How to open a company in the Netherlands
To open a company in the Netherlands may require some extra effort if you are not a native and you don’t know the language. This, of course, should not be a barrier to expanding your opportunities for opening a company in Holland. Our firm offers you the assistance necessary to open and maintain a business.
We have assisted many foreigners to successfully complete the procedure for opening a company in Holland. We make sure the company formation is performed in compliance with the local rules. Where possible we assist and try to receive relevant subsidies and permits.
Are you unsure about the legal form that best suits your company? If you want to open a company in the Netherlands, we can assist you by clarifying the due liabilities and taxes charged for different entities.
Open a Dutch company as a foreigner
The Netherlands is open to entrepreneurs from around the world starting a business as a foreign person. For hundreds of years, the wellbeing of our country has depended on international business. This is why, besides speaking in Dutch, all local residents are proficient users of the English language.
You are not obliged to come to the visit the country for the purpose of starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner. The procedure is surprisingly simple.
You only have to complete a short checklist, send us a copy of your personal identification document and evidence of your permanent address. We will deal with all other details required to open your company in the Netherlands as a foreign person.
Additionally, we provide the following services related to opening a Dutch company as a foreigner:
- Open a bank account for the company (remotely)
- Obtaining a value-added tax number
- Secretarial services
- Accounting services
- Taxation services
Why choose the Netherlands?
Independent enterprises represent the core of the country’s economy: numerous owners of small/medium companies, called ‘Midden en Klein bedrijf’ (MKB-ers) opt for opening a company in the Netherlands.
In the EU and international institutions, e.g. the UN, WTO and the World Bank, such businesses are categorized as ‘Small and Medium Enterprises/Businesses’ (SME / SMB). The term is most commonly abbreviated as SME. These businesses are easy to open in Holland.
The Netherlands values the economic contribution of entrepreneurs and supports business owners in opening a company in The Netherlands. In 1996 the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (Ministerie van Economische Zaken) took steps to aid SMEs in entering the market of export. The country offers favorable conditions for smaller companies. Please, check out our website and feel free to contact us for further details.
What type of company should I form in the Netherlands?
Most foreign entrepreneurs start a Dutch BV in the Netherlands. The reason for this is that the Dutch BV does not require you to be resident in the Netherlands to establish the company. And the Dutch BV is limited, so in case of bankruptcy of the company, you do not have personal liability.
The company types in the Netherlands consist of:
- Private Limited company – Dutch BV (Ltd or Inc)
- Public Limited company – Dutch BV (plc or Corp)
- Foundations (Stichting)
- Private company as self employed individual (Eenmanszaak)
- Private partnerships
- Cooperation and association
Find here a more detailed overview of all the Dutch company types.
Business registration KvK (Chamber of Commerce)
All companies formed in the Netherlands need to be registered in the Company Register. With a Dutch BV the procedure is as followed;
- You prepare the relevant documentation to send to your incorporation agent
- Your incorporation agent will verify the documents and check the availability of the company name
- Your incorporation agent will send the documents to a specialized public notary
- The public notary incorporates your Dutch BV
- The public notary publishes the deeds to the Chamber of Commerce
- Your company will have a KvK-number and can be found in the trade register
- You or your incorporation agent will apply for a Dutch business bank account
- You pay the share capital to the company account
- The company is now fully formed, and your accountant or incorporation agent may apply for a VAT number
Company tax in the Netherlands
It is always recommended for your firm be registered with the Dutch Tax authority. The Netherlands has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe at a base rate of 20% (until EUR 200.000 profit, and 25% in the higher rate). The tax rate is set to decrease further in the coming years.
You may also deduct costs related to your work, such as transport, office, accounting, marketing, sales, staff… etc. The corporate tax only needs to be paid on the profit. So the amount that is left after the turnover minus the cost.
Imagine a company with the following result in a year.
EUR 100.000 turnover in a year
EUR – 90.000 costs
EUR 10.000 profit, on this profit 20% corporate tax needs to be paid
Total corporate tax: EUR 2.000 (20% of 10.000)
Most businesses will have to charge VAT (value-added tax) on all services or products they sell in the Netherlands. The businesses are collecting this 21% on top of their sale prices and will be paid to the tax office quarterly. The VAT is not a cost for business owners, only for consumers. The business owners only collect the tax.
You may claim back VAT that you have paid for your company investments and cost.
The main VAT rate is 21%, the lower vat rate will be 9% from 1 January 2019. And for certain services, a 0% VAT rate applies. For import and export, or transactions between EU countries, a 0% reverse charge applies.
How does the VAT system work?
When you invoice your clients for services or products, you need to add 21% vat on top of the fee. The additional amount needs to be reserved by you as you are quarterly required to pay this VAT to the tax office.
