One person died and 30 passengers were injured when a train derailed near The Hague in the early hours of Tuesday, sending two carriages into a field next to the track, Dutch emergency services said.
Television images showed people using makeshift bridges to cross a canal running alongside the rails to reach the train in the darkness.
Photos from the scene showed two of the bright yellow and blue train carriages perpendicular to the tracks lying across a small canal and partially in a field.
The four-carriage train was carrying about 50 passengers at the time of the crash.
A freight train was also stopped on the track close to the wreckage of the passenger train between the cities of Leiden and The Hague.
Railway company NS said in a statement said a passenger train, a freight train and a construction crane were involved in a collision but the company gave no further details.
“Like everyone else, I’m full of questions and we want to know exactly what happened,” NS chief executive Wouter Koolmees said.
“A thorough investigation must be carried out. At the moment, all attention is focused on the well-being of our travellers and colleagues.”
The regional co-ordinator of emergency services said that 11 of the injured passengers were treated in homes near the line and the others were taken in a fleet of ambulances to hospitals, including a “calamity hospital” opened in the central city of Utrecht.
The local fire brigade tweeted after the crash that it appeared to be a collision between a passenger train and “building material”.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima also expressed their sympathy in a tweet.
Ingrid de Roos, a spokeswoman for local fire services, told news show WNL that a small fire broke out at the rear of the train but was quickly extinguished.
John Voppen, chief executive of the rail network company Pro Rail, called the accident “a black day for Dutch railways” and said the cause was under investigation.