22 December 2021, by Victoria Séveno
With a number of Dutch citizens and residents crossing the border in order to enjoy more freedom from COVID-19 restrictions, local German and Belgian authorities are calling on their own people to avoid travelling to the Netherlands, and asking the Dutch to stay in their own country.
Dutch cross Belgian and German borders to avoid lockdown
After Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced a hard lockdown for the Netherlands on Saturday, a number of people have turned to neighbouring countries in order to finish off their Christmas shopping and enjoy an evening meal at a restaurant with friends and family.
This week, various Dutch news outlets have reported that people from the Netherlands have hopped over the border to pop to the gym or the hairdresser, or to go to the cinema. While this might be good news for businesses, authorities are concerned about what it could mean for their coronavirus infection rates.
Belgium and Germany say Dutch should “stay in their own country”
The German newspaper Bild reports that Kai Zwicker, the district administrator for Borken (a town in North Rhine-Westphalia) has asked people to avoid cross-border journeys. “I have a heartfelt request to both the Germans and the Dutch neighbours,” Zwicker says. “Please refrain from making unnecessary visits to the respective neighbouring country at the moment. The Germans should stay in their country, the Dutch in the Netherlands.”
Meanwhile, over in Belgium, the governor of the city of Antwerp, Cathy Berx, has urged people from the Netherlands not to visit Belgium, warning that if they continue to border hop in order to go to a restaurant or do some shopping, Belgium will ultimately be forced to introduce harsher restrictions and potentially shut down its catering industry. “My Dutch friends should stay in their own country,” Berx told Flemish newspaper De Standaard.