Belgians day-tripping to Holland out of “sheer boredom”

Boredom, that is often the reason why Belgians are nipping across the Belgian-Dutch border to go shopping these days.  Extensive corona restrictions exist in both countries, but in the Netherlands the shops are still open, while here in lockdown Belgium non-essential stores are firmly closed.

The Dutch border town of Hulst (Zeeland) staged its shopping Sunday as usually at the beginning of the week and as in pre-corona times could still count on Belgian day-trippers even though restaurants are closed.  

Belgian interior minister Verlinden says trips like these are not supposed to happen, but they are not banned. “I appreciate the situation is a strain on everybody.  It’s a marathon.  Retailers are forced to close. You’re not showing solidarity when you cross the border to do what you can’t do here”.

Marga Vermue, the Mayor of Sluis, another Dutch border town that usually thrives on Belgian custom is advising Flemings not to come and do their shop in large numbers. “This is a border area.  There are cross border journeys to see family, for work or to go to a particular store. We’re asking Flemings who come shopping to limit this as much as possible.  Is this journey really essential?  Avoid busy times and above all stick to the rules!”

Unlike in Belgium in the Netherlands only two people may accompany each other in the street.

The mayor supports keeping the border open, but stresses the need to comply with the regulations.

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