Rene WillemsenThis feature from GMW Attorneys at Law is about the obstacles and unexpected hinderances an expat might encounter whilst setting up a business in The Netherlands. Foreign companies wanting to open a Dutch subsidiary sometimes encounter difficulty in starting up their business in the Netherlands. The same goes for entrepreneurial expats living here. It is not the business itself that causes difficulty, but rather the unfamiliar rules and regulations. What kinds of permits or qualifications are required to register the business? What legal form should be chosen? In what type of facility will the business be housed? What rules apply to the organisation of the business’ administration.
The starting point should always be a business plan in which all requirements and legal aspects are listed. You have to find out whether you are allowed to start a business here in the first place, as for some businesses permits and certifications are legally required.
Furthermore, the best legal structure has to be chosen. For instance, are you going to be a sole trader (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 structure depends mainly on what kind of business you want to start, its scale, and the legal risks involved.
Although not compulsory, it could be wise to draw up general terms and conditions. It is recommended to have a lawyer help you or to ask him to screen the ones you made yourself. If course there is also the accommodation to be considered. Are you going to rent an office in a business centre with shared facilities, or are you going to obtain your own individual office? The contracts concerned have to be checked.
Finally, the business administration has to be established. Dutch law requires proper administration. For instance, you have to know what kind of taxes you must pay, and you are obliged to keep your books and financial documents for seven years according to Dutch tax laws.
These are a few of the main points you should keep in mind when starting a business in the Netherlands. It is not that difficult, but it is essential to be well prepared before embarking on your endeavour.
Do not hesitate to visit our website and call me in case you need any legal help.
René Willemsen
Attorney at law
070 3615058