FAQs about tourism in the Netherlands and COVID-19 measures

Dutch tourists and foreign travellers from countries where the health risks are similar to or lower than in the Netherlands can holiday in the Netherlands. Everyone must follow the Dutch advice and rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Rules for everyone

What rules do I have to follow during my holiday in the Netherlands?

During your stay in the Netherlands you must follow the rules that have been imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These rules apply to everyone in the Netherlands, including tourists.

  • Maintain a distance of 1.5 metres (approx. 2 arm’s lengths) from other people.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Don’t shake hands with others.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Avoid busy places. Leave if you notice it is becoming difficult to keep a distance of 1.5 metres.

Read more information about the basic rules for everyone in the Netherlands

May I travel anywhere I wish within the Netherlands?

There are no restrictions on travel within the Netherlands. However, it’s important to avoid busy places, so please keep this in mind when choosing your destination. Consider going to a different region or city instead of tourist hotspots.    

Are restaurants and cafés in the Netherlands open?

Yes, restaurants, cafés and outdoor seating areas are open in the Netherlands, but special restrictions apply. Reservations are often required for restaurants, cafés and bars (as the number of customers permitted can be limited) and you could be asked whether you have cold-like symptoms or a fever. At all times you must keep a distance of 1.5 metres from other people who are not part of your own household. All customers will be seated at a table or at the bar.

Are museums and other places of interest open?

Museums and monuments are open. The maximum number of visitors depends on the size of the building. Visitors could be asked whether they have cold-like symptoms or a fever.

What should I do if I develop symptoms of COVID-19?

If you have symptoms that suggest you may have COVID-19, remain inside wherever you are staying and arrange to be tested. Call 0800-1202 or +31 850 659 063 to arrange an appointment. If you test positive for COVID-19, you and any travelling companions must self-isolate in your holiday accommodation for 2 weeks.

As a foreign tourist, do I have to have a reservation for holiday accommodation?

No. You are not obliged to reserve your holiday accommodation before you travel to the Netherlands. 

Will foreign tourists receive fines if they do not observe the rules?

Yes. No distinction is made between Dutch residents and foreign tourists when it comes to enforcing the COVID-19 rules.

Should foreign tourists get tested if they develop symptoms while in the Netherlands?

Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms while in the Netherlands – whether they live here or are just visiting – should stay at home or in their holiday accommodation and get tested. Foreign tourists can call the national appointment line on 0800 1202 or +31 850 659 063.

Non-medical face masks

What type of non-medical face mask do I need to wear while travelling in the Netherlands?

When travelling by public transport, taxi, coach or car, a non-medical face mask that does not have a filter and is made of a material such as cotton is enough. These types of face mask are sold in places like supermarkets and pharmacies. You can also make your own. 

You may not use a scarf, face shield/visor, snood, bandanna, the collar of a jacket, or a non-medical face mask made from a sock, for instance. Gas masks should also not be used. 

How many non-medical face masks do I need?

You will need a new or freshly washed non-medical face mask for every journey. For instance, if you make one journey in the morning and one journey in the afternoon, you will need two non-medical face masks. 

I don't have a non-medical face mask. Can I travel on public transport? 

No. All passengers aged 13 and over are required to wear a non-medical face mask. The fine for not wearing a non-medical face mask is €95. 

Can I buy a non-medical face mask at train stations in the Netherlands? 

At train stations, non-medical face masks are for sale in the following shops: Kiosk, AKO, Albert Heijn, HEMA and Etos. They can also be bought from vending machines on platforms.

When should I put my non-medical face mask on?

To ensure safe and efficient boarding, put your non-medical face mask on before you get into the vehicle. Don't take off your mask until after you have got out of the vehicle.

What should I do with my non-medical face mask after using it?

After you have used a disposable non-medical face mask once, you should dispose of it in a normal waste bin. Non-medical face masks cannot be recycled. You should throw away disposable gloves in the same way after one use. If you buy or make a cotton reusable non-medical face mask, you can wash and re-use it. If it breaks or wears out, you should dispose of it in the same way as a disposable non-medical face mask.

Transport in the Netherlands

May foreign tourists use public transport in the Netherlands?

