Embaixada do Reino dos Países Baixos em Brasília, Brasil

What to do if someone goes missing abroad

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs helps find Dutch nationals who go missing abroad. The ministry will assist you as well as it can.

Report a disappearance to the police
If you suspect that a friend or relative has gone missing abroad, you can:
• ask others who may know where the missing person is;
• contact the missing person’s bank or credit card company to find out where and when the missing person last withdrew or paid out money;
• phone hotels, youth hostels, or boarding houses to ask whether they know anything about the missing person’s travel plans.

The Red Cross website contains more tips about what to do when a friend or relative goes missing

If you fail to find the missing person within a short time, please report the disappearance to the police in the missing person’s place of residence. The police may then decide to ask for assistance from international police services. Ask for a copy of your report to the police, and note the name of your contact at the police.

Report the disappearance to the Ministry
If you have failed to find the missing person and have reported the disappearance to the police, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +31 (0) 70 348 4770.

Collect information about the missing person
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will ask you for as much information as possible about the missing person and his/her travel plans. You can help by drawing up a list of:

• the missing person’s name and address;
• their passport or driving licence number;
• their last known address (with dates);
• the name and address of their last known local contact;
• information about their itinerary and the purpose of their journey;
• the names of travelling companions;
• their travel insurance details;
• information about air tickets, money, credit cards and traveller’s cheques, transport, medication, etc.;
• an extract from the municipal population register;
• a copy of the report to the police on the disappearance.

The Ministry will keep in touch with the embassy
The Ministry will give all available information about the missing person and their journey to the Dutch embassy or consulate in the country where the missing person was last seen. The embassy or consulate will enlist the help of the local authorities, such as the police, customs authorities, or immigration authorities.

The embassy has no powers of investigation abroad. It can only pass information on to the local authorities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will keep you informed of developments.

Costs of search and assistance
You will have to pay a fixed amount for basic assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You may have to pay more if the embassy carries out additional activities, such as placing an advertisement in the local press or issuing a television appeal.

If the missing person was insured, the insurer will usually pay for search activities. If the missing person was not insured, the relatives will have to pay.

Conducting your own search
It is better not to try to investigate a disappearance abroad. It could hinder the local police investigation. If you nevertheless decide to visit the country where your friend or relative went missing, please do so in close consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Contact with the media
There is every chance that the media will ask you questions about the disappearance. Be sensible. Don’t be tempted to make statements that could harm the investigation. You can always refer journalists to the News Management Division of the Communications Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +31 (0) 70 348 7510.

If the missing person reappears
If the missing person suddenly gets in touch again, please inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as soon as possible. The investigation will then be stopped.

Assistance and contact with people in the same situation
The Red Cross supports those whose friends or relatives have gone missing through a telephone helpline (0800 837 6478) and a website concerned with missing persons. On the website, friends and relatives can post open letters to missing persons, who can then send their friends and relatives a sign of life.

The Association of Friends and Relatives of Missing Persons (Vereniging Achterblijvers na Vermissing) is a support organisation that will represent your interests and enable you to talk with others in the same situation.

Child abducted abroad
Has your child been abducted to another country by the other parent? Contact the International Child Abduction Centre immediately at the Ministry of Justice. Report the abduction as soon as possible to the police. The sooner the abduction is reported, the greater the chance of recovering the child.