The E.U. has announced that the visa waiver program called ETIAS (European Travel Information Authorisation System) will commence at the beginning of 2024. That’s a few years yet so if you haven’t needed a visa to go to the Netherlands or anywhere else in Europe up to now, you won’t need one until 2024. ETIAS is being introduced to improve the level of security in Europe, which has been reeling from increased terror attacks and high number of refugees. Many member states of the E.U. have been concerned that the immigration rules between European countries have been too lax and easily exploited by criminals and other visitors deemed security threats. The ETIAS system is similar to a visa waiver system now used in the U.S. When the Netherlands ETIAS is up and running, it will cost only €7 per applicant per travel authorisation and will last 3 years before an applicant will need to reapply using the online application form.
Netherlands, the E.U. and Schengen
The Netherlands was one of the founding members of the European Union. In the early days the EU was called the “Common Market” and was intended to boost the economies of member countries by minimising trade barriers. The much expanded European Union now consists of 27 different states and the influence that the E.U. government has on these states is much more diverse than when it first began. Most of the E.U. countries, including the Netherlands belong to the Schengen Group, which is only indirectly related to the E.U. All Schengen nationals can travel freely within the Schengen zone but non E.U. and non Schengen passport holders must either get a visa in advance (the Schengen Visa) or get their passport stamped on arrival.
Tulips and Windmills – Travel in the Netherlands
The Netherlands remains a popular country to visit despite it being very flat for the most part and heavily populated. Most visitors to the Netherlands tend to think of those iconic images of the country, tulips, windmills and the canals of Amsterdam.
If you want to see tulips, of which there are many growing in parts of the Netherlands you will need to go at the right time of the year as they are picked soon after they flower. Most of the tulip fields are in the North of the country where some amazing expanses of reclaimed land are also located. These are called “poulders” and are dotted with villages.
Although there are not so many windmills as there used to be, there are still plenty of them, although they tend to be of a historic remnant rather than being of any functional value today. Go to Schiedam to see the tallest windmills in the world and Kinderdijk, with 19 well preserved windmills.
Will I need to apply for an ETIAS to enter the Netherlands?
Once the system is officially launched in 2024 eligible travellers will need to apply for an ETIAS if they are neither an E.U. nor a Schengen national and don’t need a visa for Europe. There are around 60 countries whose citizens will need to apply in advance for ETIAS authorisation when the system is launched.