July calendar

Changes for expats from July 2021


From July, many policy and legislative changes come into effect in The Hague and the Netherlands. Here is a list of important changes that may affect expats and internationals.


Changes in The Hague

Low-emission zones in The Hague

From 1 July, there will be low-emission zones in The Hague to restrict old passenger cars and delivery vans that run on diesel. Diesel cars that emit a lot of exhaust gases will no longer be allowed to enter a part of the city. This is part of the municipal's plans to improve the air quality in the city.

You can check your vehicle’s emissions by filling in your license plate.


COVID-related changes

Free coronavirus test for travellers in July and August 2021

As part of the national plan to open the travel and leisure sector as we emerge from lockdown, the government is offering free coronavirus tests for travellers from 1 July till possibly 31 August.


EU entry ban exemption

From 1 July, people who have been fully vaccinated can be exempted from the EU entry ban, unless they are travelling from a country that has been designated as a very high-risk area due to the presence of a variant of concern.

Use the Travel Checklist before travelling/returning to the Netherlands.


Coronacheck App

From 1 July, you can use the CoronaCheck app for proof of vaccination or proof of a negative coronavirus test result. This can be used for overseas travel and also to enter certain locations or events in the Netherlands.


Exemption from quarantine for people who are fully-vaccinated

You no longer need to go into quarantine after close contact with someone who has COVID-19 if you are protected against COVID-19. You are protected if:

  • It is more than 14 days since you received a second COVID-19 vaccination with the AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna vaccine
  • It is more than 14 days since you received one COVID-19 vaccination with the Janssen vaccine
  • it is more than 14 days since you received one vaccination with any of the COVID-19 vaccines used in the Netherlands, and you had previously had COVID-19
  • You had COVID-19 within the past 6 months.


Employment-related changes

Increase in minimum wage

The statutory minimum wage will increase to €1701 euros gross per month, for a full working week. This is a €16.20 increase from January this year.


Statutory holidays in 2020 expires after 1 July 2021

The statutory holidays that employees have accrued in 2020 will expire in July. The rule does not apply to the extra holidays that exceed the statutory minimum. Vacation days accrued in 2020 cannot, therefore, be taken after 1 July 2021. However, the employer is obliged to inform employees of the expiry period in good time, so that they have the opportunity to use it. If the employer does not do this, the employee may still take the vacation days later.


Easier for startups to hire essential personnel from abroad

On 1 June 2021, the requirements for startups to hire employees from abroad was lowered as part of a four-year pilot. This will make it easier for highly-skilled migrants to obtain a residence permit, and should help stimulate the knowledge economy by giving these young companies a better opportunity to hire and hold on to the required experts in the early stages of their development.


Changes concerning consumers

New VAT rules for international e-commerce

Under previous rules, imported goods from non-EU countries were exempt from import VAT (invoer-btw) if the package had a value of €22 or less. This exemption no longer exists. As of 1 July 2021, all imported goods will be taxed.

If webshops do not include the VAT rate when ordering, then you as a customer will end up paying more. In that case, the VAT is collected when the package has arrived in the Netherlands, and there will be additional handling costs: €4 if you pay online and €7 if you pay at a parcel point.


Deposit on small plastic bottles

From 1 July, a €0.15 deposit will be added to all small plastic bottles. The deposit on larger bottles will remain at €0.25. The deposits can be refunded in supermarkets, at train stations along motorways, and through caterers. This new measure is designed to help reduce the amount of plastic litter on the streets and in public areas.


New Alcohol Act

From 1 July, a new alcohol act comes into effect which limits discounts on alcohol to a maximum of 25%. This applies to supermarkets, liquor stores and online shops. Age verification rules will also be stricter. An adult who buys alcohol for a minor in a cafe or restaurant, even if it concerns his own child, can be fined. This new law aims to tackle alcohol abuse especially among youths under 18.