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Amsterdam Coronavirus (COVID-19) Measures

The Netherlands is a Coronavirus Hotspot

Ferry passengers in Amsterdam wearing face masks
When traveling by public transport in Amsterdam, face masks are mandatory. People who do not wear one, or who wear their mask incorrectly, risk a €95 fine. Shown in this photo by Rinke Dohmen are people traveling on one of Amsterdam’s free ferries across the river IJ.

Netherlands in Partial Lockdown – October 14, 2020

On October 14, at 22:00 (10pm), the Netherlands went into Partial Lockdown in an effort to stem the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

Among other things this means:

  • Bars, cafes, coffeeshops, and restaurants are closed for four weeks. Take-away sales are allowed, though.
  • No alcohol or soft drugs will be sold or delivered between 8 pm-7am. Consuming alcohol or drugs within that timespan is prohibited
  • Work from home unless there is no other option
  • At home you can receive a maximum of three guests a day
  • Use public transport only when strictly necessary
  • The use of facemasks will be mandatory in public indoor spaces (such as shops, train stations, et cetera) for anyone over the age of 12
  • Shops must strictly observe and apply the basic COVID-19 rules. Retail stores found not in compliance with the protocols may be closed by the authorities

‘Hammer blow’

The partial lockdown is meant to be a ‘hammer blow’ that flattens the curve of infections. “The hammer must be big enough to knock the virus down,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last Tuesday in a televised press conference.

Rutte explained that there are too many people who failed to observe the basic rules. “Then we cannot help but take increasingly severe measures in ascending order to ensure that we cannot meet at all.”

Partial Lockdown Rules

Coronavirus Partial Lockdown Rules in the Netherlands
Partial Lockdown chart with coronavirus rules in the Netherlands

Do You Have These Symptoms? Get Tested for the Coronavirus

If you have any of these symptoms you are urged to get tested for the coronavirus. The video is produced by the Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD)

For details, visit coronatest.nl. The site is operated by the Dutch government. (The language switch is in the upper right corner).

You need a DigiD [What is DigiD?] to log in and make an appointment. If you do not have a DigiD call 0800-1202 to make a test appointment. You can do this every day from 08:00 to 20:00.

Earlier Coronavirus Measures

The following information applied to Amsterdam and much of the Netherlands until the partial lockdown began. We keep this section online because these rules may once again apply if and when they partial lockdown approach has helped flatten the infections curve.

Amsterdam. Last updated: October 2, 2020

Throughout the Netherlands many people no longer closely adhere to the basic anti-corona rules that have been in place since the end of March. As a result, the number of coronavirus infections has been steadily on the rise.

Amsterdam is one of the hotspots when it comes to the number of new coronavirus COVID-19 infections. Therefore, in additional to nationwide rules, local anti-coronavirus measures have recently been tightened. The aim is to slow down the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 Measures in Amsterdam – September 29, 2020

The following anti-corona measures went into effect in Amsterdam as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. They will remain in place until at least October 20. The measures can be tightened up if they do not have the desired result by then.

Note that these measures are in addition to the basic, nationwide COVID-19 rules

Face masks in Amsterdam

  • Everyone is strongly advised to wear non-medical face masks inside shops and other public buildings
  • Shops and other public facilities may require you to wear a face mask. They are legally allowed to bar access if you do not comply

Among the places in Amsterdam where face masks are currently required:

  • All public transport vehicles
    • If you do not wear a face mask — or if you wear it improperly — you risk a €95 fine
  • Most museums, including the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Anne Frank House, Maritime Museum, and more
  • Some shops, such as the Bijenkorf and HEMA
  • All public libraries
  • Many theatres and concert halls, such as the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (Stadsschouwburg), BIMHUIS, and the Concertgebouw

Groups of People Indoors

Most of the coronavirus measures have to do with the number of people allowed to gather in one place at a given time.

For instance, in most cases a room or hall may not contain more than 30 people. There are some exceptions, such as for museums and other large buildings that see a continuous flow of visitors.

Inside buildings other than private homes no more than 4 people can form a group. This does not include children under the age of 13.

