How to start your own business in the Netherlands ?

Netherlands is becoming increasingly active in the area of entrepreneurship. If you want to build your own business, be your own boss and start your own company, then it is certainly a good time to start your business in Netherlands! But why is that?

start a business in netherlands
start a business in netherlands
  • It has one of the lowest tax rates in Europe (from 20%).
  • There is no value added tax (VAT) for transactions between member states of the EU.
  • Companies have an amazing and well-known reputation in global e-commerce.
  • English is spoken by more than 90% of the people and often have another foreign language.
  • Netherlands offer an incredibly business atmosphere.
  • Netherlands is welcoming to foreign entrepreneurs and investors.

So, if you are interested, here are some of the administrative steps that have to be followed:

1. Do I need to obtain a VISA to live and start a business in Netherlands ? 

Any person from any country can start a business. Due to the EU (European Union) law, citizens from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are allowed to work in the Netherlands without a special residency. 

However, the procedure change if you are a Non-EU citizen. In that case, and depending on your project, you can look for a start-up permit or a self-employed permit.

business in Netherlands - what do you need to get a VISA?

2. Which permit should I apply to?

To be able to apply for one of the permits, there are some criteria that you have to meet:

The start up Visa

It’s a visa that lasts one year and is reserved to international entrepreneurs who want to create their own business. You have to prove that you have enough financial resources to sustain yourself for that year and also that your business is innovative.

The self-employed residence permit

If you are thinking to move for an indefinite period of time, this is the Visa you have to apply for. However, you need to fulfill some requirements like a solid business plan, a certified financial information and good financial prospects from third parties. This application is a points-based system and you need a minimum of 90 points to accomplish it.

For more information, you can read the government’s informations about visas.

3. What kind of the Legal business forms do they have?

Here are the various types of legal business structures you need to know to start your business in Netherlands. There exist two types of business figures: the unincorporated structures and incorporated structures. But there is only one difference between them. The first one has to provide privately accountable for any debts created with the business, meanwhile the incorporated business provides it separately. That’s why the majority of entrepreneurs decide to choose a private limited company.

Unincorporated business structures:

  • Sole trader (Individual Business Owner)
  • Partnership
  • Limited partnership
  • General Partnership

Incorporated business structures:

  • Private limited company
  • Public limited company
  • Cooperative
  • Foundation
  • Association

The choice of the legal forms depends on the type of business you choose. For example, freelancers and small business owners usually choose the Sole Proprietorship structure, while the most used form for big businesses is a Limited Liability Company.

4. Is there any registration do I need to fulfill to start a business in Netherlands ? – Yes, discover the KvK!

When you identified the kind of business you want to start, it’s needed to register it with the KvK (Kamer van Koophandel) or Dutch Chamber of Commerce to enter in the Dutch Trade Register. Also, your business should be registered with your local municipality. Remember to do it one week before you start your business and if you choose to close it, it should be within one week after. 

First of all, make sure you already define the name of your business and make up good description about what you are going to run. You can find a clue of some names on the Kvk search page.

How does the registration work ? 

  1. Register on KVK web page. Complete all the legal information in English and Dutch. Be sure to share some information about your business and activities. 
  2. Then you should arrange an appointment to visit your local KvK on the “appointment page”
  3. For you appointment make sure you bring:
  • Complete form 
  • Payment (approx 50€)
  • ID (passport, residency or Dutch driving licence)
  • Contact details (include address, rental contract of the business)

After this process, you will receive a business number, known as the KvK number, to use it in your invoices and all the legal documents for your business. 

You are now ready to start your business in Netherlands ! And don’t forget to learn about business culture in Netherlands… 🙂