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Choose a Company Name

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What are the company name restrictions in Netherlands?

Before starting a business in the Netherlands, you need to consider your company name, and the restrictions that apply in the Netherlands.


A company name is officially called a 'trade name'. Trade names are protected in the Trade Name Act. This law also contains rules that your company name must meet:


  • Be honest

  • You may not pretend to be bigger or different than you are. For example, if you have a sole proprietorship, you may not use the name Jansen & partners. Then it seems that there are several owners.

  • You may not use someone else's personal name.

  • You may only use the words "bank", "architect" or "accountant" in your company name if you really are.


For example, you can’t simply use the name ‘bank’ , ‘university’, ‘accountant’ in your company name, unless you are licensed to perform these activities. You are also not allowed to use personal names of someone else in your company name, like ‘Albert Heijn’ or ‘Freddy Heineken’. Assuming of course, such names are still available, you can use these names if it’s your actual name. Do you use your own name in your company name? Keep in mind that you run a greater risk of unwanted sales and even identity fraud.



Do not choose a company name with a brand name from another company (or names similar to it). A customer or supplier can then get confused. They may think that the products with that brand come from the company that uses the brand name in its company name.

You may not use a company name that can cause confusion with the public (for example, with customers or suppliers) because the name resembles an existing company name. Whether confusion can arise depends, among other things, on:


  • the similarity  in the name/brand;

  • the extent to which the activities are similar;

  • the overlap of the work area, ie the area where the company operates.

  • If you find a company name misleading or confusing


Do you think the company name of another company is misleading or confusing? First try to solve it mutually. Is this not possible? Then you can start a procedure with the court.

Not all special characters and punctuation marks are allowed. You may only use @ & + and - in your company name. Characters like ()? ! * # / may not, for example, appear in your company name.

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Can I add multiple Trading names in Netherlands?

Yes, you can. The trade names don’t have to be similar to the statutory company name. This way you have use multiple brands/trade names, using only one company. Please note that using a trade name does not protect your brand in all situations, and brand registration might still be suggested. 

When you register a trade name in the Netherlands, you are allowed to issue invoices, or sign contracts, in the name of that trade name (instead of the legal company name).

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Choosing your company name (trade name) at the Kvk.nl in the Netherlands

When choosing a company name or trade name in the Netherlands, it is important to be mindful of the restrictions and regulations in place. The Kamer van Koophandel (KVK) is the official registry where businesses are required to register their trade names, and it is where entrepreneurs can check the availability of a desired trade name. It is essential to note that there are restrictions on certain names, such as those that are too similar to existing trade names or that may cause confusion in the market. Additionally, there are regulations concerning regulated services, where certain trade names may require approval from relevant authorities. 


Companies must also comply with the Handelsregister Wet, which dictates the rules and procedures for registering trade names. It is crucial to understand the distinction between a handelsnaam (trade name) and a statutory name, as they are not interchangeable. A handelsnaam is the name a company uses for its business activities, while the statutory name is the legal name of the company. 


The chosen trade name should accurately reflect the nature of the business and comply with the regulations set out by the KVK. It is recommended to thoroughly research the availability of a trade name and consider seeking legal advice to ensure compliance with the regulations and restrictions. 


By adhering to these rules and requirements, businesses can avoid potential legal issues and establish a strong and reputable brand identity. (Source: https://business.gov.nl/starting-your-business/registering-your-trade-name-at-the-chamber-of-commerce/)


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Rules for your company name (trade name) in the Netherlands

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When registering a company name (trade name) in the Netherlands, it is important to follow the rules and guidelines set forth by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. The company name must be unique and not already in use by another business operating in the same industry or sector. The name must also not be misleading or confusing to consumers. Additionally, the trade name must not contain any offensive or inappropriate language. It is important to choose a name that accurately reflects the nature of the business and its activities. The company name must be written in Dutch, unless the business operates internationally or has international clients, in which case it can be in English or another language. It is also important to ensure that the chosen name is not too similar to existing well-known brands or trademarks, as this could lead to legal complications. The use of certain words, such as "Royal" or "Netherlands" may also be restricted and require additional approval. Furthermore, any abbreviations used in the company name must be clearly explained and indicated in the business registration. The Chamber of Commerce has the authority to reject a company name if it does not meet these requirements, so it is crucial to carefully consider and research the name before registering it. Once a company name is approved, it is necessary to use it consistently on all official documents, correspondence, and marketing materials. Any changes to the company name must also be reported to the Chamber of Commerce and updated in the official registration. Failure to comply with these rules and regulations may result in penalties or the requirement to change the company name. Therefore, it is essential to fully understand and adhere to the guidelines for choosing and using a company name in the Netherlands. By following these rules, businesses can ensure that their trade name accurately represents their brand and is in compliance with Dutch regulations.

