FAQ

About AMBER Alert

What is the Dutch AMBER Alert?
The Dutch AMBER Alert is the nationwide alert system for urgent cases of missing children and child abductions. With over 2 million participants and participating organizations, 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 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.
Where did the term AMBER Alert originate?
AMBER Alert Netherlands is based on the American AMBER Alert Plan that has saved the lives of approximately 600 children. The system is named after Amber Hagerman from Arlington, Texas. In 1996, nine year old Amber was abducted while riding her bike in her neighborhood, and was killed soon after. All global AMBER Alert initiatives aim to alert as many people as possible when a child goes missing or is abducted. The more people who are on the lookout for a child, the better the chance the child is found quickly and unharmed. Time is of the essence to an abducted child.
What is an AMBER Alert?
An AMBER Alert is an emergency message, issued by the Dutch police when a child is abducted or missing when the police fears the child’s life or health is in danger. The system enables the police to immediately alert all and ask them to be on the lookout for the child in question.

When an AMBER Alert is issued, the picture of the AMBER Alert child is instantly visible everywhere: on TVs, highway signs, billboards, signs in buses, and on thousands of websites. Also, over 2 million AMBER Alert messages are sent out via SMS, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and Apps, highly increasing the chances of a positive outcome.

In the last few years, an average of four AMBER Alerts were issued yearly. In 64 percent of these cases, the child was found thanks to tips on the AMBER Alert. This makes AMBER Alert the most successful citizen participation initiative in the Netherlands  and a great example of effective crowdsourcing.
Who is responsible for issuing AMBER Alerts?
The Dutch police, or the National Bureau for Missing Persons (LBVP) is responsible for the content of the AMBER Alerts. The police has set strict AMBER Alert criteria.
AMBER Alert is a joint initiative of the Dutch police and software company Netpresenter.
How do I know whether an AMBER Alert child has been found?
When a child for which an AMBER Alert has been issued is found, this will be published on our homepage and on the news section of this site.
What is the difference between AMBER Alert and Burgernet?
An AMBER Alert is issued when a child is abducted or missing and there are fears that the child’s life or health is in danger. This means that this system is only used in very urgent missing children cases. An AMBER Alert is always issued nationally and appears on a large number of different media: highway signs, TV, websites and Digital Signage screens. 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.
In order to receive AMBER Alerts, please register here and follow in the footsteps of over 2 million people and thousands of organizations that have done so already.

Burgernet is a local system that alerts citizens by voicemail or SMS text message if an incident occurs in their neighborhood. It invites participants to watch out for suspicious persons, missing vehicles, etc. Citizens who would like to participate need to register on the Burgernet website.
What is the difference between AMBER Alert and NL Alert?
An AMBER Alert is issued when a child is abducted or missing and there are fears that the child’s life or health is in danger. An AMBER Alert is always issued nationally and on a large number of different media: Twitter, Facebook, SMS text messages, e-mail, highway signs, TVs, radio, websites and Digital Signage screens. This means that the image of the missing child is literally visible everywhere.
In order to receive AMBER Alerts, please register here and follow in the footsteps of over 2 million people and thousands of organizations.
NL Alert is a new alert system that allows the Dutch government to warn citizens in case of a disaster, in addition to the sirens that are currently used. NL-Alert allows the government to send a short text-only message (no images) to mobile phones in a specific area, for instance if there are dangerous toxics in the air. You do not need to register for NL-Alert; however, your phone settings do need to be set correctly to be able to receive NL-Alert messages. Not all phones are able to receive NL-Alert messages.

AMBER Alert criteria

When is an AMBER Alert issued?
A few times a year, there are missing children cases in which the child runs a much greater risk than usual. For instance, when a child has been abducted by a stranger. The AMBER Alert system was developed for these cases. Read more about the criteria for an AMBER Alert.
We also bring public attention to other missing children cases for which no AMBER Alert was issued. For this, we use our Twitter and Facebook.
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. That is why strict criteria are set; an AMBER Alert is issued only in the most urgent cases of child abductions or disappearances. The use of AMBER Alerts in less urgent cases would diminish the effect of the system. Unfortunately, children go missing every day in the Netherlands; mostly children that run away from home. Thankfully, most of these children are found in good health after a period of time. Of course, in most of these cases, publicity can help find the child more quickly. That is why we use Twitter and Facebook to ask for your help to find these children.
What is the difference between an AMBER Alert and an urgent case of a child disappearance?
An AMBER Alert turns the whole country upside down. That is why strict criteria are set; an AMBER Alert is issued only in the most urgent cases of child abductions or disappearances. 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. Of course, other cases of child disappearances are also important, and, in some of these cases, publicity can help find the child more quickly. That is why we use Twitter and Facebook and sometimes targeted SMS text messages in the area where the child went missing, to ask for your help to find these children.

Education and information

What can I tell my child on the topic of ‘abduction’?
Luckily child abductions seldom occur. However, it is still important to tell your child what to do when faced with an (attempted) abduction. That is why the National Missing Persons Bureau (LBVP), part of the Dutch national police provides some tips for parents on discussing this topic with their child(ren). This material can also be used by teachers to discuss the subject with their pupils.
Educational material about missing children is available .
Check out the tips for parents and children.
I would like to give a lecture about AMBER Alert. Where can I find more information?
A lot of information can be found on this website. Also, check out our Facebook page or our press page for posters, images, folders, our logo, etc.
Where can I find AMBER Alert posters, flyers and banners?
Please check the AMBER Alert press page for posters, images, folders, our logo, etc.
Only active during an AMBER Alert:
Can I use the AMBER Alert logo?
Please feel free to download the AMBER Alert logo for promotion or support of AMBER Alert Netherlands. Commercial use of the logo or using the logo to (wrongly) suggest that you are a partner or founding member of AMBER Alert is prohibited. Download the AMBER Alert logo (high res/low res) Questions? Please feel free to contact us.
Who is the girl on the AMBER Alert pictures?
This is an example of what an AMBER Alert would look like; the girl on this picture is not missing.

