There are only a few countries – no, not even the Netherlands – that have kept the door completely closed to tourists in the past year. But .. with all the rules, obligations and additional provisions it was not always very wise. Since 15 May 2021, the general negative travel advice has expired and the government is again issuing advice per country.
The travel advice of a number of countries and areas has changed from orange to yellow or green. Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Malta, Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira), Romania, Sardinia, a number of Greek islands, the Balearic and Canary Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Rwanda and Thailand, among others, have a yellow travel advice. You can travel, but be vigilant – there are risks. Saba and St. Eustatius turn green; there are no health or safety risks. After a stay in countries and areas with a yellow or green travel advice, you do not have to go into home quarantine when you return to the Netherlands and there is no longer any obligation to test.
Entry restrictions for Dutch travelers
Most holiday countries that have now been put on yellow by the Dutch government still have strict entry requirements. Vaccination passport or negative test proof are required. If you have not yet been vaccinated, the costs of such a PCR test can quickly rise to approximately € 100 per person. For the outward and return journey, if you are unlucky. And then we’re not even talking about whether you like it at all. For yourself – especially if you are traveling with children. One has his doubts about the reliability of a negative test, the other denounces the entire test company.
When the numbers improve here, more and more countries will relax their entry restrictions on Dutch travelers. Because testing, rapid testing, quarantine and mandatory appointments for PCR tests during your quarantine are still the order of the day. Hopefully it won’t be long before the Netherlands no longer turns (dark) red, but we are moving towards green this summer. If the situation improves, you could logically say that there should be less/no restrictions for arrivals from countries with a lower risk. For example, strict Finland has already lifted restrictions on travelers from Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Rwanda and Thailand, where the number of infections is well under control.
The next step
What is certain is that the rules for vaccinated people will be relaxed. Because those who are immune to corona, in many cases do not have to be quarantined and no longer have to show negative test evidence. It concerns everyone with full vaccination and people who are immune because they have recently had corona. It must be possible to demonstrate this with official papers – the corona certificate must offer a solution. Poland and Iceland have already announced immediately that they would like to welcome travelers who have been vaccinated against corona. New Zealand and Australia, on the other hand, have decided that they will most likely keep the borders closed to foreigners until 2022. Each country has its own rules and a vaccination certificate is therefore not always sufficient to enter.
Green travel certificate
Since the European Commission reached agreement on a digital corona certificate, the Member States have been working hard on its realization. The certificate will be available from the end of June (1 July) and is free. Several EU countries want to start with the corona travel pass this week. With the travel certificate, anyone who has been vaccinated, tested negative or has recovered from a corona infection and has sufficient antibodies can travel freely through Europe. The EU Digital Corona Certificate (DCC), a QR code that shows your corona status, should make it easier to travel within the EU during the corona pandemic.
Now that the EU Member States and the European Parliament have agreed, the digital travel voucher will soon be valid in all 27 countries of the EU, and in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. However, certain corona rules and measures will still apply per country. For example, Member States can decide on a mandatory quarantine themselves, although in theory no additional travel restrictions are imposed on the holders of a digital COVID certificate. It is also possible that countries say: with us vaccination or a test is not necessary at all.
Vaccination is and will not be a condition for traveling within the European Union. The travel certificate will also be available with a negative test result or proof of recovery. To put it simply: such a certificate makes your corona status clear.
With vaccination certificate welcome
Several countries are already working with their own variant of the vaccination certificate, the corona pass or the green passport. In Israel, it has given vaccinated residents access to travel, hospitality and events for six months. But they have already reached the point where that is no longer in effect. Everyone can now fully participate in public life again. EU member Estonia has a ‘green pass’ for vaccinees that provides access to gyms and restaurants, among other things – and travel is tested. Also in Iceland you will receive a COVID-19 vaccination certificate after the second shot since January 2021.