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What to do if company names are similar?

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When dealing with similar company names in the Netherlands Kvk.nl, it is important to take immediate action to avoid any confusion or potential legal issues. The first step is to carefully review the relevant laws and regulations pertaining to company names in the Netherlands. This includes understanding the rules regarding the unique identification and registration of company names with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel or Kvk). It is also essential to conduct a thorough search on the Kvk website to check for any existing companies with similar names. In the event that a similar name is found, it is advisable to seek legal assistance from a qualified attorney who specializes in corporate law. This will ensure that the appropriate steps are taken to address the situation in accordance with the Dutch legal framework. Depending on the specific circumstances, it may be necessary to initiate a process to either modify the company name to make it more distinct or to challenge the registration of the similar name. Additionally, communication with the other company involved may be necessary to reach a resolution, which may involve amending one of the company names to prevent confusion in the marketplace. It is important to approach this situation with a proactive and strategic mindset to protect the company's brand and reputation. In all cases, it is crucial to adhere to the legal requirements and procedures set forth by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce to ensure compliance and to avoid any potential penalties or consequences. Furthermore, it is recommended to maintain a clear record of all communication and actions taken to address the issue, as this may be useful in the event of any future disputes. By diligently navigating the process and seeking professional guidance, companies can effectively manage the situation and protect their interests in the Netherlands market.

Name change

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Dealing with a Name Change for your Dutch Entity

If you are seeking to perform a name change for your Dutch legal entity, it is important to understand the process and requirements involved. In the Netherlands, a name change for a legal entity, such as a BV (besloten vennootschap) or NV (naamloze vennootschap), requires a statutory change, which means that it must be officially recorded and approved. This process involves legal documentation and the involvement of a notary. The notary plays a crucial role in overseeing the name change process and ensuring that all legal requirements are met. As such, it is paramount to engage the services of a qualified notary to handle the name change for your Dutch legal entity. The notary will assist in preparing the necessary legal documents, including an amendment to the Formation Deed, and will ensure that the name change is properly registered with the relevant authorities. It is worth noting that an alternative to a statutory name change is the option of adding a Trade Name (directly at the Trade Register (kvk.nl) , which does not require the involvement of a notary. However, this may not be suitable for all legal entities, and it is important to carefully consider the implications and requirements of both options before proceeding. 
If you are planning to update your Formation Deed, you might just as well consider other changes at the same time. This could include amendments to the company's articles of association, changes to the share capital, or adjustments to the management structure. The notary can provide valuable guidance and advice on the various options available and can assist in navigating the legal requirements and formalities associated with making multiple changes to your Dutch legal entity. 


By engaging the services of a notary, you can ensure that the name change process is handled efficiently and accurately, and that all legal requirements are met. With the expert assistance of a notary, you can proceed with confidence, knowing that your name change will be properly executed and formally recognized in accordance with Dutch law.

Statutory restrictions on legal name selection in the Netherlands

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In the Netherlands, there are specific statutory restrictions on legal name selection that individuals must adhere to when choosing their names. These regulations are put in place to maintain order and coherence within the legal system and society as a whole. When selecting a first or last name, individuals must ensure that the chosen name complies with relevant laws and regulations, including those related to the recognition and acceptance of names within the Dutch legal system. 


Additionally, there are guidelines in place to prevent the use of names that may be considered offensive, misleading, or inappropriate. The Dutch Civil Code provides the legal framework for name selection, outlining the criteria and procedures for changing one's legal name. According to the law, individuals must have a valid reason for changing their name, and the change must not cause confusion or disruption within the legal system. Furthermore, certain names are prohibited by law, such as those that may infringe upon the rights of others, promote hate speech, or incite discrimination. The restrictions on legal name selection in the Netherlands are reflective of the government's commitment to upholding ethical and legal standards in the country. By imposing these limitations, the Dutch authorities seek to safeguard the integrity of the legal system and protect the rights and interests of all individuals. It is essential for individuals to be aware of and compliant with these restrictions when choosing a legal name, as any deviation from the established guidelines may result in legal consequences. 


Overall, the statutory restrictions on legal name selection in the Netherlands are intended to ensure that names chosen by individuals are in line with the principles of legality, morality, and social order. 


Through the enforcement of these regulations, the Dutch government aims to create a harmonious and respectful society where individuals' rights are upheld, and the legal system operates with fairness and integrity.

Considering Trademark Laws in the Netherlands

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First come, first served. If you registered your company name at the KvK.nl, your company name already gets national protection. However, on a European level, its strongly advised to protect your brand with a Trademark. 

