aPPLYING FOR A Business Licence


When you start a Dutch company in The Netherlands, it’s important to consider if your planned business activities are regulated, and would require you to obtain a business license in The Netherlands. 


Our legal team has experience in a wide range of industries since we have incorporated more than 1.000 companies in the last 12 years. 


In general, most business activities in The Netherlands do not require a business license. Once you have started your Dutch company, and it has been registered at the Chamber of Commerce (with a company activity description) you are good to go! Even if you are planning to import or export goods, there is no import license or export license required (although in the case of particular products, certification is required). 


License for retail trade

If you sell products online or offline to consumers, you need permits. For example, if you sell food, you have to deal with the Commodities Act. And you have to take into account requirements for the opening times of a physical store in your municipality. For example, on some public holidays, you must be closed.


Do you want to sell on the street or at the door? Then in some municipalities, you must have a vent permit or at least report it. With a stall or sales car, you need a place permit again.

Business License for transport and logistics in The Netherlands

There are various permits for entrepreneurs in the transport sector. For example, you need permits for transporting goods within and outside the European Union. You must also have certain permits as a taxi company, bus transport, and water transport. In most cases, you can turn to the National and International Road Transport Organization (NIWO) for this.

Start a Food Truck or Restaurant in The Netherlands

In order to start a 'Food truck' or Restaurant it can be required to obtain a business license (Exploitatievergunning)  license from the City Council (see: for example

Aside from obtaining the License, you need to comply with the Food& Health Codes (NVWA, see below). We can help you to draft a manual for this, and there are Training Days available in the Netherlands to get familiar with the Dutch regulations.

Register your food business with NVWA
If your company manufactures, processes or sells food products, you must register your business with NVWA.

Draw up a hygiene code or use an approved one

If you prepare food and drink, you must work according to a hygiene code. You can draw up one yourself or comply with a certified hygiene code (e.g. the code of the Hotel and Catering Industry Board). All hygiene codes must be based on European HACCP principles. If you work in accordance with an approved hygiene code for your sector, you automatically fulfil the legal requirements.

Authorization for financial services

Are you an insurance company, administration office or tax advisor? Then there are permits that you must apply to the Financial Markets Authority or De Nederlandsche Bank. Make sure you first take out professional liability insurance. This is because it is mandatory to get a permit.


Start a Security Company in The Netherlands

Do you want to set up and maintain a private security organization or detective agency? Then you need a permit. There are different types of security organizations:


  • security companies that protect (various) organizations

  • corporate security services that only secure your own organization

  • money and value transport companies

  • private emergency centres


Even if you are a catering entrepreneur and employ porters yourself, you must also have a permit. You apply for the license and ministerial permission from the Ministry of Justice and Security (J&V).

Which conditions must you meet?

Your employees must meet the training requirements for security officers or investigators. There are also regulations that have to do with identification, uniform, and privacy. Managers must request permission from Justis separately. Private emergency centres must be certified by Kiwa NCP.


Our team has experience in obtaining a security license.

User license

You need a user permit if there are greater risks. For example, when large groups of people use a building simultaneously or in the presence of hazardous substances.

A user permit is required in buildings or installations in which:

  • more than fifty people will be present at the same time;

  • substances that are commercially hazardous are stored as indicated in the 2012 Building Decree Regulation.

Other permits

There are numerous other permits that may be required when conducting your business. This includes a demolition permit, logging permits, exit permit, construction permit.

Inco Business GroupToolkit



Our experts have combined their knowledge and strengths to create a tool we call the Business Toolkit

The Business Toolkit will help you and entrepreneurs from around the globe to truly understand the Dutch market, regulations and laws. And will enable you to take a deep-dive the many business-related topics.

This way you will easily get up to speed with our Company formation process, Dutch Tax & Accounting and our corporate services. 

Make sure to check out our handy checklists, explainer video's and extensively written Whitepapers too!