Setting up a business in The Netherlands

René Willemsen

Foreign companies wanting to open a subsidiary sometimes experience difficulty in starting up their business in the Netherlands. The same goes for expats in the Netherlands who wish to start of their own enterprise. It is not the business itself that presents problems, but the unfamiliar rules and regulations.

Business plan
Starting point should always be a business plan in which all requirements and legal aspects are outlined. Very importantly, you have to check whether you are even allowed to start a business here in the first place, as certain businesses legally require permits and certifications.

Legal form
Furthermore, you need to decide on the most suitable formation. Are you, for instance, going to be a soletrader (‘éénmanszaak’), will there be a partnership (‘V.O.F.’) or do you want to work through a public limited liability company (‘B.V.’). The choice of the legal formation depends mainly on the type of business you intend to start, its scale and the (legal) risks involved.

General terms and conditions
Although not compulsory, it might be wise to work with general terms and conditions. However, if you do so, you are advised to consult a lawyer or ask him/her to screen any terms and conditions you have drawn up yourself.

Business premises

A further consideration is, of course, the business premises. Are you going to rent an office in a business centre and share common facilities or are you going to obtain your own office space? The contracts concerned need to be checked.

Business administration
Finally, you need to set up the business administration, as Dutch law requires a proper administration. For instance you have to be sure what kind of taxes you are going to have to deal with and you are obliged to keep your books and documents (invoices etc.) seven years according to Dutch tax laws.

Please, don’t hesitate to contact René Willemsen for more information.

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