Should you visit the Netherlands and Europe right now

Corona Virus image.

Photo: Vektor Kunst.

Current to the best of our knowledge on August 18th, 2020
Important: Always base your decision on your governments official health and travel advice.

We're getting close now to the end of summer 2020 and the Corona virus still holds the world in its grip. Summer did not slow it down as we all hoped. And we, as a destination travel blog, are immediately affected. Just as so many people with booked travel plans.

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. 

It's true that in Holland virus infections are relatively low at the moment. And you could argue it's one of the safer destinations to travel to right now, however:

- The virus is increasing here too, especially in the big cities Amsterdam and Rotterdam and it made its appearance for the first time on the islands. Which see a lot of tourists in the summer. People carry the virus, and when they travel, they carry it with them. 

- National travel advisories change by the minute. Holiday should be about enjoyment and relaxation. Not about checking your government's website multiple times per day to see if you need to leave immediately because of changed advises or measures.

-  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 government's advisories.

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

  • All Museums are now open, but have VERY limited capacity. You can only visit if you hold a reservation made online. 
  • The above also applies to other cultural venues like concert halls, theaters, cinemas et cetera.
  • The Efteling amusement park is open, but again you do need online reservations for a specific day and time slot. So far the park is booked weeks in advance.
  • 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.
  • The government demands to keep a distance from people, 1.5m (5ft). If you don't comply you face a fine up to €400 (from March 24th). Most cities fine €390. And €90 for those under 18. This fine was not enforced that much in the past few months due to lower infections rates, but since they're on the rise again police is getting tougher. Especially in the cities.
  • Most restaurants, bars and cafes are open again, but have limited capacity. 1.5m (5ft) must be maintained, guest can only be seated. Reservations are needed for indoor seating. You need to leave your name, and phone number when you come in (to contact you in case an infected person was at the restaurant at the same time with you).
  • Flights are re-starting and borders are re-opening as of June 15th. Still many countries have their own limitations to travel. So, if 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 travel purposes.
  • Hospitals in the Netherlands have enough capacity to give people the care they need.  Current on August 18th, 2020. Under 50 people are admitted to the ICU for Covid-19 in the Netherlands right now.
  • IKEA stores are open again since April 29th, 2020. But the restaurants remain closed. No meatballs :-(. Personally we highly advise not going anywhere near an IKEA right now. They took measures, sure, but on the first day of re-opening lines where across the immense parking lots at every store. It's just not safe to be this close to other people. By accident you will get within 1.5m/5ft of others. It's not worth the risk if you ask us. But that of course is a personal choice.

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

We do. New infections are relatively very low. And the weekly death numbers are in the single digits. On a population of 17 million. However, most people are starting to lose a sense of urgency and become more relaxed. Time will tell if that was smart. Personally we feel people are getting impatient too soon, and it might be a perfect breeding ground for a 2nd wave of infections. Hopefully we're wrong. We personally still avoid travelling and contact to other humans as much as we can. We feel safer here than elsewhere because we have a decisive government that took action early, which helped.

Also 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.

At the same time Herman still has his day job and works in a hospital on the front lines, 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 re-open again from Saturday March 20 until Sunday May 9 2021.

UEFA Euro 2020 the European Soccer competition (celebrating its 60th anniversary this year) has now officially been cancelled (decision has been made on March 17th, 2020). New dates have not been set but it will be in the summer of 2021, the name will remain Euro 2020.

The Canal Parade at Gay Pride is now officially cancelled (Decided on: April 21st, 2020). 

SAIL 2020 is now officially cancelled (Decided on:  April 21st, 2020). 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 2020 as far as Corona measures goes. We would advice to use 2020 to plan your perfect trip, visit Holland virtually (we created a perfect post for you here) for now, and come in person in 2021. 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 2020, 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 2021 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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