French want to see Dutch again

The French State Secretary for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne was in The Hague this week. He wants to tempt the Dutch to a holiday in France this summer. And that may cost something: everyone gets a free test to return home with. Tourism is of great importance to France. The Dutch are among the regular guests who settle there in large numbers. In normal years, almost 5 million Dutch holidaymakers travel to France.

This Wednesday, France will open its borders. What will change for the Dutch?

“In the first place: that the Dutch are very welcome. The Netherlands is on the list of green countries in France. This means that there are no longer any restrictions on who has been vaccinated. No quarantine, no testing. For those who have not yet had the vaccine, a negative test is sufficient. Since last week, this may also be the antigen test, which is much cheaper and faster than the PCR test.

Conversely, the Netherlands continues to regard France as an ‘orange’ area: non-essential travel is discouraged?

“Given the favorable developments, I am hopeful that the Netherlands will place all of France in the yellow category in the coming days. In the meantime, we have made the choice that people who need a test to return home can do it for free in France.”

That could be an expensive joke?

“These tests are very expensive in some countries. For a family of four, it quickly compares to the price of a night out at a restaurant or an extra night in a hotel. Tourism is of course very important to our economy. And yes, it is also a gesture to the fans of France.”

Are you confident that the European vaccination certificate will be available on 1 July?

“I am confident that the system will be operational on July 1. We should be proud of that as Europeans. But I know that many Dutch people are attached to their yellow book. If you present that yellow booklet as a vaccination certificate, you will have no problem in France. And that applies from now on.”

From: correspondent Gert Van Langendonck from Paris, in NRC-Next of 9 June 2021.

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