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Netherlands travel guide

About Netherlands

As flat as a local pannenkoek, the Netherlands is a land of colourful tulip fields and canals, sophisticated cities and some of the most striking coastline in Northern Europe. It punches well above its weight culturally, laying claim to the likes of Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Mondrian, amongst others.

At the head of the state sits the country's constitutional monarchy, whose palaces dominate many of the larger cities, including The Hague and the capital city, Amsterdam. The latter, renowned for its step-gabled houses, ubiquitous bikes, seedy red light district and hazy coffeeshops, is bisected by a UNESCO-listed network of waterways, many of which are spanned by beautiful, latticed bridges.

To the south lies Rotterdam, an industrial port city that has benefitted from a complete makeover in recent years, acquiring a slew of excellent museums and an unlikely affinity for hip-hop in the process.

The butt of many a northern joke, the southern city of Maastricht lies in the much-maligned Limburg region. Despite the teasing, this is a city of delicate beauty, dotted with churches, bisected by a mighty river and home to what is almost certainly the best bookshop in the world, Selexyz Dominicanen.

Back towards the coast, the Netherlands becomes more stereotypically Dutch, with vast colourful fields of tulips dotted with windmills and dairy farms producing the wheels of cheese for which the country is so famous. The low-lying Dutch countryside is scattered with a network of charming towns and villages such as Edam, Haarlem and Leiden, which have changed little over the centuries.

Best of all though, are the sandy, North Sea beaches of Zeeland, which stretch for an almost unbroken 650km (403-miles). With more sunshine than any other part of the Netherlands, Zeeland is the Dutch riposte to the Caribbean – and with better cycling trails and museums, if not the hot weather, to boot.

Key facts

Area:

41,543 sq km (16,039 sq miles).

Population:

17,020,000 (2016 World Bank).

Population density:

488 per sq km.

Capital:

Amsterdam.

Government:

Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state:

King Willem-Alexander since 2013.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Mark Rutte since 2010, stepped down in January 2021.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for the Netherlands on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in the Netherlands.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK. You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. The Dutch Municipal Health Service (GGD) should not be used for pre-travel tests, as explained on the GGD website (in Dutch and English). You should obtain a test from a private provider instead. The Dutch Government are providing free tests for travel. If you choose to use these tests, you should check that the type of test and the test result certificate meets the full testing requirements (e.g. name of the test provider and their contact details, if appropriate) for entry into either England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Netherlands is on the amber list for entering England. Check what you must do to enter England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. What you need to do before and after you travel depends on whether you have been fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme. Check the:

If you have been in France in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow the amber list rules for people who are not fully UK vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated by an NHS administered vaccine, and are travelling directly by train from Netherlands to the UK, it is possible to transit through France without needing to self-isolate. You should check with your operator for further information.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in the Netherlands

The latest information on Dutch domestic coronavirus measures can be found on the Dutch government website (in English).

Where possible, the Dutch government advises to avoid crowds and to travel outside peak hours if taking public transport.

As of 26 June 2021, wearing a face mask is no longer compulsory in indoor public spaces. The Dutch Government recommends you continue to wear a face mask in situations where you cannot maintain social distancing of at least 1.5metres. Face masks must be worn on public transport, in stations, on platforms and at bus, tram or metro stops if you are aged 13 and over. If you do not wear a face mask as directed, you may be fined €95. You must observe social distancing of at least 1.5 metres when on platforms and at stations.

For other shared forms of transport, such as taxis, passenger vans and coaches, you must wear a face mask, unless you are the only passenger. If you’re travelling in a car or other private vehicle, you are advised to wear face masks if there are two or more people in the vehicle who belong to different households. On other forms of transport, you must stay 1.5 metres apart where possible.

Children under the age of 13 are not required to wear a face mask.

Schiphol, Eindhoven and Rotterdam Airports

All passengers and staff aged 13+ must wear face masks in all areas of these airports. The terminals are only open for passengers and staff. You must not be accompanied into the airport, unless absolutely necessary for a traveller with reduced mobility.

Ferries

DFDS

All travellers must wear face coverings at check-in, whilst boarding, and during disembarkation. This applies for both foot- and car passengers, as well as freight drivers. On the Amsterdam - Newcastle route, passengers must wear face coverings whilst moving around the ship. Face coverings do not need to be worn when travellers are in their cabins, seated in a socially distanced manner or whilst social distancing on outside decks.

P&O

All travellers must wear a face mask during their journey.

Eurostar

All passengers aged 13+ must wear a face mask at Eurostar stations and on board trains. If you don’t have a mask you may be refused travel on Eurostar services.

Public Spaces and Services

A full overview of measures is available on the Dutch government’s website. Most outdoor and indoor activities are now permitted, as long as 1.5 metres social distancing in observed.

