The process of starting a Dutch Company
Are you planning to start a Dutch company? INCO facilitates companies of all sizes. Whether you are planning to start a sole proprietorship, or a private company in The Netherlands, INCO can assist you with company formation Netherlands
Our Company Formation can help you decide on the right type of legal entity, in The Netherlands,and provide basic tax and legal support without any extra charge, to start your company in the Netherlands.
Once the company has been incorporated, you can visit a Dutch bank to open a corporate bank account and apply for your Tax ID’s. INCO can assist you and you can expect a valid VAT number within 2 weeks!
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Did you know, that the formation of a Dutch private limited company might not be necessary to obtain a VAT number or even a Business License? You can check out our Business Toolkit to find out more about the advantages of a ‘branch registration’ and obtaining a VAT number on behalf of a non-resident company.
The company formation process in The Netherlands only takes 1 to 3 days. For a full overview, check our company formation timeline.
Why start a company in The Netherlands
Are you planning to start a company in Europe, but are you not certain yet in which country? INCO can help you to choose the best country to start your European business.
INCO has set up companies in many countries, and we have had offices in Belgium, Germany, and Luxembourg. The Netherlands is by far the most welcoming for entrepreneurs and newcomers, and has relatively few regulations to form a new company.
You can form a Netherlands company within 1 day! There is no local bank account or personal visit to the Netherlands required. Whereas in countries like Germany, and Belgium, it’s required to open a bank account, before the company can be incorporated.
In case you are a highly skilled migrant in The Netherlands, you can form a Netherlands company, without any changes to your residency permit.
Company formation costs in the Netherlands
To form a company in The Netherlands, you should consider a budget of 1.000 - 1.500 EUR. There are several issues that need to be taken in consideration, to determine the exact costs of forming a Dutch business, such as:
How many shareholders and directors are involved? (Upto 2 or 3 are typically included without extra expenses)
Do all stakeholders speak English?
Do you need a personalised Formation Deed, which require a lot if input by the Dutch notary?
Is there a foreign legal entity involved as shareholder or director? This might require extra time to properly identify this legal entity (and the authority of the representatives).
Upon starting a business in The Netherlands, the following costs must be considered:
The company formation fee, which is charged by the Dutch Chamber of commerce within 1 or 2 weeks of the registration of the company (50 EUR);
The notary fees, which is charged by the notary. This fee is included in the company formation fee of INCO Business Group (1.000 - 1.500 EUR)
The share capital can not be considered an expense, but you should consider that the notary might require you to pay up this capital, if the sharee capital is more than 100 EUR
The Dutch virtual office fees, which vary between 60 EUR and 150 EUR for a standard registered office facility
The company formation fees charged by INCO Business Group, which are in general 500 EUR, for non-resident entrepreneurs
Accounting fees in the Netherlands, which start at 125 EUR per month
VAT Requirements in The Netherlands
In case you are a non-EU company planning to sell goods on the European market, you might be required to apply for a VAT number in EU countries. INCO can assist you to register a Dutch company, or to apply for a VAT number for your non-EU company. Once your activities in The Netherlands grow, we can assist you to set up a fully fledged office.
Developing your business in The Netherlands
Are you looking for new customers in Europe, or specifically in the Netherlands? INCO can assist you to set up marketing and sales channels, to get in touch with potential customers and develop your business in The Netherlands. In case you are active in Ecommerce, we can assist you to get connected with online marketplaces, such as Bol.com, Amazon.nl, Cdiscount, etc.
If someone wants to start a company in the European continent than The Netherlands ought to be the number one choice. This is true for companies of any size, and active in most industries.
Even if you are a relative small company (startup), and you don’t expect a lot of activity in the Netherlands for the first 12-24 months, you can easily start their company (low budget, and within 24 hours!) and have little bureaucratic affairs to worry about.
All government agencies and most companies in the Netherlands speak English, and we have a liberal attitude towards non-residents. In fact, the Dutch are not just ‘liberal’, in fact, we welcome overseas companies and expats with special tax incentives and easy access to funding programs. The Netherlands provides Entrepreneurs Visa’s for establish entrepreneurs and Startup Visa’s for promising & innovative startups.
