 270 days) 2. Recovery (in the past 180 days)
2G+: 1. Double vaccinated (<270 days) plus Booster 2.  Double vaccinated + test (< 24 hours old).
1G: 1. Always test  (< 24 hours old) no matter of your vaccination status.

With 2G+ it's important to note that the one shot Johnson/Janssen is not accepted. You need 3 shots, or 2 full shots and a test (not 1 Johnson/Janssen shot and a booster).

The different G's are not important anymore if you just visit The Netherlands since we just use 1G for large events, for everything else we don't use the QR code anymore. But if you want to visit more European countries, make sure to check restrictions for each individual country. Rules vary!

From a tourist perspective should I even visit The Netherlands right now?

 If you’re fully vaccinated and/or have the European QR code, plus you're comfortable with the risks attached to travel and the virus, I would say why not?  .

There are many ways to stay safe(r): use a good mask, keep your distance when possible, and avoid crowds whenever possible.

One thing important to do is to check your countries official travel advice. If your country has a negative travel advice for Europe (The Netherlands), your travel insurance might not be valid. That usually also include non-Covid related claims.  Make sure to be well informed before you leave.

If you are coming to visit  here is first glimp of a few popular activities you can book. Note, that booking activities with Get Your Guide is risk free they have an easy refund policy for all cancellations up to 24 hours before your activity.

Why not start putting your trip together now, knowing if things change, know you can easily get a refund.

Here is a quick overview of current rules in The Netherlands

  • Clubs and dancings are now open but a 1G (test required for ALL visitors) applies for venues that welcome more than 500 visitors.
  • Public transport runs as normal, but wearing a mask is STILL required, same as for all flights.
  • Hospitals in the Netherlands have low numbers of Covid patients right now. The Netherlands has a well developed and modern health care system. Note that English is well spoken by staff. You don't have to worry about a language barrier or quality of care in the unfortunate event when you may find yourself in a Dutch hospital during your visit.

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

I do, kind of. Infections are as bad as elsewhere. But I'm fully vaccinated and boosted. And although mask requirements and social distancing are now gone in The Netherlands. I continue to wear a good FFP2/N95 mask, and I avoid crowds when I can.  I understand this is very personal, and differs from person to person. For me, just the fact governments don't mind us getting the virus because hospitals can handle it, doesn't mean I like to get it.

But whatever your personal feelings are: show respect for the country that you’re visiting and follow local rules. That is what travel is all about. In your home country masks might not be mandatory, that might not be the same where you’re going. If you’re unable to accept that it’s better not to travel yet. And rules can always change on short notice. That is all part of traveling during this pandamic.

When is the (next) best time to travel to Holland?

Holland is beautiful to visit year-round. And for many people The Netherlands is open and you come and visit right if you want. I really recommend to come soon to see the flower fields in full bloom (best weeks are the last two weeks op April). You can easily book your Keukenhof tickets and transfer here. Or just a skip the line ticket without transportation. (both with free cancellation).

If you're not comfortable yet to hop on a plane you can always visit Holland virtually (I created a perfect post for you here) for now, and come in person when things improve just a bit more. The country will still be here once you can travel again.

If you're looking for more information about special dates to choose when to visit The Netherlands read our post: Important Dates when visiting The Netherlands. Outdoor activities are always safer then indoors so the tulip season is a great time to come (late April/Early May) or summer!

Did this post help you?

We hope this post helped with making a travel decision. Once more, please check with your local (health) authorities as well before you hop on a plane. 

Join the conversation at the bottom of this post and lets us know how Corona affected your travel plans. Are you now planning for 2023 instead, or is 2022 still in the cards for you? Did you miss any information in this post? We'd love to hear from you!

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