First three months
I have just arrived in the Netherlands. What are the formalities I need to complete?
Dutch law stipulates that all new residents need to register within five days if they will reside in the Netherlands longer than four months. You must register in your city or town of residence (and change this registration if you move to another city or town). The following documents are usually required when registering at the local municipality office:
• Passport (or ID card for EU citizens)
• Proof of Occupancy
The following documents are not required in order to register. Both documents can be presented at a later date:
• A recently-issued original birth certificate
• If you are married or your spouse is accompanying you, a recently-issued original marriage certificate
You can find more information about registration procedures for each case in the official website of Den Haag. Please bear in mind that other municipalities may state different requirements. Once registered with the municipality, you will get a Burgerservicenummer (BSN). If you are planning to reside in the Netherlands less than four months, you will still need to register in order to get a BSN. Please note that the conditions and procedure to register may vary depending on your individual situation.
What is a BSN? Am I required to get one?
The burgerservicenummer – BSN (citizen service number) is a unique personal number issued to everyone registered with the basisregistratie personen – BRP (personal records database) of the municipality. Meaning, that if you are coming to stay in the Netherlands for more than four months you do require a BSN. It is required for starting a job in the Netherlands, enrolling in an educational programme, opening a bank account, using the health care system, applying for benefits and paying taxes, to name a few examples.
You will need to register at the gemeente (municipality) where you are living. You can make an appointment by calling the town hall or sending an email. Please note that it is advised to register as soon as you arrive to the Netherlands. Depending on the municipality the waiting time may be long but during your appointment you will get your BSN right away.
Do I need to legalise or translate my documents to register?
Documents from certain countries must be legalised or have an Apostille. An Apostille Certificate is an official certificate issued to documents so they will be recognised in member states without further Legalisation. It must be done in the country where the documents were issued and cannot be done in the Netherlands.
Authenticity stamp and the bureaucratic procedures linked to it will no longer be required when presenting public documents issued in one EU country to the authorities of another EU country. Under the new rules, citizens are also no longer required to provide a sworn/ official translation of their public document in many cases.
Find further information on the website of the government.
What is DigiD?
DigiD (short for Digital Identification) is a form of online ID that allows you access to many services and government websites in the Netherlands. This includes doing your taxes, applying for a government benefit, checking your Dutch pension or health insurance, and any other actions. The DigiD consists of a username and password that are linked to your personal public service number (BSN). Most information about the DigiD can be found at: www.digid.nl/en/about-digid.
You can find a more dynamic and simple explanation about DigiD on the following link (available in English, French, Arabic and Dutch): digid.uabc.nl/en.
Will my driving licence be valid?
Do you have a driving licence that was issued in one of the countries of the European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and do you live in the Netherlands? If so, you can continue to drive on this licence in the Netherlands for 15 years (from the date of issue of the foreign driving licence). This applies to the categories AM, A1, A2, A, B and BE. The driving licence must be valid for this to apply.
The RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority) has up-to-date information about the rules for use of a foreign driving licence.
Please note that when exchanging a driving licence, you will be asked to hand in your old licence. A counter clerk will collect your foreign driving licence and give you a certified copy and a receipt. You will not receive your old driving licence back after the exchange. Instead, the RDW will return your driving licence to the issuing authority in your country of origin.
Persons with diplomatic status or working at certain international organisations (privileged card holders) may drive in the Netherlands without the need to exchange their foreign licence for a Dutch one. You will, however, need a valid foreign driving licence and an identity pass for privileged persons from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I am entitled to the '30% tax ruling'. Will my driving licence be valid?
Anyone who is entitled to benefit from the ’30 percent tax ruling’ can simply exchange their licence, no matter where they are from. This applies to your partner and children registered at the same address too. Ask for an exchange form for the foreign driving licence at the municipality where you are registered. Please note that applications sent directly to RDW (Dutch Road Transport Directorate) will not be processed. You can find further information on the documentation that you need for the exchange here.
