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About AMBER Alert

What is AMBER Alert Netherlands?

AMBER Alert Netherlands is the national alert system for missing children and child abduction cases. With over 2.9 million participants and participating organisations, it is the most successful citizen participation initiative in the Netherlands and a great example of effective crowdsourcing.

AMBER Alert was launched in 2008 by social enterprise Netpresenter and the Dutch National Police. The green light was given on 11 November 2008 by the Minister of Justice at the time, Hirsch Ballin.

The Dutch AMBER Alert is part of AMBER Alert Europe.

What is an AMBER Alert?

An AMBER Alert is a nationwide emergency message that is issued when the Dutch National Police fear the life of an abducted or missing child is in imminent danger. When an AMBER Alert is issued, the whole country transforms into one big missing children’s poster. A picture of the missing child is instantly visible everywhere: on TVs, highway signs, billboards and on thousands of websites. AMBER Alerts are also shared via SMSe-mailTwitterFacebook, apps and TV- and radio broadcasting, highly increasing the chances of a positive outcome.

Where did the term AMBER Alert originate?

AMBER Alert Netherlands is based on the American AMBER Alert Plan, which has already saved the lives of hundreds of children. AMBER Alert is named after Amber Hagerman from Arlington, Texas. In 1996, nine-year old Amber was abducted while riding her bike in her neighborhood. She was murdered soon after.

Who is responsible for issuing AMBER Alerts?

The Dutch National Police, more precisely, the National Bureau for Missing Persons (LBVP), is responsible for the content of the AMBER Alerts. The police has set strict criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert.

What is the difference between an AMBER Alert and a Missing Child Alert?

AMBER Alert Netherlands exclusively sends out AMBER Alerts and Missing Child Alerts.

An AMBER Alert is a nationwide emergency message, sent out by the LBVP of the Dutch National Police when it fears the life of an abducted or missing child is in imminent danger. When an AMBER Alert is issued (about 1-2 times a year), the entire system is deployed. The whole country then turns into one big missing children’s poster.

About 20 times a year, the police issue a Missing Child Alert to get more regional attention for a missing child. A Missing Child Alert is no AMBER Alert. When a Missing Child Alert is issued, the police suspect doesn’t suspect the child’s life to be in immediate danger. However, the police is extremely worried about the well-being of the child and this requires a prompt and regionally focused approach.

Why not issue an AMBER Alert whenever a child goes missing?

An AMBER Alert turns the whole country upside down. In order for AMBER Alerts to remain effective, we have to ensure that people will continue to notice the picture of the AMBER Alert child. This would not be the case if an alert was issued daily.

What is the difference between AMBER Alert and Burgernet?

An AMBER Alert is issued when a child is abducted or missing and the police fears that the child’s life is in imminent danger. An AMBER Alert is always issued nationally and appears on a large number of different media: highway signs, TV, websites and billboards. It is also sent out via Twitter, Facebook, text message and email. This means that the image of the missing AMBER Alert child is literally visible everywhere.

Burgernet is a local system that alerts citizens by voicemail or text message if an incident occurs in their neighborhood. It invites participants to watch out for suspicious persons, missing vehicles, etc. Unlike an AMBER Alert, Burgernet messages are not only used for disappearances, but also in case of theft, robbery or burglary.  A Burgernet message never contains a picture.

What is the difference between AMBER Alert and NL Alert?

An AMBER Alert is issued when a child is abducted or missing and the police fear that the child’s life is in imminent danger. An AMBER Alert is always issued nationally and appears on a large number of different media: highway signs, TV, websites and billboards. It is also issued using media such as Twitter, Facebook, SMS text messages and e-mail. This means that the image of the missing AMBER Alert child is literally visible everywhere.
NL Alert is an alert system that allows the Dutch government to send a short text-only message to mobile phones in a specific area in case of an emergency. For instance, if there is a fire or there are dangerous toxins in the air.

Registering for AMBER Alert

How do I receive AMBER Alerts?

Read here how you can receive AMBER Alerts.

Why is it so important that so many people receive AMBER Alerts?

The more people register for AMBER Alert, the more people are on the look-out for missing children, increasing the chances that the child is found safe and sound.

Register here to receive AMBER Alerts free of charge.

Do AMBER Alerts appear automatically on my Facebook newsfeed?

Facebook displays Dutch AMBER Alerts automatically in the newsfeed of users that are located in the Netherlands.

Besides AMBER Alerts, Facebook also issues Missing Child Alerts. However, these cases are not displayed automatically.

Can I receive AMBER Alerts abroad?

Yes, you can. When you are asked for your postal code, just leave the field blank.

Do I have to pay to receive AMBER Alerts?

