Have A Question? Call An Expert

Intercompany Solutions: Starting a business in the Netherlands

Operating since 2017, our company has assisted more than 2000 clients from 50+ countries to set up their businesses in the Netherlands. Our clients range from small business owners opening their first company, to multinationals establishing a subsidiary in the Netherlands.
Talk to an expert

Why Choose To Start A Dutch Business?

The Netherlands is a country that offers many benefits to (foreign) entrepreneurs and investors. Within several industries, the Dutch have proven to take on a leadership position, by continually coming up with innovative and efficient solutions. These key industries include (but are most certainly not limited to):
Information & Technology
High Tech Sector
Trade and logistics
Health Sector
Green and sustainable energy
Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals
Creative Sector & Arts
The Netherlands is ranked as the 4th most innovative and competitive country in the world by the World Economic Forum, and also as the 4th best country in the world for business by Forbes Magazine. The fact that the Netherlands is part of the EU obviously plays a large role in these listings, since this has enabled the Dutch to build outstanding connections with most countries abroad. Due to the European Single Market, you can freely import and export goods and services throughout the entire EU. Next to that, the location of the Netherlands has proven to be a huge advantage for various logistical reasons. Both Schiphol and the port in Rotterdam are two of the most prominent logistical gateways for goods entering and exiting Europe. Starting a business in the Netherlands means you have both options within a short driving distance of your company.

Why work with Intercompany Solutions?

Our experience with international entrepreneurs has allowed us to perfectly adjust our processes in order to ensure the successful and rapid establishment of your Dutch company. Customer satisfaction is guaranteed for all the services we offer.

Our Scope Of Expertise:

  • Starting a Dutch business: the complete package
  • Assistance with local regulations
  • Application for an EORI or VAT number
  • Accounting and other financial assistance
  • Application for a company bank account
  • Secretarial support: premium package

Associations And Memberships :

We are constantly improving our quality standards to continually deliver impeccable services.


Intercompany Solutions CEO Bjorn Wagemakers and client Brian Mckenzie are featured in a report for The National (CBC News) ‘Dutch Economy Braces for the Worst with Brexit" during a visit to our notary public on February 12, 2019.

We perfect our quality standards to deliver services of the highest degree.

Learn more
YouTube video

Featured In

Intercompany Solutions is a well known brand in the Netherlands and abroad as a trusted incorporating agent in the Netherlands. We are constantly looking for opportunities to share our solutions with foreign entrepreneurs.
starting business The Netherlandsstarting a company in the netherlands

The Benefits Of Starting A Business In Netherlands

The Netherlands is known worldwide for its beneficial environment for entrepreneurs. Many global investors and entrepreneurs consider starting a business in the Netherlands. In this guide, we explore the Netherlands as a jurisdiction to start a company. Here are some of the benefits of establishing a business in Holland:

  • A corporate tax rate of 19%, which is among the lowest in Europe
  • No value added tax (VAT) for transactions between member states of the EU
  • Forbes rated the Netherlands as the 4th best country in the world for businesses
  • The Netherlands has recently attracted many businesses and multinationals from the UK regarding Brexit
  • The #1 country worldwide for double tax avoidance treaties
  • The Netherlands is among the founding members of the EU
  • Local companies have a great reputation in global commerce. The Netherlands has a big advantage in representation
  • A staggering 93% of the entire Dutch population speaks English, and many are proficient in German and French as well. The Dutch are ranked number one worldwide when it comes to English proficiency, with English being a second language
  • Highly educated labor force (3rd in the global top regarding education level)
  • Outstanding international business atmosphere
  • Holland is 4th in the global report of the WEF and first in the European top 10 for most innovative and competitive economies
  • According to a recent investigation by G. Thorton, starting a business in the Netherlands is one of the best choices for foreign investors
  • The country welcomes foreign entrepreneurs and investors, from small enterprises to multinational companies included in the Fortune 500 list
  • The Netherlands attracts international companies from all sectors with its stable legislation and politics, coupled with excellent international relations

These are just some notable factors that contribute to the Netherlands being a profound hub for foreign entrepreneurs, investors and multinationals. Nonetheless, small and unique foreign companies are very welcome as well. If you have an original business idea or plan, your chances of success are quite substantial in the Netherlands.

Procedures To Follow To Gain Dutch Citizenship

In some cases, foreign entrepreneurs also wish to immigrate to the Netherlands when they establish a Dutch company. Moving to the Netherlands has many benefits, such as being physically able to be present at the company’s location, enjoying the many benefits of living in the Netherlands, and living in one of the EU Member States. However, keep in mind that you might have to apply for (temporary) citizenship. When you wish to live in the Netherlands, the exact procedure you need to follow depends on your current citizenship. Roughly, there are two categories: EU, EEA and Swiss citizens versus non-EU citizens.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

In general, all of the above-mentioned natural persons enjoy exactly the same benefits as Dutch citizens due to the equality of all citizens within the EU & EEA. This means you will not have to obtain a residence permit to live in the Netherlands. On arrival in Holland, you can obtain a BSN number (which is a personal registration number) from your local municipality. This number serves as a tax and social security number.

Non-EU citizens

If you are from a different country than the ones mentioned above, you will be required to follow certain procedures according to Dutch immigration regulations. This means you will either be required to obtain a residence permit. Which one you need depends on your exact goals and aspirations.

Which Visa-Permit Do You Need To Live In The Netherlands?

If you want to obtain a permit to live in the Netherlands, you must meet certain conditions as set by the Dutch Immigration Authorities (IND). Furthermore, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) will score the application based on the activities of the future company as well as the ambitions of the applicant. This score is based on the added value of your potential business in the Netherlands, your past experience and the quality of the business plan in general.

