Please sign in to post.
Posted by
9929 posts

Wow. And starts today. Thanks for posting this!

Posted by
458 posts

You're welcome Pam. I didn't see any mention of it here and didn't want anyone to be surprised.

Posted by
4618 posts

Wow, I feel for the travelers who will find this out as they arrive tomorrow. And, also for The Netherlands as this affects them.

Posted by
13730 posts

Double wow on the short notice part. :O(
It looks like it went into effect yesterday, just after midnight?

Posted by
2207 posts

Yes, our return-home-flight from the USA departed yesterday 12/30 and we arrived mid-morning on 12/31 Thus, we are now "in quarantine." We flew to the USA on 12/18 and during our brief Holiday stay, the NL policy changed twice - on 12/22 and 12/30. The first restriction change did not impact us, but the 12/30 declaration put us in quarantine.

The NL has a phone number to call to schedule a COVID test through the GGD (Health Dept). Without this test, we would have a 10-day quarantine. We're allowed to test after quarantining 5 days, but you can only call locally for an appointment - no online options are available. In addition, the test MUST be done at a GGD center, and you can only make this appointment less than 36 hours in advance. So here's hoping that there will be someone answering the phone late Sunday night, so we can coordinate our test!

On the AA flight to the NL, we were informed that we had to have multiple forms completed to "enter" the NL. They included (1) the NL Health Declaration form, (2) the "new" Quarantine form - which asks for your quarantine address, phone, email, etc, (3) a negative test result, and (4) proof of vaccination. Sitting on the tarmac waiting to depart from DFW, we completed the "newly minted" version of the quarantine form using our mobile phones (You have to "register" online - no hand-written forms allowed. The online process takes about 2 minutes).

Upon arrival at AMS, we gathered all the required paperwork as we taxied to our arrival gate. Yet, like my MANY trips into AMS, NO ONE ASKED FOR ANY OF THE REQUIRED ENTRY MATERIALS. With our NL Visas, we went through the EU Passport line, got stamped, picked up our luggage at the baggage carousel, and walked to our parked car. Our entry was no different than it would have been two years ago ... before COVID.

So again, lot's of required paperwork - NO FOLLOW-UP at AMS. Using VeriFly - to speed up our check-in - we did provide the COVID test info and our Vaccination status to the airline, but the NL requirements - the NL Health Declaration form and the "new" Quarantine form - were never asked for or shown to anyone. And you wonder why the COVID #'s stink here in the NL. It's again a very superficial and disappointing enforcement system by the NL government.

Because of business travel in Italy prior to 12/18, I've now been tested 7 times in 13 days - all negative - and yet, I sit in quarantine, unable to leave my house. Let's hope we can get an appointment for a Day 5 release! Of course, we're in a full lockdown, so nothing is open, but at least I would be allowed to leave my apartment.

Posted by
1940 posts

Wow, Ron. That just sounds so frustrating. I am glad you are home with no hiccups other than extra forms, but it sure sounds discouraging.

Posted by
9929 posts

Ron, I agree with TravelMom. Yikes. I guess I am shocked they would put in such restrictive measures then not check any paperwork when you land.

Glad you are back home.

Had you heard about the new quarantine restrictions before your flight departed?

Posted by
2207 posts

Pam, yes, we were aware of the restrictions... and wishing we were leaving a day earlier. Getting home was frustrating as I had TWO separate COVID tests set up and in both cases, we could not use either. The Netherlands has some of the most restrictive testing rules: You can do a PCR test 48 hours in advance or an Antigen test 24 hours in advance. With each restriction, the clock starts as per your departure time to the NL. In our case, we departed Atlanta at 2.00 PM, but we connected in DFW, departing from there at 6.00 PM (CST). Thus, by NL standards, we had to have a test in Atlanta LATER than 7.00 PM (EST) and prior to check in on the morning of 12/30 to meet the criteria. A pretty narrow window, based on the operating hours of many locations.

I set up both tests shortly after I arrived in the USA, a week in advance of our departure flight back to Europe. One was a PCR test booked through a B-12 clinic; the second was an antigen test booked at 7 PM, the day before we departed. The B-12 clinic said it would deliver results in 12-24 hours - they failed to hit that goal, and we actually received their negative certification after we were in the air. And CVS - three hours before our 7 PM appointment - canceled our scheduled tests!

