How to register your business in the Netherlands

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So you’re not a job person, right? You always wanted to run your own business? If you’re already doing one in your native country and planning to move to the international platform, which country will be your first preference? What do you think about a registered business in Netherlands? We have heard that the market price and consumer rate is growing rapidly there, so it would be a great opportunity to expand your business there. Do you know about the steps we need to take while establishing a business in foreign countries, specifically the Netherlands?  If not, let’s find out in this article!

The very first thing you should acknowledge when expanding business internationally is to know about the market rate and environment of the country you choose. Let’s take a quick overview of the market of the Netherlands first!

Market Environment

In terms of economy, Netherlands is the sixth-largest economic power in the Eurozone and the fifth-largest exporter of goods. Its market value always provides opportunities to starters and entrepreneurs who like to establish their own companies. The country holds an open trade system that is getting diverse from time to time. The Dutch economy was increasing steadily but since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, the GDP of the Netherlands faced a decline of 8.5% in 2020. According to the recent January 2021 update of the World Economic Outlook, the IMF has declared the GDP of the Netherlands to 3% in 2021 and 2.9% in 2022. This country presents a very high income per capita which is equally broken down relatively therefore many people want to open their business companies there.

register business netherlands
netherlands tax

Why registration is important?

Whether you are a native or an international citizen, everyone in Netherlands is required to register at his home address. If you’re planning a startup there, you will need to register your business address also in the most cost-effective and least time-consuming way possible. Now, one might ask that ‘why do we need to register our business as well?’ It is because:

  • You will only have the authority to stay and work in the Netherlands after registration.
  • Depending upon the type of economic activities you perform, you may need certain permits and licenses.
  • Companies register helps in recording and updating information on new and existing companies in its jurisdiction.
  • The registry of a business provides benefits if we operate it on a one-stop-shop, online platform, or comprehensive electronic database.
  • Registration of your business promotes consumer protection in “high risk” industries like pharmaceutical and food businesses require permits that the food they provide is healthy.

Steps how to register your business in the Netherlands

Establishing your business in the Netherlands may require you to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK), Commercial Register, and the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. There can be several rules and regulations as well set up by the government to ensure your safe business startup. If you want to start a business with your colleagues and entrepreneurs, a general partnership would be the best option for you. This limited partnership will help you in providing your services more efficiently. UBO is the natural person which owns or controls an entity but it is not a legal entity.

To have your Dutch Companies recognized, you will need to contact the competent authorities under your profession list to help you. Many times, foreign entrepreneurs choose the private company and limited company of Dutch version because it seems feasible to them. But apart from the limited company, you can have several other options as well. But in the case of a limited company, you will also have to file your annual account with the business register. Overall, the step by step procedure of registering the foreign companies includes:

Checking the conditions

Entrepreneurs who intend to stay in the Netherlands to operate Dutch businesses must fulfill several conditions. If you are not a European citizen, you will need to apply for a temporary (MVV) and permanent residence permit. But if you have an innovative startup, you will require an innovative visa. You will also require an IBAN to create your bank account in the Netherlands. For such a purpose, Dutch Banking Association will help you in determining if you are eligible to register yourself or not. Before registering, make sure to find business premises.

Writing a Business plan

This step is not obligatory but it helps to an extent. In a business plan, you list out your plans and think about the company formation and its legal structure. Which products will you sell and who will be your clients? What will be the location of your office? How will you find a financial budget for your business? Determine your business opportunities in the Dutch market? You will answer all these questions in your business plan.

netherlands company register
how to register business netherlands

Selecting a legal form for your business

Once you are done with the business plan and condition, the next thing Dutch companies require is a legal form. The business selects the legal form for the organization. It is important because it determines the liability for your business debt and tax obligations from tax authorities. The investors can submit the contact form to the local authorities after obtaining the tax number. You will also need to pay the payroll taxes in some cases. It can be a bit complicated for you but this procedure includes all the professional services which will help you out in the formation of foreign companies. The acceptance of your legal form may take some time because it gives access to a whole organization to operate.

Appointment at KVK

After the acceptance of your legal form, you have become an organization with full legal capacity; you will need to schedule your appointment at the KVK branch. When you get the date and time for your appointment make sure to bring the following documents:

  • Your accepted legal form
  • A payment (usually 50 euros)
  • Valid permit or license
  • Your business details and address

Once you finalize your registration, you will be given a unique business number, known as the KVK number which you will use on all the invoices and outgoing posts for your new business. It can also take some time therefore you need to the patient throughout this process.

Business taxes

The new business entities also need to pay the taxes to Dutch Tax Office to work efficiently. There are several types of taxes that are imposed on startups and organizations including income tax, BTW, Payroll tax, and Cooperation tax. BTW is compulsory to pay for all the entities including organizations and startup companies whereas income tax is imposed only on businesses. It is a little difficult at the start to set up your income tax because the revenue seems pretty low in the beginning but then things get solved with time. Business insurance is very important for public companies as well as for shipping companies.

