On 25 September the Netherlands dropped the mandatory 1.5 metre social distancing regulations. This enabled cafés, bars and restaurants to be able to open at maximum capacity again and all events were, from that point on, permitted. Last month almost 13 million people had at least one vaccination and over 11 million people had been fully vaccinated. The vaccination coverage was high enough to lift the mandatory 1.5 metre distance everywhere, but not yet high enough to do so without conditions.
Coronatoegangsbewijs (corona access pass) for extra security
The coronatoegangsbewijs is being used at those locations where it will become busier by abandoning the mandatory 1.5-metre distance. In this way, the risk of contamination is kept as low as possible and everyone can get together as safely as possible. In addition, the use of the coronatoegangsbewijs contributes to keeping most locations open at maximum capacity.
From 25 September, in all catering establishments (except take-away restaurants), at events (such as festivals, performances, parties and audiences at professional sports events) and when showing art and culture (such as in cinemas and theatres), access will only be possible with a coronatoegangsbewijs for everyone aged 13 or older. This applies inside and outside, with or without a fixed seat. From the age of 14, the use of the coronatoegangsbewijs must be verified together with the identity document. In Maastricht the use of a polsbandje (wristband) has been implemented where the patrons only have to show their coronatoegangsbewijs once, and the polsbandje that they receive is valid for that evening, where they can enter and exit bars and cafés as often as they like. The compulsory closing time between 00:00 and 06:00 is maintained in all catering establishments.
The Dutch government will review the situation and there is likely to be another press conference in early November to provide an update on hospital admissions, vaccination rates and any further relaxation of regulations.
Visiting the Netherlands and attending an activity
EU citizens who have been fully vaccinated can obtain an EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) and use it to enter the Netherlands. If you do not have a DCC and/or are a resident of a country outside the EU and the Schengen area, you can in most cases enter the Netherlands using paper proof of vaccination.
Getting proof of vaccination after being vaccinated outside the Netherlands
Getting proof of vaccination may be more difficult for some people because they have been vaccinated outside the Netherlands, for example. Here you can find further information on what to do if you are in that situation.
What is a coronavirus certificate?
Known in Dutch as coronabewijs or CTB, a coronavirus certificate can be one of three things:
- Proof of vaccination (with a vaccine recognised / approved by the EMA)
- Proof of recovery from COVID-19 (within the last 180 days)
- A negative coronavirus test (max. 24 hours old)
If you’re vaccinated or recently recovered, you won’t be required to present a negative test result.
Self-tests will not be recognised as valid test results. As long as the rule remains in place, COVID-19 tests will remain free to the public.
How can I access my coronabewijs?
While the rule may be new, the technology that supports the system was actually launched before the summer - and many people will likely already have used a so-called coronavirus certificate, whether it was to attend an event here in the Netherlands or to travel abroad over the summer holiday.
Via the CoronaCheck app, you can generate your vaccination or recovery QR code by logging in with your DigiD. Your health / vaccination data should be automatically collected and uploaded by the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) or the GGD, but if it isn’t then you can also manually create your certificate via the app.
If you’re having to get tested in order to generate the certificate, then you will need to book a test (either with the GGD or via Testen voor Toegang). Once tested, you should receive your results within the hour via email and, if you’ve tested negative, submit the code featured in the email to the CoronaCheck app so it can be converted into a QR code.
I don’t have a smartphone - does that mean I can’t have a certificate?
Of course, the whole system is designed to be simple and easy to use for anyone who has a smartphone or access to the CoronaCheck app, but if you don’t have a mobile phone which allows you to download applications then don’t worry, you can also print out a physical certificate.
Visit coronacheck.nl and log in with your DigiD or fill in the code you received with your negative test result in order to generate a QR code. Once you’ve got the code, you can print it out and take it with you wherever you go!
I was vaccinated outside of the Netherlands / the EU - what do I do?
If you were vaccinated in another country, you will not be able to automatically generate a QR code via CoronaCheck.
If you have been fully vaccinated in the EU and have an internationally recognised QR code generated by your country of vaccination, then this will also be recognised here in the Netherlands (similarly to how Dutch vaccinations are recognised if you travel within Europe).
If you were vaccinated outside of the EU but are a Dutch citizen or resident of the Netherlands, you’ll have to register your vaccination with the RIVM. Many expats and internationals have struggled to do this, but the government has set up a system that allows you to register your vaccination in the Netherlands - it does, however, require you to travel to Utrecht.
Once you have registered your foreign vaccination, you will be able to generate your QR code in the way outlined above.
If you were vaccinated abroad but don’t have any official proof of your vaccination or if you received a vaccine not approved by the EMA, you will not be able to register your vaccination in the Netherlands - you’ll instead have to use either a certificate of recovery or a recent negative test to generate a QR code. This will also apply to any tourists vaccinated outside of the EU.
I have a certificate - do I need anything else?
The certificate is key, but it’s not the only thing you’ll need to carry with you. Everyone aged 14 and above will also be required to present valid identification - either a passport, driving licence, or ID card will work - as the information from your certificate will be checked against the details on your official ID.
How does the CoronaCheck system work?
Using a slightly different version of the CoronaCheck app, businesses will be able to scan your QR code. If you have a valid certificate (i.e. the QR code shows you're vaccinated, recovered, or negative), the app presents a green "safe" message.
The app doesn't disclose any personal details - it won't even say which kind of certificate you have. The person scanning your QR code will only be able to see your active certificate, your initials, and part of your date of birth.
Where will I need to use my coronavirus certificate?
- Your coronavirus certificate will have to be presented at the following establishments: Restaurants / Cafes
- Bars / Nightclubs
- Concert halls
- Events and festivals (indoor and outdoor)
- Professional sporting events (i.e. football matches)
The rule does not apply to takeaway restaurants / cafes or to outdoor terraces (but customers will have to present their certificate in order to go inside, for example, to use the toilet).
To whom does the new rule apply? Are there any exceptions?
Everyone over the age of 13 will be required to present a coronavirus certificate. However, it is important to note that employees working at establishments where certificates are required are not obligated to provide proof of vaccination / recovery or a negative test result.
How will the rule be enforced? Who will check my certificate?
There's been much debate about who will actually be checking the certificates. Ultimately, the government has confirmed that customers will be responsible for sticking to the new rules, with each individual establishment expected to check whether customers have a valid certificate.
45 million euros has been made available for municipalities to employ additional staff members (i.e. security staff and inspectors) to assist business owners in enforcing the CTB rule. Police officers and community service officers (BOAs) will check if the rule is being enforced by business owners / events organisers, and repeatedly failing to check customers' certificates could lead to an official warning, a fine, or the establishment being shut down.
How long will the coronavirus certificate system be in place?
This remains relatively unclear, although Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge have emphasised that it will be temporary. It is possible, however, that it could remain in place until next spring.
Do any other countries use coronavirus certificates?
The Netherlands is not the first country to introduce this rule; in Europe alone, several governments have decided that using vaccination certificates or negative tests is a safe way to allow certain sectors and businesses to reopen in spite of the ongoing pandemic. Despite many protests, France introduced a similar system earlier this summer, as did Germany and Switzerland, where businesses adhere to the new 3G / 2G rule.
Source: I am ExpatAll this information and more can be found in English at the Rijksoverheid’s website