Fortunately, I also was carrying four BinaxNow kits - hoping not to have to use any of them. Alas, once CVS canceled our tests, and we had no word from the B-12 clinic, we had to use two of the proctored kits to get a negative test result. Then we spent a late night working on the VeriFly App. So we went 1 for 3 on testing. Thank goodness we planned had ahead and had the BinaxNow kits.

No doubt that the surge in the Omicron variant in the US created a shortage of testing options. But I was surprised at how limited the testing options were. And pretty darn frustrated with the CVS group for canceling our appointments. We searched a 40-mile area that afternoon looking for a new "reasonably priced" Antigen option within 50 miles that we could get after 7.00 PM or early the next morning --- and there were none.

If we had not had the Binax kits, we'd be stuck in the USA. This was surprising, as testing in the NL is almost second nature for us. We had about eight "Dutch home kits" we carried with us (but these could not be used for flights - just for self-analysis). My wife being a teacher gets them for free or you can buy them at the local grocery store for less than 5 euros. We could find NO TESTS in Walgreens, CVS, etc. in the Atlanta metro area where we were staying. Again, probably due to the recent surge.

Because of my travels to Italy the week before, I was tested on 12/16 in Italy, flew home on 12/17, arriving at AMS at 2 PM. Training home, I dropped off my luggage and walked to the clinic near my house. I tested negative there at 4 PM - getting the results in about 20 minutes - to "be certified" for my flight the next day at 9.30 AM from AMS. I never had any concerns about my "tight" testing schedule in Europe, as I travel often, test often, and have never had a test canceled, or results not reported in the timeframe I needed.

So it was disconcerting a few days before leaving the USA to read about Walgreens and CVS canceling appointments. Again, it seems they, and other vendors, were unprepared for the recent surge. Almost all the posts on the RS forum speak to concerns about getting a test when returning from Europe. In my case, it was FAR MORE DIFFICULT to get a test to GO to Europe! My advice, get the BinaxNow kits - or a similar product. Either use them as a backup or your primary (but do make sure you have at least 2 kits per person... just in case you get an invalid result and have to retest). We were definitely glad we had our's... and glad to be home, despite the quarantine and lockdown.

Posted by
9929 posts

Almost all the posts on the RS forum speak to concerns about getting a test when returning from Europe. In my case, it was FAR MORE DIFFICULT to get a test to GO to Europe!

I think the issue is for those that haven’t traveled…they are expecting the hassle one gets here trying to get a test. Out here in the hinterlands it’s always been awful. Much easier in Paris to walk down the street and have a couple of pharmacies to pick from.

Posted by
2165 posts

Pam makes a really good point. The testing in the US is so much more difficult. There were test sites everywhere in France. We passed them by continuously…dozens every day, in Antibes, in Paris, in Bordeaux…as we traveled around. I try to describe it to my friends here in the US, who are trying to find a way to get tested, and they cannot grasp it.

Posted by
8515 posts

Not just the hinterlands, Pam. My son in Brooklyn had to wait for three hours in 20-degree weather at a pharmacy for a PCR when he had Omicron two weeks ago. He couldn't find an appointment anywhere.

The US is dangerously, obscenely, ridiculously, pathetically behind on testing.

Posted by
21 posts

Wow! I was actually contemplating signing up for the Heart of Belgium and Holland in March but this is a game changer. If I am interpreting the rules correctly upon arriving in a regulated area in the Netherlands Americans must now quarantine for at least five days, and possibly ten days unless one can provide a negative result after 5 days? I realize things can, and probably will change between now and March but who would take that gamble?

I assume with those untenable circumstances RS may cancel some tours unless the regs are changed and some assurances are provided that they will not be reimposed. Who is going to agree to a minimum of five days locked up in a hotel despite being vaccinated multiple times? No es bueno!

Posted by
5561 posts

It’s anyone’s guess, but I suspect those conditions for entry will go away within a few months. The sad thing is that once an area has community spread, I think the impact from travelers is actually quite limited.

