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Amsterdam Covid testing

We arrive in Amsterdam next week and it looks like we will need to do daily Covid tests in order to be able to go to museums, etc. Any tips and tricks for making this work smoothly? I've found the Dutch testing site, but there seems to be a glitch where it books you for the day after you think you are booking, so I need to go back and sort that out. Are there any walk-in testing sites that will generate the required QR code? The official testing site suggests online booking is the only possibility. Any chance folks have had success with just a CDC card at museums since the new restrictions were put in place? Thanks in advance for any recent in-country info!

Posted by
26375 posts

while you wait for locals or recents to directly answer you, if you scroll down just a couple of posts in the Netherlands Forum you will see very recent, very similar questions with all the answers (or at least most) of all you are asking about....

Posted by
7 posts

Yes, the government website has many major glitches. The one you mentioned is absurd and am really surprised that the Dutch government have rolled out a product like this. I've also heard stories that depending on the test site you choose, not all can send the test verification to foreign numbers, without a +31 country code. We also had various tests scheduled with Spoedtest. Suddenly an email comes saying that they are under investigation by the dutch government and all "testen voor ..." have been suspended and canceled. 2 days later they are back. Amateur hour.

We are leaving Wednesday, and it's been frustrating trying to plan.

Posted by
5459 posts

I had great difficulty getting some kind of handle on testing, and still have few clues.

In Amsterdam, the GGD, or Amsterdam Public health, has testing centers set up. There is one near Sloterdijk station. I did not have time to check it out (was only there for a day), I have no idea if it is limited to locals, is for those with symptoms, or if they can issue the QR code to non-residents, but worth investigating.

There are private test centers, including some at Schipol, but one I went to https://www.coronasnelcheck.nl/locaties/amsterdam-centrum/ in the city center. I had made an appointment, but needed to change the test type after I explained I needed a QR code to get into restaurants, they made the appointment immediately, so likely could do a walk-in. It was easy, quick test, I had results in about a half hour, connected to the Dutch Caronacheck app, and had a QR code good for 24 hours. Downside, this came at a 59 euro cost, very expensive, but I wanted a beer, or four.

Also, I did walk by one of those "tourist information" type storefronts on Damrak, they had signs offering free tests for tourists (I can bet this has just killed tourism). Again, no time to check it out, but if there are no strings attached (ie: if you buy this boat tour and this tour, etc.) it might be an option.

I did see a bar still accepting the CDC cards, I would not count on it, and of course the museums will require the QR code. Since the new measures have been implemented, people are more wary of enforcement.

Posted by
115 posts

I really need some clarity.
Many on the Trip Advisor Forum are telling tourists that it’s crazy to come to Amsterdam. If the vaccination rate is high, why have Covid cases been rising? I’m confused as to what to do.
It’s too late to cancel my Rhine River Cruise but I just want to be sure I’m understanding what I need to visit Amsterdam.
I’m fully vaccinated & arriving on 7 December. I have my CDC vaccination card but I don’t know what a QR code is or how to get one. Is it only for smartphones?
Ive filled out the Swiss Covid Pass & paid my $30
Is there anything similar in the NL that needs to be shown?
Where will I find free Covid testing sites when I leave for the US? I’m coming back on 11 December. How many days before departure do I need to be tested?
Thank you for your patience, but this is all so confusing. I’m sorry to sound so stupid.

Posted by
3 posts

It is confusing, and I think you are asking two questions: first, about testing while in Amsterdam, and second about testing to return to the US. Since I started this thread a few days ago I have learned a little bit more. And anyone with more info, please chime in!
What I understand from my research and from people who are in Amsterdam currently is that unless you have a Dutch CoronaCheck certification code (only available to Dutch citizens or permanent residents) or another EU certificate, you need to have a negative test every 24 hours at a Dutch-government approved site in order to visit museums and restaurants. I do not know if the Swiss certificate you describe would cover this. If not, you can schedule tests at https://www.testenvoortoegang.org/ which will direct you to the closest test center to whatever address you enter. According to the website, these are free. Be aware that the site requires you to do some maneuvering to get the date and time you want (you need to select the day BEFORE you want to get the test because for some reason it schedules you for the day after the one you select - it's a very annoying bug). You can only schedule these tests online - you cannot just walk in to the testing site. There is a separate site that has a map of all the testing sites so you can see their geographic locations, if that helps you determine what might be the best option depending on where you plan to be on a certain day. (https://www.stichtingopennederland.nl/testlocaties-en-data/)
It sounds like perhaps private museums might be more flexible about accepting CDC cards, but we are not going to chance it and have made testing appointments for the evenings (after everything, even restaurants, are closed) so that we will be ready to go the next mornings. I don't know if this will work, but I'm hoping for the best.
As for the return to the US, you do need a test, and the US only accepts certain tests to return (more details here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html). I do not know if the ones that you can get for free at the Dutch sites qualify. We are taking some of the Abbott BinaxNOW tests with eMed telehealth service so we know we have some way of getting an approved test. These are self tests that you do while on a telehealth call with one of their providers who will certify your results. These were less expensive than the pay-to-test sites I have seen in Amsterdam. I ordered them online but I have also heard you can get them at drug stores.
I'm sorry I have not found any simple answer to the testing protocol in Amsterdam. I think if it had been in place 6-8 weeks ago we might have reconsidered our trip, but we are visiting family there for Thanksgiving and have decided to forge ahead. I'm sure other threads in the Travel Forum will have information about Belgium or other countries you might consider.
One thing I would suggest if you decide to stick with Amsterdam is to purchase tickets to museums you really want to see as soon as you can. They have limited visitor capacity and some places have already sold out some time slots (Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum were the ones I checked most recently). Of course, the testing regimen makes it hard to pin down a real itinerary but that puts us back to the start of my post! Ah, travel!

Posted by
3 posts

So sorry - after all that, I forgot to mention the elusive QR code. Your test result will come with a QR code that you can access on the CoronaCheck Netherlands app (you can download it in the app store). Then you show that code to gain access to museums or restaurants. As one of the earlier posters mentioned, there are glitches in this system too. This app also allows Dutch residents to display the QR code they have from their vaccination, but unless you are a Dutch citizen/legal resident you can't enter your vaccination info to get a QR code.

Posted by
524 posts

When we were there earlier this month, we booked through the government sites for the free tests and got our QR codes on the Corona Check app. Restaurants WERE checking this. As a bonus, we were able to use our test from the last day as our test to travel to Italy. The tests were not required for museums and other tourist sites. Be aware, though, that cases have risen dramatically, and new measures may be implemented.