What is a 'Certificate of Fitness' (VvG)? And when is it necessary?
A Verklaring van Geschiktheid – VvG (certificate of fitness) may be required by the Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheidsbewijzen – CBR (Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing) (Dutch only), when applying for a driving licence in the following cases:
- when a Dutch licence is first issued
- when a driving licence is exchanged and the country of issue do not belong to the European Union/European Free Trade Association (EU/EFTA)
- if you have a medical restriction
- if you are older than 75 years
You can find more details about when a VvG is required and how to proceed on the CBR’s website (Dutch only)
Which insurances are most important in the Netherlands?
There are a few insurances that are compulsory in the Netherlands:
- If you reside in the Netherlands, you have to apply for a basisverzekering (basic health insurance)
- If you own a house and have a mortgage, an overlijdensrisicoverzekering (term life insurance) is usually required by your mortgage provider
- If you have a car, a third party wettelijke aansprakelijkheidsverzekering – WA (legal liability insurance) is compulsory. However, to protect yourself against the costs of repair to your car if it is involved in an accident or if it is stolen, you are advised to take out fully cascoverzekering (comprehensive insurance), although this is usually more expensive
The following insurances are not compulsory but it may be a good idea to check whether to get them:
- Aanvullende verzekering (additional health insurance)
- Aansprakelijkheidsverzekering (liability insurance) including damage you cause to others or their goods, damage caused by your pet or damage abroad
- Rechtbijstandsverzekering (legal aid insurance)
- If you rent or own a house an inboedelverzekering (home insurance)
- If you own a house an opstalverzekering (residential premises insurance) will be needed to take out a Dutch mortgage
Depending on your situation, additional insurances can be taken out, such as an ongevallen inzittenden verzekering (personal accident insurance), schade inzittendenverzekering (personal damage insurance) or levensverzekering (life insurance).
I am a student who has just arrived to the Netherlands. What are the formalities that have to be completed?
All new residents, including foreign student, who will be staying in the Netherlands longer than four months are required to register with the gemeente (municipality). The following documents are usually required when registering:
- Passport (or ID card for EU citizens)
- Proof of address (i.e. rental contract or permission from the main occupant)
- For students who need to apply for a residence permit it is necessary to present the receipt sent by the immigration authorities (IND) to the school. The school should provide you with this document
Some schools participate in the centralised registration days, meaning that international students will be able to register at the basisregistratie persoonsgegevens – BRP (municipal personal records database) at their school of higher education.
International students can also get the student card. Once you have applied for the card, you will be able to get special student discounts in particular shops or places to eat. Check out the website studentenkorting.nl (Dutch only).
Visit the ACCESS FAQ’s of Higher Education in the Netherlands for further details.
Is there any insurance that applies to me as a student?
Dutch health insurance
International students studying in the Netherlands are usually not required to take out a Dutch health insurance. For more information you can visit the section Dutch medical insurance for students on the ACCESS FAQ’s.
Inboedelverzekering (home insurance)
This insurance can be used against loss, theft or damage of the contents of your residence. If you rent a room/apartment, you should check if your landlord has contents insurance and whether or not your contents are covered by the landlord’s policy. Valuable items may need to be covered by a special separate policy.
Aansprakelijkheidsverzekering (liability insurance)
In the Netherlands, it is very normal to have liability insurance; more than 90% of all Dutch citizens have this insurance. With this liability insurance, you are covered against any damage you unintentionally cause to another person or person’s property.
Can I bring my pet to the Netherlands?
According to the EU legislation on movement of pets, the maximum number of pet animals (dogs, cats or ferrets) that may be moved for non-commercial purposes cannot exceed five. Depending on the country of origin and destination of the move, different conditions must be met:
If you are travelling within the EU, you must meet the rules mentioned on https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/carry/animal-plant/index_en.htm
When bringing a pet from a non-EU country , you must meet the rules mentioned on https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/movement-pets/eu-legislation/non-commercial-movement-non-eu-countries_en
Can I take my pet with me on the passenger's cabin?