I don’t envy the policy makers in any country as they seek to make decisions regarding travel entry requirements. It can’t be easy and no one wants to do anything that might further endanger the population.

I've got a trip to Amsterdam and Paris March 12-20. I'm definitely concerned given the Netherlands seem to be far more restrictive than other countries but I'm just going to keep an eye on things. If things were to remain the same then I will probably have to eliminate the Amsterdam part of my trip. I'm running a marathon in Paris so that is the main reason for my trip but I would really hate to miss out on Amsterdam. The trend with Omicron thankfully seems to be lower hospitalizations and lower deaths and it spreads so rapidly that the numbers could drop as precipitously as they rose. But like everyone else, I am so done with all of this but I guess this is the new normal and I'll just roll with it as best as possible. I did a trip to Spain last July and it was great with really no inconveniences other than a Covid test to return to the U.S. I also have travel insurance in case something happens like testing positive.

Posted by
7718 posts

Yeah, I hate to miss Amsterdam too (I had wanted to go for my birthday this weekend), but with these conditions in place, there’s not much point in visiting.

Most locations are closed, including:

Food and drink venues such as restaurants and bars.

Locations for artistic and cultural activities, such as cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

Zoos and amusement parks.

Indoor sporting locations, such as gyms and swimming pools.

Non-essential shops such as clothing shops, department stores and hardware shops.

A few locations may remain open:

Essential shops such as supermarkets, pet shops, chemists, opticians and wholesalers may open from 05:00 to 20:00.
Service providers such as lawyers and notaries may be open for their regular opening hours.

Source:

https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands/coronavirus-measures-in-brief

Posted by
7718 posts

Ron, so sorry for what you went through !! Glad you can at least be at home.

Posted by
2207 posts

Thanks Kim; only two more days of quarantine... I'm actually incredibly busy with work so not stir-crazy yet!
EDIT: I just made my "GGD Test" for Tuesday which is required to be released from "quarantine." Unfortunately, the test results will take up to 48 hours, and you cannot leave quarantine until you get your test results from the GGD (the State Health Dept). So, our five-day quarantine could easily become a seven-day quarantine - UGH!.

Posted by
8885 posts

I’m happy to hear you made it home, even if you are quarantined. You make a good point that the reason the Netherlands is doing so poorly related to Covid it that they don’t enforce their own requirements. After we discussed this during our travel meeting I decided to be proactive, just in case it wasn’t possible or at least advisable to travel there next April. We are supposed to spend the last week of the month in Haarlem. Using airline miles is what makes my new plan possible. We still have our flights scheduled to depart from Amsterdam, but I also booked flights home from Paris, since we will be in France for about 4 weeks before going to the Netherlands. I booked a hotel in Lille for a few nights and we will go home a few days earlier than planned, because that’s the best flight option I could fine. I’m hoping Plan A from Amsterdam works out, but feel more comfortable having a Plan B lined up early. I can cancel whatever I need to easily with no penalty.

Posted by
2207 posts

We love Lille Andrea - we go there annually in September for Foire aux Vins - the huge Annual Autumn Wine Sale. After buying 15-20 cases of wine, stuffing our Renault, we then spend the night in the Old-Town. We seem to always eat at Le Domaine de Chavagnac, as my wife loves cassoulet.

We did have alternative plans just in case either or both of us tested positive. We also had four BinaxNow kits and multiple (maybe 8?) antigen self-tests we carried from the NL, as my wife gets them free at her school. We tested ourselves multiple times during the trip. The folks we stayed with also tested upon our arrival (No doubt the advantage of us having fast & free tests as they could not find them locally). I think given the challenges of getting tested in the USA, I'll always travel with 2 BinaxNow proctor-ready kits - or a similar product - in my bag. You just never know and good to have "test-insurance."

Posted by
13730 posts

Ron, you've sure had more than your share of "UGH!" lately! Hope you still have a goodly supply of some of that great wine to sweeten quarantine a bit! 🍷

Travel for business isn't always a picnic to begin with, but when your business IS travel....😳

Posted by
8885 posts

I’ve searched everywhere for some home Covid tests and there are none to be found. It’s very frustrating.

Posted by
1586 posts

We bought some a few days ago from Amazon. Have you tried there?

