This famously liberal country has taken a surprisingly inflexible stance when it comes to Covid-related entry requirements
It’s a curious state of affairs when even the most ardently Covid-cautious countries – from New Zealand to Japan – are scrapping their entry restrictions, but a nation famous for its laid-back liberalism is still banning around half of young Britons from visiting.
Travellers to the Netherlands, should they so wish, are permitted to smoke marijuana and cavort with sex workers, but the country takes a decidedly tougher stance if their Covid jabs aren’t up to date. All unvaccinated Britons remain banned from the country, and if your second dose was more than 270 days ago, a booster is also required. 
Such strict rules put the Dutch in a dwindling league of nations. Within Europe, Slovakia and Luxembourg are the only other countries continuing to block arrivals entirely on the basis of their vaccination status. Beyond Europe, the US and Canada continue to demand proof of vaccination – though only two doses are required, rather than three – as do Brazil and Kenya. But that’s about it. A far larger number of countries – including Spain, India, Japan, Morocco, Seychelles, Tunisia, Thailand and Sri Lanka – permit unvaccinated travellers to visit if they show proof of a negative test, something the Netherlands does not.  
Its surprisingly inflexible Covid stance seems likely to be having a significant financial impact on the country’s tourism businesses. Pre-Covid, British nationals made more than two million annual visits to the Netherlands, with around half heading to Amsterdam, but these rules mean vast swathes of the UK population can no longer go. 
According to the latest UK Health Security Agency data for England, 61.3 per cent of those aged 18-24, 59.7 per cent of those aged 25-29, 55.9 per cent of those aged 30-34, and around half of those aged 35-39, haven’t had a booster. Given that the 18-39 age bracket contains around 20 million people, and the vast majority of people received their second dose more than 270 days ago, that’s upwards of 10 million young Britons currently banned from entering the Netherlands.
The majority of older children are also barred from visiting. Proof of vaccination is required of all those aged 12 and up, and only 38.3 per cent of British 12-15 year olds, and 51.1 per cent of 16-17 year olds, have had two jabs. 
Just how strictly these requirements are enforced, of course, is another matter. Indeed, several recent visitors to the country told Telegraph Travel that checks were non-existent. 
Jack Aspden, who travels to Amsterdam regularly for work, said: “The checking of Covid passports has definitely eased in the last few months – on recent visits I was subject to the standard border-control stuff but nothing more.”
Even if the chances of detection are slim, however, the majority of those who don’t meet the entry requirements will surely just travel elsewhere – after all, 35 European countries (and many more beyond) have scrapped all Covid entry restrictions, regardless of vaccination status. 
Possible evidence of this can be seen in 2022 seat capacity, driven by demand, on British Airways services. Compared with 2019, BA capacity to Amsterdam has fallen 37.8 per cent, according to aviation analyst OAG. That represents a bigger cut than has been imposed on flights to nearly every other European capital (for Paris, for example, it is down 28.2 per cent, for Rome it is down 30.2 per cent, for Lisbon it is up 11.3 per cent, and for Athens it is up 9.3 per cent). 
Perhaps the most confusing aspect of the Dutch rules is that they do not apply to visitors from within the EU. Unvaccinated Belgians and Bulgarians can come and go as they please, but travellers from Britain, Bolivia and Burkina Faso must be jabbed. Quite how this meets the well-worn mantra of “following the science” is not entirely clear – maybe it’s a different kind of coronavirus that infects the cells of EU nationals? 
That the famously easy-going Netherlands is such an outlier when it comes to casting off the Covid red tape will puzzle many. Then again, it was one of the few countries to impose a third lockdown last winter, so perhaps its lingering cautiousness shouldn’t be a surprise. 
Rodney Bolt, a journalist based in Amsterdam, admitted that he was aware that these rules were even in place. “I really can’t think why,” he added. “This government is not particularly risk-averse. Quite the contrary, really – they were tardy with introducing measures throughout the pandemic and had one of the slowest vaccine roll-outs in Europe.”  
We asked the country’s tourist board when the rules might be eased. “We don’t know,” was the answer. Unless things change soon, it seems that considerably fewer Britons will be going Dutch. 
All arrivals must present evidence of vaccination (including a booster if their second dose was more than 270 days before), a recent negative test (either a PCR within 72 hours of departure, or an antigen test within 24 hours), or a Covid recovery certificate from the previous six months.
All adults must be vaccinated (two doses) to enter the US. Unvaccinated children may be required to attest that they will take a test three to five days after arrival and will self-isolate should any symptoms develop or if they test positive. 
All over-11s must be vaccinated (two doses) to enter Canada. Unvaccinated children aged 5-11 can visit if accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent (but they are expected to wear a mask in public settings). Upon entry, you may be randomly selected for a mandatory arrival test. If positive, you will be expected to quarantine for 10 days. Masks are still required on public transport, including flights. 
Unvaccinated/unboosted arrivals are required to take a test before departure; triple-vaccinated travellers are not. All visitors must obtain a visa, book a tour with an approved travel agency, and there is currently a daily cap of 50,000 on overseas arrivals – these three rules may soon be scrapped, however. 
All travellers aged 11 and over must be fully vaccinated (two doses) to visit Brazil. Unvaccinated under-12s can visit with a fully vaccinated parent. 
All adults must present proof of vaccination (two doses) or a recent negative Covid test (taken within three days of arrival).
All arrivals aged 12 and over must present proof of vaccination (including three doses unless the second was within the previous four months) or a recent negative Covid test (taken within 72 hours of departure). 
All arrivals aged 12 and over must present proof of vaccination (two doses) or a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival or a negative Rapid Antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before arrival.
All adults must present proof of vaccination (two doses) or a recent negative Covid test (taken within 72 hours of departure).
All arrivals aged 16 and older must present proof of vaccination (two doses) or a recent negative Covid test (taken within 48 hours of departure).
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