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Top Tips for Starting a Business in the Netherlands

Categories: Career Advice

Thinking about starting up a business in the Netherlands? If so, have a read of these four quick tips to get you on the right track!

Apply for a Self-Employment Visa So You Can Legally Own a Business (non-EU/EEA Citizens)

First off, you’ll need to be legally resident to own and run your firm. There are two main types of business visa on offer if you are not a member of the EU or the EEA:

  • Self-Employed Entrepreneur: If you are a freelancer or work in a professional capacity for yourself, you’ll need to apply for a self-employed residence permit. These are given out on a points-based system, depending on the need for the service/profession in the Netherlands.
  • Startup Visa: Or, you could always apply for a start-up visa which will give you a one-year residence permit – enough time to make your mark and perfect for the budding entrepreneur.
  • DAFT Visa: The Dutch American Friendship treaty is a fast track visa for American entrepreneurs looking to set up their businesses in The Netherlands. We’ve compiled a step by step guide on how to apply for it.

You must also register your company with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel or KvK for short) as soon as you receive confirmation that you have a right to live and work in the Netherlands. Additionally, you will need to decide on the legal structure of your business “rechtsform”.

Tip: Forms must be filled out in Dutch so it’s worth finding a qualified translator if you are not fluent.

Starting a Business in the Netherlands-featured

Get Your Business Ready to Handle International Cash Flows

The chances are that you’ll need to use funds from abroad to start your business, and thereafter will be sending money to and from the Netherlands as it grows. To do this you’ll want to use the services of a currency provider, who can easily handle all the transactions and allow you to sidestep banking fees.

If you’re concerned that market volatility could weaken your transfers (think Brexit!) you can take advantage of risk-reducing products that enable you to fix rates for periods of up to two years ahead. This will provide your business with stability right from the start.

You’ll need to have set up your company bank account in the Netherlands before you proceed with this step.

Tip: Established currency brokers like TorFX will give you a competitive exchange rate and offer a range of transfer options.

Make Sure Your Qualifications and Credentials are Recognised

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have to prove to the Dutch authorities that your qualifications are valid and appropriate to the sector. For example, access to highly regulated fields such as science, law or medicine will require proof of internationally recognised qualifications by the Dutch government.

So, if you’ve obtained any qualifications or diplomas outside of the Netherlands it’s important that you gain the necessary recognition of these in a timely manner. For instance, certain healthcare workers will need to be recognized in the BIG Register

Tip: Your university or professional body will be able to advise you on how to transfer your qualifications.

Register with the Dutch Tax Service

Your company accounts must be registered with and submitted to the tax authorities.

Income and capital gains tax must be paid by business owners, so make sure you register your company from the get-go. Self-assessment must be done every April, and it can be done online.

To get a tax number you must pay a visit to the Dutch Tax Service as soon as you arrive. The standard rate of income tax in the Netherlands starts at 36.55%, which included social security. Rising to 40.85% if you earn more than €20,142.

The corporation tax, which is payable on your profits, starts at 25%, although some aspects are deductible. You might be happy to learn that the Netherlands provides a number of tax deductions for private entrepreneurs under the name of Entrepreneurs Deduction (or ondernemersaftrek).

Tip: You can write off much of the cost of your relocation by taking advantage of special tax allowances.

Start Generating Business Before Your Arrival

Starting a new business is always tough, though launching in a foreign country adds to the difficulties. One way to ease the stress is to begin generating leads before you arrive. Digital marketing is the easiest way to begin a business from afar. Caleb Wynne Digital Marketing Consultant at Wynne Digital suggests “Start with your website, then begin building your funnel. By that I mean focus on first how will you find new customers, second how will you acquire them (visit your site), and third how will you convert them. Create separate marketing functions for each stage and evaluate them accordingly”.

Tip: Avoid drag and drop website builders as they often do not allow your business to grow digitally.

Starting a business in the Netherlands needn’t be complicated, and by implementing these tips you can ensure that it gets off to the best possible start. Good luck!

This article was provided by TorFX, a leading currency transfer provider.