Posted by
2207 posts

Kathy, yes, during quarantine we "reduced" our wine supply daily! Now, we've been tested (NEGATIVE!!!) and we have been released from quarantine - and we just got our booster through the GGD (Local Dutch Health Dept). Thus, we now have the updated Dutch/EU QR code (3/3), which you get here electronically through the online DigId App and CoronaCheck App. (All vaccinations are registered in the national database, so different from the "paper" vaccination cards in the USA). This is important because the Dutch government is looking to impose a restriction that you cannot travel unless you have a booster!

We are still under a full lockdown, and by all indications, it will be extended beyond the current January 14 ending date. Local retailers are quite unhappy and we've seen many more smaller shops go out of business. Definitely not the time to come to the NL. Let's hope that ends before March 1.

On Thursday, January 6th, we're driving to Antwerp --- for dinner! Yes, it's our 43rd wedding anniversary and we cannot "dine out" anywhere in the NL as all the restaurants are closed. So, like many Dutchies, we're driving 1.5 hours and spending the night in Belgium for a day of shopping, dining, and exploring! The Belgian PM is not too thrilled about the influx of Dutch citizens and has discussed implementing restrictions. With all the requirements for travel and quarantine, we've tested negative 6 times in the last 9 days... so we're probably the "safest" of travelers.

Andrea, for a "proctored" BinaxNow test, take a look at Optum: https://store.optum.com/. We worked through them to send test kits to our son's home in the USA so we would have kits waiting for us. Granted, that was a couple of weeks ago. Other ex-pats who are returning from the USA to the NL told us they got their kits through E-med: https://www.emed.com/. Again not sure NOW what the availability is. A business associate purchased her kits through WeShield: https://shop.weshield.us/shop/category/test-kits-18. Talking to TA's, their clients have had the most "immediate" success through E-med and Optum.

Posted by
8 posts

Check the actual Netherlands site for your specific situation. We arrived at Schiphol on the 31st after spending 14 days in Italy. Since we were coming from the Eurozone, we only had to be fully vaccinated with our booster, and a negative test within 24 hours of arrival of Amsterdam which we got at the Venice airport. We took another test in Amsterdam on the 1st to fly home to the U.S. All tests were negative. Upon arrival in Schiphol, no one asked for any documents, but KLM thoroughly checked all documents before allowing us on the plane to fly to Amsterdam.

We stayed at Schiphol, but took the train to Amsterdam to get tested. Amsterdam was thoroughly locked down except for the trains and trams. Some restaurants were open for takeout, but no dining outside any of the establishments. Amsterdam was thoroughly deserted New Year's Day morning, but later in the late morning and early afternoon, there were tons of people out and about just walking the streets. No one on the streets was wearing a mask except us and a very few scattered others. There was good mask compliance on the trains, trams, and at the take-out places.

While it was nice to see Amsterdam from the outside again, Italy is a much much better place to be during Covid Times. We only returned to Amsterdam because our return flight was out of Schiphol. Tests were readily available in Amsterdam and at the airport in Venice. I agree, it is much harder and more expensive to be tested in the US.

Posted by
458 posts

The article only discusses American tourists who leave the US with the intention of directly entering the Netherlands. It also states that "travelers transiting through Amsterdam do not need to worry". There are other situations as Italy72 points out.

Posted by
2207 posts

Yes, every situation seems to be different. Living in The Hague with an EU Digital COVID Certificate, we needed negative COVID test results to return to The NL when we traveled directly from the UK and the USA ---- but not directly from most other EU countries. Of course, all that could change tomorrow if the numbers here don't improve. We're still under a full lockdown and you can see the ramifications in Den Haag photos shown in this recent FB post. - It's pretty depressing (and frustrating) for business owners and residents!

Posted by
1 posts

My family and I were just planning our trip to NL and Germany last night. We decided to look at each countries entry requirements from the USA. Wow am I glad we did. We were going to book flights last night as well. With the 10 day quarantine (possibly 5 if choose to test), we decided to wait a month to book any tickets/hotels. :( Hopefully things get better everywhere, but from what I read on various boards, the NL appear to be the strictest with entry requirements so just not sure we should take a chance. :(