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Ministers from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany: stay in your own country

Updated: May 4, 2021

Residents of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany should stay in their own countries as much as possible in the coming weeks to prevent the number of corona infections from rising further. The ministers of the three countries made this urgent appeal today.

"Avoid unnecessary travel and only come back to the Netherlands when times are better. Unfortunately, this is not the time for sociability, visiting friends or shopping across the border. Residents of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany need to keep their distance for a while. That will help us in all three countries in the fight against corona and save lives."

says the Netherlands' Minister van Justitie en Veiligheid Ferd Grapperhaus.

The Belgian Minister van Binnenlandse Zaken / ministre de l’Intérieur Annelies Verlinden also points out that the current situation does not allow for other than the most necessary travel:

"We must show solidarity and take responsibility not only nationally, but also internationally. Only in this way can we slow down the spread of the virus both in Belgium and the Netherlands. That is why I am calling for only essential travel to our neighbouring countries. Crossing the border to visit a café or restaurant or to go shopping promotes the further spread of the virus on both sides of the border and is therefore not a good idea."

Herbert Reul, Minister des Innern in Nordrhein-​Westfalen concurs:

"The good weather should not lead us to throw all caution to the wind. That is why I ask the residents of the border regions in particular: stay home! I know it is difficult, but we have to hold on a little longer. Normally we live in an open, borderless Europe. But the coronavirus lives on mobility and contact moments. If we give up now, we would ruin all our previous efforts."

The Netherlands has opted for partial relaxations, where in Germany and Belgium they have not yet been announced or will only come into effect later. For example, in Belgium the terraces are expected to reopen on 8 May, in the Netherlands this will happen from 28 April.

"But this must be done in a safe way. One of the risks is that it will become too busy in certain places. People have to make their own responsible choices here. So: stay away or leave where it threatens to become too busy. An additional influx of people from outside our borders would further complicate the situation. I would therefore like to say to our Belgian and German neighbours: in better times, you will be very welcome again. But for now you help us by staying in our own country.

says Minister Grapperhaus.

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