And then, all of a sudden, none of us could travel. I came back from Spain right in time, if I would have been a day later, I would have been locked in. So, all in all, I am happy to be home, safe and will stay in for the foreseeable future. And I hope you are too. In this article, I will try and explain the situation in The Netherlands concerning Coronavirus.
The Netherlands was on the verge of Tourist Season starting. The tulips were starting to bloom, the famous Keukenhof Gardens were ready to open their doors. I was planning to go on an alternative tulip route in April, maybe go to Giethoorn with a friend. But then Covid-19 hit The Netherlands, quite hard. Especially the southern province of Noord-Brabant, where I am originally from.
Since then life, as we know it, has come to a halt. Schools and daycares are closed, as well are cafés, restaurants, public buildings, a lot of shops and tourist attractions. We are asked to stay in as much as possible, at least until April 6th. But more measures will probably be taken. We’re all in this together, however. I’ve always had loads of respect for people working in healthcare, but even more currently. They’re doing the most amazing work under very difficult circumstances.
Trustworthy information about The Netherlands and Coronavirus
I would advise you to Google as little as possible and trust social media even less. Currently, the Dutch government department which monitors and registers all things Covid-19, RIVM, have a very good English website where you can find all the information you’ll need.
The most important measures
- Stay at home as much as you can. Stay in altogether if you’re experiencing as much as a light cold. Runny nose? Sneezing? Coughing? Stay in, please!
- We are asked to wash our hands as much as possible, for 20 to 60 seconds each time.
- Avoid (large) gatherings in public. Right now, we are advised to practise social distancing and keep about 1.5 meters apart from one another.
- Dutch people are not allowed to travel abroad unless it’s really needed.
- Supermarkets and drug stores are open. But expect that some products, like toilet paper and paracetamol, are scarce. Other stores are open, for now, but may have adjusted opening times.
- Dutch public transport is still running, but services have been cut down dramatically. Check out the scheduled trains on the website of NS.
- When using busses or trams, it’s no longer allowed to buy a ticket from the driver or to talk to the driver. So make sure you have an OV Chip Card if you need to travel on Dutch public transport.
- If you’re forced to use public transport, please keep at least 1.5 meters from other passengers.
- As you can imagine most, if not all, flights to or from The Netherlands are now cancelled. Please check the Amsterdam Airport website for the latest updates.
In the maintime: do a virtual museum tour!
Virtual tour of Rijksmuseum
Of course, museums have to close their doors as well. But lucky, for us we can take virtual tours. So let’s travel from our armchairs and couches and visit the Rijksmuseum, why don’t we. Let’s have a look at over 8000 Dutch masterpieces, mostly from the Dutch golden age. Have a good look at all those Rembrandts, Vermeers and Ruysdaels. With no queuing.
Virtual tour of the Van Gogh Museum
You guys know that I have a knack for the works of Van Gogh. And in normal circumstances, I couldn’t advise you enough to visit both the Van Gogh Museum as well as the Vincentre in Nuenen to get to know as much about the depressed and tragic painter as you possibly can. But since that’s now impossible a virtual tour and seeing the Van Gogh paintings from up close is just the thing.
Currently, we don’t know when travel to The Netherlands will be safe again. But if I know more, I will update this page. For now, stay safe everyone!