On flights of less than ten hours, many airlines will allow small cats or dogs to be taken with the passenger in the cabin (except travel to the UK and Hong Kong). Generally, the airline will only allow one pet per passenger and a maximum of two pets per cabin. The container for the pet must fit under the seat in front of you and must have a waterproof bottom and adequate ventilation. The Sherpa, Bergan and SturdiBag pet carriers are all airline compliant as long as the carrier is the proper size for your pet.
Please note that airlines will normally insist that you acquire a special travelling container for the pet animal. The rules regarding approved types of containers for cats, dogs, ferrets and birds flying in the cabin and as cargo were created by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and for the most part have been accepted by the world’s airlines. We have listed below the minimum requirements for the containers but we suggest you to read the IATA requirements to travel with your pet:
- The container must be large enough for the animal(s) to stand, turn around, and lie down
- Both water and food bowls must be attached to the inside of the front door and be refillable from the outside of the container without opening the door
- The container must have ventilation on all sides for international travel and three sides minimum for domestic travel
- The container must have LIVE ANIMAL stickers on the top and sides in letters at least one inch tall
- NO WHEELS. If the container has wheels, they should be removed or taped securely so that the kennel cannot roll
- The container must be identified with your pet’s name and owner’s contact information. The best way to do this is to attach your pet’s information to the outside of the crate
- Make sure to attach an extra copy of your pet’s health certificate to the container
In addition, airlines often have their own regulations. Please check with your airline well in advance.
Do I need to register my pet in the Netherlands? And are there any costs involved?
Dogs must be registered with the gemeentelijke belastingdienst (municipal tax department), and a hondenbelasting (dog tax) is charged annually, calculated on the number of dogs in each household. You need to inform the municipality about the number of dogs you have. The number of municipalities charging dog tax is decreasing.
Although not compulsory, it could be a good idea to take out an insurance for your pet. Pet insurance can cover much of unexpected vet expenses in case of an injury, illness or damage to third parties. Some of the things you may consider when choosing a pet insurance could be:
- Does the policy cover all chronic, congenital and hereditary conditions?
- Is there a time limit on treatment per condition?
- Is there a cost limit on treatment per condition?
- Are there flexible coverage options to fit your budget and needs exactly?
- Does the insurance cover for damage or injury caused to third parties?
Where can I find dierenarts (veterinarian)?
There are good dierenartsen (veterinarians) and animal hospitals in the Netherlands. Ask neighbours or friends for a recommendation, or look up dierenarts in the Yellow Pages or on Google maps using the filter ‘search nearby’. You can also contact the ACCESS Helpdesk for a list of veterinarians in your area.
Should I clean up after my dog?
The Netherlands has opruimplicht (clean up after your dog) and there are fines for those who do not do so. Use a paper bag, a plastic bag or a special ‘pooper scooper’ available at pet shops, veterinarians and municipal offices. Be aware of more regulations on keeping pets within your municipality.
I find it difficult and expensive to park my car in many major cities. Is there a way for me to park my car easier and cheaper?
There is a severe lack of parking space in most big cities in the Netherlands. In an effort to reduce congestion, many cities have a park and ride scheme (P+R- locaties). The driver parks at an organised, out of town location and then finishes the journey via public transport to the city centre. ANWB (the Royal Dutch Touring Club) lists all park and ride schemes in an area. This scheme is very helpful to many people for finding a parking space more quickly as well as for spending less on parking fees. You find the parking space via the routeplanner of ANWB on https://www.anwb.nl/verkeer/routeplanner?displayType=instructions.
Each city in the Netherlands has a Municipal Parking Department for all affairs related to parking such as parking permits. Please contact your municipality for further details.
Are there any subscriptions to travel cheaper by public transport?