There are no limits on group sizes indoors and outdoors, as long as 1.5metres social distancing is observed. Mandatory reservations, health checks and maximum capacity limits are in place for public venues, such as restaurants, cafes, museums, theatres, amusement parks and zoos.

You must stay 1.5 metres away from other people. This applies to everyone over the age of 18, in the street, in shops and other buildings. It does not apply to members of your household and it does not apply if you are providing assistance to someone, for example pushing a wheelchair. If you notice that it is becoming difficult to keep a distance of 1.5 metres, you should leave. The Dutch government continues to advise people to avoid busy places. If a gathering poses a safety or public health risk, enforcement officers can take action.

Accommodation

Tourists are not obliged to reserve their holiday accommodation before travelling to the Netherlands. See the Dutch government’s website for more information on tourist travel to the Netherlands.

Health

If you develop symptoms during your stay in the Netherlands, you must follow the advice of the local authorities. Information on this can be found on the Government of the Netherlands website.

You can find further information on the latest measures from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) and from the Dutch government.

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Netherlands.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in the Netherlands

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications.

The Netherlands started its vaccination programme on 6 January 2021. It is the Dutch government’s goal to invite all residents aged 18 and over to receive their vaccination in 2021. Vulnerable groups and healthcare workers are the first groups to be invited. The Dutch government has issued information on the vaccination programme. If you are resident in the Netherlands, you should receive an invitation by letter or email when it is your turn to get the vaccination.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organisation COVID-19 vaccines page.

If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in the Netherlands, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

As a result of severe weather in the Limburg province in the south of the Netherlands, a number of locations are experiencing flooding and homes have had to be evacuated. The area has been declared as a disaster area by the Dutch government, and travel to affected areas should be avoided. Flooding is also causing severe disruption, including road closures which may result in travel delays. If you are in the area you should follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Take care particularly in central Amsterdam and especially in and around Central Station. Pick-pocketing and bag snatching are common. Thieves often operate in gangs on the trains to and from Schiphol airport and Central Station as well as on the trams. One thief will attempt to distract you (often by asking for directions or by banging on your window) while another picks your pocket or steals your bag. Be alert and don’t lose sight of your luggage or your belongings. Sleeping passengers make particularly easy targets.

Opportunist thieves are widespread and can enter restaurants with the excuse of selling you something or looking for someone. Bags have been stolen from between people’s feet whilst they were distracted. Keep your valuables safely with you at all times and don’t leave bags or jackets hanging on the back of a chair.

If you are the victim of a theft contact the nearest police station and get a police report. Amsterdam Police have warned of criminals using false police identities and tricking tourists into handing over cash and credit cards on the pretext of investigations into counterfeit money and false credit cards. Be very cautious about any such approaches.

Genuine plain clothes police will rarely carry out this type of inspection. Always ask for identity, check it thoroughly and don’t let yourself be intimidated. Dutch police don’t have shiny badges, which the fake police sometimes present as ID. Call 0900-8844 to get in touch with the nearest police station if you are not entirely happy.

Avoid confrontation with anyone offering you drugs of any sort and stay away from quiet or dark alleys - particularly late at night.  Even if you are tempted to buy, you risk arrest for doing so.

Young women and those not in groups should be aware of the possibility of drinks being spiked. Don’t leave your drink unattended.  If you believe you have been the victim of a spiked drink, seek medical help immediately and, if possible, inform the police. If you are in a group, make sure you leave together.

See Victims of Crime

Road travel

In 2019 there were 661 road deaths in the Netherlands (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 3.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

Licences and documents

You must have a valid full UK driving licence, insurance, vehicle documents and identification to drive in the Netherlands. If you are driving a vehicle that does not belong to you then written permission from the registered owner may also be required. You are not allowed to drive on a provisional licence.

If you’re living in the Netherlands, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.

Road safety

Pedestrians should be extremely careful when crossing roads, especially on zebra crossings. Look out for cycles and mopeds, which enjoy right of way over motor vehicles and often ignore road traffic rules and red lights. Crossing the road without a green signal to do so can be interpreted by local law as Jaywalking, even if it is safe to do. Dutch police have been known to hand out fines in such instances.

Driving regulations

Traffic offences can carry heavy, on-the-spot fines. If you are fined, always ask for a receipt.

Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal. Drivers are encouraged to use ‘hands free’ equipment.

The Dutch drive on the right and give priority to the right, unless otherwise indicated. Be particularly careful when using roundabouts: on some you have the right of way when on them but on others right of way must be given to vehicles entering.

Watch out for trams; they have priority over other traffic and are well known to exercise that right. If a tram or a bus stops in the middle of the road to allow passengers on and off, you must stop.

Speed cameras, speed traps and unmarked vehicles are widely used. Be vigilant on motorways where the maximum speed can vary. Overhead illuminated lane indicators - when in use - are mandatory.  

