People willing to work or develop a business abroad may discover that Holland offers great opportunities and rewarding experiences. From a job-seeker’s perspective Holland is praised for its high salaries and excellent living standards. On the other hand the country has numerous attractive sectors for investors planning to start businesses.

According to the general statistics a large percentage of the internationals arriving in Holland intend to start their own companies. This is a concise overview of the procedures necessary to incorporate a company locally.

Obtaining a residence permit

Citizens of the EU, Switzerland and the EEA do not have to worry about a residence permit, because they can work, travel and register companies freely in the EU member states, including Holland. On the other hand, citizens of countries outside the EU and the EEA first have to obtain a permission to reside in Holland from the local immigration authorities. Luckily for them, as of 2015, the Dutch government supports a program allowing foreign investors to obtain a 1-year permit for residence called “startup visa”. Such a permit is granted only to entrepreneurs intending to incorporate Dutch businesses.

Selecting a suitable legal structure

After the required visa is obtained, the entrepreneur must choose a suitable business structure for his/her activities. Legal structures can formally be considered as two types: structures that do not require registration at the Commercial Registry, e.g. partnerships and one man’s businesses, and structures that need to be registered, such as public and private limited companies. The BV or private company with limited liability is widely used as it offers a number of tax-related advantages.

Registering the business at the Commercial Registry

In the past few years the process of registration at the Dutch Commercial Chamber was simplified and currently it is relatively easy to open a business. Before the incorporation procedure entrepreneurs need to take care of two things: choose a company name that needs to be accepted by the Registry and obtain a legal company address. The country offers many office spaces to choose from.

After the name of the company has been accepted and the owner of the business has chosen a convenient location, he/she will have to prepare the documents for company incorporation, notarize them and submit an application online to make an appointment with a clerk at the Registry. The entrepreneur must present valid identification documents and a proof of local company address (e.g. rental contract). There is also a fee that must be paid for the registration.

Provided that all documents are complete, the company will receive a unique registration number that it must use when invoicing clients.

Registering with the tax authorities

Speaking of invoices, after successful inclusion of the company in the Commercial Registry, the owner is advised to register immediately with the local tax authorities. They will assign a tax and a value added tax number, so that the company can apply for value added tax refund.

If planning to hire personnel, the company also needs to be registered for pension and insurance contributions.


The last stage of incorporating a company is to obtain the business licenses required for operation. The professionals that will work for the company should have their competences recognized by the relevant authorities and obtain permissions to practice.

If the services offered by the company do not depend on specific qualifications, then an approval needs to be obtained from the relevant authorities.

Incorporating a Dutch business is easier than ever. The government took measures to attract international investors, so that they can both contribute to and benefit from the country’s booming economy.