Traveling to the Netherlands? How the Christmas lockdown will impact your trip – Lonely Planet Travel News

Traveling to the Netherlands? How the Christmas lockdown will impact your trip – Lonely Planet Travel News

The Netherlands re-entered lockdown at midnight on Sunday amid a new COVID-19 wave fuelled by the Omicron variant. Non-essential businesses like restaurants, bars and theaters are closed until at least mid-January. If you’re planning a trip there soon, here’s what you need to know.

What’s closed in the Netherlands?

Non-essential shops, restaurants, cafes, gyms, hair salons, museums, theaters and other public venues are closed until mid-January under the current lockdown. Essential services like grocery shops, opticians and pharmacies are still open from about 5am until 8pm. Schools are closed and people are asked to work from home. Hotels are open and they can serve guests food and drinks in their rooms, as hotel restaurants and bars are shut for dine-in services.

What other restrictions are in place?

The Dutch government has tightened restrictions on social and household mixing; people are are permitted to have two guests visit their home but that can increase to four guests per day on December 24, 25 and 26, as well as December 31 and January 1. People are asked to do a self-test before household visits.

People line up outside a cookie shop ahead of the Netherlands’ new national lockdown © Getty Images

Can I travel to the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is keeping its borders open but rules vary depending on your point of departure. People traveling from a “safe” EU country or region can show proof of vaccination or a negative test result. Currently only Sardinia is on the “safe” list. People traveling from a “high-risk” EU country must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result and take a test upon arrival.

People coming from a country outside the EU that the Netherlands deems “very high risk” such as the UK must show proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test result and quarantine for 10 days. The US is considered “high risk” and travelers may enter if they are fully vaccinated or qualify for one of the EU Entry Ban Exemption Categories. If you qualify and you can’t show proof of vaccination, you must be able to show a negative COVID-19 test result. You can see the full list of entry rules on the government’s website.

Why is the Netherlands in lockdown?

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said the lockdown measures were “unavoidable”. The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly and expected to become the dominant strain by the end of December. “This rapid increase in infections means the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and ICUs will rise further before the end of the year. It is therefore looking increasingly likely that the healthcare system will become overburdened in January,” the government said in a statement. “The spread of the Omicron variant must be slowed as soon as possible in order to ensure healthcare services remain available to all.”

When will lockdown end? 

The government plans to lift the lockdown on January 14.