How to Start An Import and Export Business in the Netherlands in 2024-25

This article is about how to start an import and export business in the Netherlands. Read the Complete article to know more about the procedure and benefits.


    Note:This form is not for job seekers or salary employees. Thank you.

    Table of Contents

    Import and Export business in the Netherlands

    Starting an import and export business in the Netherlands can be a game-changer for aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned investors alike. The Netherlands is renowned for its strategic location, excellent business climate, and top-notch infrastructure, making it the ideal centre for global trade. In this article, we’ll explore the step-by-step process of setting up an import and export business in the Netherlands, the numerous advantages it offers, and the types of products you can import and export. 

    Procedure for Setting Up an Import and Export Business in the Netherlands

    The Netherlands is known for its straightforward and efficient process when it comes to starting a business. If you’re interested in launching your own import and export venture, here’s how to get started:

    1. Market Research 

    Before diving into the world of import and export, conduct thorough market research. Identify your target audience, potential competitors, and the demand for specific products. Gaining knowledge of the market will help you make wise choices and maximize your chances of success.

    2. Business Plan 

    Create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, your execution strategy, and your expected income. A carefully considered plan can not only direct your company but also win over lenders and investors.

    3. Legal Structure 

    Select the legal structure that is best for your company. The Netherlands offers various options, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, or a private limited company (BV). Every structure has benefits and drawbacks, so speak with an expert from OnDemand International to determine the best fit for your import and export business.

    4. Register Your Business 

    Enroll your business with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel or KvK). This step is crucial, as it allows you to obtain a Chamber of Commerce number (KvK-nummer) and access essential services.

    5. Obtain the Required Licenses

    Depending on the goods you intend to import and export, you could require particular licenses or permits. Research and apply for the required documentation to ensure compliance with Dutch regulations.

    6. Secure Financing 

    Determine your budget and source of funding. The Netherlands offers various financing options, including government grants, bank loans, and venture capital, to support your business.

    7. Find Suppliers and Buyers 

    Build trustworthy connections with foreign suppliers and buyers. Networking and attending trade shows can be excellent strategies to establish contact with possible partners.

    8. Set Up Logistics

    Ensure smooth transportation and logistics for your imported and exported products. The Netherlands boasts a top-notch infrastructure, including world-class ports and airports, making it a strategic choice for international trade.

    The Benefits of Starting an Import and Export Business in the Netherlands

    • Strategic Location: The Netherlands is often referred to as the “Gateway to Europe” due to its central location within the continent. This provides easy access to over 500 million consumers, making it an ideal base for international trade.
    • Advanced Infrastructure: The country’s well-developed transportation, logistics, and communication networks ensure seamless trade operations. The ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are among the busiest in Europe, allowing for efficient import and export processes.
    • International Trade Agreements: The Netherlands is a member of the European Union (EU) and has numerous trade agreements with countries worldwide. These agreements facilitate trade by reducing tariffs and trade barriers.
    • Highly Skilled Workforce: The Dutch labor force is known for its proficiency in English, making it easy for foreign entrepreneurs to conduct business. The Netherlands also has a well-educated and multilingual labor force.
    • Stable Political Environment: The country boasts a stable and business-friendly political environment, providing a sense of security for investors and entrepreneurs.
    • Innovative Business Ecosystem: The Netherlands is home to a thriving business ecosystem with a focus on innovation. Collaboration opportunities and access to research and development facilities can benefit your import and export business.

    Products for Import and Export in the Netherlands

    The diversity of products that can be imported and exported in the Netherlands is vast.

    Some of the popular choices include:

    • Agricultural Products: The Netherlands is a major exporter of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Dutch dairy products and meat are also extremely desirable in global marketplaces.
    • Electronics: Dutch companies excel in the electronics industry, producing semiconductors, integrated circuits, and telecommunications equipment.
    • Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals: The Netherlands is a hub for the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, with numerous companies producing pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and specialized materials.
    • Machinery and Equipment: Dutch producers provide a variety of machinery and equipment, including industrial machinery, automation solutions, and advanced manufacturing technology.
    • Renewable Energy: The Netherlands is a pioneer in renewable energy technologies, making it an attractive market for wind turbines, solar panels, and energy-efficient solutions.
    • Transportation Equipment: Dutch companies manufacture and export various transportation equipment, such as bicycles, ships, and aircraft parts.

    Why Start an Import and Export Business in the Netherlands?

    • Access to a Global Market: The Netherlands’ central location and excellent connectivity offer easy access to European and global markets, enabling you to reach a vast customer base.
    • Efficient Logistics: The country’s efficient logistics system, including state-of-the-art ports and transport infrastructure, streamlines the import and export process.
    • Stable Economy: The economy of the Netherlands is strong and stable, offering a safe environment for your company to prosper.
    • Business-Friendly Environment: The Dutch government encourages foreign investment and provides numerous incentives, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs.
    • Innovation and Technology: The Netherlands is known for its innovation, which can lead to valuable partnerships and collaborations.
    • Multilingual Workforce: The workforce’s proficiency in English simplifies communication with international partners.
    • Strong Legal Framework: The Netherlands has a well-established legal system that ensures the protection of your business interests.


    As you embark on your journey to start an import and export business in the Netherlands, having a reliable partner can make a significant difference. OnDemand International is a trusted consulting firm that specializes in assisting entrepreneurs and investors in establishing and expanding their businesses in the Netherlands. Our expert team provides comprehensive services, from market research and business planning to legal assistance and logistical support. With our guidance, you may confidently and effectively discuss the complexities of global trade.


    To start an import and export business in the Netherlands, you’ll need to register your business with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, obtain the necessary permits, and comply with EU trade regulations. OnDemand International can provide assistance throughout this process.

    The key benefits include access to major European trade routes, a business-friendly tax environment, and a supportive infrastructure for logistics and technology.

    The Netherlands has a diverse economy, with significant activities in agriculture, technology, chemicals, and machinery. It is also renowned for exporting flowers and dairy products.

    The Dutch government supports these businesses through trade agreements, providing a stable economic environment, and investing in infrastructure and innovation.