top of page


Company Formation
Entity Management 
Residency for Entrepreneurs

Can Foreigners Open Companies in Netherlands?

Are you a foreigner interested in starting a business in the Netherlands? Setting up a company in a new country may feel overwhelming, but it is possible for foreigners to open businesses in the Netherlands.

In this article, we will explore the process and requirements for foreigners looking to establish their own companies in the Netherlands. We'll guide you through understanding the legal framework, navigating bureaucratic procedures, and the essential steps for starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreign national.

Overview of the Netherlands as a Business Hub

The Netherlands is a great place for foreign business. It has good taxes, a strategic location in the European Union, and great infrastructure.

Foreign investors can use tax treaties to avoid paying tax twice. The Dutch government also offers incentives to attract foreign investment.

To start a business in the Netherlands, foreigners must meet legal requirements. This includes getting a residence permit, registering at the Dutch Commercial Register, and following business rules. Understanding Dutch law and taxes is important.

In short, the Netherlands is a good place for foreigners to start and run businesses. With the right knowledge, foreigners can open a company there and benefit from the business-friendly environment.

Advantages of Starting a Business in the Netherlands

Foreign owners interested in starting a business in the Netherlands can benefit from tax advantages. For instance, they can enjoy a tax exemption on profits from substantial shareholdings and various fiscal provisions. The country offers eligibility for foreign individuals and legal entities to establish a business, with popular legal structures being a private limited company (BV) or a public limited company (NV).

Legal Requirements for Foreigners Starting a Business in the Netherlands

Eligibility Criteria for Foreigners

Foreigners who want to start a business in the Netherlands need to meet certain criteria and legal requirements. This includes getting a valid residence permit and registering with the Dutch Trade Register at the Chamber of Commerce. They also need to submit a business plan that outlines their enterprise, expected cash flow, and potential impact on the Dutch economy.

While there are no restrictions based on nationality, people starting a business in specific sectors like banking and insurance may face extra regulatory hurdles. It's important for foreigners to understand the legal framework and tax implications of doing business in the Netherlands. By meeting these requirements, foreigners can successfully set up a business in the country.

Necessary Legal Business Structure for Foreign Enterprises

Foreign companies wanting to open a business in the Netherlands need to think about legal structures like the private limited company or the public limited company.

There are specific requirements for foreign-owned companies regarding legal structures and business registration. These include having a local representative, a business address, and registration with the Dutch Trade Register.

The legal structure for foreign companies is different from that of domestic companies in the Netherlands, as foreign-owned companies have to follow distinct taxation rules and international legal regulations, like those from the European Union.

Process for Obtaining a Residence Permit

To get a residence permit in the Netherlands, a foreigner needs to apply at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). During the application, they need to provide personal identification like a passport, proof of enough money to support themselves, and a valid reason for living in the Netherlands, like work, study, or family reunification. There are also fees and sometimes medical exams. The required documents and rules depend on the specific situation and how long they plan to stay.

Getting the permit can take a few weeks to a few months, so it's important to apply early.

Importance of Having a Business Address in the Netherlands

Foreigners who want to start a business in the Netherlands need to meet legal requirements. One of these requirements is having a physical business address. This address is important for officially registering the company and meeting regulatory obligations. Without a business address, foreign entrepreneurs may encounter challenges when trying to set up their business, like difficulties in getting the required permits and licenses.

Having a business address in the Netherlands is also essential for complying with Dutch tax and regulatory requirements. This includes maintaining accurate financial records, which is necessary for tax reporting and other legal duties. Therefore, having a business address plays a significant role in ensuring that foreign-owned companies can operate within the legal framework of the Netherlands.

Can a Foreigner Open a Company in Netherlands?

Types of Companies Foreigners Can Register

Foreigners interested in registering a company in the Netherlands have different business structures to choose from. These include sole proprietorship, partnership, private limited company, and public limited company. Each structure has specific requirements and restrictions for foreigners to consider.

For instance, non-resident foreigners can open a private limited company, but they must appoint a local director and have a physical office in the Netherlands. There are also options for foreigners without Dutch residency, such as applying for a startup visa or partnering with a resident. These options allow non-residents to establish a business presence in the Netherlands, contribute to the economy, and benefit from the business-friendly environment.

Starting a Business without Dutch Residency

Foreigners who do not have Dutch residency can still start a business in the Netherlands under certain eligibility criteria. They need to have a Dutch legal representative or agent who is a resident or has a work permit in the country.

Foreigners can register various types of businesses, such as a private limited company , a sole proprietorship, or establish a branch of an existing foreign company without needing Dutch residency.

