A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
The Netherlands are slowly easing the Corona restrictions, which prompts a lot of international students to come back from their temporary exile. If you are coming (back) to the Netherlands soon, you’re probably wondering what everyday life looks like at the moment. Here is a short guide with all the most important things you need to know:
They’ve become so common, even some mannequins are sporting them now. However, there are only a few places in the Netherlands that actually require you to wear a mask. You definitely need them for all public transport (bus, train and tram), but most shops leave it up to you. It’s still wise to take your mask with you wherever you go – just in case.
Restaurants and cafés are open, but the amount of customers is restricted. As such, you should call ahead and make a reservation – or stay outside and order takeaway. You will be asked to disinfect your hands and stay at your assigned table, other than that it’s a pretty normal experience.
In the Netherlands, it’s quite normal to go through life without cash. After all, the Dutch are pretty advanced when it comes to online banking and digital payment. Since the pandemic, however, many places actually require you to pay by card/contactless. So make sure to take your card, the alternative would be pretty embarrassing…
Of course, there are a lot of outdoor activities that you can do: Whether it’s outdoor sports or a nice picnic, as long as the weather is on your side you have plenty of options. But did you know that you can also go to a museum? You can make a reservation on their website and, next thing you know, you are in the Van Gogh Museum with only 30 other visitors!
Even though the USC is not completely open, there are a lot of things you can do. Many classes are offered in-person now – as long as the weather permits them to take place outside. In order to control the number of participants, the USC requires you to sign up for each lesson in advance. The same goes for the tennis courts: They’re all yours as long as you book a day beforehand.
It’s not all fun and giggles, most students still have to finish this academic year. Leiden University tries to support its students in these extraordinary times and developed a system which allows students to use most of the facilities. For example, you can go to the library for a couple of hours or use the printers at your faculty. Just be sure to make an appointment beforehand, otherwise, you won’t be allowed inside.
Are you coming (back) to the Netherlands soon? How do you experience life here at the moment?