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Doing Business in Amsterdam

As an expat working in Amsterdam, you’re right in the business hub of the Netherlands, with many big international companies close by. Read everything you need to know about the job search, taxation, and business etiquette. We’ll help you make the most of your expat life in Amsterdam!
The Rembrandt Tower houses hundreds of offices.

Starting Off

If you are neither a Dutch citizen nor a national of an EU/EEA member state, you should check carefully with the IND (the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service). Due to your individual situation, you may be subject to special visa regulations. You can also hire a lawyer to take care of all aspects concerning your residency and visa status. Since 2012, the IND has been making working in the Netherlands easier for highly skilled professionals. A new short-stay pilot scheme for highly skilled migrants allows for a quicker, hassle-free visa application process. The maximum stay is 90 days. For more information, please contact the IND.

Double Taxation

All Amsterdam residents are subject to income tax on the money they earn worldwide. If you have to pay taxes in your home country as well, you qualify for a so-called double taxation relief. This means that you receive a credit towards the income tax you owe in one country because you have already paid income tax in another country. Moreover, there is a 30% tax reimbursement scheme for foreign employees who were hired abroad to work in the Netherlands.

It is also possible that your home country has signed a taxation treaty with the Netherlands. In this case, special rules apply. You should consult the treaty to figure out how taxes are handled and where to pay them. If there is no tax treaty, the 2001 Double Tax Decree applies. The Belastingdienst (tax office) has a list of all countries which maintain a taxation treaty with the Netherlands and provides more tax-related advice.

Registering Your Business

Expats who would like to start their own business in Amsterdam need to register their company with the tax authorities and the Kamer van Koophandel (KvK). Registration and the payment of an annual fee are compulsory. To register, you need the following documents:

  • a valid form of ID
  • a copy of a recent bank statement
  • an official letter showing your home address
  • your rental contract (if you use hired premises)

You will then receive proof of registration and an 8-digit number. This number has to appear on all invoices and official letters from your company. The KvK in Amsterdam is located on De Ruyterkade 5. Opening hours are from Monday through Friday, from 08:30 to 17:00.

Insuring Your Business

There are different types of insurance for new companies. Liability insurance protects the inventory and stock of your business. Health insurance, unemployment insurance, and pension plans protect you and your employees. Insurance cover can be very expensive, but it is definitely recommended for start-ups.

You can also become a member of the ZZP Nederland (zelfstandige zonder personeel Nederland) for 20 EUR (site only in Dutch). There, you can find advice and information on anything related to freelance work. They also provide their members with discounts on ZZP insurance policies.

Professional but Modest

Although the Dutch are easy-going and relaxed in private, they have a very professional business manner. There is no beating around the bush in business negotiations, as your Dutch contacts will often cut right to the chase. Expats who are used to a more indirect way of interacting may consider this a bit rude at first. However, once you’re used to it, it doesn’t leave much room for misunderstandings.

Despite what may seem like a harsh tone prevailing in business, people in leading positions usually make sure to establish a fairly egalitarian atmosphere in the workplace. While the dress code in most companies is quite formal, you will soon discover that people do not like to flaunt their position or financial status. Titles and formalities are often dropped after the first introduction. Instead, talking on a first-name basis is the rule.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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