You can use public transport, but should avoid peak hours. Allow for extra journey time so that, if a bus or train is too crowded, you can take the next one. People aged 13 or over must wear a non-medical face mask on public transport.

What rules apply if I travel by taxi?

From 1 July 2020 taxi passengers must undergo a pre-travel health check and wear a non-medical face mask. This will help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading. It is a good idea to book your taxi in advance wherever possible. Taxi firms are taking additional measures to prevent the virus spreading, such as additional cleaning between journeys. The driver will also ask you to place your luggage in the boot yourself and to open your own door.

Can I travel by coach in the Netherlands?

Yes, you can go on a coach holiday or day trip in the Netherlands. You must undergo a pre-travel health check and everyone aged 13 or over must wear a non-medical face mask. This will help reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Wherever possible, passengers will be asked to reserve and be allocated a seat.

Can I take a ferry to the Wadden Islands?

Yes. But all passengers aged 13 and over must wear a non-medical face mask on board.

I will be travelling by car. Can people who aren't members of my household or family travel with me in my car?

Yes. People from different households can travel in the same car. Anyone aged 13 or over is advised to wear a non-medical face mask in this situation. If you are in a car on your own or with members of your own household only, you don't need to wear a non-medical face mask.

Travelling to and from the Netherlands

Are face masks compulsory at Amsterdam Schiphol and other airports?

At airports, it may not always be possible to stay 1.5 metres from others at peak periods or during security checks. So airports are asking travellers to wear non-medical face masks at check-in, security and when boarding, for instance.

You are advised to check in online before you go to the airport. At airports, just like everywhere else in the Netherlands, you should stay 1.5 metres from others and observe the hygiene rules.

Do not go to the airport if you have COVID-19 symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing or a fever.

Are people tested for coronavirus before they board a plane?

No, this is not standard practice. Airlines are free to decide for themselves how they conduct health screening. Check with your airline for more information on their boarding procedure.

I'm flying back to the Netherlands from an area with many coronavirus infections. Do special measures apply to me when I arrive?

In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Netherlands the Dutch government has decided to implement measures for passengers flying to the Netherlands from areas with many coronavirus infections by means of a health declaration form and self-quarantine. Crew members are exempted from these measures. However, they must comply with the regular fit-to-fly requirements. Travellers from certain countries are exempted from the advice to self-quarantine. These exemptions can be found below.

I need to fill in a Health Screening Form before my flight. How does that work? 

All passengers aged 13 and above travelling to and from Dutch airports must fill in a Health Screening Form. If you report symptoms that suggest you may have COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board the airplane. The airline you are flying with will provide you with a Health Screening Form. Keep the form with you during your journey. At the destination airport, passengers will be selected at random and asked to show their Health Screening Form. Incoming passengers will receive information about the coronavirus rules in the Netherlands.

Which travellers need to self-quarantine on arrival in the Netherlands?

Countries within the EU, the Schengen area and the United Kingdom:

Countries outside the EU, the Schengen area and the United Kingdom:

  • All travellers from outside the EU, the Schengen area and the United Kingdom need to self-quarantine for 14-days on arrival in the Netherlands. An exemption is made for travellers from the following countries:
  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • China

The following groups are exempted from the advice to self-quarantine, regardless the country of departure:

  • Transit passengers who want to travel via the Netherlands and who do not leave the international transit zone of the airport.
  • Healthcare personnel, who travel to the Netherlands for the purpose of work (including health researchers and elderly care professionalsBorder workers, who travel for the purpose of work.
  • Transport personnel, who travel for the purpose of work.
  • Diplomats, who travel for the purpose of work.
  • Staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations, who travel for the purpose of work.
  • Military personnel, who travel for the purpose of work.
  • Humanitarian aid workers, who travel for the purpose of work.
  • Civil protection personnel, who travel for the purpose of work.
  • Seafarers in possession of a seaman's book, with the exception of seafarers on commercial and pleasure yachts.
  • Persons who have important reasons to visit their families; these are journeys in exceptional cases. An exceptional case is visiting a terminally ill family member and attending a funeral. It is intended for first-degree and second-degree family members. Partner and children are first-degree and grandchildren are second-degree.
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