INCO Business Group is a well established corporate service provider that can assist you with your whole process of company registration, as we have informed and assisted over 5.000 entrepreneurs and incorporated more than 1,000 legal entities since 2007.
In case your company is expecting to increase its activities in the Netherlands as soon as possible, it’s important to know that The Netherlands has high-level ports, strategically located airports and a modern network of roads and highways. In fact, more than 170 million consumers are located within 24 hours of Amsterdam or Breda, making the Netherlands the perfect springboard into the European market.
Consider also Holland’s competitive corporate tax structure (reducing its corporate tax rates even more!), highly educated and multilingual workforce, well-developed supply chain and it’s clear why multinationals like Coca-Cola, Nike, Adidas, IBM, Huawei and Google choose the Netherlands.
Are you not convinced yet to start a Dutch company? Check our article, in which we compare The Netherlands and Germany, or The Netherlands vs. Belgium, and determine in which country is best to start your new business.
Are you a Startup, and planning to move your business to the Netherlands? INCO can facilitate your business, and help you with the residency requirements, as well as with mentoring programs, and connect you to facilitators throughout the Netherlands.
Starting a business in The Netherlands, without paying taxes
Dutch companies are subject to corporate taxes, based on the Dutch tax law. However taxation of Dutch companies is only applicable, if the Dutch company makes a profit. In case you are planning to start a Dutch business, but you are not certain if the company will make a profit, you don’t have to worry about paying any taxes in The Netherlands.
If your Dutch company does not make a profit, it still needs to file it’s tax return in The Netherlands, and prepare a basic Financial Statement. But there are no obligatory social contributions, or other (hidden) taxes, which would apply to Dutch companies in general. Only if you employ staff, you are required to withhold taxes on the salary of your staff. VAT can also be relevant for your Dutch company, even if you are not making a profit. Our Dutch tax advisors can assist you to determine the best tax strategy for your Dutch company, before you decide to start.
Best way to start a business in the The Netherlands
The best way to start a business in The Netherlands, depends on your situation. Each company is different, and unique in its own ways. In fact, your own business looks different every year, and the way you expand your business to a new country, such as Netherlands, will also depend on the goals that you have set to achieve in Netherlands. You might be planning to expand your business, and increase sales. Or you want be planning to relocate your sales activities, even if its just in paper, to create a EU reputation for your customers. You might be looking for talent (or to relocate them) or simply to protect your assets in a safe Dutch bank. So although each company is unique, your requirements typically are not. We have made an overview of typical market entry scenarios so you can get familiar with the most important information, and how INCO can help you to start a Dutch business.
Select a Market Entry Strategy
Each company is different, and unique in its own ways. In fact, your own business looks different every year, and the way you expand your business to a new country, such as the Netherlands, will also depend on the goals that you have set to achieve in the Netherlands. You might be planning to expand your business and increase sales. Or aiming to relocate your sales activities, or to protect your assets in a safe Dutch bank.
Your company might be unique, your company’s requirements typically are not. We have made an overview of typical market entry scenarios for you to become familiar with the most important information and how INCO can help you to start a Dutch business.
The Dutch BV in the Netherlands
The Dutch BV, also known as the Dutch Private Limited Company, is one of the most used entities for companies in the Netherlands and for a variety of business operations. The Dutch BV can be registered quickly (within days) and only requires a share capital of 0,01 EURO! You don't need to appoint a local director to start a Dutch Limited Company, so you can set it up without a work permit or physical presence in the Netherlands. For most business activities, there is no need to apply for a business license, ...Read more
Formation Time 48 hours | Approx. Budget €5000 | Required Documents: Passport Copy + Proof of Address
Who are involved in the company formation process in the Netherlands?
In order to start a Dutch business, you will deal with the following (government) ‘bodies’:
The Dutch Notary (in case of a private limited)
The Dutch Chamber of Commerce (The Kamer van Koophandel (KvK.nl)
The ‘formation agent’ (such as INCO)
The Dutch Tax & Customs Administration (who will issue the Tax ID’s
The Dutch City Council (in case your Dutch bank requires you to obtain a BSN number in The Netherlands)
The IND (Immigration Office), in case you will apply for a residency permit (such as the Startup Visa)
And of course, you might have to deal with any of the cofounders, or board members that you will appoint for your Dutch company. Every board member, and shareholder (owning more than 25% of the shares) will have to provide full cooperation in the company formation process. This means they will need to provide their passport copy and proof of address, and have to get identified in person (video call), or need to provide legalised copies of their information (and signature).
