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Being Prepared

This article was originally published at Maastricht Region: to Live.

Image is by neoliminal via Flickr. Used by CC-Attribution.

Last week I was reminded rather suddenly that it’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst, even if it’s not likely to happen. (For the record, no one was hurt, just a bit scared.) Sometimes when you move to a new country, you just don’t remember to cover all the basics.  So here a few tips so you can be ready if something’s come up:


If you have an emergency, the number you need to call is 112. This is a number used all over the EU, so be sure to tell the operator where you’re calling from.  However if you need to reach the local police when you don’t have an emergency, use 0900-8844 or visit their website.

Finding Weekend Medical Help

Everything is closed on Sundays, but if you really need some medicine, there is generally a single (rotating) pharmacy open. If you call the hospital, they can let you know where that is.

Speaking of the hospital, if you can’t see your own GP they do have an after-hours service. During business hours, you’ll need to report to the emergency room, but after 5 pm and on weekend, you will see an off-hours GP. If you can, call first. During hours the emergency room phone number is 043 387 67 00; off-hours it is 043 387 77 77.

Lock it Up

Theft is a common crime in the Netherlands, so keeping your home, car, and bike locked up properly is your first line of defense. Make sure your door locks are in good working order and always have two locks for your bike. If you have a particularly nice bicycle (or don’t think you can afford to replace a not-so-nice one), seek out an indoors storage location. Some people even buy bike replacement insurance.

Know your Neighbors

This can be difficult for expats, but staying in control of a bad situation can often rely on the people around you. Get to know your neighbors at least a little so you can recognize them and the people you might typically see around your home. Sharing contact information can help you all protect each other and make connections when something goes wrong.

Image created by neoliminal. Used via a CC-Attribution license.

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