The process for registering a business in the Netherlands from abroad involves several steps:

  • Obtaining a visa if necessary

  • Registering the company at the Dutch Trade Register

  • Meeting legal and financial requirements, like providing a business plan and demonstrating sufficient funds.

Additionally, understanding the Dutch business environment and local regulations is important for foreign owners to navigate the process successfully.

Guide to Registering from Abroad

To register a business in the Netherlands from abroad, foreigners must meet certain legal requirements. These include having a valid passport, obtaining a social security number (BSN), and registering with the Dutch Trade Register at the Chamber of Commerce.

Foreigners starting a business in the Netherlands also need to secure a residence permit. This involves applying for a residence permit for entrepreneurship, providing a solid business plan, demonstrating sufficient financial means, and meeting the legal conditions set by the Dutch government.

It's worth noting that a foreigner can start a business in the Netherlands without Dutch residency. However, having a residence permit is important for accessing various government services and benefits. Additionally, it provides a sense of security and stability for running a business in the country.

Financial Considerations for Foreign Owners

Setting Up Business Records and Accounting Systems

Setting up business records and accounting systems as a foreign-owned company in the Netherlands involves several necessary steps.

First, it's important to register the company with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and obtain a VAT number.

Maintaining meticulous financial records and establishing a reliable accounting system is essential to ensure compliance with Dutch regulations and tax requirements.

The Dutch tax system can significantly impact the financial considerations for foreign owners establishing a business in the country.

Understanding the various tax implications, including corporate tax, dividend tax, and VAT, is important for proper financial planning.

Foreign-owned companies in the Netherlands have the option to pay taxes through various channels, such as electronic payment, direct debit, or engaging the services of a tax representative.

Familiarizing oneself with the available tax payment options is crucial to meet financial obligations and maintain compliance with Dutch tax laws.

Understanding the Dutch Tax System

Foreign business owners who want to open a company in the Netherlands should understand the Dutch tax system. This includes knowing about corporate tax rates, value-added tax (VAT), and personal income tax.

The Dutch tax system affects foreign-owned companies operating in the Netherlands. They have to follow the same tax rules and regulations as domestic companies.

It's important for foreign-owned companies to know their options for paying taxes in the Netherlands. They can use tax incentives and deductions like the 30% ruling for highly skilled migrants.

Understanding the Dutch tax system is important for foreign business owners who want to set up and run a company in the Netherlands.

Options for Paying Taxes as a Foreign-Owned Company

Foreign-owned companies have several options for paying taxes in the Netherlands. One common option is corporate income tax, which is based on profits at a rate of 15-25%. Another option is dividend withholding tax on profit distribution to shareholders. Foreign-owned companies may also be subject to VAT on goods and services sales. It's crucial for them to be aware of tax implications, as non-compliance can lead to penalties.

Special provisions like the participation exemption can exempt certain dividends and gains from taxation.

Special Provisions for EU, EFTA, and Border Region Entrepreneurs

Benefits for EU and EFTA Citizens Starting a Dutch Company

Starting a company in the Netherlands as an EU or EFTA citizen comes with several advantages:

  • Freedom to work and live in the Netherlands without a work permit

  • No requirement to register the business with the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service

  • Access to special tax arrangements like the 30% ruling

  • Option for simplified border permit for residents of border regions

These benefits make the Netherlands a favorable business environment for EU and EFTA citizens, with specific provisions to facilitate company formation and operation.

Regulations for Residents of Border Regions

Residents of border regions who want to start a business in the Netherlands must follow specific rules and requirements. These may involve getting a residence permit and meeting criteria related to the type of business they want to set up.

Living in a border region can affect the process of getting a residence permit for business purposes. This is because there might be special provisions and advantages for people living in these areas. For instance, those in border regions might have access to special agreements or programs to make it easier to do business between neighboring countries.

It's important for residents in border regions to understand these rules and potential benefits if they're thinking about starting a business in the Netherlands.

Over to you

Foreigners can open companies in the Netherlands. They can establish various businesses like sole proprietorships, partnerships, private limited companies, and public limited companies. However, there are specific requirements and procedures to follow. This includes obtaining residency permits and registering with the Dutch Trade Register.

Additionally, foreign entrepreneurs may need to appoint a local representative or director for their company. It's important for foreigners to be familiar with Dutch business laws and regulations before starting a business in the country.


Kommentare konnten nicht geladen werden
Es gab ein technisches Problem. Verbinde dich erneut oder aktualisiere die Seite.
House of Companies launches the Entity Management Portal wrapped in an entrepreneurial community.
DL vermeulen

House of Companies launches the Entity Management Portal wrapped in an entrepreneurial community.

Download Our 'Doing Business' in NL Guide
bottom of page