Accidents and emergencies in the Netherlands

Updated 2022-08-17 13:13

It's unfortunate, but accidents and emergencies may happen during your stay in the Netherlands. While you hope they won't, it's best to be prepared should you need urgent care and attention. Here are the important things to do about accidents and emergencies in the Netherlands.

Emergency numbers in the Netherlands

First off, you should remember 112. This is the number to dial if you need the police, an ambulance, or the fire department. It should be reserved for life-threatening situations. (This number will work anywhere in Europe!)

The good news is that dispatchers will be able to speak English in addition to Dutch. Some may even be able to speak German or French. If you're hard of hearing, you can also text 112 through a relay service; this can be done by calling through the SIP address [email protected]. You can also access this relay service if you have the Tolkcontact app. Use the button "KPN Teletolk". This allows you to use sign language.

If you need to contact the police but it's not an emergency, you can call 0900-8844. You can also report crimes anonymously by dialing 0800 7000 or visiting the Meld Misdaad Anoniem website.

How to handle an accident as an expat in the Netherlands?

If you've had an accident, you need to call your GP. Most, if not all, speak excellent English, so they'll be able to assess you over the phone. This can be done by the assistant, who also answers the phone line.

They may be able to give you medical advice while on the line, but if they need to examine you further, they'll try to slot you in at the earliest time possible. Depending on the severity of the accident, this can be anywhere between the day of to 1 to 2 days after your accident. If it's deemed to be life-threatening, then they'll have you call 112 to get an ambulance.

Do note that you're still responsible for getting yourself to the GP if your accident isn't that serious. You might have to walk or bike there, take a bus or Uber, or have a friend drive you.

If the accident involves a bike, car, or other parties

You should always check if everyone's alright and call 112 if needed. In the Netherlands, the injured party is responsible for proving the damage that occurred, so if that's you, then the burden's on your shoulders.

Determine who's liable, exchange information, and document everything, including both property and bodily damage. If you believe you need to file a lawsuit, then get in touch with a personal injury lawyer.

Otherwise, most people have liability insurance, so you probably do as well (if not, then we highly recommend it). If you've scratched someone's car from falling off your bike, then this insurance will cover it.

How to handle medical emergencies as an expat in the Netherlands?

Of course, if you have a life-threatening medical emergency, please don't hesitate to call 112. Or, if you're close enough to a hospital, you can go to the hospital's SEH department (Spoedeisende Hulp). There's also the first aid department called EHBO (Eerste Hulp Bij Ongelukken).

Otherwise, if you don't need immediate attention but still have a serious medical problem, give your GP a call. They'll be able to help you assess the situation and also notify the hospital about your arrival if you need to go there.

Calling the Huisartsenpost after hours

If your GP isn't open, then call the Huisartsenpost. This is a dedicated line for after-hour medical issues and is covered by your health insurance policy.

Like with the GP, they'll listen to your details and advise you on further steps. If your medical problem isn't as serious as you thought, then they'll ask you to make an appointment with your GP. But if it's something that needs quick attention, they'll refer you to the nearest emergency room (which isn't covered by health insurance). Make sure to bring your ID and health insurance card. There are also some cases where a GP may come examine you at home before sending you to the hospital.

Huisartsenposts are local, so there's a different number for every city. Just Google "huisartsenpost [city name]" and you should get results immediately.

Good to know:

Only your GP or the 112 dispatchers can call an ambulance. You can't do it yourself.

How to handle dental emergencies in the Netherlands?

Like with medical emergencies, you should first call the dentist you're registered with, if possible. Hopefully, they can fit you in for a same-day appointment if your dental emergency is serious enough.

Even if they're not open, still give them a call. There should be an automated message that refers you to their partners that are available 24 hours a day. You can also check your dentist's website for this information.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.