Photo: SalFalko via Flickr

The exemption on EU travel restrictions for the cultural sector suspended

Working together with an artist from abroad? The exemption on EU travel restrictions for the cultural sector is temporarily suspended from 23 January onwards.
21 January 2021
Laurens Meijer
Exemptions for cultural professionals no longer in place

On Wednesday 20 January 2021 the Dutch government announced additional measures to prevent the spread of the UK variant of the coronavirus. As a result of stricter measures, the exemption on the European travel ban for professionals working in the cultural and creative sector has been suspended. This means that these professionals will no longer be granted entry starting on 23 January 2021 at 00:01 AM (CEST). You can find more information on the website of the Dutch government

We don't know exactly when these professionals will be allowed to travel to the Netherlands again. In a letter to the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer is Dutch) the Minister of Health writes on page 12:

  • "[...] This temporary suspension of the exceptions to the entry ban will apply until planned legislation on mandatory quarantine rules for travellers is in place. [...]"

We expect that the legislation will be in place in February, hoping that the exemption to the travel ban for cultural and creative professionals will return into force shortly after.

The European travel ban and the exemptions

Since 18 March 2020, an entry ban is enforced by the European Union and the Netherlands. This means that non-EU citizens are not allowed to enter the EU. This travel ban is not applicable to EU-citizens (and their core non-EU family members) that are returning to the EU. This travel ban is also not applicable to a select number of non-EU citizens with a nationaly of a country with a low infection rate. The list of countries is frequently updated on this EU website. If you are living in one of these countries but do not have the nationality of the country, you might also be allowed to enter the EU. Visa requirements continue to apply.

Between 16 October 2020 and 22 January 2021 cultural professionals from outside the EU could apply for a exemption to the entry ban at the Fonds Podiumkunsten (in Dutch only).

Do I need to self-quarantine upon arrival?

If you are allowed entry into the Netherlands, you might have to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. This applies when individuals travel (back) from areas that are marked orange or red by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs due to the local spread of the coronavirus.

Because of the duration of the crisis and the consequences for professional activities caused by the self-quarantine requirement, the government has decided to create exempted categories when self-quarantine may be temporarily left. Since September 14, the travel purpose ‘Participation in professional cultural activities’ has been added. Only for this purpose an individual may leave their self-quarantine. Outside this (travel) purpose the individual must keep themselves to the rules of self-quarantine, such as not traveling with public transport and avoiding social contacts.

The purpose of travel ‘Participation in professional cultural activities’ is defined as follows:

  • Activities of cultural and creative organisations that receive a multiyear grant from Dutch central government, the Netherlands Film Fund, the Cultural Participation Fund, the Performing Arts Fund, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the Mondriaan Fund or the Creative Industries Fund NL for the period 2017-2020 or 2021-2024, to which professionals from other countries – such as guest conductors or guest choreographers – make a necessary contribution at the organisation’s invitation. These professionals’ personal physical presence and participation must be decisive for the organisation’s overall ability to conduct its activities.

More information about this may be found here. For further questions on mobility and the corona virus, please contact DutchCulture’s Mobility Info Point.