Start-up permit:

If you want a residence permit under the program of ”innovative startups”, you need to find yourself a so-called facilitator. This mentor figure needs to meet certain criteria, such as previous experience in guiding start-ups and registration in the Trade Register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. He or she can help and advise you about management, research, marketing and communication, and investment acquisition. Also, the RVO requires that your business be innovative, that you have a plan regarding how your idea can be developed into a business, and that you have sufficient financial resources to be able to live in the Netherlands for a period of one year. This ensures that your business provides the necessary added value for the country.

Self-employed permit:

This visa is widely used by applicants who want to start or continue their own business in the Netherlands. One of the things you will need to prove is that your business activities will somehow benefit the Dutch business market. You will need to prove this in your business plan and by showing financial prospects offered by third parties. The financial information you provide must be examined by a certified accountant or financial advisor. The application for this permit is point-based, meaning you need to earn a certain minimum number of points in order to be eligible. Only Japanese and United States citizens are exempt from this system and able to follow a simplified procedure. Please note that you can start a Dutch company at any time, since you do not need a permit to be able to do so. The permit is only for people who wish to physically live in the Netherlands, so if you only want to establish a Dutch branch office or subsidiary, you will not need such permits. Intercompany Solutions can help you set up your company and introduce you to an immigration lawyer.
YouTube video

Starting a company in the Netherlands: all available Dutch legal entities

When you establish a business, you always have to pick a specific legal entity that fits your preferences and ambitions. In the Netherlands, you can choose from a wide variety of legal business entities. There is a significant distinction between unincorporated business structures (‘rechtsvormen zonder rechtspersoonlijkheid’) and incorporated business structures (‘rechtsvormen met rechtspersoonlijkheid’). The main difference between these two is that there is no distinction between your private and business assets in an unincorporated business. So if you create debts with your business, you can personally be held accountable. If you choose an incorporated business, you separate private and business assets and thus enjoy protection from business debts in most cases.

There are four types of unincorporated business structures:

  • Sole proprietorship (Eenmanszaak or ZZP)
  • Limited partnership (Commanditaire vennootschap or CV)
  • General partnership (Vennootschap onder firma or VOF)
  • Professional partnership (Maatschap)

There are six types of incorporated business structures:

  • Private limited company (Besloten vennootschap or BV)
  • Public limited company (Naamloze vennootschap or NV)
  • Cooperative (Coöperatie)
  • Mutual insurance society (Onderlinge waarborgmaatschappij)
  • Foundation (Stichting)
  • Association (Vereniging)

Legal requirements differ between the business structures, and there are also quite extensive differences in general requirements for establishment, the way you pay taxes, and the structure of each legal entity. In general, the business structure that is most often chosen by foreigners is the Private limited liability company (Dutch BV) due to the several practical and tactical benefits of this legal entity. If you would like personal advice about the best legal entity for your (future) business, Intercompany Solutions is always ready to assist you with any query you might have.

Contact us

Starting a business in the Netherlands:
 some regularly chosen company types explained

The Dutch BV is by far the most popular and, therefore, the most chosen legal entity. More than 90% of our clients choose the BV, in the Netherlands, around 65% of all legal entities are BVs. Nonetheless, there are also other company forms that might better suit your business goals. If you would like to enter into a partnership, for example, or if you would like to hire a common office space with other entrepreneurs within your field of expertise, such as a GP practice, notaries, or something similar. We will outline the most commonly chosen alternative legal entities below.

The Dutch Foundation

The foundation is one of the many chosen legal entities in the Netherlands. Dutch foundations can be established to function as commercial entities, family funds, as well as holding entities. A foundation isn’t always a non-profit company, as the Dutch foundation may hold shares and real estate, and it may also strive for profits. In other cases, Dutch foundations can be tax-exempt under certain conditions, or they can even be exempt from accounting or reporting requirements. If the Dutch foundation is concluded under notary agreement, the foundation will be limited in its liability.

Dutch BV company

The Dutch BV company is the same as a private limited liability company, also known as an LLC or GmbH in Germany, for example. It is similar to the Dutch NV but has some distinctively different traits, nonetheless. Since the introduction of the Flex-BV, the minimum share capital to be deposited is only 1 euro cent, as opposed to the previously necessary EUR 18,000. This enabled many starting entrepreneurs to benefit from owning this legal entity without an initial investment, making it easier for business owners to start a company. Like the Dutch NV, a BV has one or multiple directors, which make up the board of directors, a meeting of shareholders, and other corporate bodies.

Dutch NV company

Also known as a public liability company, the Dutch NV is similar in some ways to the Dutch BV. It is a legal entity most suitable for large businesses when forming a Dutch public company because it requires a minimum share capital of EUR 45,000. The Dutch NV company is controlled by a board of directors for day-to-day decisions. The annual meeting of shareholders may appoint directors or demand changes in management. With a public limited liability company, you can trade shares on the stock exchange, something that isn’t possible with a private limited liability company.

Branches and subsidiaries

Starting a branch office in the Netherlands can be interesting for foreign companies. A subsidiary will usually be a Dutch BV owned by the foreign holding company. The main difference is that the subsidiary company is fully independent, while the branch company is not. A branch office is not a separate legal entity because it falls under the scope of the original parent company. If you set up a Dutch branch office, this will be like a separate office for your foreign company. A subsidiary, however, is a separate legal entity, even though it might fall under the wing of a parent (holding) company.

General partnership

A general partnership is where two or more resident partners work together, using one company name and entrepreneurial goal. It’s basically the same as a sole proprietorship, but with multiple entrepreneurs under one flag. Since this is an unincorporated legal entity, both directors have full liability for any potential debts the company might incur. The profits are shared between the partners, and there is no minimum share capital requirement. The downside of the general partnership is that the partners can both be held accountable by creditors if the firm cannot fulfill its payments.

