Dutch Ease Travel Restrictions, Allowing European Holidays


(Bloomberg) -- The Netherlands lifted travel restrictions from mid-June for most countries in the region, joining easing measures introduced across many parts of the European Union as the pressure on health care systems recedes.

The government lowered its travel warning to ‘yellow,’ meaning passengers are advised to pay attention to safety risks, Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters Wednesday. Dutch authorities had advised against all unnecessary trips as the pandemic was sweeping across Europe in March.

Travel to 12 popular holiday destinations such as Germany, Belgium, Italy and Croatia will be allowed, and Rutte said he hoped that others including France, Spain, Austria and Switzerland will be added later.

“The most important criterion is whether the health risks are comparable to those in our country,” Rutte said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government earlier took a further step to reactivate European travel as the spread of the coronavirus slows. Merkel’s cabinet approved plans Wednesday that pave the way for a broad travel warning to be replaced from June 15 with recommendations for individual nations in the 27-member EU, countries in the passport-free Schengen area and the U.K.

For Dutch travelers, restrictions aren’t lifted for the U.K. and Sweden. The relaxation of guidelines for travel outside Europe remains difficult, Rutte said, advising only necessary travel and immediate quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Tourists from countries with similar health situations are welcome in the Netherlands from June 15. This also excludes the U.K. and Sweden, with their citizens entering the country forced to go into quarantine. Many countries still need to decide whether they accept Dutch tourists, the premier said.

Dutch elementary schools will reopen June 8, Rutte added.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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