Trademark laws in the Netherlands play a crucial role in the legal name selection process for businesses. When establishing a new business or product name, it is essential to conduct thorough research to ensure that the chosen name does not infringe on existing trademarks. In the Netherlands, trademarks are granted based on the "first-to-file" principle, meaning that the first person or entity to register a trademark holds the exclusive rights to its use. This underscores the importance of conducting a comprehensive trademark search before finalizing a name. Additionally, businesses must consider the potential for their chosen name to be confused with existing trademarks, as this could lead to legal disputes and potential financial repercussions. The regulations regarding trademark laws are outlined in the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (BCIP) and the European Trademark Directive. These laws provide a framework for the registration and protection of trademarks, as well as the legal recourse available to those whose trademarks have been infringed upon. When selecting a legal name for a business in the Netherlands, it is important to ensure that the chosen name is unique and not likely to be confused with existing trademarks to avoid potential legal issues.
In order to select a legal name that complies with trademark laws in the Netherlands, businesses should start by conducting a thorough trademark search. 


This involves checking the register of trademarks with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to ensure that the chosen name is not already registered by another entity. If the name is available, businesses can proceed with the registration process, which typically involves submitting an application along with the necessary fees. It is important to note that the registration process can be lengthy, and businesses may need to seek legal advice to navigate the complexities of trademark laws. 


Additionally, businesses should consider consulting with an intellectual property lawyer to ensure that their chosen name is legally sound and does not infringe on existing trademarks. By adhering to the regulations outlined in the BCIP and the European Trademark Directive, businesses can select a legal name that is unique and protected under trademark laws in the Netherlands.

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Choosing a business name: all you need to know; Tips from the KvK.nl

Choosing a business name is a crucial decision that can greatly impact the success of your company. When it comes to naming your business, there are several things to consider in order to ensure that it accurately represents your brand and appeals to your target market. The Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands (Kamer van Koophandel or KvK) offers valuable tips to help guide entrepreneurs through the process of selecting a business name. F


irstly, it is important to choose a name that is unique and not already in use by another business. This can be checked using the KvK’s Business Register, which provides a database of existing company names. It is also important to select a name that is not too similar to existing business names, in order to avoid confusion within the marketplace. Another crucial factor to consider is the domain name availability for your business. It is essential to secure a domain name that aligns with your business name, as it will be a key component of your online presence and branding. Additionally, the KvK advises entrepreneurs to consider the international appeal of their business name, especially if they have plans to expand into global markets. A name that is difficult to translate or pronounce in other languages may hinder international success. Furthermore, it is important to consider the potential for trademark infringement when choosing a business name. 


Ensuring that your name does not infringe on existing trademark rights is essential to avoiding legal issues in the future. 


Lastly, the KvK suggests involving stakeholders in the naming process, as input from key team members and potential customers can provide valuable insights and perspectives. By considering these important factors and seeking guidance from reputable sources such as the KvK, entrepreneurs can make a well-informed decision when choosing a business name that sets the foundation for the success and growth of their company.

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The Trade Name Act protects your trade name in the Netherlands via the KvK.nl

The Trade Name Act in the Netherlands provides protection for your trade name, ensuring that your business identity remains secure and distinguishable from others. This regulation is enforced by the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel - KvK) in the Netherlands, which serves as the central registry for trade names in the country. By registering your trade name with the KvK, you are granted exclusive rights to use that name for your business, giving you legal protection against others who may try to use a similar name or confuse consumers. 


This protection is essential for maintaining the reputation and integrity of your business, as well as for preventing any potential confusion in the marketplace. Under the Trade Name Act, the KvK has the authority to refuse registration of a trade name if it is deemed too similar to an existing name, ensuring that each business maintains its individuality and does not infringe upon others. Additionally, the Act also allows for legal action to be taken against those who violate the exclusive rights of a registered trade name, providing a safeguard for businesses to protect their brand and reputation.
The registration process for a trade name through the KvK is straightforward and can typically be completed online through the KvK website (kvk.nl). By providing the necessary documentation and paying a small registration fee, you can secure the legal protection and exclusive rights to use your trade name in the Netherlands. 


This process not only ensures that your business is compliant with the Trade Name Act, but also gives you peace of mind knowing that your business identity is legally protected. Furthermore, registering your trade name with the KvK adds a level of professionalism and credibility to your business, as it demonstrates to customers and potential partners that your business is recognized and protected under Dutch law. By taking advantage of the protection offered by the Trade Name Act and registering your trade name with the KvK, you are securing the future success and integrity of your business in the Netherlands.

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