Professional Partnership

A professional partnership in the Netherlands can be formed by two self-employed individuals who wish to offer their services individually but also under the umbrella of one single organization. This often entails specific professions, such as accountants, dentists or physical therapists, who open up a practice or office together where they can receive clients physically. All partners are responsible for any liabilities the partnership might incur. This type of entity is specifically tailored to resident practicing professionals, so in most other cases, the general partnership is a better fit if entrepreneurs want to work together.

The Dutch BV and NV: differences between the two limited liability companies

Quick fact: Around 99% of our clients choose a Dutch BV company for incorporation. The Dutch BV is by far the most beneficial legal entity, unless you want to be publicly listed (NV) or you are looking to form a charitable foundation (stichting). The Dutch BV is likely the type of company you are looking for.

BV or NV: how do you choose which legal entity is best for you?

Potential clients often ask us which legal entity is the best fit: the BV or the NV? The BV is comparable to a private limited liability company, which means that the owner's liability is limited. Some comparable structures are the ‘Private limited liability company’ in the UK (Ltd), the French ‘Société a responsabilité limitée’ (SARL) and the German ‘Gesellschaft mit beschrankter Haftung’ (GmbH).

The NV is comparable to a corporation. The NV is also the legal entity that is able to trade shares at stock exchanges. In the UK, the NV is comparable to the ‘Public limited liability company’ (Plc), in Germany to the ‘Aktiengesellschaft’ (AG) and in France to the ‘Société anonyme’ (SA). If you want to decide which legal entity suits your needs best, you will need to compare some characteristics of both options and see which one matches your preferences. Below you will find a summarized comparison of the Dutch BV and NV, stating the most important distinctions between both entities.

The Dutch BV

The BV is a privately held Dutch legal entity comparable to a ‘private limited liability company’

  • Practically no minimum capital is required
  • Issued and required paid-up capital is determined by the founders, this is registered in the articles of association
  • Different types of shares allow varying voting and dividend rights, plus non-voting shares
  • Particular class shares may limit profit sharing entitlement, however such shares must always have voting rights
  • Transfer restrictions are sometimes allowed
  • Shares are not admitted to the stock exchange
  • There is an annual general meeting (GM) for shareholders
  • A one-tier board and a two-tier board are both possible
  • A supervisory board (or non-executive directors in the board) is optional
  • The articles of association can contain regulations granting shareholders limited possibilities to give general instructions to the management board
  • The director or board decides about profit distribution

The Dutch NV

The NV is a public Dutch legal entity comparable to a ‘public limited liability company’

  • The minimum capital is EUR 45,000
  • Different types of shares are allowed (such as bearer shares)
  • All shareholders receive voting rights as well as profit rights
  • Transfer restrictions are sometimes allowed
  • Shares are admitted on stock exchange
  • There is an annual general meeting (GM) for shareholders with and without voting rights
  • A one-tier board and a two-tier board are both possible
  • A supervisory board (or non-executive directors on the board) is generally optional
  • The articles of association can contain regulations granting shareholders the right to give specific instructions to the management board
  • The GM decides about profit distribution
  • If a certain contribution might threaten the continuity of the company, the management board may refuse approval for the distribution of profit, dependent on the outcome of a liquidity test
  • Interim dividends are possible
There are some notable differences between the two limited companies. For instance, a BV can only issue registered shares, whereas a NV can issue both registered and bearer shares. The articles of association determine a large part of the rules regarding the possibility of transferring shares freely in a BV. Oftentimes, there are certain transfer restrictions that limit some (or all) shareholders. In that case, the other shareholders need to give their consent when a shareholder wants to transfer shares. Also, the other shareholders have a preemptive right to buy shares from a selling shareholder. Since 2012, the Flex-BV has been introduced. One of the most notable changes was the decision to cancel the obligation to bring in a minimum share capital in order to start a BV. For most companies, a BV structure is the best option.

Ready To Start Your Company?

Contact us and our team will be ready to assist you in your journey to the Netherlands.
Contact us

The Dutch private limited liability company (Dutch BV) in depth

The Dutch private company with limited liability (Besloten Venootschap, BV) issues shares that are registered privately and cannot be transferred freely. The BV company is the company type of choice for 99% of our clients due to its many advantages, such as very competitive tax rates and multiple other factors that contribute to the popularity of this legal entity. We will outline some core characteristics of the Dutch BV below, so you can decide for yourself whether this company type is a solid fit for your business aspirations.


A Dutch private limited liability company is established by at least one incorporator, which can either be a legal entity or an individual. The entity or individual, resident or foreign, can act both as an incorporator and a complete management board for the new company. A noteworthy fact is that a Dutch BV can be registered entirely remotely by the director(s) and shareholder(s), making it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to establish a Dutch BV.

It is also not mandatory to have a secretary. If there is only one shareholder, this does not result in personal liability, since the point of a limited liability company is the absence of personal liability for any debts made with the company. Still, the name of the shareholder will appear on the registration certificates of the company prepared by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. Shareholdings are recorded in the register of shareholders maintained at the company’s office.


Incorporation deed

To start a business in the Netherlands, an incorporation deed is drafted in the presence of a public notary and submitted to the Trade Registry at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and to the Tax Office. The official incorporation deed must be prepared in Dutch (our company will also prepare an English version of the notary deed for your convenience). This document lists the details of incorporators and initial board members, their participation amounts and payments made to the starting equity.

The deed also contains the AoA (Articles of Association) that include, as a minimum, the following details: the full company name, the location of the registered office in the Netherlands, the company purpose, the amount of authorized capital (EUR), the share division and relevant share transfer conditions.