Company formation in The Netherlands can be done by a single person. Even if that person is not resident. A single person can act as both director, as shareholder.
In case of a sole proprietorship, there is no shareholder involved, and the Dutch notary will also not be involved in the company formation process.
What are the different types of companies
(legal entities) in The Netherlands?
In case you are a highly skilled migrant in The Netherlands, you can form a Netherlands company, without any changes to your residency permit.
The most commonly used company form in The Netherlands is the B.V. (Besloten Vennootschap) The B.V. is a so-called private Limited Company, which can be compared to the German GMBH, Belgium BVBA, UK LTD and French Sarl. In order to start a Dutch business, it’s important to decide how your corporate structure will look like, and which legal entity suits with your needs.
For example; an independent IT contractor might typically be looking to establish a sole proprietorship or a branch registration of his overseas company. Whereas a multinational which likes to attract multiple investors might opt for a Public Limited company such as the Dutch N.V. For any type of business in between, the Dutch BV is typically a safe bet!
Things to consider before you start a Netherlands company
Before starting the process of forming a company in the Netherlands it is important to be familiar with some of the basic concepts around rules and practices related to the company registration process.
The best piece of advice that we can give you, is to give a call (or schedule a call, so we can call you!) to our Company Formation officers to discuss your situation and requirements. Based on the FAQ below, you might have
Economic overview of the The Netherlands
Company formation in The Netherlands is popular among global entrepreneurs and investors, because of the country’s economic and political stability.
The GDP of the Netherlands is one of the highest of the EU:
The GDP of Luxembourg and Ireland is only considered higher, due to the establishment of multinational holding companies in these countries for tax purposes. The Netherlands contributes 5% to European GDP
WHICH CITY IS BEST FOR DUTCH COMPANY FORMATION
The most popular cities for company formation in The Netherlands are Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Amsterdam is very well known, and many type of businesses feel that it makes most sense to start a company in the capital in The Netherlands, which also attracts the most amount of tourists and business travellers. If you like to know more about Company formation in Amsterdam , check our Toolkit page, or contact our company formation officers in case you like to visit our office in Amsterdam.
Rotterdam is more popular for company formation by industrialist and traders, who prefer to open a company close to one of the biggest ports in Europe (and of the world!).
Both Rotterdam and Amsterdam have great startup ecosystems, due to their large expat communities. But smaller cities like Breda and Utrecht are definitely catching up, and provide other advantages.
In case you are a high tech company you will be attracted to cities like Delft, Eindhoven and Eschede, where renounced technical universities have an attractive effect on high-tech companies.
In this image you find an overview of the amount of new startups (brown), the dissolved companies (blue) and the net amount of new company formation in these cities.
frequently asked questions
Does your Netherlands company require a VAT number?
Not every Dutch (non-resident) company will be VAT liable, and therefore not required (or able!) to apply for a VAT number.
Companies that do not perform any trading activities, in general to not have to apply for a VAT number (such as holding companies, etc.)
In case your company sells goods or services within the Netherlands, or the EU, your company might be required to apply for a VAT number. You can check our Tax Overview, or contact our Incorporation Officers for more information.
How Can I Open a Dutch Bank Account?
The opening of a corporate bank account in the Netherlands can be challenging. There is no legal requirement to open a Dutch bank account, so in case your Dutch company has no direct link with the Netherlands yet (such as a physical presence, staff, customers, etc.) we suggest that you consider using an overseas IBAN (for example at your current overseas bank), until you have a certain track record. Dutch banks, like ING, do open corporate bank accounts, even for brand-new companies. You can read more about that here.
What is the difference between a subsidiary or a branch registration in the Netherlands?
Simply put, you can only register a branch in the Netherlands, if you already own an overseas company. The advantage of registering your overseas company in Netherlands (at the Chamber of Commerce) is that you don’t have to work with a Dutch notary, and your overseas Company Law is leading (so Dutch corporate law requirements on publishing of Financial Statements, paying up share capital, etc. are not relevant).