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 chance that the missing child is found. You - literally - can save children’s lives by helping us, as can your friends and family. Please invite them to register for AMBER Alert, free of charge.
Can I receive AMBER Alerts abroad?
Yes, you can. When you are asked for your postal code, just leave this 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 organization for AMBER Alert?
Yes, we even encourage this. If you would like to register more than 100 mobile company phones, you can register them in one go. To do this, please send an e-mail to info@amberalertnederland.nl with:
  1. A list of the mobile phone numbers that you would like to register, in a CSV file. For Dutch numbers, always start with 00316. For example: 0031601234567;
    For example: 0031601234567;
  2. A signed agreement. Please click here for the standard agreement (in Dutch).

Helping AMBER Alert

How can I do even more for AMBER Alert?
Read here how you can help AMBER Alert even more.
I have seen a missing child. What should I do?
Have you seen a missing child? Please inform the police immediately. The police can be reached on: 0800 6070 (abroad: +31 79 345 9876). If you would like to place your call anonymously, contact Meld Misdaad Anoniem (anonymous hotline) on 0800 7000. The number can also be called from abroad; dial 00 31 (0) 800 - 7000.

When your child goes missing

What can I do when my child goes missing?
Has your child gone missing? Please call the police immediately on alarm number 112 if:
  • The child is younger than 12
  • The child is physically and/or mentally disabled
  • The child is in need of direct medical attention
  • The child disappeared under suspicious circumstances
Attention: If a small child is missing, start by looking in places where the child could be in danger, such as near ponds or canals, the street, a place where dangerous products are kept, and so on, before you check out locations where the child may be, but is not in any danger. Keep in mind that small children sometimes hide somewhere and then fall asleep. In all other cases, directly contact your local police on 0900 8844. More information and tips can be found on the website of the National Missing Persons Bureau (LBVP), part of the Dutch national police.
How do I add a picture of a missing child to the AMBER Alert website?
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?
Not as an SMS text message or e-mail. However, on our website and on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, we gladly keep you up to date on how the case develops.
Can I receive AMBER Alerts on my smartphone, tablet or mobile phone?
Yes, there are several ways to receive AMBER Alerts on your smartphone, tablet or mobile phone:

About SMS text messages

I have a problem 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 smsvragen@amberalertnederland.nl.
Does AMBER Alert send out SMS text messages at night?
Yes, we do. However, in order to receive AMBER Alerts as SMS text 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 text messages between 10 PM and 6 AM. Would you like to receive AMBER Alerts via SMS during the night? Please send an SMS text message with the text NACHT AAN to 5100 (from the Netherlands only).

Unregister for AMBER Alert during nighttime? Send an SMS text message with the text NACHT UIT to 5100 (from the Netherlands only).
Does AMBER Alert send out SMS text messages in case of urgent case of missing children in my area?
Yes we do. However, in order to receive SMS text messages about urgent cases of missing children in your area, you will need to register separately. The police decides when an SMS text message is issued for an endangered missing child. If you are already registered for AMBER Alert, you will not receive SMS text messages about urgent cases of missing children in your area. Would you like to receive urgent cases of missing children in your area via SMS? Please send an SMS text message to 5100 (from the Netherlands only) with the text: AMBER AAN + your postal code. Example: AMBER AAN 1234 AB.

Using the AMBER Alert Netherlands App

Does the App work on a tablet?
Yes, the AMBER Alert Netherlands App (available for iOS and Android) can also be used on a tablet. However, most app functionality requires an internet connection. Also bear in mind that your tablet might not be usable to place calls, for instance to the police.

AMBER Alerts e-mails

My e-mail account changed. What to do?
Click here if you wish to stop using your old e-mail address. Enter the new address that you would like to use for receiving AMBER Alerts here.
I do not receive AMBER Alert E-mail Alerts or they end up in my spam-filter. What to do?
To ensure you receive AMBER Alert E-mail Alert messages in good order, please add noreply@amberalertnederland.nl to your contacts list. This ensures that AMBER Alert messages are not perceived as spam.

AMBER Alert on social media

Can I receive AMBER Alerts on Twitter and Facebook

AMBER Alert as 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 8) 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 as e-mail message, SMS text message, or on 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 organization’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 narrowcasting solution?
The AMBER Alert screensaver or Digital Signage screen uses Netpresenter software, and replaces any current screensaver or narrowcasting presentation in use.
Do you wish to keep your old presentation? Install the Pop-up Alert, or register for AMBER Alerts on Twitter, Facebook, e-mail or SMS text message.

AMBER Alert as RSS Newsfeed

I want AMBER Alerts on my website. What to do?
You can show active AMBER Alerts on your website with: :
Information for organizations:
Showing AMBER Alerts on Digital Signage screens
Linking handhelds or other web applications to AMBER Alert

Developing 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?

Security

Does AMBER Alert contain spyware or adware?
No, AMBER Alert messages are completely advertisement free. In addition, your privacy is completely guaranteed. Also, the AMBER Alert software is completely free of spyware and adware.