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Setting up a business in the Netherlands

23 October 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 05 July 2012

The Netherlands is a developed country with a solid financial structure. Dutch civil and fiscal legislation are based on European law. The country offers a wide range of possibilities for international entrepreneurs to set up a business.


Legal requirements

Legal forms

When starting up a business, the owner must choose which legal form it will take:

Legal forms

Overview of legal forms

Sole trader

Limited partnership

Partnership under common firm

The partnership

Under certain legal forms the business owner takes sole responsibility for the capital invested:

Private limited liability company



Business plans and evaluation

The business plan produced by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK) makes it easy for a new business idea to be turned into reality. What will the business do, who will be its customers, and how will it manage its money matters? The business plan demonstrates whether or not an idea is feasible. It can also be used as the basis for finance applications.

To succeed, a new business needs a sound commercial strategy and secure financing.

Access to finance — Netherlands

Some standard requirements to be completed when setting up a business are the same as when opening a branch.

Branches — Netherlands

Administrative procedures

KvK is the first port of call for entrepreneurs in the Netherlands. It provides step-by-step explanations of the necessary actions to be completed in order to do business in the country.

Chamber of Commerce (KvK)

Registering a company

Anyone (individuals or existing companies) wishing to start a business must sign up to the KvK trade register within one week of the start-up date.

Trade register

You must also choose a name for your business which needs to satisfy the requirements of the Dutch Company Name Act. This means you must choose a name that is unique in the sector and the region in which you are operating.

Choosing a business name

Company Name Act

Registering for tax

When starting up a new business you must also register it with the Tax Authority. This applies even if you are already registered as a business owner.

Registering with the Tax Authority

If you recruit staff, you must offer them a contract of employment and abide by its terms and conditions. This must also be communicated to the Tax Authority.

Employment contract

Conditions of employment

Registering staff with the Tax Authority


The website makes it easier for business owners to access the information provided by the Dutch government. The website shows all the various relevant dos and don'ts on issues such as licences and requirements, laws, regulations, taxes and subsidies.

Government information

Once you know the business location for your start-up, the kind of business you will be doing, your current income and other data, you can determine which subsidies you may be entitled to claim.

Subsidies and tax arrangements

EVD is the Dutch government's international business and cooperation agency. The EVD's website,, provides general information about the Dutch market.


The website of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists full contact details for foreign embassies and consulates in the Netherlands.

Embassies and consulates

Source: Your Europe

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