Starting a business in the Netherlands

business in the Netherlands
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Updated 2020-03-06 08:42

If you're thinking of moving to the Netherlands, one major thing you have to consider is how you generate income. Perhaps instead of answering to a boss, you want to be your own instead? Thankfully, it's relatively simple to start your own business in this country so you answer to no one but yourself. In this article, we will tell you what you need to successfully set up a business in the Netherlands.

Conditions for starting a business in the Netherlands

Obviously, you need to have valid residence in the country before you can think about setting up a business. If you're from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you can both live and work in the Netherlands without any extra paperwork. Thus, you can set up a business straight away.

However, if you're from a country other than those, you will need to go through the regular route of applying for a provisional residence permit (MVV) and/or a work permit (TWV). Of course, there are some exceptions; for example, if you're an American, you won't need an MVV.

Another exception is if you're moving here to create your own startup business. The government allows you to apply for a startup visa. This gives you a maximum of one year to get your business going.

You can also apply for a residence permit as a freelancer. However, this process is much more rigorous than the one for a startup visa, so we suggest you go that route instead.

Types of companies expats can create in the Netherlands

No matter what type of company you create, you will have to go to or deal with the KvK (Dutch Chamber of Commerce, or “Kamer van Koophandel”) at some point. They're in charge of registering your business legally.

 Good to know:

If you want to create a startup, you can get some financial help from the government through the Ambitious Entrepreneurship Action Plan.

Below are some of the businesses you can create in the Netherlands:

Unincorporated Businesses (Rechtvormen Zonder Rechtspersoonlijkheid)

  • One-person business: eenmanszaak
  • General partnership: vennootschap onder firma (VOF)
  • Professional partnership: maatschap
  • Limited partnership: commanditaire vennootschap (CV)

If you want to open any of the above businesses, you can go directly to the KvK and register your business there. You won't need a notary; you just need to fill out the registration form and make an appointment.

Incorporated Businesses (Rechtvormen Met Rechtspersoonlijkheid)

  • Private limited company (either Inc. or Ltd.): besloten vennootschap (BV)
  • Public limited company (either Corp. or Plc.): naamloze vennootschap (NV)
  • Cooperatives: cooperatie en onderlinge waarborgmaatschappij
  • Association: vereniging
  • Foundation: stichting

Setting up an incorporated business will be a little more complicated than an unincorporated one. First, you need a notary to draw up a contract. They also need to register your business at the KvK on your behalf.

Taxes in the Netherlands

In addition to registering your company with the KvK, you will also need to register with the tax office (Belastingdienst). At the end of every quarter, you will need to report the BTW you've paid and collected from your clients. Depending on what expenses you have to deduct, you may still owe the Belastingdienst money, or they may reimburse you a certain amount.

Where to get help 

If you're not sure what type of business you should set up, you can always make an appointment with the KvK. They will be more than happy to help you translate paperwork and assist in creating the type of business that's right for your desires.

Should you have any questions after creating your business, you can still turn to the KvK. If you hire an accountant, you can also refer to them, as they may include consultations in the monthly fees they charge you.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.