Company name

Intercompany Solution will check, before we establish your Dutch business, whether the chosen company name is not already in use as a trademark or a commercial name. This is done because the holders of prior registrations have the right to that name and using it would entail copyright infringement. The name of your company must either end or begin with ‘BV’. In addition to the company name, a BV has the freedom to choose one or several trade names to label the business or secular parts of it.

Shares and share capital

The ones who incorporate can decide on the amount of share capital, only a minimum share capital of €1 is required. This used to be EUR 18,000 in the past, but since the start of the Flex-BV, there is no real minimum anymore. A single share with a corresponding voting right is required as a minimum. Shares can have profit and/or voting rights, sometimes a share will have profit rights but no voting rights, and vice versa. Dutch private limited companies can have corporate directors and shareholders.


The incorporation procedure to start a business in the Netherlands will usually take 3 to 5 working days. The timeframe depends on how complex the shareholding structure is, and, also, on the prompt provision of papers by the client. The sooner we have all the documentation we need, the easier it will be to establish your business in a timely manner. If you can acquire all documents in one day, sometimes the registration procedure takes only 2 business days.

Advantages of opening a BV in the Netherlands

There are several well-known advantages to owning a Dutch BV, which is exactly why almost all our clients choose to establish this specific type of Dutch company. The limited liability part is, of course, one of the main reasons why entrepreneurs choose this legal entity. But the BV has multiple beneficial characteristics. We will outline the most obvious advantages shortly below.

Limited Liability

As stated above, one of the main advantages of a limited liability company is that it is not the director or the board, but the BV itself that is liable for any debts. The only case in which a director can be held liable for financial issues is when there is proof of improper management. This applies, for example, if the accounting is not in order or when the annual accounts have been submitted too late to the Chamber of Commerce. Obvious malpractice also falls under the scope of improper management. The error must always be attributable to the person in question. In all other cases, you will enjoy the protection of limited liability. So, if something happens to the company, your personal accounts will not be in any danger.

Competitive income tax rates

The Netherlands benefits from a low corporate tax rate compared to some neighboring European countries. Also, when you have a sole proprietorship, you pay income tax on the profits. The highest tax bracket in this category is currently 52%. You also pay tax on the profits of a BV, but this is only 19% or 25.8%, depending on whether your profits exceed the total annual amount of 200,000 euros. Keep in mind, though, that you will still need to pay income tax on the profits you distribute to yourself. You can also pay yourself dividends, which could be more profitable in some situations. We have covered the topic of paying yourself dividends extensively in this article.

The minimum share capital required is extremely low

In the past, it was mandatory to invest a starting capital of 18,000 euros when setting up a Dutch BV. This made it very difficult for starting entrepreneurs to enjoy the benefits of a Dutch BV, even when their business ideas were great, and they managed to attract minor investors. Fortunately, this law has been changed. Since the introduction of the so-called ‘Flex-BV’ in 2012, you can now set up a BV with a starting capital of just 1 euro. This euro is then generally spread throughout 100 shares. Thus, the high investment threshold no longer applies, making the private limited liability company much more accessible to a wider public, such as foreign entrepreneurs who wish to do business in the Netherlands.

Innovation and subsidies

The Dutch are almost addicted to innovation and progress. In every imaginable sector, you can see constant improvement in services, products, processes and activities. If something can be done better and more effectively, the Dutch are always on top of it. To stimulate innovation across sectors and markets, the Netherlands offers various entrepreneurial subsidies and investments.

There are several interesting financial arrangements for entrepreneurs, such as (foreign) entrepreneurs who want to grow quickly and entrepreneurs with highly innovative concepts and ideas. Next to that, the Dutch government is making extra money available for innovative SMEs and for important research for future generations through the Future Fund. The government has already released €5 million annually for this purpose since 2018. The Future Fund started with €200 million. Then there is the WBSO, which is a tax scheme for research and development (R&D), and the Innovation Box instrument. Companies can reduce the financial burden of research and development (R&D) projects through the WBSO.
Dutch innovative top sectors are among the best in the world. These are sectors in which the Netherlands excels internationally. The government also actively invests in these top sectors:
• Top sector Horticulture and propagation materials
• Top sector Agri & Food
• Top sector Water and Maritime
• Top sector Life Sciences and Health
• Top Sector Chemistry
• Top Sector High-Tech Systems & Materials
• Top Sector Energy
• Top sector Logistics
• Top sector Creative Industry

If you are planning on starting a company in one of these sectors, there is a rather high chance that you might receive financing or a subsidy from the Dutch government. Intercompany Solutions can assist you with any application procedure. More information about financing for entrepreneurs can be found on the website of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

No taxes on interest and royalties

The Netherlands has developed a comprehensive network of treaties for the avoidance of double taxation. Thus, companies can benefit from reduced rates of withholding taxes on interest, royalties and dividends transferred to companies established in the country and minimum taxation of capital gains arising from share sales in the source country (pacts with close to a hundred different jurisdictions).

Option to reinvest your profits tax-free via dividend payments

If you are not interested in paying out all taxable profits to yourself but want to invest in the company instead, then this can easily be done with the Dutch BV. You only pay corporate tax (19% or 25.8%) on the profits you generate and use the rest to reinvest. Do you have multiple companies and a holding company? You can then simply use the profits from one BV to fund the start-up costs of the second BV, without first paying them out as a dividend. This enables you to use your own money tax-free.