Subscriptions are available for a particular route, for a discount outside rush hours, for unlimited travel by train or by other means of public transport as well. If you don’t know which subscription fits best, you can use the information on the Dutch Railroads (Nederlandse Spoorwegen – NS) website. It is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands: www.ns.nl/en/season-tickets.
It is highly advisable that you drop into a service counter and ask for help when deciding which subscription would be the most adequate for your situation. For more information visit the NS website.
What is the OV-chipkaart?
The smart-card system, the OV-chipkaart (chip card used to pay for public transport), is the form of paying for public transport. OV stands for openbaar vervoer (public transport). It resembles a bank card and contains an invisible chip and must be topped up before the start of any journey. The OV-chipkaart can be used on public transport all over the Netherlands.
For further details visit the website of the OV-chipkaart and select ‘English’ at the top right corner of the site to change the language: www.ov-chipkaart.nl.
How does the OV-chipkaart work?
The OV-chipkaart (chip card used to pay for public transport) must be purchased before you travel. To find a point of sale nearby visit the following website: https://www.ov-chipkaart.nl/en/service-points-finder
This address finder is very useful to find out where all specific OV-chipkaart services are located because services differ from location to location. Additional credit can be loaded onto your OV-chipkaart at vending and add value machines or at OV-chipkaart service points.
Cards must be validated at both the beginning and the end of a journey, by holding the card up to an OV-chipkaart reader. You can find them in various parts of the buses and trams. The card readers for trains are located on the platforms or at the entrance of the station. At the start of your journey, hold your OV-chipkaart up to the screen. The sound and light signal indicates your card has been read. When disembarking, check out by holding your card up to the screen. Checking in and out is also required when you transfer from one form of transport to another, except when you transfer from train to train.
When using trains, you always need to have at least a certain minimum credit on your card to be able to check in. The boarding fee can differ from one transportation company to another. The latest information can be found on https://www.ov-chipkaart.nl/en/travelling-on-balance
When you check out, the boarding fee will be refunded and you will be charged for the number of kilometres you travelled. If you do not check out, you will pay the full boarding fee. If you fail to check in or buy a valid ticket, you face a fine plus the fare for your journey.
What types of OV-chipkaart are there?
There are three different types of OV-chipkaart (chip card used to pay for public transport) to choose from:
- Personal OV-chipkaart: this card is intended for the frequent traveller. To apply for a personal OV-chipkaart, you can pick up a paper application form at the counters for public transport companies or apply online at the Ov-chipkaart.nl.
- Anonymous OV-chipkaart: designed for the infrequent traveller, this allows the holder to travel immediately, once you have added money to your card. It can be purchased at sales devices in stations, newsagents, supermarkets and public transport companies’ counters.
- Business OV-chipkaart: the business OV-chipkaart. This card is offered to employees of companies by business card providers. If you have a business OV-chipkaart and have a question, please contact your business card provider. The contact details can be found on the front of your card.
Can I travel by public transport if I don't have an OV-chipkaart?
It is possible to travel by public transport without OV chipcard. You can pay wireless with your bank card (pin pass) or mobile phone if you don’t have any discount or subscription. This applies to all buses, trams, trains a metros in the Netherlands. If you travel by train you can only pay with your bank card or mobile phone if you are travelling 2nd class and don’t have a subscription. More information is available on https://www.ov-chipkaart.nl/en
Alternatively most of the train companies operating in the Netherlands offers the option to purchase your ticket online (e-ticket). For instance NS, the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands, offers not only the option to print your e-ticket but also to download it on your smartphone. For this you will need the ‘NS Reisplanner Xtra app’.
I am a student. What is the student OV-chipkaart?
How can I find out which tram, bus or train I need and the departure times?
Via the website 9292.nl/en, you can plan your journey from door to door. All options, bus, tram, train, metro and ferry for your journey are given here. 9292 provides a helpful app in English. Bear in mind that most information in the public transport system is announced in Dutch.