You must use dipped lights after dark and in misty conditions. If safety belts are fitted, they must be used. You must carry a warning triangle and, in the event of a breakdown, place it 30m behind your vehicle. Children under 1.35m in height must be carried in a proper child seat in the rear of the car.

See the European Commission,AA and RAC guides to driving in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam canals

Deaths occur each year due to drowning in the canals of Amsterdam. The majority of these happen as a result of celebrations that include heavy drinking and/or smoking cannabis. Take particular care when travelling beside canals.

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in the Netherlands.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. You should be vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities. On 18 March 2019 there was a shooting incident in the 24 Oktoberplein (24 October Square) area of Utrecht on a tram where 4 people were killed and 6 injured. A suspect was detained following this incident and has been charged with various crimes including murder with terrorist intent. On 31 August 2018, 2 foreign tourists were seriously injured in a knife attack at Amsterdam Central Station.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in the Netherlands set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact their embassy, high commission or consulate. You may also check with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and travel documents meet their requirements.

If you are travelling to the Netherlands for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Dutch government has published a checklist for travel to the Netherlands. The Dutch government classifies countries and regions into the following categories: safe; high risk; very high risk; or very high risk with a variant of concern. The UK is currently listed as “very high risk with a variant of concern”.

Entry to the Netherlands

The Dutch government has implemented measures which mean that non-EU/EEA nationals and nationals of non-Schengen states arriving from outside of the Schengen area, including UK nationals, will not be permitted entry to the Netherlands for non-essential purposes due to EU-wide COVID-19 restrictions. Visit the Dutch government’s website for a list of exemptions. This measure does not apply to UK nationals who are legally resident in the Netherlands, who will be allowed to re-enter the country, but will need to demonstrate they have a residency permit, a certificate of application or a document with their address, and may be subject to questioning by Dutch border authorities when they arrive in the Netherlands. This measure does not apply to those travelling to the Netherlands from a country that is on the list of safe countries/regions, published by the Dutch government.

A number of further exemptions apply to UK nationals, for example:

  • Partners of UK nationals who hold a Netherlands residence permit issued under Article 50 TEU (Withdrawal Agreement). Partners must meet the criteria set out by the Dutch government and must carry with them a copy of their partner’s residence permit. See the Dutch government’s website for further information and the full criteria travellers must meet
  • Close family members of seriously or terminally ill patients, or those attending the funeral of a close family member. Travellers must complete a form before travelling
  • Grandparents visiting their new born grandchildren. Travellers must complete a form before travelling
  • Divorced parents visiting any child(ren) who are minors. Travellers must complete a form before travelling

From 1 July 2021, travellers who are fully vaccinated can be exempted from this entry ban unless they are travelling from a country listed as very high risk with a variant of concern. Currently travellers from the UK are therefore not exempt even if they are fully vaccinated. Visit the Dutch government’s website for the full list of exemptions to the EU entry ban and proof of exemptions, where applicable, for fully vaccinated travellers.

Testing Requirements

Testing requirements depend on the category of the country that you are travelling from. The Netherlands classifies the UK as a very high risk country with a variant of concern. As such, travellers aged 13 and over arriving from the UK via aeroplane or ferry must abide by one of the following two options:

  • show a negative rapid test result taken no more than 24 hours before departure and no more than 48 hours before arrival in the Netherlands

  • or show the following 2 test results:

  1. a negative PCR test result taken no more than 72 hours before arrival in the Netherlands or a negative antigen test result taken no more than 48 hours before arrival in the Netherlands; and

  2. a negative rapid test result taken no more than 24 hours before departure.

Travellers aged 13 and over arriving from the UK via passenger car, train or bus have the following two options:

  • to show a negative PCR test result taken no more than 72 hours before arrival in the Netherlands;
  • or to show a negative antigen test result based taken no more than 48 hours before arrival in the Netherlands.

If you are travelling via France or Belgium, check FCDO Travel Advice for those countries, as testing requirements and validity differ.

Travellers arriving from a country on the safe list, are exempt from testing. The Dutch government’s website also outlines certain criteria for exemptions for those who have a proof of vaccination or proof of recovery (requirements differ for EU and non-EU arrivals), travelling from high-risk countries. Further information on testing requirements is detailed on the Dutch government’s website.

The test requirements do not replace the requirement to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival (see below), except for limited exemption categories.

Testing/screening on arrival

If you’re travelling to or from the Netherlands by air you must complete a health screening form and have it ready to show on request during your journey, whether you are at the departure airport, on the aircraft or at the arrival airport. This form is not required if travelling to the Netherlands by road or ferry.

You may be refused permission to travel based on your health screening form.

On arrival in the Netherlands your health screening form will be checked by public health and security authorities.

