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Newsletter of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco 
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Dear reader,
 
In the space of just a few weeks, our daily lives have changed drastically. The COVID-19 virus is affecting all of us, in the Netherlands and here in the United States. As I’m writing this, I’m also working from home, while my kids are working on their schoolwork through remote learning in their rooms.  
 
My thoughts are with all of you who might have lost a family member or have close ones who are very ill. Or those who are stranded because there are no flights available. And to the Dutch people living in the US, this is a time when you realize how far away you are from home. I understand how it feels and sympathize with you all.  
 
It’s been an unprecedented week for the team at the Consulate General, supporting many Dutch nationals and companies in navigating this new reality. We hope that it’s in weeks like these when the work of consulate has additional value.
 
Our consular team has been working with hundreds of Dutch tourists to travel back to the Netherlands. Our economic team has received many questions about the implications of local advisories on Dutch companies active in the US, while supporting the Consular team as well. And our Communications team has been working on questions from the press and sharing consular and business information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on social media.
 
With this week being a heavy week, in this newsletter my aim is to summarize what services and information have been made available for four relevant groups: travelers to the Netherlands, travelers in the US, businesses, and Dutch nationals living on the US westcoast.
 
Please stay safe and I hope to meet you all again as soon as it is safe to do so again.
 
All the best,
 
Gerbert Kunst,
Consul General

Overview important Dutch websites concerning Covid-19

  • The Government of the Netherlands provides online information about the COVID-19 outbreak in the Netherlands at Government.nl
  • The 24/7 Contact Center of the Ministry of Foreign affairs can answer questions you might have regarding the COVID-19 virus. Their contact information can be found NetherlandsWorldwide.nl
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs online Information Service keeps Dutch citizens informed about safety and crisis situations abroad. If you have not done so, please register here.
  • To support businesses in these difficult times, the Dutch government has taken measures for Dutch companies doing business in the US and for American companies doing business in the Netherlands.
 
King Willem Alexander addresses nation

King Willem-Alexander addressed the nation with a ten-minute televised speech of encouragement. "We cannot stop the coronavirus. What we can do is stop the loneliness virus." The King reflected on the sudden changes caused by coronavirus, and expressed his admiration for the nation's healthcare workers everyone working hard to keep the country moving forward.
 
You can watch the video in Dutch here and the full text in English here.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed the nation regarding the state of affairs around coronavirus Covid-19.  He said that the reality is that the coronavirus is among us, and will remain among us for the time being. You can watch the video in Dutch here and the full text in English here.
 

Information for travelers to the Netherlands

The Netherlands has closed its borders for travel from the US to the Netherlands. A restriction has been imposed concerning all non-essential travel by persons from third countries to Europe (i.e. all EU member states, all Schengen countries and the United Kingdom). The goal of this restriction is to combat the spread of coronavirus. The new measure means that anyone who does not fall into one of the exemption categories listed below will not be allowed into the Netherlands.
 
Find out the details here.

The Government of the Netherlands provides online information about the COVID-19 outbreak in the Netherlands at Government.nl
Flights US Westcoast - Netherlands

KLM will stop flying directly from SFO to AMS. The last flight will be Tuesday March 24, after that there are no scheduled flights until June 1.
 
Also other direct US flights to the Netherlands are impacted:

  • New York JFK (daily, expected to operate after March 23)
  • Los Angeles (daily until March 29, expected to operate 3 flights a week after that)
  • Atlanta (daily until March 24, expected to operate on reduced frequency after that)
  • Chicago (flights scheduled for March 25 and 27, expected to operate on reduced frequency after that)
  • Washington DC (last flight scheduled for March 24)
  • Miami (flights stopped)

For questions or changing your flight, please contact KLM directly www.klm.com

Information for Dutch travelers in the USA

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises travelers not to travel to the United States, unless absolutely essential. This is due not to health-related factors, but to the impact that measures imposed by the USA could have on Dutch travelers. The Ministry is thus advising against taking holidays or business trips in the United States.

Check the latest travel advise here.