How can I go to the railway station or from the railway station to my destination?
There are several ways to travel to and from the railway station:
- By bus, tram or metro
- By bike or moped
- On foot
- By car (shared or rental)
- By taxi or shared taxi
For more detailed information about this topic, please visit: NSinternational.nl/en/to-and-from-the-station.
What kinds of tickets are available for the train?
For the train you can use either paper cards or the OV-Chipkaart (chip card used to pay for public transport) The main tickets available are:
- Single ticket
- Return ticket
- Day travel card for the train
- Day travel card for all public transport (called Holland travel ticket)
- Bicycle day travel card
- Rail runner (cheap ticket for children aged 4 to 11 accompanied by an adult)
- Group ticket off peak hours (single ticket)
- Joint discount ticket off peak hours
You can find an overview of available tickets on https://www.ns.nl/en
It seems that everybody is biking in the Netherlands. Where can I buy a bike for myself?
All cities have one or more shops that sell and repair bikes. For a tweedehands fiets (second-hand bike) you can search online or visit one of the online auction pages such as Marktplaats.nl. Bike shops often have second hand bikes too.
What kinds of bikes are available?
The most common type of bicycle is the omafiets (grandma bike). However, you will see a lot of other types of bikes, including the following: stadsfiets (city bike), sportfiets (sport bike), elektrische fiets (electric bike), bakfiets (cargo bike), and mopeds.
Grandma bikes and city bike are most often used for everyday trips, including going to school and/or work, and running errands around town while a sport bike is a more convenient bicycle for longer trips.
An ATB (All Terrain Bikes) is most convenient for those who bike on difficult terrain. A special type of ATB is the MTB (mountain bike), which is not often used in the Netherlands because of its flat terrain, but it is convenient for cycling in the mountains.
An electric bike offers the possibility to get trapondersteuning (electric support while cycling). It is especially useful when it is very windy because you do not require as much strength for pedalling. Trapondersteuning means that you have to bike yourself, but the electric motor will support you. Depending on the type of electric bike, you can choose between no support, little support, average support or a lot of support.
A moped is a snorfiets when it has a light blue licence plate. A bromfiets rides on the roadway and can reach a maximum speed of 45 km/h. They have a yellow licence plate. By law, children younger than 8 years old can be passengers on a moped only when they are provided with a proper, safe seat that gives them adequate support for their back, hands and feet. It is not permitted to hold a mobile phone while operating a moped or any other electronic device. You are only allowed to use any device handsfree. This also applies to pedestrians . If you ignore this rule, you may get a fine.
Cargo bikes or bakfietsen are transport bikes with three wheels and a large front bucket. It is common to see parents transporting children around because the box is low to the ground making it is easier to transport more weight.
There are also four-wheeled vehicles, but they are not allowed on bike paths and have to follow the same rules as mopeds. They look like small automobiles and must have an overall weight of less than 350 kg (excluding the weight of the battery in electric vehicles). They can reach a maximum of 45 km/h and can be distinguished by their small size and a 45 km/h sticker that is displayed on the back of the car.
I have hardly any knowledge of biking. How can I learn to bike?
There are several bike schools all over the country that offer fietslessen (bike lessons). Most of them are called ‘fietsschool’ or ‘fietscollege’ (bike school).
Are there any special traffic rules for cyclists?
The following laws apply specifically for cyclists:
- Cycling is not allowed on sidewalks or pedestrian-only areas
- Use hand signals when preparing to make a left or right turn. Simply put your arm out in the direction you want to turn
- It is allowed to ride alongside another bicyclist, but cycling with three people in a row is not permitted
- Bicyclists share the bike paths with snorfietsen (mopeds). Be prepared for them by cycling on the right side of the bike path so that they can pass you.
- Brommers (mopeds with a speed of maximum 45 km/hour) are no longer allowed on the bike path. They have to use then main road. Snorfietsen (mopeds with a speed of maximum 25 km/hour) are not always allowed on the bike path. Signs indicate if this applies.
