How to start a business in the Netherlands

Starting a business in the Netherlands

Are you thinking of opening a business in the Netherlands, your new homeland where you’ve just moved in? Congratulations! But, before that, make sure you go through this guide where we have discussed a to z about how to start a business in the Netherlands.

How to open a business in the Netherlands? – step by step guide

1. Start-up visa and resident permit
Before going to the next step, the first thing you have to look at is whether you fulfill the requirements of staying in the Netherlands or not. If you do not fall under the EU citizen category, you have to apply for a resident permit in this country. Remember, you can always apply for a residence permit as a self-employed entrepreneur. According to the laws in the Netherlands, since 2015, you can apply for a residence here, known as a startup visa. In short, it is a one-year entrepreneur visa that gives international entrepreneurs the permit to live in this country for one long year. So, if you are thinking of starting a business in the Netherlands, you have to get your hands on a startup visa and a residence permit for sure.

2. Open a business bank account
Furthermore, you have to open business bank accounts for handling all finance regarding your new startup. In this way, dealing with your business administration will become easier and less time-consuming. Another perk of opening a separate business bank account is that it will allow you to protect your personal assets and money in case of bankruptcy or other frauds. So once you get your startup visa, the next thing you have to do is to open a bank account in your nearby trusted and qualified Dutch bank. If you are looking for a business account, we would recommend looking into Finom, one of the fastest way for entrepreneurs and SMEs to open an account in the Netherlands. They offer their platform and documentation in English.

3. Strategize your business plan
Strategizing and understanding your business plan is a must before you consider directly jumping into a startup. So do your primary research and write down your business plan in the first place. Additionally, do not forget about your business’s company formation and legal structure. Before starting a small business in the Netherlands, first think about your potential customers, what your business will sell, how the Dutch market is, how much money you have, where you want to see your business in the upcoming years, and so on. So, if you are new in the world of business, starting up without any solid plan would not be wise, especially as an ex-pat.

4. Register with the Dutch business register and the Dutch tax administrator
All new businesses in the Netherlands must get registered under the Dutch Business Registry at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK). Once you successfully go through the business registration in the Netherlands, now it is time when the KVK will pass on the details related to your business and you to the tax department. Please note that all private limited companies and public limited companies have to register through a civil-law notary in the Netherlands. However, in case you have a startup in the Netherlands, but your company is not permanently inaugurated in this country, you may only require registering with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

Once you get done with these four steps mentioned above, you are almost done. All you have to do is follow a few steps mentioned below for a wonderful business journey in the Netherlands. So let’s have a glance at them.

  • Register as an employer for payroll taxes and social securities
  • Examine whether you need a professional qualification
  • Consult the coming plan for your business location
  • Be aware of the Dutch environmental regulations
  • Take fire safety measures for your business premises
  • Report a home business
  • Draw up general terms and conditions
  • Create your business account
  • Get your hands on business insurance if you need
  • Personal data processing
  • Support from Dutch government organizations

Business loans in the Netherlands

You must opt for a business loan from Dutch banks or private lenders under the legal contract for a startup. Borrowing money from Dutch banks as an ex-pat is not as easy as it seems. You have to provide your residential papers, employment proof, salary slip, and other valid documents that prove your authenticity.

Dutch banks like ING, Bunq and ABN AMRO examine these papers properly and then only allow you to obtain money. Please note that business loan interest rates in the Netherlands vary from bank to bank. So, only get one after going through the terms and conditions.

Top business ideas in the Netherlands for ex-pats

So far, the Netherlands is highly popular for the best business culture and etiquette. People here are well-behaved, disciplined, and responsible. Altogether, these make this country a perfect place for starting up a new business. Here, we have researched and noted down a few best business ideas in the Netherlands. So, let’s have a look at them.

  • Financial planner: the Netherlands is a financially flourished country, the residents often look for financial planners for smooth and professional guidance.
  • Home food delivery: a large number of citizens in the Netherlands fall under the category of working-class people. Therefore, if you own a food business that makes food from your original country, it will benefit you and the residents of this country. You can easily sell your food via delivery services like or
  • Selling creative products: people nowadays are fond of making things out of scratch. So then, why not help them by selling some creative products? The best part is that it is one of the best online business ideas in the Netherlands.

Additionally, if you want, you can also try some other startup ideas, including marketing copywriter, personal trainer, cleaning services, interior decorator, construction company, tour guide, souvenir shop owner, etc.