Open a Cafe in the Netherlands: Procedure & Costs

Want to open a cafe in the Netherlands? Discover the complete procedure, associated costs, regulations, and top locations to open a cafe in the Netherlands.


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    open a cafe in the netherlands

    Dreaming of opening a cafe in the heart of Europe? The Netherlands, with its rich cultural tapestry and thriving business environment, presents a golden opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs and investors. The Netherlands has a a vibrant coffee culture and is one of the highest per capita coffee consumption rates in the world. Dutch consumers appreciate quality coffee experiences, creating a market eager for unique concepts and delicious brews.

    If you are an entrepreneur who is looking to open a cafe in the Netherlands, then this article is for you. 

    This article is your comprehensive guide to navigating the exciting journey of establishing a cafe in the Netherlands, covering everything from top locations and profitability to regulations, licenses, and associated costs.

    Why Choose the Netherlands for Your Cafe Business?

    The Netherlands, known for its open-mindedness, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant cities, is a business haven. Its strategic location, well-connected infrastructure, and cosmopolitan population make it the perfect place for business owners hoping to open a profitable café.

    Top Locations to Open a Cafe in the Netherlands


    Both locals and visitors are drawn to this vibrant city because of its distinctive canals and varied neighborhoods. This vibrant local market and exposure to a worldwide audience are two benefits of opening a cafe here.


    This vibrant city has a youthful, diversified population in addition to its historic attractiveness. The city is a great place for a café because of its central location, which draws both locals and tourists.


    This vibrant port city with a burgeoning multinational population is well-known for its modern architecture and maritime heritage. This location offers access to an ideal clientele for café entrepreneurs.

    The Hague: 

    The Hague draws diplomats, foreigners, and an affluent local population as the political and administrative center of the nation. This city offers a mix of business and leisure customers at its cafes.

    How to Open a Cafe in the Netherlands?

    Step 1: Research and Planning

    Before diving in, thorough research is essential. Identify your target market, understand local preferences, and analyze competitors. A well-written business plan will act as your road map, guiding you through obstacles and enabling you to take advantage of possibilities.

    Step 2: Legal Structure and Business Registration

    It is crucial to choose the right legal framework. A private limited company (BV), partnership, or sole proprietorship are the most popular forms of business organization for foreign entrepreneurs. Get a unique Chamber of Commerce (KvK) number by enrolling your company with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel).

    Step 3: Acquire the Required Licenses and Permits

    To legally operate a cafe in the Netherlands, you’ll need specific permits and licenses. Depending on what you serve, they could include an alcohol license, a cleanliness certificate, and a food and beverage license. To prevent legal issues, make sure local regulations are followed.

    Step 4: Find a Suitable Location

    Choosing the right location is key to your cafe’s success. When choosing a location, take foot traffic, demographics, and competition into account. Ensure that your lease terms are favorable and create a welcoming environment that reflects the brand you represent.

    Step 5: Set Up a business bank account 

    Open a business bank account in the Netherlands to manage your finances efficiently. 

    Step 6: Marketing and Branding

    Invest in marketing to draw clients and raise awareness. Utilize social media, collaborate with influencers, and employ digital marketing strategies. Create a distinctive brand identity that appeals to the Dutch market.

    Regulations and Licenses Required to Open a Cafe in the Netherlands

    Successfully navigating the regulatory environment is crucial for a successful café establishment. The following are the principal licenses and rules that you should be aware of:

    • Food and Beverage License: To guarantee adherence to hygienic and safety regulations, obtain this license from the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
    • Alcohol License: If you want to serve alcoholic drinks, you need to have an alcohol license. The procedure calls for compliance with alcohol-related laws and authorization from the local government.
    • Health and Safety Regulations: Adhere to health and safety guidelines, including fire safety regulations, to ensure a secure environment for your customers and staff.
    • Environmental licenses: You may require environmental licenses based on the activity and size of your café. To find out the requirements, check with the local government.
    • Employment Regulations: Become knowledgeable about Dutch labor regulations and make sure your staff members are treated fairly. Maintain a secure workplace and pay the minimum wage as required.

    Costs Associated with Opening a Cafe in the Netherlands

    Understanding the financial aspects is crucial for a successful cafe launch. Here’s a breakdown of the main costs:

    • Business Registration Costs: The cost for registering a business in the Netherlands vary depending on the legal structure chosen, ranging from €50 to €400.
    • Location Costs: Rent can range from €1,500 to €5,000 per month, depending on the city and neighborhood. Add the expense of interior design and renovations.
    • Licenses and Permits: Budget for application fees and potential legal assistance, ranging from €500 to €2,000.
    • Equipment and Furnishings: Invest in high-quality coffee machines, furniture, and kitchen equipment. Budget at least €20,000 to €50,000.
    • Marketing and Branding: Allocate funds for a strong marketing campaign. Costs can vary, but a budget of €5,000 to €10,000 is a good starting point.
    • Operating Costs: Include expenses for staff salaries, utilities, supplies, and ongoing marketing efforts. Monthly operating costs can range from €5,000 to €15,000.


    Establishing a café in the Netherlands is a fulfilling endeavor that provides the ideal fusion of commercial prospects and cultural immersion. The Netherlands offers a variety of environments for your cafe fantasies to come true, from the energetic streets of Amsterdam to the charming historic district of Utrecht.

    To make your journey even smoother, consider enlisting the assistance of OnDemand International. With our expertise, you can set up your company in the Netherlands in just three weeks, allowing you to focus on what you do best—running your cafe.


    Yes, foreigners are allowed to set up a cafe in the Netherlands. However, they must adhere to certain legal requirements, secure the required authorization, and adhere to Dutch business regulations.

    Absolutely. The Dutch culture values quality coffee and a cosy atmosphere. The cafe culture is well-established, and with the right concept and marketing, a cafe in the Netherlands can be highly profitable. The country’s strong economy and the willingness of locals to embrace new trends make it an attractive market for cafe owners.

    Even though most people speak English, particularly in cities, knowing the basics of Dutch can help with daily tasks and communicating with the local government.