- Cycling is not allowed on highways
- Tunnels may or may not be accessible for cycling. If they are, there is usually a separate bike path
- Bicycle lights are mandatory, white or yellow in the front and red in the rear. You can get a fine when cycling without lights in the dark, at dusk or in poor visibility
What is the minimum age to ride a moped in the Netherlands?
If you want to ride a brommer or snorfiets (moped), you need to be at least 16 years of age. You also need to have a bromfietsrijbewijs (moped driving licence). A driving licence for a car is category B, for a moped is category AM. If you have a driving licence category A or B, you can ask to add category AM when you renew your driving licence. You don’t need to pass an exam for this.
Are there any special traffic rules for mopeds?
Brommers (mopeds) must use the main road rather than the bike roads. They are allowed on the bike lanes only if explicitly indicated by the blue traffic sign displaying a bicycle and a moped symbol. Both drivers of a moped and passengers are required to wear a helmet.
Mopeds have bells for a reason! Use the bell to warn bicyclists that you are approaching them and need to pass them, use it to warn pedestrians who are blocking the bike path, or to warn anyone else who might be in your way! Do not park your moped in places that have signs posted saying “Geen fietsen plaatsen” (no bike parking).
List of useful numbers in the Netherlands
ACCESS Counselling Service Network
(also see Counsellor on Call)
0900 222 2377
Parnassia The Hague
070 – 391 6391
PsyQ International (8.30 until 17.30 and on Tuesday and Thursday from 8.30 until 20.00)
088 357 3478
(Netherlands Association for Outpatients’ Mental Health Care)
020 – 611 6022
Centre for Domestic Violence Amsterdam
020 626 3800 (8.00 – 23.00)
Emergency 06 10599458
070 – 362 0496
0900 899 8411
(Weekdays 09:00 – 23:00
Weekends 15:00 – 23:00)
020 – 675 7575
The Hague (24hr)
070 – 345 4500
010 – 436 2323
Zoetermeer (20:00 – 02:00)
079 – 352 3737
030 – 294 3344
Some of these organisations are run by Dutch volunteers. If the volunteer cannot speak English, one will be found who can help. If the answer is a tape in Dutch, listen carefully – how to reach someone in person will be explained.
0900 204 2040
(in English, Monday to Wednesday : 09.30 – 15.30, thursday and Friday: 13.30 to 15.30)
Alcoholics Anonymous (24hr)
020 – 625 6057
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Amsterdam (drugs, alcohol)
Jellinek Drug and alcohol help center
088 505 1220
Triora 088 358 3741
Rotterdam (drugs, alcohol & clinic)
IGHD verslavingzorg 010 423 2711
Centre for Domestic Violence Amsterdam
020 626 3800 (8.00 – 23.00)
Emergency – 06 10599458
The Hague (24hr, everyday)
070 – 392 5774
Rotterdam (24hr, everyday)
010 – 476 1680
Child Line (02:00 – 20:00 everyday)
Drugs Advice Clinic
020 – 570 2355
The Hague Parnassia
070 – 391 7800
Lost and Found
Report an object you found at: www.verlorenofgevonden.nl, and keep it at home. If no one comes to collect the object after one year, you can keep it. Handing in at the police station is no longer possible from January 2013.
0800 – 0313
030 – 283 5555
Giro Pass/Giros (24hr) (ING MAstercard)
058 – 212 6000
Visa Card issued inside NL (ABN AMRO)
020 – 660 0611
Visa Card issued outside NL
0800 022 4176
020 – 504 8000
Amex (after 20:00 and weekends)
020 – 504 8666
In a taxi
Amsterdam – 020 – 677 7777
The Hague – 070 – 555 5555
Rotterdam – 010 – 462 6060
In public transport or places
Embassies and Consulates
Find your Embassy or Consulate in the Netherlands: www.government.nl/issues/embassies-consulates-and-other-representations
What are the emergency numbers in the Netherlands?
