Effective September 17th, 2022, the Dutch Government has made the decision to get rid of all Covid-19 travel restrictions and requirements. This decision applies to all travelers, including those traveling into the Netherlands from outside the EU/Schengen area. The Netherlands kept their Covid protocols for travelers in place much longer than the majority of European countries. However, as of September 17th, the country has officially taken its name off the list of the last European countries that still have entry requirements.
Currently, Spain is the last major European country with entry requirements still in place. As other long-time holdouts like the Netherlands drop their final remaining protocols, perhaps Spain will soon follow.
Who Is Most Affected? What Does This Mean For Travelers?
Until recently, the Netherlands had a complete ban on unvaccinated travelers from countries like America or Canada. As a result, this decision directly affects unvaccinated travelers from both countries. Before this decision, Americans and Canadians had to be fully vaccinated in order to visit the Netherlands. Visitors from EU/Schengen countries were allowed to enter the Netherlands without restrictions. Still, the country did not let up on protocols for any other travelers.
September 17th’s decision means that unvaccinated travelers from all countries, including Americans and Canadians, will be able to enter the Netherlands without proof of vaccination or evidence of a negative Covid test. The country does not have any mask requirements in place, and all venues are open and operating normally. Traveling to the Netherlands now will offer an experience much like before the pandemic turned the world upside down.
Travel Chaos, Know Before You Go
This news will likely pique travelers’ interest, and some may be ready to book their next ticket out. Most travelers who visit the Netherlands go to the nation’s capital, Amsterdam. Indeed, the city was ranked as the 26th most popular city in the world in 2019 when it welcomed 8.84 million tourists. Many people wanted to visit Amsterdam this summer even when the vaccine requirement was still in place. Unfortunately, the city’s airport was woefully underprepared. As a result, Amsterdam was the European capital of travel chaos this summer.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport had a rough summer, and it doesn’t look like it will get much better for travelers interested in visiting this fall. The airport announced on Friday, September 16th, that it would reduce daily passenger counts by 18% through the end of October due to its labor shortage. The airport is one of the busiest in the world and is a significant transfer hub for many major airlines. However, the country recently made the decision to cut flights by almost 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels in an effort to combat climate change and get away from its “transfer hub” reputation.
An Odd Decision
Amsterdam is a city filled with beautiful canals, 16th-century architecture, and of course – bikes. There are plenty of different things to do. Still, for many, the first thought after hearing about Amsterdam is of Marijuana. Famed for its lax rules regarding cannabis consumption well before most other countries in the world, Amsterdam has long been regarded as a haven for cannabis enthusiasts. Indeed, as much as 30% of all tourists that visit Amsterdam visit one of its coffee shops with the sole intention of purchasing cannabis, and it’s big business for the area.
That is why a recent push by the city’s Mayor may come as a surprise. The Mayor, Femke Halsema, intends to make cannabis purchases in the city a residents-only privilege. The plan has yet to be implemented. Still, travelers visiting with cannabis as one of their main reasons should keep an eye on the news to ensure they remain unaffected. This isn’t a set-in-stone change but is something being seriously considered – making it worth keeping tabs on.
American travelers interested in visiting Amsterdam can fly direct from 20 U.S. cities, while Canadians can fly direct from 5. Travelers from both countries should be weary when flying back, as Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has had extremely long lines this summer. Go to the airport much earlier than you would have in the past, and try to avoid checking a bag if possible.
Travelers flying to Amsterdam from Canada should be extra careful if they fly out of Toronto Pearson or Montreal Trudeau airports. Both were recently ranked as the first and second worst airports in the world for flight delays.
U.S. Cities That Fly Non-Stop To Amsterdam
- Boston (BOS)
- New York (EWR)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- New York City (JFK)
- Detroit (DTW)
- Washington (IAD)
- Minneapolis (MSP)
- Chicago (ORD)
- Orlando (MCO)
- Atlanta (ATL)
- Miami (MIA)
- Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
- Austin (AUS)
- Houston (IAH)
- Salt Lake City (SLC)
- Seattle (SEA)
- Portland (PDX)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
Canadian Cities That Fly Non-Stop To Amsterdam
- Montreal (YUL)
- Toronto (YYZ)
- Calgary (YYC)
- Edmonton (YEG)
- Vancouver (YVR)
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com