Doing Business in The Netherlands

Though small in size, the Netherlands offers a multitude of positive attributes to interest investors and expansion-minded business owners.

The Netherlands has a thoroughly modern, business-oriented economy and is positioned in an extremely favorable strategic region. The country's location offers ideal access to major markets in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. While the Netherlands offers an enticing combination of favorable business climate and strategic location, it does present a specific set of challenges for new businesses. The country's regulatory, tax and legal systems are sometimes difficult for newcomers to navigate, which makes local assistance on the ground highly valuable.

Why you should consider expanding into the Netherlands

As one of the world's more advanced economies, the Netherlands combines first-rate infrastructure with a strategically advantageous position in mainland Europe. The country has found favor as a perfectly-situated base of operations for European, Asian and American companies seeking to expand their global reach.

The country's competitive tax rates and pro-business policies also make the Netherlands fertile ground for growth-minded foreign firms.

The Netherlands' government is a major proponent of public-private partnerships and technological innovation. This forward-looking posture allows companies the necessary room to expand and innovate.

The country's workforce is highly-educated and skilled, offering new firms an attractive pool of labor from which to draw. As one of Europe's great cultural centers, the Netherlands is a very appealing posting for workers. The financial sector in the Netherlands is well-developed, though securing credit can be tricky due to the absence of public registry coverage.

Finally, importing and exporting goods may be done freely and inexpensively in the Netherlands. It takes just a week to ship or receive goods, with only four documents required.

The challenges of doing business in the Netherlands

While the Netherlands is a modern, business-friendly economy with much to offer investors, it isn't without challenges.

Starting a new business may be a bit of a minefield, as there are several steps new businesses must take that can easily create confusion. Money must be deposited in a financial institution, the new firm's name must be proved valid and appropriate and a deed of incorporation must be created.

New businesses must then complete a two-step registration process, filing documents with the local chamber of commerce and area tax authorities.

The acquisition of required construction permits is also a somewhat drawn out affair. It takes, on average, 150 days to secure permits. This is largely because 14 separate steps must be taken during the permit process. The Netherlands also has a country-specific set of construction requirements, including an investigation of soil quality and the need to alert regulatory agencies about the status of issues such as heating installation.

Likewise, securing electricity for a new building project is often time-consuming, requiring an outside inspection. A contract with an electrical supplier is necessary before a meter may be installed—another step which may eat up valuable business time.

Before a property is registered new businesses must secure the services of a notary and conduct a title search at the Land Registry. After the deed is transferred and registered, registration with the relevant tax authority must be completed.

Finally, the Netherlands requires nine annual corporate tax payments. These payments typically require 127 hours of company time to file. While health insurance taxes are the most time-intensive, the Netherlands has a variety of other tax payments new businesses must contend with. Without knowledgeable local help, these taxes can easily confuse those unfamiliar with the Dutch tax system.


Lack of local knowledge can result in tax penalties, lost business and criminal and civil litigation. That’s why, when you’re ready to expand your business to the Netherlands, it’s essential that you have an experienced partner with a global footprint. CT has offices and partners around the globe to make sure your local needs are met, accurately and on-time.

CT can help you get set up, provide a single point of contact and provide you with customized solutions for all your needs. We know that one-size does not fit all. From incorporation to dissolution, major mergers and acquisitions, registered agent services and all the day-to-day compliance needs in between, we’ll make sure you have the right support tailored for your global needs.

We offer a full suite of international products and services for our customers, including:

Global Transactional Services
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CT has helped businesses and law firms expertly manage compliance issues for 120 years. To learn more about how we can help you better manage your global compliance needs, contact a CT representative at 844-318-1457 (toll-free US).

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