Step by step guide to registering your business in the Netherlands

What are the necessary requirements for registering a new business in the Netherlands as a foreigner?

Why is it important to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce before starting a Dutch company?

In previous articles, we discussed some vital rules for flying a drone in the Netherlands and how to grow a sustainable future for the blue economy but today, we will show you the necessary documents needed to incorporate your company in the Netherlands.

What Are the Legal Documents Needed When Registering Your New Business in the Netherlands?

You Must Have a Valid Residence Permit

If you are from outside the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you will need a startup visa or residence permit to stay and start a new business in the Netherlands. The maximum duration of a Dutch residence permit is five years.

Requirements for Non-resident Businesses

You don’t need to register with the Dutch Commercial Register if you are a foreign startup with no permanent establishment in the Netherlands. However, if you have to pay your VAT, you will need to register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

You may need to learn all about your tax return as a non-resident taxpayer from the tax authority. If you are importing a product to the Netherlands from outside any of the EU countries, you will need to pay import duties, VAT and in some cases excise duty, consumption tax or other levies.

Register for a Citizen Service Number

You will need to have a citizen service number (Burgerservicenummer, Dutch BSN) for you to register your new business in the Netherlands. The equivalent of a Social Security Number (SSN) in the Netherlands is Burgerservicenummer (BSN).

To get a citizen service number in the Netherlands, you will need to register with the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP) in your city of residence or register with the Non-resident Records Database (Register Niet-Ingezetenen BSN, RNIBSN) if you are staying for less than 4 months.

If you’ve registered as a non-resident, you will need to have a permanent address abroad as well as a temporary one in the Netherlands.


An Address is Needed When Registering Your New Business in the Netherlands

You will need a Dutch address before you can be allowed to register your company in the Dutch Commercial Register. An alternative is to either use your own address or your accountant’s address with their own permission.

If you plan on establishing your company in the Netherlands, find business premises before you register at KVK. The only exception to this rule applies to entrepreneurs who live abroad in the border region and can prove they perform business activities in the Netherlands on a structural basis. For instance as a market vendor. They can register using their foreign address.

How to Choose a Trade Name for Your Dutch Business

How to choose a trade name when registering your Dutch business

If you would like to incorporate your business in the Netherlands, the first step is to find a suitable trade name for your Dutch company.

How do you ensure that the company name you’ve chosen is the most appropriate? For the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK to consider your company name a good choice, the following must be in place:

  • Your Dutch company name must not create a wrong impression
  • Brand name must not be used by another company
  • Your Dutch trade name does not sound or look too much like that of another business
  • Choice of trade name must not contain special characters like ( ) ? ! * # /.

What is the Legal Structure of Your Dutch Company?

Choosing a legal structure for your business is very important. You will have to decide if you want a sole proprietorship, a general partnership (vof) or a private limited company. You may need to hire a business consultant when registering your new business in the Netherlands.

A trustworthy business consultant can help you choose a legal structure that perfectly suits your Dutch business ideas.


Below are the following legal forms required to register your company at the Dutch Commercial Register:

  • Sole proprietor (eenmanszaak)
  • Private limited company (besloten vennootschap, bv)
  • Public limited company (nv)
  • General partnership (vof)
  • Limited partnership (cv)
  • Foundation (stichting)
  • Association with notarial deed
  • Professional partnership (maatschap)
  • Cooperative and mutual insurance society

Freelancers who are self-employed can legalize their company in the Netherlands as a sole proprietor or as a private limited company. 

How Much Does It Cost to Register Your Dutch Company?

The financial rule for registering your new business in the Netherlands will attract a non-recurring registration fee of € 51.95. You can only pay for this company registration fee digitally, using your mobile, debit or credit card.

Check Whether Your Business Must Register UBOs

Depending on the legal structure of your company, you also need to register ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs). A UBO is the owner or the person who is effectively in control of an organisation. Every EU country has to keep a UBO register. In the Netherlands, you register your UBOs with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK).

You can also learn how to register a business in Germany and all the legal documents required by the government.

Emenike Emmanuel
Emenike Emmanuel is a multiple award-winning blogger, CEO of Entrepreneur Business Blog, Chief Evangelist of Ebusinessroom Ventures, and the Lead Coach of an online community of over 12,000 business owners called, The Excellent Entrepreneurs' Network. He’s here to help you start, manage and grow a profitable and sustainable business using digital marketing strategies. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & Pinterest with this handle, @emenikeng. Telegram group - | Email: [email protected]

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