Pretty simple question, but I couldn't find the answer anywhere. Suppose I have a standard '5-pin'/5 recesses wall-socket and I check it with a voltage tester. How many recesses should show a voltage? My expectation was 3, however in my case only the bottom right recess showed a voltage.

Context: this is in an apartment I just moved to in the Netherlands. I tried connecting my electric stove and 3 out of 4 plates no longer worked. That caused my to grab a voltage tester to check the socket.

  • What kind of voltage tester? How did you measure? And what was the returned result: a measurement value or an indication (beep, light)?
    – Grebu
    Jul 16, 2017 at 15:46
  • Its a screwdriver with a built-in voltage tester. Stick it in the hole, touch the back, light goes on=power is on.
    – dimpol
    Jul 16, 2017 at 15:50
  • 1
    Get a proper 2 probe tester Jul 16, 2017 at 16:20
  • 2
    Can you provide a link to what this connector is? It sounds unique to the Netherlands as I have never come across one before and have no clue to what you are referring.
    – Majenko
    Jul 16, 2017 at 16:32
  • 1
    5 recesses and mains can only be 3-phase power. In Europe they do bring that to kitchens of distinction. Jul 16, 2017 at 21:21

2 Answers 2


Assuming you mean an IEC 60309 Plug that delivers 3-phase 230/400V power (usually a red connector), there should be power on three pins.

The largest hole is for the earth pin, and the next hole counter-clockwise is the neutral. The remaining holes should have line voltage - 230v measured to neutral or 400v measured to another line hole.

Here is a good reference for you: https://www.plugsocketmuseum.nl/IEC60309_1.html

Also, as mentioned in the comments, get yourself a proper tester for this or call an electrician to test it.

  • See. This is why we have 230V in sensible countries. That's a darned complicated plug. Especially when you have the l2-l3 swapping thing. Look hideous! Good answer though.
    – SiHa
    Aug 27, 2020 at 10:47
  • @SiHa Your own country supports the use of this plug too, in industrial applications, if my research is correct.
    – Moshe Katz
    Aug 27, 2020 at 11:27
  • Of course, you are correct. I was talking about domestic setting. I've never seen this particular plug in us in an industrial one though, despite having a fair number of 3-phase installations. To be fair, they're all pretty old though, so that's probably why!
    – SiHa
    Aug 27, 2020 at 11:36

In the Netherlands we use something we call a "kookgroep" using a perilex connector like: enter image description here

It uses a 5 pin connector, but it is a combination of two groups (two Life/Neutral) pairs and a ground. It is possible that both life wires are from different phases. Unfortunately there is no standard connection scheme so lots of people struggle with it.

By the way, the reason for this construction is that we mostly use 16A fuses. And 16A is not enough to power an electrical stove so we add two together to get 32A.

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