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Company Formation
Entity Management 
Residency for Entrepreneurs

Getting Started with Entrepreneurship in Netherlands

Starting a business in the Netherlands can be exciting and rewarding. The entrepreneurial scene is vibrant, offering great opportunities for those with innovative ideas and the determination to bring them to life. The Netherlands provides a supportive startup environment and a robust economy, making it an attractive location for new business ventures.

In this article, we'll cover the fundamentals of starting a business in the Netherlands. This includes the process of establishing a business, available resources, and the distinct characteristics of Dutch business culture.

Understanding the Dutch Start-up Ecosystem

Key Characteristics of the Dutch Start-up Scene

The Dutch start-up scene is all about innovation, collaboration, and access to talent. The Netherlands stands out for its culture of openness and cooperation, where entrepreneurs share knowledge and support each other. The government supports start-ups through tax incentives, grants, and funding programs, contributing to the growth of the ecosystem. Successful Dutch start-ups like Adyen, Booking.

com, and TomTom have achieved global success, inspiring aspiring entrepreneurs and showcasing the country's start-up strength on the global stage.

Government Support for Entrepreneurs

The Dutch government provides a variety of support and resources for entrepreneurs aiming to start or expand their businesses. This includes access to information and guidance on business development, as well as networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs and industry professionals. In terms of funding and investment, the government facilitates access to capital through grants, loans, and subsidies, as well as offering tax incentives to encourage investment in new businesses.

Moreover, Dutch entrepreneurs benefit from streamlined regulatory processes and compliance requirements, made possible by the government's initiatives to simplify administrative procedures and provide online resources for business registration and legal compliance. This support helps entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of starting and operating a business, ultimately fostering a conducive environment for entrepreneurial success in the Netherlands.

Prominent Dutch Start-ups and Success Stories

Dutch start-ups have succeeded in technology, e-commerce, and sustainable energy. They have brought innovation to the start-up ecosystem through disruptive business models and advanced technologies. Aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from their focus on customers, emerging technologies, and investor networks. They can also prioritize sustainability, diversity, and social responsibility in their business strategies.

Essential Steps for Aspiring Dutch Entrepreneurs

Market Research and the Importance of Understanding Client Needs

It's really important for start-ups to understand what clients want in the Dutch market. There are different ways to do this, like using surveys, focus groups, and looking at the competition.

By learning what their target audience wants, entrepreneurs can make products or services that meet those needs and have a better chance of success. If they don't focus on understanding client needs early on, they could end up wasting time and resources making things that people don't want.

So, it's crucial for entrepreneurs to spend time and effort on market research to make sure their start-up is set up for success in the Dutch market.

Creating a Solid Business Plan

A solid business plan for a start-up in the Netherlands should include clear sections. These sections are the company's mission and vision, a comprehensive market analysis, a description of the products or services offered, a marketing and sales strategy, and a financial projection.

Market research and understanding client needs play a crucial role in the creation of a business plan for Dutch entrepreneurs. It helps in identifying the target market, competitors, and understanding the demand for the products or services.

When choosing the right legal structure for a start-up in the Netherlands, entrepreneurs need to consider factors such as liability, taxes, and administrative requirements. This decision has a direct impact on the business plan. For instance, the legal structure chosen will dictate the financial projections, the potential for investment, and future growth of the business.

Choosing the Right Legal Structure for Your Start-up

When starting a business in the Netherlands, it's important to think about several things when choosing the right legal structure. These include the amount of control you want, whether you need outside funding, and the potential for liability. The legal structure you choose will also affect how the business is taxed and how liability works.

For instance, a sole proprietorship is simple but comes with unlimited personal liability. On the other hand, a private limited company (BV) offers limited liability and tax advantages but has more rules and paperwork. A partnership allows multiple founders to share control and responsibility, but partners might be affected by each other's actions.

So, people thinking about starting a business need to look at options like BV, partnership, or sole proprietorship in the Netherlands. They should carefully consider the specific requirements and results of each, to make a good decision for their start-up.