A professional impression

Last, but not least, you benefit from a professional impression when you own a private limited company. In general, you don't just set up a BV. To be able to do so, you must meet a number of requirements, and you must have the deed of incorporation executed by a notary. This notary also has the duty to investigate the BV when they believe that something is wrong. In addition, a BV must have its administration in good order, and an annual overview must be submitted to the Chamber of Commerce in the form of annual accounts. The chance that a BV has its affairs properly in order is therefore many times greater than with a general partnership or a sole proprietorship. The average Dutch person also knows this, and this contributes to the professional character of your company. In addition, international clients will take your company much more seriously.
YouTube video

The BV holding structure

The BV holding structure is a secure and cost-effective way to start your own business in the Netherlands. A holding is also a Dutch BV company, although it differs slightly from an operational BV company (subsidiary). A holding BV is a legal entity that only holds assets, e.g., trade company shares. Therefore, a holding company does not carry any liability or risk associated with its operations because the actual business operations are carried out by different subsidiaries under the holding structure. A subsidiary is a legal entity actively involved in services or trade. It performs business activities and therefore carries liability for its operations. This means that creditors, suppliers and other parties may file claims against it. On the other hand, the holding entity and its assets are safe from such claims.

The combination of a subsidiary and a holding in one structure results in the so-called Dutch holding structure. Below are the main characteristics of a Dutch BV holding structure:

  • The holding structure includes at least two separate private limited liability companies (Dutch BVs)
  • One or more BVs are subsidiaries and engage in business activities
  • The other BV is a holding that isn’t involved in any business activity
  • The investor/entrepreneur owns the shares of the holding company
  • The holding company owns the shares of the subsidiary

Even though a Dutch BV already has limited liability, setting up a holding structure protects you as an entrepreneur and your assets more comprehensively. There are several benefits to owning a Dutch holding structure, which we will discuss below.

Contact us

Two important reasons to incorporate a BV holding structure

Many foreign entrepreneurs prefer to start their business in the Netherlands as a holding structure for two principal reasons: risk and tax. Firstly, you reduce risk by operating via a holding structure in the Netherlands. A holding BV provides an additional layer of protection between the business owner, as an individual, and his/her business activities. BVs can also be structured to protect the capital of the active company. Accumulated pension provisions and profit are thus shielded from business risks. Secondly, holding structures may provide tax advantages. The most significant one is the so-called participation exemption. It allows the owner to sell the company and transfer the profit to the holding company without paying profit tax.

The participation exemption for international companies

The participation exemption is among the most commonly used advantages associated with taxation. This tax regulation exempts holding entities from taxation when owning at least 5 percent of a subsidiary in the case of the transfer of dividends. The regulation is known as “the directive on parent companies and subsidiaries”. Please note that the process may defer slightly for an international holding structure. Nonetheless, the exemption gives an additional advantage to companies operating internationally if the subsidiary company is located in another country.
The international subsidiary’s profit is subject to taxation in the country where it is established. The profit after tax can then be transferred to the parent company in the Netherlands. This amount, received by the parent company, will not be subject to corporate tax in Holland, and thus, double taxation is avoided.
Contact us

When Should I Consider Starting A Holding Structure For My Netherlands Business?

There are several cases in which a holding company will be beneficial for your business goals. If you are planning on establishing multiple subsidiaries, it is wise to combine all your companies under a holding umbrella. This will make it easier to transfer shares and capital throughout all companies, as well as fund a newly opened company with the profits of an already existing business. Therefore, if you need risk protection for your capital, the holding structure is also the way to go. In the chance that one of your subsidiaries goes bankrupt, you can transfer assets to the holding company, which will benefit from limited liability. The holding structure is also ideal if you want to start a fiscally flexible business in the Netherlands. Furthermore, if it is very likely that your company will one day be sold, then you can transfer the profits from selling the company to the holding BV free of tax by virtue of the Dutch participation exemption. A holding structure provides you with an efficient and effective overview of all the companies you own, making it easier for you to move your assets around and fund whichever company you want to invest in.
Contact us

Company formation in the Netherlands: the procedure

In order to establish a Dutch company, you will obviously need to fill out the necessary paperwork. The required documents for the formation of a legal entity consist of a legalized copy of valid identification and proof of address. These documents need to be sent with an apostille, which you can obtain at a local notary’s office. Also, a power of attorney is required, which must be signed by a notary for remote formation. Please note, that it is currently not necessary to travel to the Netherlands when you want to establish a Dutch business: the entire process can be executed remotely. All involved shareholders may authorize us to take care of all mandatory filings on their behalf. Other necessary actions, such as applying for a bank account for your company, may also be performed remotely. Only in rare cases does the director need to be present, but this depends entirely on the bank you choose. If this is your preference, we can advise you on practical matters such as these because, in principle, every step can be done remotely.

The whole procedure of company formation in the Netherlands can be completed in only 3 to 5 business days, assuming all the documentation you send in meets the requirements. The largest portion of time is spent on the verification of the documents. Thus, it is very important that you make sure that you send us the correct documentation and what you send is complete.

The procedure for the formation of a Dutch BV is as follows:

Step 1

We check the identities of all directors and shareholders of the company you want to register in the Netherlands using the legalized copies of their valid identification. Also, all accompanying forms will be checked, as well as the preferred company name, which needs to be submitted in advance to check availability. If the company name is already taken, you will need to come up with a new name due to possible copyright infringement and intellectual property laws.

Step 2

After the preparation of all the necessary documentation for the formation of a Dutch business, the formation documents need to be signed by all shareholders. This can either be done remotely, in which case we prepare the formation documents and send them to your current address. After signing, you can return the original documents to us by legalizing the papers at a local notary’s office of your choice. Alternatively, you can also choose to sign the documentation at a Dutch notary, provided you visit the Netherlands for the incorporation process. This process may defer slightly to an international holding structure, since there are more parties involved.

