Update 14-12

So, here we go: the Netherlands in a real lockdown at last.

Most of this is the essence of the speech Mark Rutte just held. Not exactly cited, but paraphrased and shortened

The crossroads we stood on past week has now long been passed: we took the wrong direction. The Netherlands will be on lockdown for at least five weeks. All places on which many people gather will be closed down, in order to limit everyone’s contacts to a minimum. The Cabinet is well aware of the far-reaching consequences of these decisions. Especially in the month of December, when the need for social contact is enormous, it hurts to do this. Please keep your peers in mind this Christmas and reach out to them – just not physically.

The infection rates are way too high. Weekly, we now see approximately 60 deaths, and 9000 new infections. In hospitals, case rates are also going up. Hospitalisation rates are higher now then they were in spring. Over one million regular treatments in hospitals were postponed. We’re at a breaking point for healthcare workers,

Around 30.000 people have been hospitalized, 6000 of which on intensive care. Most of these were younger than 50 (in 3:1 ratio when compared to 80+). These people still suffer the consequences of Covid, even now they are back at home and getting back healthy.

That is why. There is no choice than to take draconic measures to decrease contacts between people. These measurers are difficult and everyone is entitled to their discussion. Sure, some places have done well and not at all contributed to the infection rate. However, we need to take the final and ultimate step to limit interactions. For and by everyone. But with the vaccine on its way, eventually, 2021 will be a year of hope and somewhat more positive foresights.

So far for Mark Rutte’s speech. These are the measures that have been announced and that will start at midnight and apply until January 19th, with further announcements on January 12th.

On groups and guests
– Maximum group size outdoor is now two people, ór a group from the same household.
– You can only have two guests over
– For Christmas (December 24th-26th) you can have three guests over

On shopping and store closures
– Supermarkets
– Markets (local regulations may decide to cancel markets though)
– Pharmacies and drugstores
– Pet shops
– Opticians and audiciens
– Gas stations
– Car and mechanic workshops
– Laundries and dry cleaners
– Pick-up points at (some) hardware stores
– Pick-up points for flowers and Christmas trees
– Post offices. Unclarity regarding post offices in stores such as Bruna
– Locations for financial services
– Wholesale stores (under certain conditions)

(non-exhaustive list of examples)
– Furniture stores
– Electronics stores
– Clothing stores
– Hardware stores (pick up possible, see above)

On hospitality and other consumer goods
– Pick up at restaurants can continue
– Delivery from restaurants can continue
– Pick up from coffeeshops can continue
– Hotels can remain open, but can no longer serve food

On public places
These are all closed. This includes theatres, libraries, concert halls, cinemas, casinos, zoos, amusement parks, saunas, gyms, indoor sports facilities – literally everything. 
There are some exceptions:
– Libraries remain open for picking up books.
– Government buildings remain open
– Judiciary buildings remain open

On sports
– Indoor sport facilities are all closed
– Adults only practice sports alone or with one other person
– Adults only practice sports outdoors
– Children (18-) can continue team sports, both training and matches. Individual sports associations may decide to cancel many or all events.

On contact jobs
All non-essential jobs in which physical contact occurs are closed. This includes tattooshops, hairdressers, manicures, pedicures, sex workers, and many many more
Essential contact jobs can continue. This includes (non-exhaustive list)
– Health care institutions of all sorts
– Pharmacies
– Doctors
– Physiotherapists
– Dentists
– Dietists
– Psychologists
– Occupational therapists

On education
As of Wednesday December 16th, all education will be online again, from primary school to universities. Exceptions to this rule can be made for
– children in the last year of high school
– examination at universities, universities of applied sciences, and secondary vocational education (MBO)
– vulnerable children and students

In addition to this, university facilities will most likely close down entirely or operate with strong restrictions. Updates from universities are expected tomorrow.

Children’s daycare facilities will also close down, *except* for children whose parents work in essential jobs (essential jobs largely overlap with stores and contact jobs that remain open and working)

On travel
– Stay at home as much as possible
– Public transport should only be used when necessary to get to your job. Although this is not explicitly checked, we all have to stay at home as much as possible, so there is little to no reason to be on a train.
– There is a strong recommendation not to travel abroad, unless absolutely necessary.
As far as I am ware, there are no additional measures for international travel (compared to earlier today). For an extensive guide on international travel, check the travel FAQ page.

On working
– Work. From. Home. Unless you are an essential worker, don’t go to work.
– Employers will be encouraged to properly facilitate working from home.

That’s it for the measures. I hope this overview provides you with some insights to make it through the next five weeks. It is going to be rough. Take care of the people in your house and keep in touch with your friends through digital means. Be careful, wash your hands often, always keep 1,5m distance, wear your face masks and just behave responsibly in general.

During the press conference, there were some demonstrations outside of Mark Rutte’s office. I understand if you feel frustrated by both the measures but also by these protests. It is however what it is. I’m always here to answer your questions, but will not engage in discussions here or in private messages.

If you have any questions about the measures, please do let me know! Stay healthy and stay safe people <3


Update 08-12

So here’s an update based on the press conference of tonight and some additional info.

