VNO-NCW, the largest Dutch employers' federation, asked 5 Questions to Dutch Formation Expert Dennis Vermeulen, regarding British companies moving to the Netherlands due to Brexit. Read his answers below!
Now that Brexit is really in sight, more and more British companies are establishing themselves in the Netherlands. "SMEs too," says Dennis Vermeulen, director of the INCO Business Group. He recently assisted the 100th company. "SMEs were first feeling out the situation and are now starting Plan B."
One hundred companies! Are they all British?
'Around 60 are British companies that want to have an establishment in the EU, the other 40 are foreign companies that initially had the UK in mind, but now see the Netherlands as an alternative base for the European market. They come from India, China, Ireland and the US and all say they want a Dutch location because of Brexit."
Which sectors are they in?
'They are production and trade companies. There are importers in Great Britain among those moving to the EU. It was quite cheap to ship goods from London to Rotterdam and beyond. But there are also a few cheese producers who want to keep stocks within the EU after Brexit. Furthermore, a few pharmaceutical companies, Asian animal feed companies and recruitment companies."
Do you see a trend?
"Since 2016 we regularly have a small event in London to point British companies to the Netherlands. In any case, we see that our focus is increasingly shifting to SMEs. Large organizations such as the EMA and large companies have the capacity to relocate fairly easily. This is different for SMEs, which is very practical. We must help them with matters such as how to get a VAT number. The British SMEs first looked the cat out of the tree and are now starting their plan B. "
“Throughout history, the relationship between the British and Dutch have been great and this will stay the same in the future.” - Dennis Vermeulen, CEO at INCO
Are these "real" companies or glorified shell companies?
"They certainly are real companies. They are existing companies that really want to get a foothold in the Netherlands. They need an office, staff and, depending on the type of business, also storage space. We are an administrative office for them that helps with, for example, setting up a private limited company, opening a bank account and so on."
The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency reported in August that more than 400 foreign companies are interested in the Netherlands. What does that say?
“It's kind of important that there is a kind of momentum. Research shows that foreign companies experience the Netherlands as very international and much less official and formal than, for example, Belgium, France or Germany.
In addition, throughout history, the relationship between the British and Dutch have been great and this will stay the same in the future. Companies from all over the world move to a certain location if a few fellow countrymen like it, you shouldn't underestimate that. If we have a group of Indian companies, more will follow that will see the Netherlands as the most logical entry point in the EU, as they do now with Great Britain."