Step 3

After all the documentation has been signed, received and processed, our firm will commence with the registration procedure. The deed of incorporation will be signed by a notary public in order to legally form the company. The notary will submit the deed of formation to the Dutch Chamber of Commerce afterward. A few hours later, a registration number will be assigned to your Dutch company, which serves as your company identification number. You will then receive a corporate extract from the company. Once this process is finished, you can apply for a Dutch business bank account. All shareholders will need to pay the agreed-upon share capital into this bank account. This can be accomplished after the formation of the Dutch company, but also beforehand by transferring the funds to the notary public. After the formation procedure, you will also receive your tax (VAT) number tied to the Dutch tax authorities. It is highly recommended to hire an accountant or use our financial services for the VAT application. After completion, you are legally obligated to use accounting services for your quarterly VAT filings, your corporate income tax filings, and one annual statement that needs to be published at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

What are the costs of starting a business in the Netherlands?

The exact costs of incorporation will be calculated according to your specific business needs and goals, but you should consider the following standard fees and costs involved with the procedure:

  • Preparing all legal documents and documents for identification purposes
  • The fee at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce for registering a Dutch company
  • The costs for registration at the local tax authorities
  • Our incorporation fees cover the formation of the company as well as extra services such as the application for a Dutch bank account
  • Our fees for assisting you with the VAT number and optional EORI number applications
  • The annual costs cover our accounting services.

The total amount depends on several factors, such as the type of business you wish to establish, the amount of people involved, the amount of companies, and other details that influence the costs. Of course, we will happily provide you with a detailed personal quote for the formation of a Dutch company.

Contact us

Company formation in the Netherlands timetable

Below, you will find our practical timetable for the full incorporation process that our firm carries out. Note that several actions can be completed in 1 day, which shortens the total time of the formation process.

Taxation of companies in the Netherlands

Every Dutch business is subject to taxation, of course. As an entrepreneur, you will have to pay several different taxes on all profits of your company. Currently, the corporate tax rate is 19% up to an amount of €200.000 profit annually, and all profits above this threshold are taxed at 25.8%.

Profits taxation

2023: 19% up to €200.000, 25.8% above this amount

The Dutch VAT rates are:

21% standard VAT rate
9% lower VAT rate
0% tax-exempt rate
0% for transactions between EU countries

You can read more in-depth information about Dutch VAT in this article.

Tax Advantages And Obligations

After incorporation, private limited liability companies are registered at the Dutch Tax Authorities and as such, the required tax numbers are issued. All Dutch companies have particular obligations and need to submit different tax returns. Next to standard obligations, there are also some advantages, like the participation exemption that we have already mentioned earlier in the article. Another advantage is the possibility of paying yourself dividend. We will outline some standard Dutch tax obligations and advantages below.

Dutch corporate tax

The corporate tax rate in the Netherlands is among the lowest in Europe: 19% for profits up to EUR 200 000 and 25.8% for profits exceeding this amount. These conditions apply for both NVs (public limited liability companies) and BVs. During the next few years, the Dutch government will reduce the minimum tax rates even further.

Dutch income tax

The Dutch rate for taxable income from work and home is an increasing rate with 2 or 3 brackets, depending on your current age. You will pay proportionately more tax as your income increases. If you plan on paying yourself a salary via your BV, you will also have to pay income tax. The same applies for any staff you might hire. The rate you have to pay depends on your age. If you haven’t reached the state pension age yet, you pay 36.93% income tax on amounts up to €73.032 annually and 49.50% above this amount. If you have reached the state pension age in 2023, you pay 19.03% income tax on sums up to €38.704, 36.93% for sums between €38.704 and €73.032, and 49.50% for all amounts above €73.032. From 2023, the state pension age will be 66 years and 10 months. Please note that you can avoid income taxes if you decide to invest (part of) your profits in your company or park them in your holding company. Intercompany Solutions can assist you with such matters.

Periodical tax obligations

As an entrepreneur in the Netherlands, you are obligated to submit multiple tax returns periodically. The sales tax (VAT) is filed quarterly, it’s best if you hire someone to assist you with this, as being too late can result in fines and other measures. Income tax and corporate income tax are filed annually.

Tax treaties with many other countries

As we already briefly discussed above, the Netherlands has many tax treaties with international countries. This entails EU member state countries, as well as countries outside of the EU zone. If you are already active professionally in your home country, it’s wise to seek advice regarding the country in which you should pay certain taxes. You are not supposed to pay tax on your income or assets more than once, which is why the Netherlands has tax treaties with a large number of countries. A tax treaty states which country may levy tax on your income. You have to deal with tax treaties if you live or work outside the Netherlands or if you do business abroad. If there is no tax treaty, the Decree on Prevention Double Tax 2001 applies. This decree states how the Netherlands will prevent double taxation if there is no tax treaty. This applies, for example, to incomes from developing countries. Most treaties cover double taxation and also include straightforward guidelines as to how you should arrange your tax return. This shields you from paying some taxes twice or even triple, depending on where you do business.

Dividend instead of salary

As the owner of a Dutch BV, you can opt to pay yourself dividends instead of a director-shareholder salary. We have already covered this subject since you will benefit from a lower tax rate of 15%. In some cases, you won’t even have to pay taxes. Please contact us for more information on the subject, we are more than happy to inform you about the details.

Economic Opportunities In The Netherlands

The Netherlands largely benefits from its stable position as a core member of the European Union, which allows for ease of travel within the Schengen area. Next to that, the European Single Market allows for easy trade possibilities and the advantage that there is no VAT charged between Member States. This offers plenty of opportunities, as new trade routes and investments beyond borders can be easily established. The Dutch are internationally renowned for their accessibility to large international markets, mainly due to the port of Rotterdam and the ‘Europoort’ area. These are both gateways connecting international trade with the entire mainland of Europe.

Due to the strong Dutch trade mentality as well as a solid transportation infrastructure, the Netherlands has been able to maintain a consistently high position as the largest economy in the world. The Dutch workforce is well-educated and fully bilingual, providing many possibilities regarding recruitment and doing business with other cultures. These factors and the substantially low costs for company formation make the Netherlands extremely attractive compared to other Western European countries.

