A passenger train derailed in northeastern Netherlands after it collided with a hydraulic crane, leaving the train driver dead and seven other people injured, local officials said.

The accident happened at around 8.45am (7.45am Irish time) close to the northeastern town of Dalfsen, about 40km from the German border.

Television images showed pictures of several carriages lying on their side next to fields as emergency staff worked nearby.

Mayor Han Noten told public broadcaster NOS two of the injured people were being treated in a nearby hospital. He also said there were only 15 people on board the train at the time.

The crane driver was not harmed in the incident and has been detained by police for questioning.

The train was operated by Arriva, a subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Bahn. 

A company spokeswoman said the cause of the crash was not yet known.