What to do in a crisis situation

You’re travelling abroad and you find yourself in a crisis situation – an earthquake, an extreme weather event, political unrest or a terrorist attack, for instance. Find out here what can you do and what the Dutch government can do for you.

What you can do 

In a crisis, there are several important things you can do for your own safety and for the safety of the people you are travelling with. 

If you’re not sure whether you should leave the country or region, check the travel advice. 

If you want to know whether there are still flights, check the website of your nearest airport. Or contact the airline.

You are responsible for deciding whether to stay or leave. Be aware that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will probably be unable to help you if you are in an area with an orange or red travel advisory and where the security situation is deteriorating. Don’t wait until the last moment to decide. 

  • Check the travel advice for your country or region.
  • Let us know that you are in the country or region. You can do this through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BZ) Information Service. The embassy will then be able to reach you directly, by email or SMS text message. 
  • Download the Travel App (Dutch) and add the country you are in to your list of favourites. Read the travel advice. You will receive notification of any changes to the travel advice on your tablet or smartphone, so you’ll always have the most up-to-date information. 
  • Keep in touch with the people at home and let them know how you are doing.
  • Follow the local news.
  • Follow the instructions issued by the local authorities. Try to get information from a reliable source. Tune in to the emergency radio station or listen to special broadcasts by the local emergency services and authorities. 

  • Make sure you and your family members have valid passports. If your passport or ID card has expired, apply for a new passport or ID card.
  • Make sure you have medical documents at hand – like a coronavirus certificate, vaccination certificates or statement from your doctor for prescription medicines.
  • If you have a car, make sure you always have an extra jerrican of fuel on board. And make sure your car is in good condition. 

If you’re somewhere where the situation is unstable, it is sensible to keep a stock of items that are difficult to get hold of. You might have to stay indoors for some time, because of violent demonstrations or fighting. Put together an emergency kit, with items that you will need during this time.

Your emergency kit should in any event contain the following items:

  • battery-operated radio 
  • torch with extra batteries
  • charged power bank for your mobile phone
  • first aid kit
  • cash
  • matches in waterproof packaging
  • tea lights/candles
  • blankets
  • tool kit
  • survival whistle
  • rubbish bags
  • ready-to-eat canned or dried food
  • bottles of water
  • map of the area and a road map
  • list of emergency contact numbers (and places you could go)
  • disinfectant hand gel
  • personal hygiene products, like toilet paper, soap and sanitary towels
  • enough supplies of diesel fuel (if you have a generator)
  • essential items, like medicines, nappies, baby formula, and spare spectacles or contact lenses

If you are injured or in immediate danger, contact the local emergency services or try to ask other people to help you. You can find the phone numbers for the emergency services in the travel advice for the country. 

Go to the local authorities’ website for information on what to do in the event of a disaster, or ask at your hotel. Ask, for instance, whether there’s a siren, or a meeting point or air-raid shelters for hotel guests, and how to recognise them.

What the Dutch government can do for you

We keep you informed

The Dutch government is there to help you when you are abroad. We adapt the travel advice if the situation in a country changes. The embassy also sends advice and updates on the situation by SMS text message and email to Dutch nationals in that country or region.

Let us know that you are in the country of area. You can register through the BZ Information Service.

Urgent assistance 

Find out what the embassy can do for you in the event of a personal emergency – if you are admitted to hospital or arrested in a foreign country, for example.

If you need help, you can reach us 24/7 on the phone number of your local embassy or consulate-general

If you are in the Netherlands and a close friend or family member (a Dutch national) needs help abroad, contact the NetherlandsWorldwide contact centre

In a crisis situation, the embassy or ministry cannot always help you – for example if a disaster area is inaccessible, or if the situation is too dangerous. 

Evacuation from a crisis area

In principle, the Dutch government does not evacuate Dutch nationals from crisis areas as long as they can organise their departure themselves. Arrange your departure with a commercial airline or other transport operator. 

If you are advised to leave the country or region immediately or to think very carefully before deciding to stay, do not wait till the last minute. Follow the advice. It isn’t always possible for the Dutch government to help evacuate Dutch nationals who have decided to stay. Do not run unnecessary risks. 

If you can no longer leave, find a safe place to shelter and make sure you have an emergency kit with you. You will find information on how to keep yourself safe in a crisis situation under the heading ‘What you can do’.