19,000 Dutch still stranded abroad by coronavirus restrictions

Planes parked at Schiphol, 25 March 2020
Planes parked at Schiphol, 25 March 2020Politiehelikopter, @DePolitieheliTwitter

A total of some 19 thousand Dutch people are still stranded abroad by restrictions implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 and looking for a way home, Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said to broadcaster NOS. The Ministry is doing "its best" to get them home, but that's not always easy, Blok said.

The Netherlands is currently discussing special landing rights with Panama, Suriname, Columbia and Peru, to send flights to repatriate Netherlands citizens

 "The Dutch are all over the world, we are a travel-loving people, sometimes people are in difficult places," Blok said about getting stranded Dutch home. "I cannot exclude that it can sometimes take a long time, but we are working with all our might."

The coronavirus and the measures around it brought air travel to a near halt in large parts of the world. From next week, KLM will only be flying 10 percent of its usual schedule, RTL Nieuws reports. Transavia, TUI and Corendon completely grounded their flights, except for a repatriating flight here and there.

But all those grounded planes have to park somewhere. The Dutch airports are already pretty crowded, but a few planes can still be squeezed in. "Given the exceptional situation, we have decided not to charge any costs for parking aircraft until the end of June," a Schiphol spokesperson said to RTL Z.