There are a few standard emergency numbers, codes, and sounds you should know when moving to the Netherlands.
Green, Yellow, Orange, Red Weather Alerts
Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red are colors which the Dutch use as an indication of what you could expect or what you should prepare for (weather-wise) over the next 12 – 48 hours. You can find live updates on the KNMI (The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) website. Since the Netherlands is such a highly populated country, with a highly technical community within a delta area, there can be a lot of consequences when a big storm hits. Most recently, the Netherlands was expecting a few inches of snow, high winds, and flooding, which set off an amber alert all over the country. Below as stated by the KNMI, are what each color means.
Green: There are no particularities
Yellow: Be alert.
This warning is being given 48 hours before the possible weather issue and only when the possibility has a chance of more than 60% to actually occur.
Orange: Be prepared.
This warning is being given 24 hours before the possible weather issue and only when the possibility has a chance of more than 60% to actually occur.
Red: Take action!
This alarm is being given as there is a possible big impact on society and at least 12 hours before the weather phenomenon is expected. Code red is also applicable if there is just a small chance for the weather phenomenon to actually occur, but the safety risks are high.
You might have (or are yet to) experience the sudden shock and anxiety of a loud alarm going off mid-day on the first Monday of the month. But don’t be alarmed, this is a standard test known as Waarschuwingsstelsel. This alarm can be heard from every inch of the Netherlands, from a network of 4200 sirens located all over the country.
These alarms can go off separately depending on the area and the type of emergency which threatens the population. If the alarm goes off in a time that isn’t 12:00 on the first Monday of the month, it means get inside, close all of your windows and doors, and tune into radio stations or go to crisis.nl to get a live update on what is happening, and what the next steps are.
The emergency number for ambulance, police, or fire is 1-1-2. When you call you are able to speak in English. They will ask for the city and address in which you are, as well as the nature of your emergency. The non-emergency number for the police is 0900 8844, which connects you to your local police station. To leave an anonymous tip (reporting a crime) you can call 0800 7000, or report it on the website. In the case of your passport being stolen, contacted your embassy immediately for instructions. You’ll need to make a statement at a police station usually to start any sort of official procedure.
Here are other Dutch help lines…
- ACCESS: publishes several online information guides for international residents and provides support. | 0900 222 2377 (20ct/min) | www.access-nl.org | email@example.com
- Alcoholics Anonymous: 020 625 6057 (national) | www.aa-netherlands.org
- Animal ambulance (Dierenambulance): 0900 0245 | www.dierenambulance.nl | Also provides shelter for animals seeking new homes.
- Gay & Lesbian Switchboard: 020 623 6565 (national) | www.switchboard.nl
- Helpline for children and teenagers: 0800 0432 | www.kindertelefoon.nl
- SOS 24-hour helpline: Staffed by Dutch volunteers but many speak English | 0900 0767 (5ct/min) | www.sensoor.nl
- Gas or electricity emergencies and outages: 0800 9009 | www.gasenstroomstoringen.nl
- Coast guard (Kustwacht): 0900 0111 | www.kustwacht.nl
- Roadside breakdown service: ANWB 088 269 2222