Quarantine requirements

As the UK is classified as a very high-risk country with a variant of concern, mandatory self-quarantine of 10 days applies to travellers aged 13 and over arriving in the Netherlands from the UK. There is an option to test and release after 5 days. This also applies to travellers who have been vaccinated. Children aged 12 or under are exempt from the mandatory quarantine.

Travellers from countries on the Dutch government’s safe list are exempt from quarantine requirements. Further details on quarantine requirements are on the website of the Dutch government. Those not following the mandatory self-quarantine requirements, may be fined. If you travel to the Netherlands from a country that is on the very high-risk list or on the very high-risk list due to a variant of concern, you need a completed quarantine declaration form in addition to the required test result(s) and health declaration in case of travel by aeroplane. Not having this form may result in a fine. Travellers exempt from quarantine must also carry a completed quarantine declaration form. Upon arrival at your home address or accommodation, you must stay there in quarantine for 10 days. You must also be reachable on the phone number you provided: officials will check. If you do not open the door or answer the phone you may be fined. The mandatory quarantine guidance applies to travellers arriving by all means of transportation. All information on mandatory quarantine, including all exemptions, can be found here.

You may leave quarantine to take a PCR test on day 5 after arriving in the Netherlands. If the result is negative, you can end your self-quarantine that day. If the test result is positive, you need to continue quarantining and you will receive further instructions from the local health authorities. If you do not choose to take a test on day 5, you need to complete 10 days of self-quarantine. See the Dutch government’s website for full details of quarantine requirements.

Testing to end quarantine early is only possible if your stay in the Netherlands is longer than 5 days. If your stay is 5 days or shorter, you should self-isolate for the entire duration of your stay. Even if your test on day 5 is negative, the Dutch government advises you to take extra care and avoid people in higher-risk groups until after day 10.

You can make an appointment in advance to get tested for free on day 5 of your self-isolation by calling the municipal health service (GGD) on 0800 1202 (or +31 850 659 063 if you are calling from a foreign phone). You can also make an appointment online, but this is only possible on the day of your test.

Further information on self-isolation in the Netherlands can be found on the Dutch government’s website (in English).

Data collection

Local health authorities may use passenger data to carry out contact tracing for passengers arriving from high-risk (orange) countries.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:

  • you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training

  • if you are travelling to the Netherlands and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days

  • to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Dutch government’s entry requirements. Check with the Netherlands Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit you may need

  • if you stay in the Netherlands with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit

Any time you spent in the Netherlands or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

At Dutch border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay

There are separate requirements for those who are resident in the Netherlands. If you are resident in the Netherlands, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in the Netherlands guide.

Passport validity

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.

You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

Before you travel, make sure your passport is in good condition. The Netherlands authorities often impound damaged passports and some travellers have had to get an emergency travel document to leave the country.

Travelling with children

Dutch border authorities have strengthened their precautions against child abduction. Parents (particularly fathers) travelling in sole charge of their children are regularly stopped for further checks at Schiphol airport and occasionally prevented from boarding flights.

You should carry a signed authorisation form for travelling abroad with a minor and associated documents (outlined in the above link). See also Get permission to take a child abroad.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from The Netherlands.

Moving to the Netherlands

If you intend to live in the Netherlands, you should get important documents (birth certificate and marriage certificates) officially certified (apostilled) at the FCDO Legalisation Office.

Taking food and drink into the Netherlands

You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.

Using public transport

As of March 2018, Amsterdam public transport service (GVB) no longer accepts cash for buying tickets on trams, buses or metro trains in Amsterdam. You can buy tickets by credit card (not American Express) on buses and trams or at payment points at main bus and tram stops, Amsterdam Central Station and Schiphol airport. More information can be found on the GVB website.

Drugs

Don’t carry or use drugs. The Netherlands has a reputation for being tolerant on the use of so-called ‘soft drugs’. In reality drugs are prohibited and this tolerance exists only for designated premises in the major cities. Possession of prohibited substances or buying them outside these designated areas can carry a prison sentence. Buying or smoking soft drugs in public places is an offence. There are specifically designated cafés where the use of cannabis is tolerated. Although popular, the sale of both dry and fresh psychoactive mushrooms is forbidden by law. Be extremely careful as combinations of alcohol, cannabis and wild mushrooms are a fatal cocktail and have resulted in several deaths.

Showing ID

Everybody from the age of 14 must be able to show a valid identity document to police officers and other law enforcement authorities on their request. The documents you can use to prove your identity depend on your nationality. If you are a British national living in or visiting the Netherlands you can use your passport. If you are a dual national you can identify yourself with a valid Dutch driving licence, passport or Dutch/European identity card.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for the Netherlands on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in the Netherlands.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

If you are living, working or studying in the Netherlands, there is guidance available on how to get state healthcare.

Healthcare

You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.

The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Dutch nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

If you’re living in the Netherlands, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In the Netherlands guide.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry.We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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