In the Netherlands there is no 24 hours medical service. During office hours you can contact your GP. After office hours and in the weekend, every municipality has a so called huisartsenpost that can be contacted for medical problems that can’t wait until your own GP is available again. The service operates at night and around the clock during weekends and public holidays. If you are looking for out of hours doctors in your area, search online by typing in ‘huisartsenpost’ with the place name. The same goes for dentists. In most cities there are several vets who offer after hours service and some even offer 24 hour service. They are all commercial. The common rule for huisartsen and dentists is also for vets. In general you call your own vet if your pet has problems. If he/she is not available, you can call an emergency service. This is also often listed on the website of your vet.
You can find all emergency numbers here.
How can I arrange a parking space lot near my house?
Parking space is limited in the Netherlands. In general you need to request a parking licence near your house from the municipality. This gives you the right to park near your house but you need to look for a place every time you want to park your car. In addition, you can see if there is a parking garage nearby and try to rent a place there. It is best to check with your municipality for further detail.
How are parking spaces lots organised in the Netherlands?
In most places it is paid parking. This is indicated along the road. You need to get a ticket from the ticket vending machine and pay on your return for the time you parked your car.
Sometimes there is a parking meter. Here you need to decide in advance how long you intend to park your car and pay for that time. If you park longer than expected, you need to add money to the meter to avoid getting a fine.
In areas where paid parking is not in force, you may find there is a Blue Zone. Within this zone, you are only permitted to park for short periods of time by clearly displaying a blue parking disc. You can buy them at large department stores. Before leaving your car, mark your time of arrival on the blue parking disc. You can recognise a blue zone by a nearby road sign. On this sign you can see the maximum parking time permitted, as well as any additional conditions such as specific hours during the day.
What to do when I hear the sirens?
Every first Monday of the month you at 12 (noon) you will hear the sirens. Iit is just a test and it takes 1 minute and 26 seconds. YThe alarm has nothing to do with attacks from an enemy anymore. Nowadays, it is a warning in case of a huge fire or an environmental disaster.
If you hear the sirens on any other day or time other than the first Monday of any month, do the following:
- Go inside. If you are outside, working or shopping, go inside as soon as possible, for example enter a shop or any other building.
- If you are in a car, leave your car and go into a building. In case this is not possible (e.g. you are on a highway), stay inside the car and close all windows and ventilation/air conditioning.
- Leave your children at school.
- Offer others the opportunity to hide with you.
- Close the windows and the doors. Also close other openings in your house and if possible turn the air conditioning off.
- Do not make phone calls unless absolutely necessary.
- Listen to the regional radio. The government will inform you via this channel what is going on and what you need to do. If you don’t understand Dutch, ask your neighbours or other people near you what you need to to.
In case of a national emergency, listen to NPO Radio 1 (see www.radio-frequentie.nl/radio-1/ for a frequency list) or watch TV on channel NPO 1 (also known as Nederland 1). The frequency of channel NPO 1 depends on your location and your television provider.
You can find additional information on what to do in case of emergency and how you can prepare for one at this website www.crisis.nl (Dutch only)
In addition NL-alert is used to inform you about disasters. It tells you what’s going on, what you should do and where you can find more information.
You receive NL-Alert on your mobile phone. NL-Alert can also be seen on an increasing number of digital advertising displays and digital signage at train, bus, tram and metro stops. A handy factsheet about NL-alert can be found on the website of the government
Which formalities are needed when I move within the Netherlands?
Whenever you move within or to a new municipality, you must register with your new municipality. You can do this online. Visit the website of your new municipality and login with DigiD. If this doesn’t work for you, contact the new municipality and ask for other options your new municipality will inform several government organisations. You can ask them which organisations will receive your new address and which organisations you have to inform yourself.
In addition, it is important to inform your bank and utility providers about your new address.