Registration and Compliance for Start-ups in the Netherlands

Registering with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (kvk)

When you register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (kvk), you need to go to their official website and fill out an online form. You will need to give your personal details, business activities, and business location. You'll also need to provide identification, business permits, and legal business documents.

For foreign entrepreneurs, the process is similar, but they must have a valid residence permit and may need to provide extra documentation like a foreign company registration or trade register extract.

This information helps the kvk keep track of businesses in the Netherlands, making sure they follow the local laws and rules.

Obtaining Necessary Permits and Licenses

In the Netherlands, running a business needs permits and licenses. For instance, entrepreneurs might need a trade license (bedrijfsvergunning) for commercial activities and an industry-specific license (branchecertificaat) for certain professions.

Businesses also need to register with the Dutch Commercial Register (KvK), get a Value Added Tax (VAT) number, and follow environmental and health regulations. Entrepreneurs can start by checking the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KvK) website for permit and license info. They may have to contact the local municipality or government agencies to complete the application.

Requirements for permits and licenses can change based on the business and industry. So, it's important for entrepreneurs to research and understand the specific regulations that apply to their business.

Tax Considerations for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs in the Netherlands have to register for VAT through the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. They can do this by filling out an online form on their website to get a VAT identification number.

They can also benefit from the Small Businesses Scheme (KOR). This scheme allows eligible businesses to receive a tax exemption if their turnover is below a certain threshold. Its aim is to simplify tax procedures and reduce administrative burdens for small entrepreneurs.

When it comes to income tax, self-employed professionals should be aware of the three income tax brackets in the Netherlands. These range from 37.35% to 49.5%. Self-employed individuals are also required to file quarterly provisional taxes based on their expected annual income. They are eligible for various income tax deductions and credits.

Understanding these tax considerations is important for entrepreneurs to efficiently manage their finances and comply with Dutch tax laws.

Registering as an Entrepreneur for VAT

Entrepreneurs in the Netherlands have to follow a specific process to register for VAT. They need to:

  1. Create an account with the Dutch tax authorities.

  2. Submit an application for VAT registration.

  3. Provide information about their business, like expected turnover and the type of goods or services they will offer.

Start-ups or small businesses have the same VAT registration requirements as larger companies. The main difference is that small businesses might qualify for the Small Businesses Scheme , which frees them from charging and paying VAT. This scheme can significantly simplify their administration, saving time and money, especially in the early stages of their business.

Understanding the Small Businesses Scheme (KOR)

The Small Businesses Scheme in the Netherlands makes tax easier for small businesses. By choosing this scheme, businesses with a low annual turnover don't have to charge VAT to their customers. This reduces administrative work and costs for small enterprises. To qualify for the KOR, businesses must meet specific criteria, like having a turnover below a certain threshold and being based in the Netherlands.

Entrepreneurs meeting these requirements can apply for the scheme through Dutch tax authorities and benefit from simplified tax rules if approved. The KOR can greatly impact tax considerations for self-employed professionals, allowing them to focus on growing their business rather than dealing with complex tax requirements.

Income Tax Considerations for Self-Employed Professionals

Self-employed professionals in the Netherlands need to be aware of their income tax obligations and registration requirements.

They must file income tax returns and pay taxes on their profits. Also, they may benefit from the Small Businesses Scheme , which exempts them from charging VAT to clients and reduces their income tax obligations. However, they need to meet specific turnover criteria to qualify for the KOR.

Additionally, self-employed professionals must follow VAT registration requirements when their annual turnover reaches a certain threshold. Not adhering to these requirements may lead to penalties or legal consequences.

Therefore, it's important for self-employed professionals to stay informed about income tax considerations and VAT registration requirements to comply with regulations.


The Netherlands is great for entrepreneurs. The economy is strong and it's easy to start a business there. Also, there are incentives from the government for startups. Plus, you can access European markets and find lots of networking opportunities. It's a really good place to start a business.


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.

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