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Netherlands Bans Flights From 17 Countries, Adds Unrealistic Testing Requirement

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The Netherlands is clamping down in a last-minute effort to reduce the spread while citizens wait to be vaccinated.  

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced today the Netherlands will impose new international flight bans, increasing testing measures, and a curfew for citizens, lasting at least one month.

The government posted an official statement in a press release this afternoon,

“The government is gravely concerned about the UK variant of coronavirus, which is even more infectious than the virus we are familiar with in the Netherlands. There are also other variants of the virus that are sparking concern. New measures are needed in order to get these new variants under control. To that end, the government plans to introduce a curfew within a few days once the measure has been approved by parliament.”

lockdown and curfew amsterdam

International Flight Ban

The new international flight ban will be in place for at least one month and prohibits passenger flights coming from the UK, South Africa or any nation in South America. The temporary ban comes into effect on January 23, 2021 and stems from new and more infectious virus strains that have all been rampant in those nations.

Countries banned include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Brazil Coast

The government of the Netherlands is also asking citizens to postpone any non-essential trips outside of the country until at least March 31, 2021.

Double Testing For Entry

All passengers entering the Netherlands will now be required to undergo double testing. They will not only have to provide proof of a negative PCT test, performed no longer than 72 hours before arrival, in order to even board their flights into the country – but now also proof of a rapid antigen test result.

The new rapid antigen test is being asked to be performed no later than 4 hours before the flight, making it an almost impossible requirement to comply with, especially if the travel is leaving from an airport without on-site antigen testing available.

schiphol airport AMS restrictions

The new requirements are forcing KLM to cancel most of its international routes, as the flight crew cannot comply with the new double testing standards. “from Friday, we will stop all intercontinental flights and all flights to European destinations where crews have to stay overnight.” Said a spokesperson for the airline.

klm planes at AMS airport


The Netherlands has been in lockdown since mid-December, but restrictions just keep getting more rigid. PM Rutte also announced the plan to implement a nation-wide curfew from 8:30 pm to 4:30 am but needs the rest of the government's support before it can become law. Parliament is scheduled to make a decision on the matter on January 21, 2021.

“We are at a crucial moment for our security, for our national public health.” Said Rutte regarding the proposed curfew. “It’s a tough measure, nobody wants a curfew; nobody is cheering this.”

netherlands covid lockdown

If the curfew is approved, people will only be allowed to leave their homes during curfew hours for a valid reason, like an emergency, medical assistance, or essential work. A ‘curfew declaration’ card must be taken with you if you meet the exceptions.

netherlands covid bench train station

#LoveIsNotTourism Temporarily Shut Down

The Netherlands has been making exceptions for couples in long-distance relationships separated by travel bans since the summer of 2020 but will now temporarily restrict entry for the purposes of reuniting.

This will be a heavy blow to couples looking to reunite, as they will now be denied entry as of Saturday, January 23, 2021.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Thursday 21st of January 2021

It's sad that there will be a huge travel ban but apparently this is necessary: people don't care about the 'negative travel advise' so they were still hopping on planes for their holidays. The government had no choice :-(.


Wednesday 20th of January 2021

Totalitarian BS. Protest!


Wednesday 20th of January 2021

I guess they don't want anyone to visit there country. These tests are impossible to comply with.