Value Added Tax (VAT) In Holland

Holland uses a VAT system, similarly to other EU members. In Dutch, the abbreviation for VAT is Btw (belasting toegevoegde waarde). Some transactions are not subject to value-added tax, but it is commonly charged by the authorities. The regular rate, 21%, is charged with respect to almost all services and goods offered by Dutch businesses. This rate might also apply to products imported from non-EU countries. In the Netherlands, there is also a lower VAT rate of 9% regarding specific services and goods, e.g., medicine, food, art, medicine, books, antiques, entry to sports events, museums, theaters and zoos.

What does Dutch VAT mean for international entrepreneurs? When your company is established in a foreign country, but you are also operating in the Netherlands, you will need to conform to the national regulations. If you are offering products or services in Holland, in most cases, you will also need to cover VAT there. Then again, VAT is often charged in reverse to the individual receiving the product or service, resulting in a 0% rate. Reverse-charging is an option if your clients are legal entities or entrepreneurs established in Holland. Then you can omit the VAT from the invoice and insert reverse-charged instead. In all other cases, you need to pay the tax in the Netherlands. Starting a company in The Netherlands will allow your business to take full advantage of the Dutch VAT regulations.

The 30% tax reimbursement ruling

Another interesting tax advantage is the so-called 30% tax reimbursement ruling. When international employees are hired in the Netherlands, they can benefit from this tax exemption. If they meet certain conditions, the employer will transfer 30% of their wages to them free of taxation. This allowance is meant to compensate for the additional expenses of employees who work outside of their home countries. This can be very interesting for foreign expats, individuals who wish to work for someone from their home country, or otherwise internationally oriented employees. There are some eligibility conditions, of course. In order to qualify for reimbursement, candidates have to meet the following requirements:

  • The employer is registered with the Dutch Tax Authorities in the Netherlands and covers payroll tax
  • There is a written agreement between the employee and the employer that the reimbursement ruling applies
  • The employee is either transferred or recruited abroad
  • Upon hiring, the employee had resided more than 150 kilometers away from the border of the Netherlands for at least 18 months during the past two years
  • The yearly salary of the employee is equal to or exceeding €37.000
  • The employee has qualifications that are scarce on the Dutch labor market, which partly explains the advantage that national employees do not have.

The Netherlands compared to other countries

The Netherlands is considered one of the most favorable countries for business and investments. The infamous annual Forbes list listed the Netherlands in a proud 4th spot, only preceded by the U.K., Sweden and Hong Kong. The logistical power and innovative atmosphere of the Netherlands are key factors inherent in the high ranking, as are the low tax rates compared to some other European countries. Next to that, according to Forbes, the Netherlands will offer business owners the highest quality of life in 2023 and is listed at number one regarding this. The business climate in the Netherlands is very competitive, but also inviting and vibrant. If you want to partner up with experienced entrepreneurs, you are sure to find many interesting possibilities in the Netherlands.

One main benefit of establishing a business in the country is direct access to the European Single Market. The Netherlands isn’t just a member state of the EU; it is actually held in very high regard by the other member states due to its stable political, fiscal and economic climate. The Dutch are often at the forefront of innovative concepts and ideas. As an entrepreneur, you can reap many benefits from being physically present in the country. The port of Rotterdam connects your business directly to the entire world, next to Schiphol Airport. The location of the country is excellent for any import, export or general logistics business. Furthermore, the Dutch tax rates are being further reduced. The goal is to achieve a strengthened investment climate, providing foreign investors with better opportunities. There has probably never been a better time to start a business in the Netherlands.

Intercompany Solutions in the Brexit report

Intercompany Solutions CEO Bjorn Wagemakers and client Brian McKenzie are featured in a report for The National (CBC News): ‘Dutch Economy Braces for the Worst with Brexit’, in a visit to our notary public on February 12, 2019.

We continually perfect our quality standards in order to deliver services of the highest degree.
YouTube video

Some Of Our Recent Clients

Intercompany Solutions is a well known brand in the Netherlands and abroad as a trusted incorporating agent in the Netherlands. We are constantly looking for opportunities to share our solutions with foreign entrepreneurs.

Frequently Asked Questions
on Business Establishment in the Netherlands

We receive many questions on a regular basis about company establishment in the Netherlands. Therefore, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions for your convenience. If you have a question that is not mentioned in this section, please feel free to contact us with your query anytime.

The establishment procedure and corresponding requirements

Is it possible to establish a Dutch company if I reside elsewhere?

Yes, a resident of any country can incorporate a company in the Netherlands. For your convenience, we also provide procedures for starting a business remotely. All you need is a valid form of identification, a preferred company name, and possibly some other official documents, such as a deed of incorporation of your current business if you want to establish a subsidiary in the Netherlands that falls under your current holding company. In almost all cases, it is unnecessary to physically travel to the country, as we can arrange every step of the establishment procedure remotely for you.

How many days does it take to start a business in the Netherlands?

On average, it will take 3–5 working days to start a Dutch business. Keep in mind that this is a rough estimate. In clear and simple cases, we can sometimes go through all the steps in 1 or 2 business days. If your application is more complicated or involves extra steps, such as the attainment of a visa or multiple companies to be established, please keep in mind that the process might take a bit longer. We will always provide you with an estimate when we send you a quote for our services.

Is it mandatory to have a Dutch company address?

Yes, your company needs a registered address in the Netherlands. You also have the option to establish a branch office of an international business that is not a legal entity under Dutch law and is therefore not subject to all the obligations that apply to Dutch businesses. It will have no legal presence and is therefore not considered a separate business. If you don’t want to rent an entire office building, you can also opt for a virtual registration address. This will allow you to legally register your company in the Netherlands for a fraction of the cost of a personal office space.

