starting a dutch business

as a multinational 

answer from the no.1 company formation agent

In case you are a multinational or large organisation, and you are considering moving your holding activities (or head office) to the Netherlands, it’s important to get your information from Netherland’s No1 incorporation agent.

Aside from the general information on how to start a business in the Netherlands, as a multinational you require dedicated support, from all-seasoned tax and legal experts that can assist you to start a holding company in The Netherlands.

Developing a strategy to determine the best country for your European headquarters, demands multidisciplinary expertise together with proper and timely planning.


What are the reasons for setting up a Dutch holding company?

The Netherlands has a very interesting entrepreneurial climate for multinational head-offices and (intermediary) holding companies. As such, The Netherlands also has a long history as an important jurisdiction in company structures, aimed at tax planning and asset protection. 

Although the international landscape of corporate and tax regulations has changed a lot, there are still ways to benefit from the interesting tax incentives of The Netherlands. It’s important to emphasize that companies planning to benefit from the Dutch entrepreneurial climate, are expected to commit, and therefore invest in its expansion to the Netherlands.  It’s not an option to create an artificial presence while taking full advantage of the available tax benefits, as is the trend in most countries worldwide, that is focussed on fair taxes. You will find more information on this below. 


So why do companies like Nike, Netflix, IKEA, Cisco, Tesla and (since Brexit)  European Medicine Agency(E.M.A), decide to start their European headquarters in The Netherlands?


The exact business motives for the setup of a holding company in The Netherlands can vary by industry. However, in general, we can group the business motives under five categories.

1. Access to new talent & technology 


In order to grow your multinational organisation, you need access to high-quality natural and human resources. It’s important to have access to professional service providers and to be able to source for new technologies and/or intellectual property. The Netherlands has all this talent and technology to offer!

In the Netherlands, a number of thriving industry clusters provide a high concentration of knowledge and expertise within a compact geographical area. 

Driven by world-class research institutes and public-private partnerships in a structure that combines academia, industry and government, the Netherlands has a long tradition of looking outside its borders to advance the growth of its thriving sectors, which include agri-food, IT, chemicals, high-tech systems, life sciences and health, and creative services.

The Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMSIX) is the world’s largest data traffic hub, both by numbers of members and total traffic. The World Economic Forum ranks the Netherlands 7th place worldwide for technological readiness and, on average, the country has one of the fastest internet speeds in Europe.

The high quality of the Dutch digital infrastructure makes The Netherlands an attractive location for foreign investors.

2. Gateway to Europe and International markets  

In order for a business to succeed in the current competitive marketplace, businesses must provide themselves with a gateway to international markets and trade. The Netherlands is the ideal gateway to these markets, with 95% of Europe’s most lucrative markets within 24 hours reach from Amsterdam or Rotterdam.

The country’s strategic location on the North Sea, with a large river delta, three deepwater ports and extensive inland waterways leading into the heart of the continent, is served by world-class logistics infrastructure and technology. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is connected to one of the most high-frequency domestic rail networks in Europe, with direct high-speed rail connections to Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt and London.

3. Achieving efficiency gains and cost reduction 

An important motive to start a European holding company is to streamline the current European activities, such as manufacturing, distribution, R&D and sales, and reduce operating costs.

Finding a location that offers access to a high volume of highly educated, skilled, multilingual workers can truly make the difference for business success. Although the salaries in The Netherlands are relatively high, compared to East and Southern Europe, very little time is lost to labour disputes. Aside from that, the Dutch staff provides a high return, due to it’s no 4 global ranking of its education and training system (WEF Global Competitiveness Index).  As a whole, the cost of labour in The Netherlands is highly competitive. 


Ranked 4th in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index 2016, The Netherlands scores high in terms of the efficiency of its border and customs procedures, the quality of its logistics and IT infrastructure, the ease of use and affordability of its shipping, and the level of professionalism in the sector.

The Netherlands has retained its status as the world's most connected country in DHL’s 2016 Global Connectedness Index.

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!