20 December 2021, by Victoria Séveno

New travel rules will come into effect in the Netherlands on Wednesday, December 22, requiring all travellers from non-Schengen countries outside of the EU to provide a recent negative COVID-19 test, regardless of their vaccination status.

Mandatory testing and quarantine for non-Schengen travellers

From December 22, all travellers aged 12 and above arriving in the Netherlands from outside of the EU / Schengen area will be required to present a negative coronavirus test – either a PCR test no more than 48 hours old, or an antigen test no more than 24 hours old – before departure. 

In addition to this, travellers from designated high-risk countries (including the United Kingdom, Montenegro, and Georgia)  must go into quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the Netherlands. This can be shortened to five days if the traveller in question tests negative on the fifth day after arrival. 

There are some exceptions to the quarantine obligation – most notably, the majority of vaccinated and recovered travellers will not be required to quarantine, unless they have travelled from a country with a “variant of concern,” such as South Africa or Nigeria.

Dutch government tightens rules to curb spread of Omicron

In time, these tougher rules will apply throughout the EU, but the Dutch government has decided to introduce them a little earlier in order to curb the spread of Omicron. At the press conference on Saturday, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said EU member states were working to develop a package of travel rules that would be the same across the bloc.

While the first stage of these stricter rules is tightening restrictions for travellers from outside of the EU, it is possible that in the future, a recent negative PCR test will be required for all EU residents and nationals – including those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – travelling to a different EU member state.

Meanwhile, various Dutch travel organisations have launched a website outlining their own travel advice, based on data provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), local governments, and Dutch citizens living internationally. “From now on we will organise trips based on our own advice, and ignore that of the Dutch government,” Joshua van Eijndhoven from Voja Travel told De Telegraaf.

For a complete list of all the travel restrictions and the relevant exemptions currently in place in the Netherlands, visit the government website.

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