While it may seem that the EU is ready to reopen its borders soon, the Netherlands remains steadfast in continuing its travel ban. Just last March, the country extended its travel ban to run until May 15, 2021. SchengenVisa Info reported that it was to advise against traveling during the Easter holiday that happened on April 4, 2021. The decision came when the rise of Covid cases at the time seemed to foreshadow a possible third wave of the pandemic. “The number of coronavirus infections is still increasing, as is the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs). The third wave is becoming apparent, so the measures currently in place are going to be extended,” said a statement released by the Dutch government at the time.
Despite that, in late April 2021, Deutsche Welle reported that the Netherlands decided to lift its curfews and allowed establishments to reopen. Its controversial curfew, which ran from 10:00 pm at night to 4:00 am in the next morning, ended around the last week of the month. It coincided with cafes and restaurants reopening, provided that they only serve customers in their outdoor areas and they'd only stay open from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm in the early evening. Nevertheless, although many of these still limit business and travel in the country, they're the first signs of the Netherlands finally reopening more than a year into the pandemic.
Although these recent developments may seem reassuring, for a lot of residents in the country, however, it's not enough. Most especially for the expats who have relocated here. As early as the first week of April, expats living in the Netherlands started a campaign to abolish the travel ban in order to allow entry for their family members who live outside of the EU. The movement, entitled 'Family is Not Tourism,' actually began in 2020 but their campaigns have strengthened again this spring. It's possible that the various developments in other EU countries, such as France and Italy, may have reinvigorated their fight for the cause.
Furthermore, the EU's introduction of the Digital Green Certificate may have also influenced the Dutch 'Family is Not Tourism' movement to strengthen their campaigns recently. Announced just last March, this new vaccine passport system will allow travelers, both within the EU and outside of the continent, to travel freely in Europe provided they show the document. It will serve as proof that they have been vaccinated, tested negative, or have recovered from Covid-19. The new system is set to be put in place by June 2021.