Dutch Business Structures & Benefits

In the context of the Dutch government’s regulations, the legal structure of a business significantly influences its operations, including the choice of a business bank and the scope of business activities. A sole proprietor, known as ‘eenmanszaak’ in Dutch, represents a simple form of business where the legal entity is not distinct from the individual owner, making it suitable for small-scale business operations. On the other hand, a ‘besloten vennootschap’ (BV), equivalent to a limited liability company, offers a more complex legal structure, providing separation between the owners’ personal assets and the company’s liabilities.

This distinction is crucial for businesses engaging in a broader range of activities, as it limits the financial risk to the invested capital. Choosing the appropriate type of business entity is a critical decision for entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, as it affects legal responsibilities, tax obligations, and the ability to grow and diversify business activities within the regulatory framework established by the Dutch government.

The Dutch business landscape offers attractive tax benefits and a favorable environment for foreign investors and international companies looking to establish or expand their operations. Notably, the Netherlands provides various incentives, including competitive corporate income tax rates and tax treaties to avoid double taxation, making it an appealing destination for business owners worldwide.

Additionally, the requirement for minimum share capital is relatively low compared to other countries, which, coupled with reasonable start-up costs, facilitates the entry of new businesses into the market. Foreign investors are also encouraged to open accounts with a corporate bank to streamline financial transactions and benefit from the robust financial services ecosystem in the Netherlands.

These financial advantages, combined with the country’s strategic location and open economy, position the Netherlands as an ideal hub for international business activities, attracting a diverse array of companies seeking to capitalize on the opportunities within the European market.

Dutch Startup Visa & Business Guide

The Netherlands offers a unique “startup visa” program designed to attract innovative entrepreneurs from around the globe. To navigate the process successfully, engaging with a Dutch notary becomes essential, especially when formalizing crucial documents such as employment contracts or rental agreements for a Dutch address. This government-endorsed program not only simplifies the entry and establishment of foreign startups but also provides access to various incentives, such as potential tax breaks and exemptions from value-added tax (VAT) under specific conditions.

Furthermore, joining a mutual insurance society can offer additional financial benefits and security for employees. The combination of these advantages, supported by a welcoming government body dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, makes the Netherlands an attractive destination for startup founders seeking a supportive environment to launch and grow their businesses. Through these measures, the Dutch government aims to stimulate economic growth and position the country as a leading hub for international startups.

In the Dutch business environment, opening a Dutch bank account is one of the first steps an independent entrepreneur must take to segregate personal assets from business assets effectively. This clear distinction is crucial, not only for financial management but also to meet the legal requirements set forth by the Netherlands for businesses operating within its jurisdiction. Furthermore, understanding the corporate tax rate is essential for financial planning and compliance.

Entrepreneurs should also familiarize themselves with the obligations related to securing a business premise lease, which involves navigating the specific regulations that govern commercial properties in the Netherlands. For non-EU entrepreneurs, acquiring a provisional residence permit is a necessary step towards establishing their business presence in the country. The Dutch business landscape offers numerous opportunities, but it demands a careful approach to legal and regulatory compliance, emphasizing the protection of assets and adherence to tax laws to ensure a smooth and successful business operation.


For foreign entities, if plan to expand business in the Dutch government, the first procedure is a company registration process. Different unincorporated business structures perform different business activities and therefore they have different registration processes. International entrepreneurs should follow the above given step-by-step procedure to expand their business.  After the complete registration process, the company follows income tax purposes. Cooperating with professional partnerships can make the organization work more efficiently. If the entrepreneurs plan to stay in the Netherlands, it is recommended that they should apply Visa for entrepreneurs. A company can develop new strategies for its growing market through the meeting of shareholders and the board of directors. It should engage with efficient business partners to grow more and more.

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If we can help you with any questions, please feel free to contact us

Frequently Asked Questions

The Dutch Startup Visa is a special visa program designed by the Netherlands to attract innovative entrepreneurs from outside the EU. It offers them the opportunity to start a business within the Dutch ecosystem, providing a pathway to residency in the Netherlands for entrepreneurs who meet certain innovation, viability, and financial investment criteria.

Non-EU/EEA entrepreneurs who have an innovative business idea and plan to set up their startup in the Netherlands can apply. Applicants must collaborate with a recognized Dutch facilitator (mentor), have sufficient financial means to reside and work in the Netherlands, and meet other specific requirements outlined by the Dutch immigration authorities.

Entrepreneurs receive a one-year residency permit to develop their startup, with the possibility of extending their stay by switching to a standard self-employed visa. They gain access to the Dutch startup ecosystem, including mentoring, networking opportunities, and potential tax benefits. This visa also simplifies the process of bringing family members to the Netherlands.

The application process involves several steps, including developing an innovative business plan, securing an agreement with a recognized Dutch facilitator, proving sufficient financial means, and submitting an application to the Netherlands’ immigration department (IND). Detailed guidance and forms are available on the official IND website.

The Dutch Startup Visa program does not target specific business sectors. It is open to innovative entrepreneurs across all industries. However, the key is that the business idea must be genuinely innovative to the Dutch market, with potential for growth and job creation.


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