A Guide to Starting a Business in the Netherlands

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Are you considering the Netherlands for your new business? If so, you need to be aware of the various government laws as well as other regulations that are necessary for successful and compliant operations. Thankfully, this guide will help you learn the essential steps in order to get a business registered in the Netherlands.

However, do note that this blog is a generic guideline, and based on your specific situation, you might have to do other things as well.

Starting a Business in the Netherlands:

Step 1 – Checking if you are fulfilling the ‘staying’ criteria:

If you are an entrepreneur who plans to stay in the country, you will have to fulfill several conditions. Non-EU citizens, for instance, must apply for permanent residence permits and temporary MVVs. If you think that your startup is an innovative one, you might be eligible for a ‘startup visa’.

To operate in the Netherlands, you must also have a bank account dedicated to your business transactions.

Step 2 –Preparing your business plan:

When establishing a company, you must never underestimate the importance of a business plan. This plan covers almost every vital aspect of your business, including:

Company formation
Business structure
Your goods or services
Target audience
Financing options
Demand for your chosen product or service

These matters must be considered before you start off with your business operations.

Step 3 – Exploring the various starting points:

You might be initiating an innovative business, using unemployment benefits for your startup, or creating a business as a minor or a student. Every one of these situations comes with different conditions, which means that you must learn about the conditions that apply to your particular situation.

Step 4 – Choosing a business structure:

Every new company owner needs to decide a structure on which they will be establishing their business. The various legal structures available in the Netherlands include:

Sole proprietorship
Private Limited Company
Public Limited Company

Remember that your chosen legal structure will decide the details of your tax and liability obligations.

Step 5 – Choosing a trading name for the company:

When you set up a business, you are also responsible for determining what it is going to be called – this name is also referred to as a ‘trade name’. Without a unique trade name, you will not be able to get your business registered through the DCR (Dutch Commercial Register) at KVK.

Step 6 – Registering with the DCR and DTA:

Like we mentioned, every new business must get itself registered with the DCR, present at the KVK (Chambers of Commerce).

After completing this registration aspect, your details will be forwarded to the Tax and Customs Administration of the Netherlands. Every limited company (private and public) are required to get registered through the country’s civil-law notary. This notary will handle the registration process at the DTA (Dutch Tax Administration) for you. Any company doing business in the Netherlands without being permanently established there will only need to get itself registered through the DTCA (Dutch Tax and Customs Administration).

Step 7 – Registering as employer for social security and payroll taxes:

This step is applicable to you if you plan to hire other people to work for your business. This registration will also take place through the DTCA.

Step 8 – Checking for any required professional qualifications:

In general, separate professional qualifications are not required for conducting business in the country. However, specific professions, such as accountancy or law, will require relevant professional qualifications.

Step 9 Consulting your business location’s zoning plan:

It is likely that you choose a specific location for your business, based on your target audience and competition. In such a case, you need to make sure that your chosen location is aligned with the zoning plan specified by the municipality. If you find otherwise, you will have to make an application for an ‘All-in-one Permit for Physical Aspects’. If this application is approved, you will be able to execute your business plans even if the location does not align with the specific zoning plan. Another alternative is requesting the municipality for a zoning plan change.

Step 10 – Understanding the environmental regulations:

If you start the kind of business that might impact the environment in any way or form, you will have to submit an environmental management notification to the local municipality. In some cases, you will have to make an application for the All-in-One Permit for Physical Aspects.

Step 11 – Implementing measures for fire safety:

If you are using a building or any other kind of property for your business, you will have to make sure that the business premises are protected against fire hazards. In pretty much every case, you will need to provide the local municipality with an occupancy notification. If you operate a business that has a higher-than-usual risk of fires, you will, once again, have to submit an All-in-One Permit for Physical Aspects application.

Step 12 – Reporting home businesses:

If you are considering operating from home, you will usually have to inform the local municipality about this. Also, you must be clear about the various mortgage and tax issues that could potentially arise.

Step 13 – Making an Application for an All-in-One Permit for Physical Aspects for any building activities:

If you wish to build, alter, or renovate the business premises, it will usually require an application for an All-in-One Permit for Physical Aspects. The local municipality will provide you with this permit if it approves your application.

Step 14 – Drawing up the ‘general terms and conditions’:

These conditions and terms specify the duties and rights pertaining to you as well as to your customers. While drawing these terms and conditions is not mandatory, you might find them useful. If you do draw them up, make sure that your customers are aware of them.

Step 15 – Creating a business account:

Since there are various expenses to bear before launching the business, you should not delay creating the accounts for your business. The Netherlands requires you to not only create and maintain accounts, but also to retain the accounts for a minimum of seven years.

Final Word:

Now that you have your comprehensive guide on starting a business in the Netherlands, there is nothing stopping you from putting your plan into action. If you want to learn more about business opportunities in the Netherlands, please feel free toreach out to us.




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