Netherlands Open Again after 11 Weeks of COVID-19 Restrictions
At the stroke of midnight on 1 June, restaurants, terraces, museums and cinemas in the Netherlands were allowed to open again after 11 weeks of closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Public transport is now also running to normal schedules again after services were significantly reduced.
Face-masks as part of Wittenborg's new indoor policy: A day later, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences also reopened all its locations in the Netherlands – its two buildings in Apeldoorn and one in Amsterdam are now all accessible again during office hours. A protocol for all locations has been designed, in which students, staff and visitors are asked to wear face-masks in corridors and restrooms, whilst in classrooms and offices social distancing rules apply (keeping 1.5 metre distance). See Wittenborg Covid19 Campus Guidelines
To celebrate the ease in restrictions – and the marvellous weather to boot – many students and staff were out and about, enjoying lunch on terraces and marvelling at nature. Leading the way were Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng, and chair of the executive board Peter Birdsall, who promptly made a reservation for lunch at the restaurant Prins Hendrik Garage at Het Loo Palace after a gradual lift in restrictions were announced by the government a month ago. The two were joined by their teenage son, Marlon.
"Wonderful to see the new normal has started," Feng wrote on her Facebook page. It was also the first time the palace, known as the summer royal residence, was open to the public again after a long period of renovations.
Wittenborg student Rumio Ruman wrote a simple but poignant post on social media about taking a trip around Rotterdam. "After a long time, freedom again... #Life_fabulous". Rumio is from Bangladesh and lives in the lovely port city of Rotterdam.
Wittenborg Amsterdam's Manager Admissions & External Relations, Yanti Setiawan, made full use of the sunshine weather to take a long bike ride in a wild green spot in Bijlmerweide, a park in the southeast part of Amsterdam.
Student buddies, Muhammad Saqib and Sylvia Effendi, met up in the The Hague where Sylvia lives. "We walked around The Hague city centre enjoying plenty of sun and the beautiful sights of the city. Then we went to visit Grote Markt, Binnenhof and Chinatown. We picked up Turkish Pizza and sat by the Palace Noordeinde to enjoy our dinner," Sylvia recalls.
The most important dates in the easing of restrictions are:
• Public transport running to normal schedules again – wearing a mask on all public transport compulsory
• High schools and colleges reopened
• Museums, terraces and monuments reopened provided people are kept 1.5 m apart
• Museum tickets need to be purchased online
• Restaurants, theatres and cinemas reopened, but with a maximum of 30 people allowed inside
• Camping and holiday parks may reopen fully
• Restaurants, theatres and cinemas may now allow 100 people max.
• Contact sport and sport schools allowed again
• Saunas can reopen
• Smaller events and sport matches allowed, but unclear when big events like festivals and concerts will be allowed again
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press