On March 17th, I took a trip to Rotterdam Central and observed how the situation in this city is different now that the Netherlands is dealing with the coronavirus.
At this time, citizens of the Netherlands are requested to self-quarantine as much as possible and go out as little as possible. Having said this, my time outside came with a purpose. :-)
While traveling though, I saw quite a few people stil casually biking around outside or jogging. The weather was nice, so it is only natural that people feel drawn to go outside.
So, how is the Netherlands handling the crisis of COVID-19? In pictures.
Eateries are closed
Restaurants, cafes, bars etc have been ordered to close down or only allow pick-ups or deliveries. As such, shopping malls are more quiet than usual, especially since a lot of shops have voluntarily chosen to close down all establishments within the country (eg. C&A, Bijenkorf, Game Mania, WE fashion).
Buses can not be entered at the front.
The bus driver will no longer allow passengers to enter through the front door, nor are you allowed to go near the bus driver. Buses are equipped with a (plastic) chain to keep people from coming too close to the bus driver, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to the driver.
The doors of the subway will open automatically
Normally, people who want to exit the subway will have to press a button to open the door. Now, the driver will open the doors with every stop. It is also announced through the speakers that this is a measure specifically taken to combat the coronavirus.
Fewer people at Rotterdam Central
There were definitely less people at Rotterdam Central. Now that people are requested to stay at home as much as possible, to work home and schools have closed, fewer people have a need to travel by train. As such, NS, the Dutch Railway company, has reduced the number of trains that are used in the Randstad.
Lots of empty shelves in supermarkets
Supermarkets are doing their best to keep up with the demand of the Dutch citizens. Against the pleas to not do it, people are hamstering meat, eggs, toilet paper, rice, bread etc. Enter a random supermarket and you will probably find a few empty shelves. In this case, the meat section on one side was almost empty (photo), there was no more bread, a lot of eggs were sold out and many frozen products (eg. fries) were also gone. Granted, it was about 4 PM by the time I visited this supermarket, however I had never seen anything like this before. Even when visiting close to closing time (8 PM).
Final note: This blog article is by no means a complete article about the developments surrounding the measures taken to combat the coronavirus AKA COVID19 in the Netherlands. It is merely one blog post out of the life of a random citizen of this country, traveling to one city and sharing the observations. This is my experience and I do not guarantee that everything is correct, nor do I explicitly condone or disapprove of any measures taken by the government/Tweede Kamer of the Netherlands.