Opening a Business in the Netherlands – All You Need to Know

If you want to setup a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner or local, there are several steps that you need to follow. You must familiarize yourself with the Dutch market, understand rules for employers and file the right paperwork, to name but a few.

Read on for more information on the steps you need to take if you’re opening a business in the Netherlands.

Start with yourself

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Do you have the right skills and motivation to succeed? Are you willing to go all the way for it? If you answered yes to all three questions, then your chances of success are significantly higher than someone who is unsure of themselves.

That’s because entrepreneurship can be challenging, so it needs someone with grit, resolve and a willingness to learn and work hard.

Do your due diligence

Do your research to find out if there’s a market for your idea. Take a close look at the competition and figure out who your potential clients are. At this stage, you should determine if your business idea will need financing or if you have enough startup capital.

If that’s all taken care of, the only thing that remains is to register your business with the Chamber of Commerce and you’re ready to go!

Legal forms of business available

 If you want to start your business as a self-employed person, there are different types of legal structures that you can choose from.

You can register your business as a sole proprietor or a general partnership. The alternative would be to register as a legal entity, also known as a Private Limited Company.

The differences between a sole proprietorship, partnership and private limited company

A sole proprietor and general partnership are free to establish, there’s no capital required and the founder/s assume 100% personal liability. The only difference between the two is that a sole proprietorship is governed by a single owner, whereas a partnership is governed by two or more registered partners.

Lastly, you have a Private Limited Company, which can only be registered by a notary and comes with a minimum capital requirement of €0, 01. This type of company is governed by a board of directors who only assume personal liability in cases of proven negligence.

The legal form that suits you best depends on the work that you do. Generally, a startup business with a low-profit expectation might benefit more from a sole proprietorship.

What’s the right moment to register a business?

Typically, the best time to register your business is when you have turnover and clients coming in. The point is to not register too soon, because registering a business comes with taxes and paperwork, which can be very overwhelming if you haven’t started making money yet.

Choosing a trade name

When coming up with a trade name, it’s important to make sure that it’s unique. You cannot use a trade name that someone else is already using, and it mustn’t be misleading in any way. It must be easy to pronounce and have an international feel, especially if your intention is to trade globally.

Your trade name must also communicate the value that you bring to the market. For instance, if you want to improve convenience in your industry, then you might include words like “quick” or “fast” in the name, if applicable.

Keep in mind that the legal name that you register the business with can be different from the brand name. This gives you more flexibility.

Permits and qualifications

Part of what makes the Netherlands so accessible as a business destination is the fact that you don’t need any special qualifications or permits to register a business. But, there are specific industries in which you need permits, such as in transport or in the food industry. 

Get help whenever you need it

For the best results, it’s recommended to hire a good lawyer and accountant to help you with the administrative side of starting a business. They’ll make sure that you meet all the legal requirements and have the right insurance, etc.

Starting a business requires a number of steps and key decisions. Once you’ve decided on your business’ legal structure, you can register your enterprise at the local Chamber of Commerce. Whether you offer services or products, you will do so at your own risk, expense and with full responsibility towards third parties. Therefore, preparing well is the best way to start.

WE SAID THIS: Do you have what it takes?