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fotografie peter Hilz (C)

Dutch day-trippers keep flocking to Belgium despite earlier calls

Trains between the south of the Netherlands and Antwerp are busy again, as are the local roads to Belgium. Calls by the Dutch authorities, including an appeal launched by the Dutch rail company NS, seem to have no effect.  

Dutch tourists are coming to Belgium to escape the strict lockdown in their country. Restaurants, pubs and non-essential shops are still open in Belgium, contrary to the Netherlands. This triggered massive tailbacks in and around Antwerp yesterday. 

The NS called on people not to take the train to Belgium, as crowded carriages can trigger a health risk in times of corona. "We noticed that trains to Antwerp and Brussels were very crowded the last two days, which makes social distancing quite difficult", NS spokesman Arno Leblanc said. 

Passengers wanting to take the train to Belgium are advised to take the Thalys, where the occupation rate can be monitored better. Meanwhile, the Belgian rail company NMBS has boosted capacity on the trains between Roosendaal and Antwerp. "We haven't scheduled extra trains, but we have added extra carriages to create more space", says NMBS spokesman Dimitri Temmerman. 

The Belgian rail company has boosted capacity on trains between Antwerp and the Dutch border

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