'Hundreds' urged to turn back along Dutch border
The Marechaussee, the branch of the military tasked with patrolling Dutch borders, spent the beginning of the weekend stopping motorists as they entered the country from Germany and Belgium. This comes as Easter weekend brings with it new concerns around the transmission of Covid-19, but the country has not issued a national entry ban which would permit the Marechaussee to block tourists from the neighboring countries.
Many of the drivers were stopped to have conversations with the military patrols, who tried to convince people to turn around and not visit the Netherlands. By midday on Saturday they had already stopped hundreds of motorists at various land border checkpoints, Marechaussee spokesperson Robert van Kapel told NL Times.
"Of course, there's no way to stop all of them," Van Kapel says, "but there have been lots of people who turned back when we talked to them."
The Netherlands is a popular Easter holiday destination for people in neighboring countries, but this year there have been "far fewer" people trying to cross the border compared to last weekend. "We're doing a good job," Van Kapel says, "many people understand that corona is a problem and are willing to listen to us, and turn around."
Similarly, across the border, German police on Friday continued conducting their own checks on Dutch motorists trying to cross into Germany.