This means that a single household or 4 people (maximum) — excluding children — can make a reservation at a cinema or restaurant.

Private Homes

In addition to members of your own household, Amsterdammers are allowed to receive a maximum of 3 visitors at a time at home. Not counted: children below 13 years of age.

Horeca (Catering Industry)

Horeca is a Dutch term for the hotel- and food service industry: Hotels, Restaurants, and Catering. This includes bars, cafes, pubs, and fastfood services.

Establishments serving food and drink cannot accept new customers after 21.00 (9 p.m.) and must be closed by 22.00 (10 p.m.)

Horeca facilities may currently seat a maximum of 30 people inside, and/or 40 customers outside. These numbers are exclusive of personnel.

Whether insides or outside, all diners have designated seats. This means: no standing or milling around. No dancing. No switching seats.

All visitors must leave contact information: name, address, phone number, and/or email address. This way you can be contacted in case you may have been exposed to someone who was later diagnosed with a coronavirus infection.

Museums, Libraries, Historic Buildings

Museums, libraries, historic buildings, and other places that normally see a continuous flow of visitors must use a time-slot reservation system.

This means you cannot buy tickets at the door. You must pre-order your tickets online for a specific date and starting time.

Shops, Supermarkets, Street Markets

Shops must ensure that customers can observe the 1.5 meter (5 feet) social distancing rule. Therefore, at times you may have to wait outside a store until you can enter.


Fans are not allowed to attend sports events.

Amsterdam: Everything’s Open; Restrictions Apply

Shops, cinemas, theaters, museums, bars and restaurants, canal tour boats… you name it, and for the most part in Amsterdam it’s business as usual.

Well, not quite. For one thing, the coronavirus pandemic has stopped Amsterdam’s overtourism problem in its tracks. Even given the economic impact, many Amsterdammers are not unhappy about that.

Timed Entry Tickets; Reserved Seating

Of course, for locals and tourists alike some restrictions apply. Museums, for instance, allow far fewer people than usual to visit at any given time. You’ll have to purchase timed-entry tickets in advance. (That’s good practice even in non-corona times).

Most restaurants work with reserved seating only. And many smaller establishments have switched to home delivery.

Oh, if you are allowed to travel to Amsterdam there are great hotel deals right now. That’s because there are almost no tourists.

One and a Half Meter Society

We better get used to the one and a half meter society as soon as possible, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last April.

He was referring to the basic rule that people keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) away from non-family members.

The Dutch term is anderhalvemetersamenleving. (By the way, the Dutch find this rule very ongezellig).

Social distancing in Amsterdam: the one and a half metre society
Practicing the ‘anderhalvemetersamenleving‘ (one and a half meter society) social distancing rule in Amsterdam. A view across the river IJ toward Amsterdam Central Station. © Photo Copyright: DutchAmsterdam

Basic COVID-19 Rules in the Netherlands

  • Avoid crowds
  • Work from home if at all possible
  • Keep a distance of 1,5 metres (5 feet) between yourself and others (except if they are members of your household)
  • If you have any health issues, such as a cold or flu, stay at home. If you are short of breath and/or have a fever other members of your household must also stay at home.
  • Cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow. Use paper tissues and toss them into a bin right-away.
  • Wash your hands

Additional rules:

  • Don’t shake hands, hug, or kiss with non-family members
  • When traveling on public transport, wearing a (non-medical) face mask is mandatory.

Coronavirus Testing in Amsterdam

Are you experiencing mild symptoms consistent with those associated with the coronavirus? You can get tested free of charge by GGD Amsterdam (Public Health Service of Amsterdam)

Mild symptoms can include a head cold, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough or fever. Sudden loss of smell or taste can also be a symptom of COVID-19.

Make an appointment:

  • Call 0800-1202 – the helpline is open between 08.00 and 20:00 every day.
  • Or make an appointment online at coronatest.nl (with your DigiD).

If you have any questions about the coronavirus test, call the Dutch public information number: 0800-1351

This article was first published on August 24, 2020. It was last updated on October 2, 2020.

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Last updated: Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:29 AM, Central European Time (CET)   
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