Emergency Numbers in the Netherlands (2024)


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This article is tailored to clarify the emergency numbers in the Netherlands. Let’s dive into the most crucial numbers you’ll need to know and when to use them.

Key Takeaways

  • Dial 112 for general emergencies involving police, fire, or medical crises in the Netherlands.
  • For non-urgent police matters, contact 0900-8844.
  • In medical situations, distinguish between life-threatening events and those requiring a GP’s attention.
  • Familiarize yourself with other important numbers tailored to specific scenarios, from coast guard to animal emergencies.
  • Effective communication with emergency services requires calm, precise, and concise information relay.
  • Prepare by saving essential numbers, learning basic Dutch phrases, and always carrying identification.

General Emergency Number

In the face of any emergency, an immediate response can be the defining factor between crisis and control. The Netherlands, like many European countries, has a universal emergency number to ensure rapid assistance in dire situations.

Number: 112

This is the primary number to dial for emergencies requiring the police, ambulance, or fire brigade. When you dial 112, you’ll be connected to an operator who will assess your situation and dispatch the necessary services.

When to call 112

  • Medical emergencies: If someone’s life appears to be in danger, for example, unconsciousness, severe bleeding, chest pain, or breathing difficulties.
  • Fire: If you spot a fire, large or small, that poses a threat to life or property.
  • Crime: If you’re witnessing a crime in progress, especially those of a violent or threatening nature.
  • Accidents: Serious road accidents, or any situation where life or safety is at risk.

It’s crucial to only use this number for genuine emergencies. Misuse not only diverts essential resources from genuine crises but can also result in penalties.

In moments of panic, it’s easy to forget details or become overwhelmed. Having 112 saved on your phone and familiarizing yourself with its purpose can make a significant difference when every second counts.

Always stay as calm as possible, clearly explain the situation, and provide your exact location when calling. This will enable a swift and efficient response from emergency services.

Non-Emergency Police Number

Non-Emergency Police Number

While emergencies necessitate immediate attention, there are situations that require police assistance without the urgency of a life-threatening scenario. For these instances, the Netherlands offers a dedicated non-emergency police number.

Number: 0900-8844

This line connects callers directly to the local police station. Though not designed for crisis scenarios, it serves as a vital communication tool for concerns that warrant police attention but aren’t immediate emergencies.

Instances when one might need to dial this number:

  • Reporting a non-urgent crime: If you’ve been a victim of theft where the perpetrator is no longer present or if you wish to report vandalism.
  • Lost and found: To report or inquire about lost items or found properties.
  • Seeking advice or information: Questions regarding local laws, regulations, or procedures related to safety and public order.
  • Community concerns: If there are recurring issues in your neighborhood or community that you believe the police should be aware of.

It’s essential to understand the distinction between emergency and non-emergency numbers. Using the appropriate line ensures that resources are allocated effectively and those in immediate danger receive the urgent help they need.

For non-Dutch speakers, the operators at 0900-8844 typically have a competent level of English. However, it’s always beneficial to convey your concerns as clearly and concisely as possible, ensuring a smooth communication process.

Medical Emergencies

Medical Emergencies

In the midst of a health crisis, swift and informed action is of paramount importance. Understanding the medical emergency protocol in the Netherlands can empower you to make the right decisions when health concerns arise.

Distinguishing the Urgency

Before diving into the specifics, it’s vital to differentiate between life-threatening and non-life-threatening medical situations:

Life-threatening situations: These warrant an immediate call to the general emergency number, 112. Such situations can include, but are not limited to, severe injuries, difficulty breathing, chest pains, severe allergic reactions, and unconsciousness.

Non-life-threatening situations: While still urgent, these don’t require immediate intervention like the scenarios mentioned above. For these, you would generally contact a local General Practitioner (GP).

Contacting a Local GP

The GP plays a crucial role in the Dutch medical system:

  • Every resident typically registers with a local GP. If you’re residing in the Netherlands, it’s advisable to know your GP’s contact details.
  • GPs act as the first point of contact for non-emergency medical concerns. They can provide consultation, prescribe medications, and refer patients to specialists when necessary.
  • If you’re unsure about the severity of a medical situation, your GP is the right person to advise whether further medical attention or emergency services are needed.

Poison Control Center

Accidental ingestion or exposure to harmful substances requires immediate guidance:

  • If you or someone you know suspects poisoning or exposure to toxic substances, it’s crucial to contact the Poison Control Center. They provide specialized advice on what steps to take.
  • It’s advisable to keep the contact number of the Poison Control Center handy, especially if you have children or pets.

Other Important Numbers

Other Important Numbers

Beyond the immediate emergencies of health, fire, or crime, various other situations may arise where specific assistance is needed. The Netherlands, with its intricate canal systems, diverse fauna, and modern infrastructure, has dedicated numbers to ensure the safety and well-being of its inhabitants and visitors in a range of scenarios.

