The Netherlands, with its strategic location at the heart of Europe, vibrant startup ecosystem, and favourable tax environment, has become an attractive destination for entrepreneurs from around the globe. If you’re a foreigner looking to start a business in the windmill-adorned landscapes of the Netherlands, this guide will navigate you through the essential steps and considerations.
Types of Companies in the Netherlands That Can Be Registered as a Foreigner
As a foreign entrepreneur, you have several options for company structures:
- Sole Proprietorship (Eenmanszaak): This is the simplest form of business and is owned and operated by one person. It is simpler to form and has no minimum capital requirements.
- Private Limited Company (BV – Besloten Vennootschap): A BV is a company with limited liability, separate from your assets. It is a common option for small and medium-sized companies.
- Public Limited Company (NV – Naamloze Vennootschap): An NV is typically for large businesses and can be listed on the stock exchange. A minimum share capital of €45,000 is needed.
- General Partnership (VOF – Vennootschap onder Firma): This type of business structure occurs when two or more people run a company together in compliance with the guidelines provided in a partnership agreement.
- Limited Partnership (CV – Commanditaire Vennootschap): A CV is similar to a VOF, but it has two types of partners: active and silent (limited) partners.
- Professional Partnership (Maatschap): This structure is for professions where the members (partners) work together, such as lawyers or doctors.
- Branch Office: Foreign companies can establish a branch office in the Netherlands, which is an extension of the parent corporation rather than a distinct legal organization.
- Subsidiary: It can be a BV, NV, or any other legal form. Unlike a branch, A subsidiary is an independent legal company where the parent corporation is usually the majority or sole shareholder.
Procedure to Start a Business in the Netherlands as a Foreigner
The step-by-step procedure to start your business:
- Choose the Appropriate Legal Structure: Decide which business structure suits your needs based on liability, tax, and financial requirements.
- Draft the Articles of Association: For BV and NV, it’s mandatory to have articles of association drawn up by a notary in the Netherlands.
- Enrol with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK): All legal entities and partnerships must be registered with the KvK.
- Registration with the Dutch Tax Office: You will obtain a VAT number necessary for tax purposes.
- Obtain the Required Licenses and Permits: Based on your industry, you may need specific permits related to health, safety, environment, etc.
- Open a Corporate Bank Account: A Dutch bank account is needed to handle transactions efficiently.
- Comply with Accounting Requirements: Maintain your accounts per Dutch standards and file annual financial statements if required.
Other Requirements When Starting a Business in the Netherlands as a Foreigner
- Residence Permit: If you’re not a citizen of the EU or EEA, you’ll need a residence permit. The Dutch “startup visa” is one option for startup entrepreneurs.
- Compliance with Dutch Labour Law: If you plan to hire staff, you must adhere to Dutch employment laws.
- Municipality Registration: Some businesses require registration with the local municipality.
- Knowledge of Dutch Business Practices: While not mandatory, understanding local business customs and learning the language can be beneficial.
- Consideration of the 30% Ruling: This can be a tax advantage for foreign entrepreneurs moving to the Netherlands, enabling them to get 30% of their income without paying taxes.
- Insurances: Assess the need for insurance, like expert indemnity insurance to safeguard your company.
- Environmental Regulations: Should your company’s operations affect the environment, you have to abide by Dutch environmental laws.
- Data Protection: Follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if your business involves processing personal data.
Starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner can be a promising endeavour with various possibilities and advantages. The Netherlands offers a favourable business climate, access to the European market, and a supportive infrastructure for entrepreneurs. While there are certain administrative and legal requirements to navigate, including obtaining the necessary permits and understanding Dutch tax regulations, these challenges can be overcome with careful planning and professional guidance.
If you’re considering establishing a business venture in the Netherlands and require expert guidance, OnDemand International is your go-to resource. With the experience and skills required to assist your business journey, our team of seasoned professionals is here to help. At OnDemand International, your business aspirations are our priority, and we are dedicated to helping you navigate the process confidently and easily.
Yes, foreigners can start a business in the Netherlands. The process is streamlined and the country is welcoming to international entrepreneurs.
You do not necessarily need to be a Dutch resident to start a business, but for non-EU/EEA citizens, obtaining a residence permit that allows you to work is necessary.
The most recent regulations state that there is no minimum capital needed to launch a business venture. However, you need to deposit a credible amount that aligns with the operations of your business.
Setting up a business can be relatively quick, often within a week if all paperwork is in order and you’re registering a simple business structure like a sole proprietorship.
Yes, it is possible to run a business in the Netherlands without speaking Dutch. Many Dutch people speak English fluently, and English is widely utilized in the corporate world. However, learning some basic Dutch can be beneficial for day-to-day interactions.