Start a business in the Netherlands

If you want to start a a new business in the Netherlands, you must observe various government and other rules. This checklist tells you which general obligations you must fulfill when starting a company.

This checklist is ageneral guideline. Your specific situation may require you to fulfil other obligations as well. Please be sure to consult the sector-specific information for your business sector for additional requirements and information. Or consult one of the sector-specific checklists on this website.

start a business

1. Check whether you fulfil the conditions for staying in the Netherlands

Entrepreneurs who intend to stay in the Netherlands must fulfil a number of conditions (see Coming to the Netherlands). If you are not an EU citizen, you will also need to apply for a temporary and permanent residence permit simultaneously.

If you plan to start doing business in the Netherlands, you will also need to have or apply for a business bank account (IBAN). The Dutch Banking Association has created a Quick Scan to help you find out if you are eligible. Read how it works.

2. Write a business plan

You don’t have to write a business plan when setting up your own business, but it helps. In a business plan, you outline your plans: think about company formation and the legal business structure you want to choose; what are you going to sell or produce, who will be your clients, how will you find financing? These are all matters you need to have thought about before you begin, if you want to have a chance of succeeding. To find out more about different ways of financing, watch our webinar ‘Financing your businessin the Netherlands’.

3. Different starting points

You may be starting your company as an innovative startup, from an unemployment benefit, a job, or as a student or minor. Find out what specific conditions apply to your situation.

4. Select a legal business structure

Owners of a new company must first select a legal business structure (e.g. sole proprietor or a private limited company). The legal structure determines such issues as liability and tax obligations.

5. Select a trade name for your company

Setting up your own business also means choosing a trade name (company name). You must have one to register your company in the Commercial Register.

6. Register with the Dutch Commercial Register and Dutch Tax Administration

New businesses must register with the Dutch Commercial Register at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK). The KVK will pass on your details to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, who will issue you with a VAT identification number, to use for correspondence and invoices to your customers, and a VAT number, to use for your dealings with the Tax Administration. You will receive these numbers from the Tax and Customs Administration by post.