What you need to know about the new ferry route between Norway and the Netherlands

Later this week Holland Norway Lines will launch a new route between Kristiansand and Groningen. Here's what you need to know about the new travel link.

The new route will run between Kristiansand and Groningen. Pictured is a ferry near Drøbak.
Here's what you need to know about the ferry route between Norway and the Netherlands. Pictured is a ferry in Drøbak. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Holland Norway Lines will run a new route between Kristiansand, southern Norway, and Eemshaven, Groningen, the Netherlands, three days a week from Friday, April 8th 2022, the beginning of the Easter holidays in Norway. 

“We are bringing Europe closer to Kristiansand and southern Norway,” Bart Cunnen, managing director of Holland Norway Lines, said in a press release

The route will provide a new option for those who want to travel between western and northern Europe without flying. 

The ferry will take 18 hours, departing from Kristiansand at 3pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

For trips into Norway, services leave the Netherlands at 3pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. One way trips for two travellers departing from Kristiansand currently start from €150 for a standard ticket or €210 for the same number of passengers but with a car and a flexible ticket. You can take a look at the tickets here

The route will shorten travel times for those who want to drive between the UK and Norway. Since 2008 there has not been a direct ferry link between the two countries. 

Eemshaven is also just a two-hour drive from Amsterdam, six hours from Berlin and seven from Paris. 

Holland Lines Norway has chartered the cruise ferry Romantika from the Tallink Grupp for the route. 

The Romantika has 700 cabins and a capacity for 1,500 passengers and 350 cars. The boat was previously used on the Riga-Stockholm route. 

“Romantika will be among the leading cruise ferries operating in Norwegian waters. We look forward to showing the ship in Kristiansand,” managing director Cunnen said. 

Synnøve Elisabeth Aabrekk, general manager of USUS, a business cluster for cultural and tourism companies in southern Norway, said that the new route could boost tourism in the area. 

“There is a lot of focus on the European market. And with this route, we believe more people from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and France will be able to discover southern Norway,” Aabrekk told public broadcaster NRK.

Kristiansand is a popular destination for tourists due to its beaches, summer weather, zoo and theme park. 

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What changes about travel to and from Norway in 2024

New flight rules, new travel rules, the currency and more are among the changes when travelling to and from Norway in 2024. 

What changes about travel to and from Norway in 2024

New routes from Norwegian Air 

Norwegian Air has announced a number of new routes from Norway next year.

Next summer, there will be regular flights between Oslo Gardermoen, the largest airport in Norway, and Lyon, Montpellier, Zadar, Milas/Bodrum and Basel. The route from Oslo to Wroclaw will also make a return in 2024. 

The route to Lyon will be the second such offering from Gardermoen after Spanish airline Volotea launched its route earlier this autumn. 

Travellers from Sandefjord will benefit from two new routes next year. Travellers can take direct trips to Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona. The flights from Torp join the Norwegian flights to Alicante and Malaga.

Passengers from Stavanger Sola will be able to enjoy flights to Milan/Bergamo.

While the flights for new routes don’t take off until next year, tickets are already on sale.

Meanwhile, there will be new routes from Tromsø to Berlin, Paris and Bergamo/Milano from January 15th. 

Airfare will become more expensive 

Flying in and out of Norway will likely become more expensive next year. This is because the fees charged to airlines to use Norwegian airports will be increased to help keep state-owned airport operator Avinor afloat

Industry experts believe this will lead to increased airfares as the increased costs for airlines will be passed onto passengers. 

This may be offset by a reduction in the air passenger tax. The air passenger tax is directly applied to tickets and costs 80 kroner for flights within Europe and 320 kroner for flights outside of Europe. 

Norse Air resumes flights to the US

Norse Air has paused a number of its long-haul flights for the winter. The direct routes from Oslo to New York and Los Angeles have been paused until the summer. When the New York flight returns, it will fly three times a week from May 16th. 

The Los Angeles route will also resume in the spring. 

Norway’s krone is unlikely to strengthen significantly 

Norway’s weak krone struggled throughout 2023. Next year, things are still not set in stone. 

The weak Norwegian krone could fall further next year, or it could strengthen. Even if it does strengthen, it is unlikely to do so massively. This means those travelling to Norway next year can enjoy a favourable exchange rate. 

READ ALSO: Five reasons why 2024 will be a good time to visit Norway

EES border systems to enter service 

The EU’s Entry/Exit System (EES) is a digital scheme to register non-EU citizens each time they cross the external borders of the Schengen Area by air, land or sea.

The EES will replace the manual stamping of passports with an electronic record of entries and exits. It will register the person’s name, type of travel document, fingerprints and facial images and the date and place of arrival and departure.

The system aims to tighten up border security, including the enforcement of the rule of maximum 90-day stays in any 180-day period for short-term visitors.

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), expected six months later, will require people from visa-exempt countries who travel to the Schengen area for short stays to apply for an authorisation before departure.

The EES will arrive between quarters three and four of 2024. The ETIAS isn’t expected to arrive until 2025. 

Norwegian could complete takeover of Widerøe

Norwegian Air’s takeover of its rival Widerøe will either be approved or rejected by the Norwegian Competition Authority in December

If the takeover goes ahead, it could have significant knock-ons as Norway’s largest regional airline could be bought out. 

Norwegian has said that the takeover would make both airlines more attractive to passengers. Widerøe serves more than 40 small and medium-sized airports across Norway in rural, northern and fjord regions. 

The Norwegian Competition Authority has concerns over the takeover and is concerned that the offer available to customers could worsen.