If you're traveling in the USA right now, and you have any questions, please check the USA-specific Q&A on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If you need more information or require assistance, please contact your travel insurer or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which can be reached:

  • Through 24/7 Contact Center at NetherlandsWorldwide.nl 
  • by telephone at +31 247 247 247 (Please note: our phone lines are extremely busy and you may have to wait for some time before your call is answered.)
  • via Twitter at @247BZ

Assistance to stranded travelers
Do you know travelers who are stranded because of the crisis due to the COVID-19 virus and find it impossible to arrange their return to the Netherlands? The new joint platform www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl is a joint approach by the travel industry, insurers, airlines and the national government to help stranded Dutch travelers. Register here.

Note: this assistance is for travelers, not for Dutch nationals living abroad with consular questions. They can contact us through the 24/7 Contact Center at NetherlandsWorldwide.nl 

Consular Service
 
Due to the #COVID2019 health advisories, the Consulate General in San Francisco can temporarily offer only limited consular support.  Passports, visa and temporary travel documents (LP’s) are only issued in case of emergency.
 
Please check NetherlandsWorldwide.nl for details.


Information for Businesses

The measures to stop the Coronavirus have a major impact on businesses worldwide. To support them through these difficult times, the Dutch government has taken some measures, which we’ll discuss below. Two important websites are:

Assistance for NL business owners

The Netherlands is taking various measures to help entrepreneurs whose businesses are affected. The reduction in working hours scheme has been reintroduced, the Tax and Customs Administration may defer payment of taxes, while the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy is expanding the SME loan guarantee scheme. This scheme enables business owners in for example the hospitality or travel sector, who face problems because they have had to close their business or because their customers are staying at home, to borrow money more easily. 

Find more information at Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland and the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

Expanded SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

 
The launch of the government’s expanded credit guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises has been accelerated. State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Mona Keijzer announced that business owners can already apply for the scheme, and is part of a package of measures announced earlier to address the economic implications of the coronavirus crisis.

The government estimates that this first step will immediately make €300 million in extra financing available to SMEs affected by the current situation. In addition, companies can apply for shorter working hours through a scheme managed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, and can apply to the Tax and Customs Administration for a deferment of or reduction in their provisional assessment. Self-employed persons without employees (ZZPs) can apply for support under the Social Assistance (Self-employed Persons) Decree.

For more info, check Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland.


Information for Dutch travelers in the USA

We advice Dutch nationals living on the West coast to follow closely the advisories from your city, county and state. For an overview of how to protect yourself and others against the coronavirus, please check the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC

Please stay safe, and contact us if you need consular support.
Register with the Embassy
 
We ask Dutch nationals living the West coast to register with the information service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This way we can update you with the latest on #COVID19, consular services, travel advice, and more.
 
Please register at https://informatieservice.nederlandwereldwijd.nl
 
Due to the #COVID2019 health advisories, the Consulate General in San Francisco can temporarily offer only limited consular support.  Passports, visa and temporary travel documents (LP’s) are only issued in case of emergency.
 
Please check NetherlandsWorldwide.nl for details.
Pop-Up Consulate Seattle Postponed

Many planned events of the Consulate General are postponed until further notice. This includes the Popup Consulate in Seattle, planned for late April.  Dutch nationals that registered to renew their passport at the Popup Consulate, have been notified by email:
 
“Due to public health concerns stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak and the (travel) restrictions that have been put in place, the Pop-Up Consulate in Seattle (April 20-22) has been postponed to a later date. We have made this decision to ensure the health and safety of our community and employees. You will soon receive a cancellation e-mail regarding your appointment from our automated appointment system. We hope for your understanding, and we will inform you as soon as we schedule a new date for the Pop-Up Consulate in Seattle. At his moment it is uncertain when this may be.”
 
The economic and cultural events during the Popup Consulate in Seattle have also been postponed.

King's day cancelled
 
King’s Day in San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities on the West coast that are organized by Oranje Commitees have been cancelled, following local health advisories.
 
Also Embassies and consulates worldwide will not celebrate Kings Day this year. Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok: ‘Given the rapid spread of the Corona crisis around the world, it is only logical to cancel the usual festivities this year,’ Mr Blok said. For many Dutch citizens abroad the annual celebration of King’s Day is a festive high point. 
 
The cancellation of King’s Day abroad is in line with an earlier decision in the Netherlands to cancel King’s Day in Maastricht, where the Royal Family would celebrate this year.

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Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, San Francisco
One Montgomery Street | Suite 3100 | San Francisco | CA 94104

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Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco · One Montgomery Street · Suite #3100 · San Francisco, CA 94104 · USA