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The Visa Restrictions Index says that people with a passport from the UK, Finland and Sweden can travel freely to 173 countries. People from Belgium, Italy and The Netherlands can travel to 171.

I am interested to learn which countries make up that difference, but I can't find any additional informational about the data this list is based on. Which countries can someone from Sweden travel freely to that I (as a Dutchman) can't?

Best countries to have a passport from

  1. UK, Finland, Sweden (number of visa-free countries 173)

  2. Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, USA (172)

  3. Belgium, Italy, Netherlands (171)

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So basically it's not just two countries that make up the difference. For example, as as Dutch citizen you can get a visa-on-arrival in Mozambique, while Sweden can't. Sweden has visa free entry into Vietnam, while Dutch don't.

Rather than list all the differences, I'll point to these two Wiki pages:

Visa requirements for Swedish citizens

Visa Requirements for Dutch Citizens

They list all the countries and the rules for the citizens - visa free, visa-on-arrival, and so on. It also means it'll continue to be more up to date as the rules change (eg this past year Kazakhstan granted a year of visa-free entry to British citizens - go figure!)

  • And if you open the color-coded world maps in the two Wikipedia articles in different tabs, you can do a blink comparison between them! – hmakholm left over Monica Jan 31 '15 at 15:09
  • @HenningMakholm, yeah but interestingly enough, from this blink comparison it would seem that the Dutch passport gives free access to two more countries, instead of the other way around: Kazakhstan and Mozambique. – wvdz Jan 31 '15 at 15:20
  • If you use an online-diff tool, e.g. changedetection.com/comparepages.html and compare the Swedish and Dutch lists - you will see plenty of differences. – Grzegorz Oledzki Jan 31 '15 at 19:46
  • @Grzegorz: Most of those differences will be irrelevant, though -- such as different sources cited or different phrasings. – hmakholm left over Monica Feb 1 '15 at 2:38
  • @HenningMakholm - that's why I would look into yellow color (marking changes) in the "visa requirement" column. Skip the comments. I thought it might help someone. No worries. – Grzegorz Oledzki Feb 1 '15 at 11:39
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The link in the question is actually the index from 2013. The numbers for 2014 are respectively 174 and 172, which is confirmed by the wikipedia pages linked by Mark Mayo: Swedish passport, Dutch passport.

However, the answer to my question seems to be: it's not true that a Dutch passport gives less access to countries than a Swedish passport. Inspecting the tables in the same wikipedia pages learns that:

The Netherlands have free travel rights to Mozambique and Kazakhstan over Sweden, and Sweden has free travel right to Vietnam and Rwanda over the Netherlands.

So they actually tie in number of countries. The index however, is about "countries and territories". So the difference must lie in different access to certain territories.

  • There are further differences than the four you mention here. I don't care to check every country, but Swedes are e.g. allowed to travel to Turkey without a visa, while Dutch citizens require a visa for travel to Turkey. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 31 '15 at 17:52
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    eVisa (in this context) just means that you can apply for the visa online instead of visiting a Turkish embassy or consulate. An application for a Turkish eVisa may of course be rejected, just as any other visa application. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 31 '15 at 21:53
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    Well, of course it can be rejected, but so can a visa-on-arrival. I meant that I think that this is still counted towards the count of 172. – wvdz Jan 31 '15 at 23:35
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo And so can entry when you already have a visa or don't need one at all. But the Turkish e-visa was rolled out as an alternative to the visa-on-arrival, not as a new way to apply for a regular Turkish visa. You just need to provide basic info and pay a small fee, no need to send your passport or any supporting documentation. It seems closer to an ESTA than a traditional visa so it makes sense to include it in this context. – Relaxed Feb 2 '15 at 17:11
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    @Relaxed: And because of that (you can be denied entry to a country even if you don't need a visa), these counts are not very useful for any purpose at all. The Henley Index lists however the "Number of countries and territories which can be entered without a visa by a citizen of the respective country", so it does not make sense to include countries, for which you either need a visa-on-arrival or a pre-arranged electronic visa. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Feb 2 '15 at 22:53
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It's hard to lookup what the answer was as of 2015, but as of 2019 the tables have turned with the Netherlands having one more visa-free country (Mongolia) than Sweden. Otherwise the two passports have similar visa-free/e-visa access rights.

The latest Henley Passport Index disagrees, as it still puts Sweden (186) above the Netherlands (185). However if we look at the underlying data, we can see the following list of "visa required" countries for the Netherlands:

Afghanistan Algeria Angola * Azerbaijan * Benin * Bhutan Burundi Cameroon Central African Republic Chad China Congo (Dem. Rep.) Congo (Rep.) Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Cuba Djibouti * Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ghana Guinea India * Iraq Liberia Libya Mali Myanmar * Nauru Niger Nigeria North Korea Oman * Pakistan * Russian Federation Saudi Arabia South Sudan Sudan Syria Turkey * Turkmenistan Vietnam * Yemen

And the following list for Sweden:

Afghanistan Algeria Angola * Azerbaijan * Benin * Bhutan Burundi Cameroon Central African Republic Chad China Congo (Dem. Rep.) Congo (Rep.) Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Cuba Djibouti * Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ghana Guinea India * Iraq Liberia Libya Mali Mongolia Myanmar * Nauru Niger Nigeria North Korea Oman * Pakistan * Russian Federation Saudi Arabia South Sudan Sudan Syria Turkmenistan Yemen

(the * symbol signifies countries that issue e-visas to the above-mentioned passport holders)

The differences are thus:

  • Mongolia is visa-free for the Netherlands, as mentioned above
  • Turkey issues e-visas to Dutch citizens, but is visa-free for Swedes
  • Vietnam has the same policy as Turkey

In practice the differences between e-visas and schemes such as ESTA are quite blurry, therefore whether or not Swedes enjoy more visa-free countries is a matter of debate :)

  • Vietnam is only visa free for swedish citizens if you do NOT enter and exit more than once every 30 days – Matt Douhan Dec 1 '19 at 17:15

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