No, receiving AMBER Alerts is free of charge. So register now.

Can I register everybody at my organisation for AMBER Alert?

Of course. You can register all your organisation’s mobile phone numbers and email addresses in one go. To do so, please send an e-mail to [email protected] with:

  1. A CSV file with a list of the mobile phone numbers that you would like to register. For Dutch numbers, always start with 00316. For example: 0031601234567
  2. A signed agreement. Please click here for the standard agreement (in Dutch).
Missing Children

I have seen a missing child. What should I do?

Have you seen a missing child? Please call the police hotline immediately: 0800 6070 (abroad: +31 79 345 9876). If you would like to stay anonymous, contact Meld Misdaad Anoniem (anonymous hotline) at 0800 7000. The anonymous hotline can also be reached from abroad; dial 00 31 (0) 800 – 7000.

How do I know whether an AMBER Alert child has been found?

When a child is found, this will be published in the news section of this site, as well as on our homepage.

Can I add an AMBER Alert to the website myself?

No. This is the responsibility of the National Missing Persons Bureau (LBVP), part of the Dutch National Police.

Technical Questions
Receiving AMBER Alerts

Do I receive a message when an AMBER Alert is cancelled?

You will not receive a text message or email. We will, however, keep you up to date on how the case develops via our website and social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Can I receive AMBER Alerts on my smartphone, tablet or mobile phone?

Yes, there are several ways (+link) to receive AMBER Alerts on your smartphone, tablet and mobile phone.

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SMS

I am having issues with the AMBER Alert SMS Alert. What to do?

Do you have questions regarding the AMBER Alert SMS Alert or are you experiencing problems registering or unregistering for the SMS Alert? Please send your question and details to [email protected].

Does AMBER Alert send out SMS messages at night?

Yes, we do. However, in order to receive AMBER Alert SMS messages between 10 PM and 6 AM, you will need to register separately.

If you are already registered for AMBER Alert, you will not receive AMBER Alert SMS messages between 10 PM and 6 AM. Would you like to receive AMBER Alerts via SMS message during the night? Please send an SMS message with the text NACHT AAN to 5100 (from the Netherlands only).

Want to unregister for AMBER Alert during nighttime? Send an SMS message with the text NACHT UIT to 5100 (from the Netherlands only).

App

Does the App work on a tablet?

Yes, the AMBER Alert Netherlands App (available for iOS and Android) can accessed on a tablet. However, most app functionality requires an internet connection.

Email

My email account changed. What to do?

Click here if you wish to stop using your old email address. Enter the new address that you would like to use to receive AMBER Alerts here.

I do not receive AMBER Alert Email Alerts or they end up in my spam-filter. What to do?

To ensure you receive AMBER Alert Email Alert messages in good order, please add [email protected] to your contact list. This ensures that AMBER Alert messages are not perceived as spam.

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Social Media

Can I receive AMBER Alerts on Twitter and Facebook

PC Pop-up and Screensaver

What type of computers do I need for the AMBER Alert software?

AMBER Alert software runs on computers with Windows (Windows 95 to Windows 10) and an internet connection. Large LCD or plasma screens must be linked to a Windows PC or ‘thin client’.

Does AMBER Alert software run on Mac or Linux?

AMBER Alert software runs on all Windows versions (from Windows 95 to Windows 8). Currently, the software does not run on other operating systems, such as MacIntosh. However, these users can register i.e. to receive AMBER Alerts via e-mail, text message, Twitter and Facebook.
An external party, Compu-Link, has also developed an AMBER Alert client for Linux. Please note that AMBER Alert is not responsible for the content of this client.

I cannot install the software. What to do?

To install software on your computer, you need Administrator permissions. Without the correct permissions, the software will not install or an error message might appear (“Access denied”). If you do not have the appropriate permissions, please contact your organisation’s system administrator.

Does AMBER Alert require a lot of memory space?

No, you only need to install a very slim Player, powered by Netpresenter software. The software hardly takes up any space (approximately 1 MB).

What happens if I already have a screensaver or digital signage solution?

The AMBER Alert screensaver or Digital Signage screen uses Netpresenter software, and replaces any current screensaver or digital signage presentation.
Do you wish to keep your old presentation? Install the Pop-up Alert, or register for AMBER Alerts on TwitterFacebooke-mail or text message.

RSS Newsfeed

How do I display AMBER Alerts on my website?

You can display AMBER Alerts on your website via:

Add-ons and Web applications

I have developed an add-on for AMBER Alert. How do I make this available to others?

Have you developed your own add-on for AMBER Alert? We’d love to see it! Please get in touch with our development team.

How do I link my own (web) application to AMBER Alert?

Download the PDF document that explains how to link your application to AMBER Alert here.