- Your accountant will calculate the VAT every quarter and you will transfer the VAT amount you have gathered.
- You may deduct the VAT that you have already paid when you buy services, pay rent or buy equipment for your business
- You must submit and pay the quarterly VAT on time
A company with staff needs to deduct payroll tax from the wages of the employees. The employer keeps these funds separately and sends it to the tax authorities every month.
In the Netherlands, you may keep your accounting on paper or digitally. The records need to be kept for 5 to 7 years. Your financial accounting includes
- Invoices you have sent
- Invoices you have received
- Bank statements
- Agreements and contracts
- Receipts of small expenses
Your accountant will process these transactions and prepare your quarterly tax filings, your annual company income tax, and your annual report.
The annual report will be sent by the accountant to the Chamber of Commerce, where the numbers will be published in the company register.
Work permit & Visa
To start a company in the Netherlands, you do not need a local residency. However, if you would like to work in the Netherlands you will need a valid work visa. All citizens from Europe and the greater European area are allowed to live and work in the Netherlands. There are no borders between the European Schengen countries.
If you are from outside of the EU or EEA, then you need to apply for a residence permit or perhaps a work permit.
There is a special visa program in the Netherlands for self-employed persons. This visa application has a point system in which a minimum number of points is needed to obtain the residency.
Most important criteria for the self-employed visa are
- A high education (Bachelor level or higher) for either the main applicant or his / her life partner.
- Experience of either main applicant or his / her life partner (Entrepreneurship, work experience)
- The company needs to be in the interest of the Netherlands.
- You have an active Dutch BV company
- You will earn sufficient income
- A very thorough business plan. A specialized business plan writer could assist you with the business plan.Turkish citizens or long terms residents of another European country have a simplified procedure, they do not need to score on the point system.
Special rules apply for Americans and Japanese citizens who have signed friendship treaties with the Netherlands.
The IND fees for the application are around €1300. This does not include the legal fees and the fees for writing the business plan.
The economy of the Netherlands
The Netherlands has a very long history as a trading nation and a very stable economy. The main industry in the Netherlands is the food industry. The Netherlands also has a big financial industry, import- and export, logistics, oil- and gas as well as engineering, electrical machinery, and chemical industry.
Many foreign traders have opened a company in the Netherlands in the last decades, which has contributed to economic growth. Many of the foreign traders are trading or manufacturing businesses.
The Netherlands has been awarded the 3rd place as ‘’Best country for business 2018’’ Index of Forbes. A high personal freedom, focus on innovation, clear legislation and lack of corruption contribute to the success. The Netherlands is one of the founding members of the European Union and the main currency is Euro.
The Rotterdam harbour is considered the gateway to Europe, as most of the international maritime trade between Europe and other major harbours passes through Rotterdam. The trading mentality of the Dutch means they are excellent in the English language. And you could easily run a business without speaking a single word of the Dutch language. This positions the Netherlands as an excellent jurisdiction for the European markets.
Frequently asked questions on Opening a Dutch company
- Can I as a foreigner start a company in the Netherlands?
Yes, foreign nationals can register a company in the Netherlands.
- Is it necessary for the company to be based in the Netherlands?
Yes, a Dutch company must have an official registration address in the Netherlands. However, you can open a Dutch company as a subsidiary of a foreign holding.
- What company type will I need?
90% of all foreign businessmen start a Dutch BV in the Netherlands. This is in almost all cases the best company type.
- What amount of capital do I need to put in the company?
The minimum share capital is €1 (100 shares of €0,01). This is a common amount for the share capital of a BV.
- In the past, I believe the share capital of a Dutch BV was €18.000?
That is correct, the Netherlands changed this requirement in 2012 to make it more easy for foreign entrepreneurs to open a company in the Netherlands
Why use ICS for incorporating a Dutch company?
Operating since 2013, our company has helped hundreds of clients from 30+ countries to set up their businesses in the Netherlands. Our clients range from small business owners opening their first company, to multinationals opening a subsidiary in the Netherlands.
- Free initial consultation
- We have incorporated and assisted 100’s of companies
- We provide all services you need to start in the Netherlands, from company formation to bank account opening, secretarial services, vat application, and accounting
- We take care of the whole procedure from beginning to end, you do not have to worry about the incorporation
- We have the local know-how and skills
Associations and memberships
We are constantly improving our standards of quality to deliver impeccable services.
Our service: we help you open a company in the Netherlands
We offer good package deals depending on your needs. We can complete the set-up procedure for your company in just five business days.
Our clients come from all over the world. We can also assist you in starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreign person. Contact us and we will advise you regarding the most convenient way to incorporate a Dutch BV or start another type of business. This consultation is free of charge. After that, we will agree upon a price upfront, which we will charge to you after we start working on the formation of your company.