ServiceDescriptionContact Number
Coast Guard EmergencyFor emergencies at sea or near water bodies+31 88 – 958 4040
Animal AmbulanceFor injured animals or situations where animals pose a threat[Number to be filled]
Gas, Water, & ElectricityFor emergencies related to utility issues, like gas leaks[Local provider number]

Coast Guard Emergency

The Netherlands, with its extensive coastline and maritime history, has established protocols for emergencies at sea or near water:

If you or someone else is in danger at sea or witness an emergency near water bodies, it’s crucial to contact the Coast Guard for specialized assistance.

Animal Emergencies

Interactions with wildlife or even domesticated animals can sometimes lead to unexpected situations:

Animal Ambulance: For injured animals or situations where animals pose a threat, there’s an animal ambulance service that can be contacted. They’re equipped to handle both wildlife and domesticated animals.

Utility Emergencies

Modern living comes with its set of challenges, especially when it concerns utilities:

Gas, Water, and Electricity: If you suspect a gas leak, face water emergencies, or encounter significant electrical issues that pose immediate threats, there are dedicated numbers linked to local utility providers. It’s wise to familiarize yourself with and save these numbers if you’re residing in a particular area or city in the Netherlands.

Using Emergency Services Effectively

Using Emergency Services Effectively

Engaging with emergency services in a critical situation goes beyond just knowing the right number to call. Effectiveness and efficiency during these crucial moments can make a profound difference in outcomes. Here’s how to ensure that your interaction with Dutch emergency services is as productive as possible.

Steps to Follow When Dialing an Emergency Number

Stay Calm: Your ability to communicate clearly and rationally is crucial. Taking a deep breath before speaking can help center yourself.

State Your Location: Always begin by providing your exact location. If you’re unsure, look for landmarks or ask someone nearby. For those with smartphones, location-sharing features can be a quick way to ascertain your position.

Briefly Describe the Emergency: Succinctly explain the nature of the emergency. Whether it’s a medical issue, a crime, or a fire, giving a clear picture helps dispatchers allocate the right resources.

Follow the Dispatcher’s Instructions: They are trained professionals. Listen carefully and follow any instructions or advice they provide.

Stay on the Line: Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you it’s okay to do so. They might need more information or provide further instructions.

Information Typically Requested by Dispatchers

  • Your name and contact number
  • The nature and severity of the emergency
  • The number of people involved or injured
  • Any other relevant details like the presence of weapons, fire size, or the description of a perpetrator

Effective communication with emergency services isn’t just about speaking; it’s about relaying the right information swiftly and coherently. By understanding and anticipating what’s expected during the call, you can play a vital role in facilitating a quick response.

In emergencies, clarity is as crucial as speed. Always prioritize being precise and concise when liaising with emergency personnel.

Additional Tips

Preparation is a cornerstone of effective emergency response. Beyond familiarizing oneself with essential numbers and protocols, there are additional measures that one can take to ensure optimal readiness in the face of unforeseen circumstances in the Netherlands.

Save Essential Numbers in Your Phone

While it’s essential to remember numbers like 112, having a list of other vital contacts saved can be immensely beneficial. This includes local utility emergency numbers, the nearest hospital, and contacts for specific needs such as the Poison Control Center.

Inform a Local Friend or Acquaintance

If you’re in an emergency situation, especially if you’re a foreigner with limited Dutch proficiency, having a local contact aware of your situation can be invaluable. They can assist in communication or provide additional context if required.

Learn Basic Dutch Phrases for Emergencies

While many Dutch citizens and emergency operators speak English, knowing a few essential Dutch phrases can be helpful. Phrases like “Help!” (“Help!”), “I need a doctor!” (“Ik heb een dokter nodig!”), and “Where is the nearest hospital?” (“Waar is het dichtstbijzijnde ziekenhuis?”) can be beneficial.

Always Keep Personal Identification

In case of medical emergencies or encounters with law enforcement, having a form of identification is crucial. This helps healthcare professionals and other authorities provide the necessary assistance tailored to your needs.

Familiarize Yourself with Local Emergency Signage

Recognizing signs for exits, safe zones, and emergency equipment in public areas and buildings can aid in navigating crises more effectively.

While the primary focus is always on avoiding emergencies, being equipped to handle them is equally important. By integrating these additional tips into your preparations, you can further safeguard yourself and optimize response times and effectiveness should the unexpected occur. Your safety, and the well-being of those around you, are enhanced by the simple act of being prepared.


Pieter van der Meer, our Lifestyle Coordinator at NetherlandsExpat.nl, embodies the vibrant and diverse Dutch lifestyle. Born and raised in Utrecht, Pieter has a deep-rooted love for his homeland, which reflects in his in-depth knowledge of the Netherlands’ culture, traditions, and lifestyle.

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