What is the minimum required share capital to establish a Dutch BV?

Private limited liability companies no longer need to declare a minimum capital, so a €1 share capital is sufficient. This is due to the introduction of the ‘Flex-BV’ in 2012, which makes a Dutch BV much more accessible to a broader audience.

What is the procedure for starting a company in the Netherlands?

The procedure includes three main steps, with an added fourth step if you wish to open a Dutch bank account:
1) Drafting and submission of the deed of incorporation
2) Registration in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce
3) Tax registration
4) Bank account application
If you wish to obtain a permit or visa or would like us to take care of extra services, there will be more steps involved.

Which documents are necessary to establish a Dutch business?

You will need a valid form of identification and the preferred name of the company. Once we have received and approved the documents you sent us, the main documents will be drafted by a notary public: the deed of incorporation, which also includes the Articles and Memorandum of Association. With these documents, we can obtain a registration number for you at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

Is it possible to start a business in international trade through a company in Holland?

Yes, this is definitely possible, as many entrepreneurs have already proven before you. International traders set up companies in the Netherlands quite often. Local incorporation brings numerous advantages due to the strategic position of the country, its formidable infrastructure, and its relatively small size. The Netherlands connects your business with the rest of the world instantly, making it easy and efficient for you to trade internationally.

Questions about the Dutch BV

Can you provide further information on Dutch BVs?

We have prepared a comprehensive brochure about Dutch BVs. The Dutch BV is comparable to a private limited liability company, which means that you are generally not personally liable for any debts you make with the company. The legal entity comprises a board of directors, shareholders and sometimes also a supervisory board. It is a well-respected legal entity that breathes professionalism, which will enable you to attract high-end clients and business partners. If you have further or personalized questions, please contact us.

What kind of taxes do companies pay in Holland?

For annual profits of up to €200.000, companies pay a 19% corporate income tax. Above this threshold, the tax rate is 25.8%. Next to that, you will also have to pay income tax and taxes on dividends you pay out. Please consult us to find out whether your country of residence has a tax treaty with the Netherlands, as this will enable us to provide you with personalized information regarding taxation in your specific case.

Can you list the main legal aspects of company establishment in Holland?

If you wish to establish a new company in the Netherlands, you need to consider several important aspects:
• Your company’s name must be available and comply with the laws
• You need a local office or virtual registration address
• You need to meet the requirements for registration
• You need to obtain the relevant business permits whenever they are necessary
Feel free to contact Intercompany Solutions for tailored business advice and a clear quote.

What are the available company types in Holland?

The entity preferred by most foreign investors is the private limited liability company, known as the Dutch BV. Other popular types are the foundation (stichting), the public limited liability company (NV), the cooperation, the general partnership, a collaborative entity and the sole proprietorship. If you are doubting about the best legal entity to suit your needs, you can find more information about company types on the website of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, or contact us directly for professional advice.

Do I have to obtain any special licenses or permits for my newly established Dutch company?

The requirements depend on the nature of your business and your scope of activities. A permit for conducting business ensures that you are able to legally sell, trade, store and engage in financial activities. Only a small number of companies need special licenses or permits. Make sure that you obtain a permit, when necessary, though, as conducting business without a permit in sectors that need one is illegal.

Visas and citizenship

Is a visa necessary to enter the Netherlands? What is the procedure for obtaining such a visa?

EU residents are free to enter the Netherlands without any specific documentation. Non-EU citizens can stay in the country with a Schengen Visa (short-term) for no more than 90 days. For longer stays, you must apply for a visa at the Dutch Embassy in your country of residence. You can visit the website of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service for in-depth information about visas, how to obtain one, and the necessary requirements to do so.

What is the procedure for obtaining Dutch citizenship?

A person may become a citizen of the Netherlands through business immigration, naturalization, an option procedure or marriage. Also note, that children of Dutch parents can claim citizenship. Our experts can provide you with further details regarding the procedures and help you follow them.

Legal questions

Can you list the main legal requirements that foreign entrepreneurs must meet in order to make investments in the Netherlands?

Foreign investors have the same rights to establish businesses as Dutch citizens do. In practice, it involves slightly different procedures, as a foreigner does not have a local home address or tax number.

Can you explain the requirements for employment in Holland?

The employer-employee relationship is regulated by the national Law of Employment. International employees have to obtain permits for work prior to arriving in the country (EEA and Swiss nationals are excluded from this rule). A written employment agreement needs to be drafted and signed. The agreement can be open-term or have a particular duration. This depends on the nature of the business activities.

How do I register a brand or a trademark?

The usual way to register a trademark in the Netherlands is to first incorporate a company and subsequently register the trademark locally. In some cases, it might be possible to register a trademark or brand in the Netherlands without establishing a company. Note that your brand or trademark needs to be entirely new and unique.

Download brochure: Set up a Dutch Limited Liability Company

Do you want to start your own business in Europe or The Netherlands? The Netherlands, with its international outlook, is a good place to start your own business. We will make it easy for you by providing our brochures with topics around Busines Establishment, Legal issues and Business Immigration.
*By downloading our brochure you consent that our team may send you 2 follow-up emails.

Our brochure describes the possibilities of The Dutch BV (besloten vennootschap) as the most popular entity to be used as a financing, holding or royalty company in international structures.
The businessman puts a stamp on the contract

Need more information on Intercompany Solutions?

Are you planning on starting a business in Netherlands or do you wish to receive more information on taxation, investment or incorporation in the country? Please contact our local incorporation agents.
Contact us
Dedicated to support entrepreneurs with starting and growing business in the Netherlands.

Member Of