Read More about choosing a branch or legal entity
Are there any Company Ownership-restrictions in Netherlands?
There are no company ownership restrictions in Netherlands, and non residents can own real estate, company shares, etc. without any limitations.
What Non-Resident requirements do I need to consider?
Read more about opening a bank account
What are the Legal Address Requirements in The Netherlands?
All companies formed in the Netherlands need to have a unique registered address, which will be used for the registration at the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). In general, its expected that the legal address is in the Netherlands, but this is not a legal requirement in order to form a company in the Netherlands. If your Dutch company is still in the startup phase, and does not have a physical presence in the Netherlands, it can use it’s overseas (residential or office) address.
In any case, a rental agreement, or permission letter, should be available which shows that the address can be used for this purpose.
In case you use a Dutch business address service, you need to consider that virtual office addresses are not allowed in the Netherlands. This means that any business address must be accessible by you, and provide at least a flexi-desk service. It also requires that a manned reception desk is available, and that the ‘business center’ can contact you if required.
Aside from the legal address, it’s possible to use a separate mailing address for any incoming mail from the tax authorities. Typically such letters are sent directly to the accountant or bookkeeper.
INCO can help you translate your Dutch government letters, or correspond with government agencies, as part of our Company Officer Service.
What are the Requirements for a Company Administrator/Tax Representative in Netherlands?
There is no legal requirement to appoint a Company Administrator or Tax Representative in Netherlands. However, when a non-resident company applies for a VAT or wage tax number, it’s common practice that it uses the services of a local registered bookkeeping firm to communicate with the tax authorities and file the appropriate tax returns. INCO can assist you in the application of tax number, and filing of tax returns.
What are the company name restrictions in Netherlands?
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.
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).
What is the process of starting a Company in the Netherlands?
Below, you will find the steps needed to have a fully functioning service company formerly registered in the Netherlands.
Start-Up Consult with a Company Formation Officer
Complete the application form, and provide company details
Collection of Documents
Approval & Signing
Visit to the Netherlands; Meet the notary and/or bank
Request your personalized Timeline based on your corporate structure and requirements
How long does it take to company formation in the Netherlands?
Company Formation in the Netherlands is not an integrated process and therefore it is difficult to give an exact time frame. Technically a company can be set up within 1 working day, if the formation is carefully prepared and all documents are provided by the incorporator. In reality it takes time to collect the right information, instruct the notary, receive the formation deed, and get the signed and/or legalized documents from the incorporator. In general it should be considered it takes between 5 and 10 working days to set up a company in the Netherlands.
How much does it cost to form a company in the Netherlands?
The costs to set up a company in the Netherlands depend on the company form that will be used. A sole proprietorship or Dutch branch can be registered at the Chamber of Commerce, without involving a Dutch notary. In this case the fees can be limited to the Chamber of Commerce fees (50 EUR). In case a Dutch legal entity is established, such as the Dutch BV or NV, notary fees (approx. 1.000- 1.500 EUR) need to be considered. The exact fees can depend on the complexity of the formation, and the amount of stakeholders.
READ MORE about setting up a Dutch BV within 1 day! Or check our Company Formation Timeline.
Do you require an Import License in Netherlands?
A common motivation for forming a company in the Netherlands is to be able to import products to Europe. For importing goods into Netherlands no import license is required. In case of certain foods, or goods, an import certificate might be required.
How does the Dutch Chamber of Commerce assist with company formation Netherlands?
The company formation procedure of a limited company in The Netherlands, does not require you to deal with the Chamber of Commerce (KvK). The Dutch notary will deal with the company formation process of the Dutch company, and will register the private limited at the Chamber of Commerce(KvK). Only in case of a sole propietorship, you will deal directly with the Kamer van Koophandel. Nonetheless, the website of the Chamber of Commerce (www.kvk.nl) provides a lot of information concerning company formation in Netherlands.
More information about forming a company in Netherlands
In this guide we have tried to give a non-legal and simplified overview of forming a company in the Netherlands. There are many industry specific requirements and regulations that we have not covered and we encourage you to look at the many industry specific articles that we have published in our Business Toolkit to start your company in the Netherlands.