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Starting a Business in the Netherlands

Do you want to start your own business in the Netherlands because you have a great idea, or simply don’t want to work for a boss anymore? Then the Netherlands, with its international outlook, is a good place to start your own business.

Before you start, it is important to take into account several things such as “Where to register the company, what kind of legal form will I use, what kind of taxes will I be confronted with?” This article provides a first and quick overview from a tax/legal perspective for people who would like to start their own business in the Netherlands as self-employed entrepreneurs or freelancers. However, be aware that the tax and legal situation for a self-employed entrepreneur or freelancer planning to start a business is quite complicated. It is recommended to seek out professional tax and legal advice before starting your own business.

You will find detailed information on starting your own business in the Netherlands at the website of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). The website of the Dutch tax authorities (Belastingdienst) provides additional information in English on starting your own business. Another handy website is that of Syntens, a Dutch Government organization aiming to stimulate innovation in small companies.

First Step Before You Start

Before you start your own business in the Netherlands as a self-employed entrepreneur or freelancer, you need to check whether you a need a Dutch residence permit (MVV) or work permit (TWV). This can be done at the Dutch immigration service IND.

 If you are an EU-citizen, you are free to move within the European Union for the purpose of self-employment and do not need to register at the IND.  However, if you are from a non-EU country, you need to apply for a residence permit at the Dutch immigration service. Whether a permit is granted depends on some economic criteria such as whether you are qualified to run a business (diploma, license), there is business plan, or the company is expected to add something to the Dutch economy. Please note that the application will be reviewed very carefully. 

Once this is completed, you need to register yourself at the local municipality and apply for a personal number called Burgerservicenummer (BSN).


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