News roundup for the Netherlands this week: blood donors, Dutch birthrate decline and the travel ban lift

A typewriter. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.
A typewriter. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.

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I know these are not relevant for Utrecht but I really wanted to share them with you all. Three interesting articles follow below:

Blood Donors Needed for Covid-19 Medicine

If you have recently recovered from the covid-19 virus, scientists need your blood to further their investigation into controlling the disease. Hans Zaaijer, a virologist with Sanquin Blood Laboratories, said in De Telegraff last week that his team still needs eight to ten thousand patients to come forward so that vital research can continue.  Currently, antibodies from the blood of former corona virus patients are being injected into at-risk populations as a preventative measure.  Preliminary results look good.

Zaaijer is checking into evidence that indicates if concentrated anti-coronavirus agents can be administered early on then “it can have a powerful preventive effect” for patients across the board. The plea for ‘recovered’ donors follows a report in June by the Amsterdam University Medical Center that similar recent experiments with covid-19 bloodwork has produced new antibodies that are “hundreds of times stronger” than the existing agents – a promising result with impact far beyond the Netherlands. Still, further study is needed to determine the proper schedule, dose and possible side effects from the procedure.

Holland Continues Low Birthrate Trend

The Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (or CBS) has determined The Netherlands continues to struggle with a low birth rate compared to its European neighbors. Currently, the crude birth rate is roughly 9.8 per 100,000 – 8 percent less than as many years ago in 2010.  This continues a downward trend starting at the turn of the century and is likely due to changes in work habits, cultural influences and changing population dynamics.

For more than a hundred years the CBS has provided the Dutch government and the European Union with important numerical facts to help determine policy, trends and causation.  The raw data can be investigated here free online.

Dutch Couples Rejoice – Travel Ban Lifted for Lovers

The Ministry of Justice and Security has announced it is lifting certain travel restrictions for couples in a serious long-distance relationship in The Netherlands.  This includes relationships between Dutch people, non-temporary residents and expatriates.  Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus drafted and submitted the proposal last week, and sources say it will go into effect from July 27, 2020.  The new rules allow visits up to 90 days in Holland provided a number of restrictions and circumstances are met.

Participants must testify that the relationship is substantial, with companions required to be together at least three months and in regular contact.  The letter further stipulates many details must be provided, including residency information, proof of financial resources and a return ticket for the visiting partner. These qualifications must be submitted to border authorities upon arrival in the Netherlands in the form of documents, statements and receipts.  Stays beyond 90 days exceed the maximum amount of time allowed and legal extensions must be submitted through another scheme with different criteria.

Netherlands residents in a long distance relationship can have their partner visit them in the Netherlands again from Monday the 27th of July. Many people from outside of Europe are currently banned from entering the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. But from Monday, the foreign partners of Dutch people and non-temporary residents are exempt from this ban.

The partners will have to meet a number of conditions before being allowed to visit. This includes that the relationship must be at least three months old and that the relationship is a lasting one. The couple must be able to demonstrate that they “regularly” saw each other before the travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  A signed, written statement affirming the relationship will be required, with any false document submitted to be considered an act of perjury, according to the Justice and Security Ministry.

The partners must also have a return ticket. Visits will be capped at a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. Anyone who wants to stay for longer, will have to apply for a long-stay visa. Which means that they will have to meet the applicable conditions, including having the financial resources for travel and accommodation, and guarantees for a timely return. 

If the partner comes from a country with a code orange travel advice due to a high number of coronavirus infections, they will get the “urgent advice” to quarantine themselves for two weeks, Justice and Security Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said in a letter to parliament earlier this month.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Scott Pearson

Jeffrey Scott Pearson

It seems no matter how I share my experiences - in a concert hall, an art gallery or a classroom – I am always a storyteller and my subject is truth. Throughout my life I have always felt my place in this world was to foster communication and love. I now seek to share my wisdom, my passion and my maturity to help others tell their important stories.

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