With the National Heatwave Plan, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is making organisations, professionals and volunteers involved in the care of the elderly and chronically ill extra alert for the coming heat period. This allows them to take appropriate measures and  take good care of people during the heat period and limit negative health effects.

The National Heatwave Plan is a communication plan with the aim of bringing simple precautions to the attention of risk groups and their immediate environment, in particular care providers and volunteers, in a timely manner.

The decision to activate the Heatwave Plan is taken by RIVM after consultation with the Royal Meteorological Institute (KNMI). The chance of persistent warm weather, with maximum temperatures above 27 degrees, plays an important role in activating the plan. In addition, expected night temperature and humidity are factors that are taken into account in the decision. The Heatwave Plan can be activated for the whole of the Netherlands, but also for parts of the country.

KNMI warning colours

KNMI uses international warning colours to indicate the impact of dangerous weather. Using colours to warn people gives KNMI the opportunity to scale up warnings for dangerous weather situations. KNMI uses 4 colour codes for dangerous weather:

  • Code green – no details;
  • Code yellow – be alert;
  • Code orange – be prepared; and
  • Code Red (weather alert) – take action.

Read more about KNMI's warnings on their website . If the National Heatwave Plan is activated, KNMI can follow with code yellow. The heatwave plan is aimed at vulnerable groups. With code orange, the advice applies to everyone in the Netherlands. It is therefore important that people can recognise the symptoms of overheating and know what to do to prevent the worst effects of heat on health. See also the infographic: 'Heat and health, recognise the complaints and know what to do'.