It prided itself on a successful ‘intelligent’ lockdown earlier this year, but criticism is growing in the Netherlands as infection rates near the top of European charts.

Statistics suggest 20-30 year olds are driving the flare, which is acute in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.

On Sunday, the ECDC recorded the 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people as 345 in the Netherlands, with only Belgium and the Czech Republic higher. The UK’s cumulative case number stands at 242.  

In a press conference on Friday, prime minister Mark Rutte was uncharacteristically prickly when urging 17.4 million Dutch people to follow the rules: a 10pm curfew for nightlife, facemasks advised in public spaces, three guests maximum in houses and an appeal to work from home. 

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