Iceland was one of the first countries to allow foreigners again without taking them a corona test and without a quarantine obligation. The only condition? A vaccination certificate, showing that you have been vaccinated or have had corona. Estonia, Georgia, Poland, Greece and Spain have also announced that travelers who have been vaccinated can enter the country without having to go into quarantine or be tested for corona. For air travel to Portugal you still have to submit a negative PCR test, only for travel to Madeira you are eligible for direct entry with a vaccination certificate (or proof of recovery from COVID-19 of up to 90 days old). So without testing.
Is one shot good too?
If you have only had one shot at the time of travel, you can also request a corona certificate. However, countries can then decide for themselves whether having one of the two required shots is enough to admit someone or whether they require two vaccinations. So if you’re going on holiday later, check whether your destination thinks one shot is enough.
Travel without vaccinationen
The certificate is not a condition for free travel; it just makes it easier to travel again. You are not obliged to bring an EU COVID-19 certificate with you if you want to travel, because the free movement of people applies within the EU. If you don’t have a certificate as proof, you can travel in the future, but you may have to quarantine or be tested for COVID-19 to gain entry to a country. For the time being, no vaccine, test or previous infection means that you cannot cross the border as a Dutch person.
Sweden is one of the first countries to allow travelers (from Denmark) again without having to submit a vaccination certificate or negative test result. Montenegro does this for anyone arriving from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo or Serbia. You can also enter Serbia freely (without a PCR test) from North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania or Bulgaria. Hopefully more countries can follow soon!
Spain trial country digital Covid certificate
Spain will be the test country of the digital corona certificate from 7 June. An orange travel advice still applies to the Spanish mainland, so you must comply with the PCR test, antigen rapid test requirement and the quarantine. The Spanish government has now relaxed the entry requirement for vaccinated people (and also for children under 6 from all countries). Anyone who has had two shots (one shot in the case of Janssen) and is therefore vaccinated against the coronavirus -and has proof of this!- can travel to Spain without a PCR test. There must be a period of 15 days between the last injection and the arrival in Spain.
All vaccinated persons will be allowed to travel to Spain without entry restrictions from 7 June. This means that only proof of vaccination is required.
Good news! The Republic of Ireland has also approved the EU’s new digital corona certificate, which will make travel between EU member states smoother. The scheme will start from 19 July and this means that travelers from EU Member States who are in possession of the pass – which shows that the holder has either been vaccinated, has tested negative for Covid-19 or has had the virus – can enter Ireland. visits without the need for testing or quarantine.
Not flying but on a road trip
If it’s not your turn for a vaccination yet, or if you don’t feel like being vaccinated or tested, flying will be very difficult anyway. The car seems to be by far the safest way to get around during the corona time. Because when you go on a road trip, you can easily return home if you need to. And keeping your distance is easy too. No more hustling together, but just enjoying all the peace and space around you. That is possible in the Netherlands, but if the figures allow it, we may also be able to cross the border without restrictions. Anyone who has a corona certificate will certainly be able to tour Europe again.
An excellent corona-proof and sustainable alternative is (wild) camping. Especially in Scandinavia you will find the most beautiful remote places to pitch your tent or park your camper. Go out with your own caravan or folding trailer, or mount the bicycles on the back of the towbar (at Rameder you will find different options for this) and look for your nice spot for this summer. Also consider the Alentejo, the least populated part of Portugal. Or just Styria in Austria or beautiful Slovenia. Travel a little further and walk along one of the most beautiful hiking routes in the world: The Peaks of the Balkans. This multi-day hiking tour leads through uninhabited mountain areas at the breathtaking border triangle of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. The Georgian mountain region of Ratsja is another recommendation.
What is your plan this summer?
Nearly half of all EU citizens have now received at least one protective shot. Those countries will gradually be able to loosen the reins. But also note that there are countries that are lagging behind, such as Bulgaria, where only 13.9 percent of the population has received a first shot against the virus, according to the ECDC overview. Romania is penultimate with 26.4 percent. More rules may continue to apply in those countries. You can find the most recent information on netherlandsworldwide.nl For the time being, anyone who stays with our eastern or southern neighbors for more than 48 hours must be quarantined or tested. You are often allowed to transit through, where you generally do not have to register and do not need a test certificate.
We are curious: what do you think of the corona certificate and what are your plans this summer?