start a dutch rep. office


When you are expanding your business to The Netherlands, you can consider starting with a ‘representative office’, also called a ‘liaison office’.

The main purpose of a representative office is to represent your overseas company, in a new market (such as The Netherlands).

The ‘representative office’ is typically limited to providing information to prospective customers or business partners and is not able to perform any independent sales activities (as would be operated by a ‘sales office’).

The exact restrictions and purpose of the representative office are typically decided by the business owner/shareholders. By restricting the freedom of the rep. office to perform any further activities, they also limit their liabilities and formalities of running a full-on operation.

There are also legal or tax restrictions and conditions to consider when starting a representative office in The Netherlands.

The representative office typically does not require a full registration, as would be the case with a permanent establishment in The nether lands that perform activities. Therefore it’s important to understand how the Dutch representative office, compares to other types of business structures. 

Which legal entity is most suitable for a ‘representative office’ in The Netherlands

The representative office, as definition, refers to the type of operations of a business structure. It does not necessarily mean that a specific kind of company form is used. A representative office could be structured via a Dutch B.V. (private limited), or via a branch registration. In fact, a representative office could even be structured in such a manner, that there would be no requirement at all to register the representative office at the Chamber of Commerce (or tax authorities!).

Advantage of starting a representative office in The Netherlands

The main reason that companies decide to start a representative office in The Netherlands, is to improve their local reputation, and the way they can interact with the Dutch market.

The representative office allows companies to use a local phone number, and address, and to involve a local sales agent that can represent the company under certain conditions.

How to start a Dutch representative office

  1. Select the legal Entity

  2. Consider the formation requirements & timeline

  3. Decide on a trade Name

  4. Consider the costs of registration

  5. Get a full understanding on the legal and administrative requirements

  6. Formation of the Company and registration at the Chamber of Commerce

  7. Apply for Tax ID’s 

INCO Business Toolkit



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 into the topics displayed below. 

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

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