It’s been a long three months since the UK and much of the world went into some form of lockdown.
But now that the “Stay At Home” mantra has been replaced with the more ambiguous “Stay Alert” and things are starting to reopen, when can we travel abroad again?
More specifically, when can we visit Amsterdam again? And will we be allowed to smoke inside coffee shops, ride bikes and eat overpriced waffles?
The Dutch have been under lockdown – albeit a more relaxed verson than the UK – since 15 March. Schools, restaurants and tourist attractions were closed, a 1.5m distance rule was introduced, and meetings of more than three adults were banned.
A phased reopening began on 11 May, when primary schools restarted part time.
Travelling to the Netherlands
On the English website for The Kingdom Of Netherlands, it states that the Dutch government is following the EU’s advice and extending the ban on non-essential travel into the Netherlands from outside Europe up to 1 July 2020.
This means “a restriction for all non-essential travel of persons from third countries to Europe (all EU member states, all Schengen members and the UK) with the aim to prevent the spread of the COVID19 virus.”
Except Sweden and the UK
However, on the Dutch government’s website, it states that “after 15 June…tourists from EU and Schengen countries, except Sweden and the United Kingdom, can visit the Netherlands this summer.”
Yup, that’s right, according to the dutch government, Amsterdam is seemingly off the cards for Brits this summer!
But then again, even if they were allowing tourists from the UK, you’d still face a two-week quarantine when you arrived back in the UK.
Looks like we won’t be visiting Amsterdam for a few months yet.
More bad news
That’s not the only bad news, however. According to the mayor of Amsterdam, the city should be in no rush to welcome back international tourists.
Femke Halsema warned the city should be “extremely cautious” about restarting tourism, claiming that a return to the usual nine million overnight visitors will swamp the city and make social distancing impossible.
There have also been calls for only a certain type of tourist to return. Geerte Udo, director of amsterdam&partners, has told DutchNews.nl the city only wants the “right” tourists in future, implying that the red-light district and coffeeshops attract the wrong kind.
There’s also a petition circulating in Amsterdam to limit the number of visitors to the city, as well as ban new hotels opening and an increasing tourist tax.
The appeal is close to reaching the required numbers of signatures to trigger a city council referendum on the issue.
End of an era
Amsterdam may be opening its doors to European citizens, but that excludes Sweden and the UK thanks to our high rates of Covid 19 cases.
Therefore, a summer jaunt to Amsterdam looks to be off the cards for Brits at the moment.
Additionally, new policies that take into account social distancing and the lack of space, as well as long-running concerns over the city’s sex and cannabis attractions, will likely shape the future of tourism in the Dutch capital in a post-pandemic age.
Is this the end of Amsterdam as we know it? Say it’s not so…
P.S. Me and my mate cycled from London to Amsterdam just before the lockdown. Watch our adventure here.