What to do if you are arrested in a foreign country

If you are arrested in a foreign country, contact the Dutch embassy or consulate. If a friend or family member has been arrested in a foreign country, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

What to do if you are arrested in a foreign country

If you have been arrested in a foreign country, contact the Dutch embassy or consulate. If there is no Dutch embassy or consulate in the country, you can contact the embassy or consulate of another EU country.

Legal rules and procedures

After you inform the embassy or consulate that you have been arrested, they will send you an information pack. It contains general information and an explanation of the legal rules and procedures that apply in the country where you have been arrested.

In the ‘What to do if you are arrested in a foreign country (PDF, 1.1 MB)' (in Dutch) brochure you can read more about:

  • what happens when you are arrested in a foreign country
  • what you should do if you are arrested in a foreign country
  • what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will do

No special treatment

The embassy or consulate cannot get you out of prison or arrange special treatment. They must respect the laws of the countries in question.

Arrested for smuggling drugs

More than 2,200 Dutch nationals are in foreign prisons, slightly more than half of them for smuggling drugs.

If a friend or family member is arrested in a foreign country

You can contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if a friend or family member has been arrested in a foreign country. Call the 24/7 BZ Contact Centre on +31 247 247 247. When a Dutch national is arrested, the local authorities will contact the embassy or consulate as soon as possible. But only if the person who has been arrested wants them to do so.

Information about the person who has been arrested

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can act as a go-between.  

The Ministry can only share information about a person who has been arrested with their permission or at their request. This is because of the rules in the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act.

The Ministry can give you the following information:

  • contact details for the prison
  • contact details for the lawyer
  • general information about the procedure and what to expect
  • the address of the nearest Dutch embassy or consulate.

More information on Dutch nationals in foreign prisons.