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Welcome to Brexit – now hand us your sandwich




AMSTERDAM – Britons arriving in the Netherlands since the beginning of the year have discovered that leaving the European Union could cost them more than they realized, including their lunch.

Ferry passengers have had their sandwiches with bacon and sardines canned by customs officials in Dutch ports confiscated due to strict rules on imports of meat, fruit, vegetables and fish from outside the EU.

Do you have meat in all the bread ?, asks a Dutch customs officer a man who has just arrived at the port of Hook in the Netherlands, while he is holding his noodle-wrapped sandwich.

Yes Okay, then we get them all, Excuse me. Welcome to Brexit, sir.

Travel from Britain to the Netherlands has been limited in the first two weeks of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Dutch customs office expects friction to increase as the number of passengers increases.

If COVID measures are eased, we will certainly see an increase in the number of passengers and this could very well lead to more irritation, said customs team leader Rien de Ruijter.

British citizens and not just their sandwiches have also been denied entry to the Netherlands.

Due to the pandemic, all foreigners are advised to refrain from traveling to the Netherlands unless absolutely necessary, but those from outside the EU may be denied entry unless they have an urgent reason to travel.

As of January 1, more than 80 Britons have been denied entry to the Netherlands for this reason, mostly from Amsterdams Schiphol airport, Dutch military police spokesman Mike Hofman told Reuters.

This is the new reality, Hofman said. Not everyone seems to have understood what Brexit really means. Hopefully it will sink.

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