What can I do if I can’t reach 112?

In theory, 112 is available at all times, but it is possible that you may have trouble reaching it. If that happens, there are a number of things you can do.

I can’t get through to 112. What do I do?

If you can’t get through to 112, you can:

  • Try calling from another phone, either a landline or a mobile.
  • If you don’t have another phone and you are calling from your mobile, try moving a few metres away or turning around and see if that helps.
  • Call your GP or out-of-hours GP service if it’s a medical emergency.
  • Stay with the victim and ask neighbours or bystanders to make the call.

Tips for ensuring that you can reach 112

  • Make sure your phone is fully charged.
  • Keep your phone close to hand.
  • Make sure there is a SIM card in your mobile.
  • Programme the number of the police, fire brigade, ambulance service and GP or out-of-hours GP service in your phone.
  • Try boosting the reception of your mobile in and around the house using a device known as a Wi-Fi repeater. Ask your provider about the options.
  • If you are at home, it may be easier to phone 112 from your landline.
  • Teach your children to call 112 in an emergency or threatening situation.

Reaching 112 from open water

112 works on water just as it does on land. However, mobile network coverage is patchy over large bodies of water such as the IJsselmeer or the Waddenzee.

On lakes or at sea, it is therefore better to use a marine telephone or satellite phone. When you make the call, it is crucial to know your exact position, so it helps to have a good navigational map on board. The emergency service that takes your call will give you instructions and, if necessary, will notify other emergency services.

Poor network reception

Mobile phones use radio signals, which can be absorbed or reflected by obstacles, such as buildings, trees or passing buses or lorries. Keep this in mind when calling 112 from your mobile. The quality of the antenna on your mobile will also affect reception, as can the weather.

Mobile reception near national borders

Along the Dutch border you may have more difficulty reaching 112 than elsewhere in the country. This is because frequency capacity cannot be used fully in border regions. The Netherlands has made agreements with neighbouring countries on avoiding disturbance to each other’s networks.