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What to do in an emergency abroad? The most important emergency numbers in the Netherlands

27 September, 2022

When you go abroad, you don’t usually plan for trouble. After all, you assume completely different objectives: you’re going there to earn money, you’re going there to recharge your batteries, or you’re going there to spend some time with your friends. Nobody wants to experience crises where they have to ask for help from the relevant services. Having said that, it’s useful to know what to do in an emergency. Here is a list of the most important emergency numbers in the Netherlands along with examples of when to use them.

How to behave in an emergency in the Netherlands?

When an unplanned, unpleasant situation happens to you, the first number that comes to mind is 112. The emergency number 112 is the pan-European number for the Emergency Call Centre (ECC) and calls to it are free of charge throughout the European Union.
However, it’s good to remember that you can use this number mainly in emergencies that pose a threat to life or health. When calling 112, the same rules apply as those you’re probably accustomed to in your home country, so the operator will redirect you to the relevant service – ambulance, fire brigade, or police.

When can emergency numbers come in handy?

It’s useful to know the situations that can be reported using the emergency number 112.

  • Have you locked yourself out and your young child is inside the flat?
  • Or are you unable to get into your home, where you’ve left the gas cooker on and now can smell the smell of gas?
  • Have you been in a car accident and someone is injured or you’re in a life-threatening situation?
  • Is someone threatening you on the street?
  • Are you witnessing a crime on the street or in your home?
  • Are you a witness to domestic violence?

Where to report in an emergency? Important emergency numbers in the Netherlands

In fact, there are many more situations that are hazardous and endanger health or life. So, where should you report them?
First of all, it’s worth remembering that the area code for the Netherlands is 0031 (or +31).

Here are the most important numbers and institutions in the Netherlands:

  • When you need help but nothing is threatening your life – it’s a good idea to contact the Dutch police: 0900-8844. This number can also be used in the Netherlands to report a missing person (e.g. a child). Police website –
  • Fire brigade in the Netherlands – the number varies from region to region:
    fire brigade in the area of The Hague – 088-246 35 00;
    fire brigade in the area of Amsterdam – 020-555 66 66;
    fire brigade in the area of Utrecht – 088-878 10 00;
    fire brigade in the area of Nijmegen or Tiel – 088-878 21 23;
    fire brigade in the area of Venlo – 088-119 06 00;
    fire brigade in the area of Enschede – 088-256 70 00;
    fire brigade in the area of Breda – 076-529 66 00;
    the fire brigade in the area of Den Bosch – 088-020 81 01.
  • Medical assistance in the Netherlands– if your condition doesn’t require the immediate arrival of an ambulance, but medical advice is needed, you should visit a GP. Outside of their working hours, you can call 020-592 34 34 to contact the central medical service, which operates around the clock, including weekends and holidays.
  • You will be advised on matters relating to Covid-19 testing and disease risk on a dedicated helpline, i.e. +31 202051351 (0800-1351 for callers using Dutch numbers).
  • Helpline for children: 0800-04 32.
  • Anonymous reporting of crimes: 0800-7000.
  • You have found an animal that needs immediate help: 114.
  • Emergency number for gas and electricity problems: 0800-90 09.
  • Water rescue service: 0900-01 11.
  • Assistance to victims of crime and accidents: 0900-01 01.
  • Reporting of lost and found animals: 0900-264 83 34.
  • Roadside assistance for ANWB: 088-269 28 88.

Before you go on holiday or to work in the Netherlands it’s advisable for you to check and write down specific emergency numbers, so that you know which number to call in the event something bad happens. However, if you’re involved in a road traffic accident, the first step is to check that no one is hurt. The next step is to get help and call the emergency number 112.

Who can use emergency services in the Netherlands?

It’s also worth stressing the important point that every victim of a criminal act has certain rights. Whether you are a tourist, a resident of the country, or a temporary worker – everyone can file a report and seek compensation, but above all, everyone is entitled to free legal aid and the support of an interpreter.
These things are very important since not everyone going to the Netherlands speaks the language well enough to be able to communicate.

It’s safer with an employment agency

The worker’s decision to work with a certified employment agencytranslates into their psychological comfort. You’re certain that you will get a tailor-made job abroad and the agency will help you organise your trip and accommodation in the Netherlands. In the event of problems, you can count on help from on-site consultants, which also applies to emergencies where you need to deal with something in a public authority office without knowing the country or the language. A sense of security is particularly important if you’re going to work in the Netherlands for the first time. It’s easier and safer then if you work with an employment agency.