The foresights are not good. Aside from the 10.000 Covid deaths since February, the infection rates of the past week-or-two have not decreased, but rather increased. The same applies for hospitalisation rates and ICU-admittance. With an average of 6000+ new confirmed cases and 20+ ICU-admittances, it is not possible to relax measures over Christmas and New Years, on the contrary even: if Covid-cases keep developing like this, it is possible stricter measures will be announced before Christmas. Around 88.000 people in the Netherlands now are estimated to be contagious, and not all of those people stay at home. That is a serious health risk, so please, pretty please, stay at home if you feel (even a little) sick.

Again, measures will not be relaxed for Christmas. That means we will have to stick to the following main rules:

  • Maximum 3 guests visiting per day
  • Restaurants will remain closed
  • If you’re visiting or have visitors over, keep 1,5m distance from the other household
  • If you feel even a little under the weather, don’t go/don’t have visitors over.

Unsurprisingly, the same main points were repeated tonight once again:

  • Wash your hands
  • Stay home and get tested if you feel sick
  • Housemates and close contacts should stay at home too
  • Get friends to go shopping for you
  • Work from home
  • Limit live social interactions (digital is fine of course)
  • Only go shopping if its necessary
  • Shop alone

Essentially, the foresights at this point are the same as four weeks ago; if the cases decrease again, we might see some more things possible mid-January. The currently applicable measures do also still apply. Catch up on those at the homepage.

Is there no positive news at all?
Well, there’s one small thing. January will see trial runs with reopening cultural places and possibly some more opportunities for sports to resume. These will be highly local and rather strict tests, such as theaters allowing some more audience. Everything will be closely monitored, and the focus will most likely be on walking routes, rapid tests upon entry, and other similar small things. A lot is still unclear regarding this.

The worries regarding youth can no longer be ignored. That is why more money will be made available for ‘youth projects’. It is however rather unclear what these will look like and who will be targeted as being ‘youth’. Teamsports for youth between 18 and 27 will most likely be resumed mid-January, so that is something to look forward to.

If you worry about your favourite club, bar or restaurant, you are not the only one. Even the Dutch Cabinet has now agreed to a new economic relief package fro the hospitality sector. More on that will be announced tomorrow morning. I will most likely not update you on that, as it is a rather specific economic press conference. If you have specific questions regarding this however, feel free to ask me!

Then there is some more info about vaccinations. The previous estimate of January 4th might have been too optimistic. New vaccine availability numbers show that the initial round of vaccinations will be smaller, but the general line still stands (first healthcare workers, people living in healthcare institutions, then 60- with health risks). As soon as the first real round of vaccinations has been, there is a little bit of optimism to relax some of the measures, as the weakest of society would at that point be protected. This could however very well take until March 2021.

Now, I want to finish this list of bad news with some rumours you may have heard of.
Some of the biggest names in hospitality in the country have announced they will reopen their restaurants, cafes and bars on January 17th, regardless of the measures that would apply at that point. It is, at this point, not clear to what extent this is a threat or a promise. Within the hospitality sector there is quite a lot of discussion regarding this, as it would obviously go against governmental guidelines. I really do not know whether this will happen. If it does happen however, it might have significant consequences for infection rates and subsequently measures. It is impossible to say anything concrete about whether the sector will actually open. As soon as more information becomes available, I will let you know.

Secondly, an internal memo from the Ministry of Economic Affairs leaked to the Dutch press. In this memo, it was suggested that re-opening the hospitality sector would not lead to an increase in cases, and could even lead to a decrease in cases. This sparked a debate in parliament (currently in session), but the Cabinet has clearly underlined they do not support this memo. It seems to be merely an economic perspective at this point. Perhaps more news regarding this will come out at some point this week however.

With all the bad news, this update is quite an extensive one. Both Mark Rutte and I feel rather sad not to be able to give you any more positive news, but him and I want to urge you strongly to stick to the Covid measures, to behave responsibly and to take care of eachother. Help your friends out, but keep a safe distance from them. Stay strong, and if there’s any questions, you know where to find me.

PS. Quite a few questions keep coming in about travel. This website will see an extensive update on travel guidelines, restrictions, requirements and PCR-tests tomorrow.


(Minor) update 30-11

Hey everyone! Here’s a minor update about a few things.

As of tomorrow (December 1st), face masks are mandatory in public spaces. Not wearing one might result in a fine of €95.

The infection rates in NL bounce up and down every day, but in terms of weekly trends it is more or less stable around 5000 infections per day. Consequence of that is that more relaxed measures in December are far from certain. More on that will become clear on the press conference of next week Tuesday (Dec. 8th).

The highest infection rates are now amongst 10-20 y/o’s and 50-60y/o’s, and in terms of regional spread, the past week (roughly) has seen particularly high infection rates in Flevoland and Twente (~280 per 100.000 inhabitants), while the Northern provinces and Zeeland are doing relatively well (~100 per 100.000). The rest of the country is somewhere in between regionally speaking (~200 per 100.000). Local hotspots do exist though, but not in major cities or places.

As infection rates amongst youth are rising, there’s a strong call from the government to follow the Covid guidelines and measures. Not sure what’s currently applicable? Check above!

That’s all for now, if there’s any questions or specific concerns, feel free to ask! Easiest way to reach us is sending an email to