The coronavirus COVID-19, and the measures taken to restrict the spreading of the coronavirus in the Netherlands, mean significant loss of turnover for many businesses. This article lists the measures the Dutch government is taking to help entrepreneurs affected by the crisis. Check this page regularly for updates.
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Lockdown in the Netherlands
The Dutch government plans for a gradual re-opening of society in 6 steps. Step 1 has taken effect on 28 April.
On 17 May, the government will decide whether step 2 will enter into effect as of 19 May. Step 2 includes longer opening hours for terraces, outside sports for adults over 27, and partial re-opening of attraction parks and zoos. Some contact professions will be able to resume activities, including sex work. Indoor sports venues and swimming pools may reopen as well if the go-ahead is given. View the entire list of intended relaxations in the Government.nl news article.
To view the intended steps and timeline, see the Openingsplan (in Dutch). See also the article on Government.nl.
These are the current lockdown measures:
- Non-essential stores may admit customers without an appointment. Two customers are allowed per shop floor. This does not include employees. Larger shops may allow one client per 25m2. For all rules, see the article Rules for shops.
- Non-food markets may fully resume their activities.
- Hospitality: outdoor terraces are allowed to re-open. They may open from 12-18:00 hours, admit a maximum of 50 customers who have made reservations, and place 2 persons at 1 table - unless the persons are from the same household, in which case more persons may be seated together. Hospitality entrepreneurs must perform checks and register customers. The terrace reopening does not apply to sports venues. For all rules, see the article Rules for the hospitality sector.
- Universities and other vocational education organisations may offer 'live' education for one day a week.
- The maximum number of guests allowed at funerals is 100.
- People may receive 2 visitors (aged 13 or over) to their home, both outside and inside.
- Groups with a maximum of 4 people aged 27 or over can engage in outdoor sports activities that are organised by a sports organisation.
- All indoor sports facilities must remain closed.
- Persons younger than 27 may take part in team sports outdoors. This includes student sports clubs. They may not play competition matches.
- Secondary schools and vocational education (MBO) can open for at least 1 day a week. Elementary schools and childcare are open.
- Businesses that perform a contact profession, such as hairdressers, beauticians and chiropractors, as well as medical contact profession businesses, such as dentists and physical therapists, are open. Sex workers cannot resume their work.
- Essential shops allowed to remain open are: supermarkets, other food stores, opticians, laundromats and dry-cleaners, pharmacies and drugstores, pet stores, petrol stations, food markets, workshops for repair and maintenance of consumer goods and (motor) vehicles, shops for care and welfare aids, outdoor stalls that sell flowers and plants, wholesalers, service points for receiving and sending letters and parcels. Find more information about the rules for shops.
- Banks, city halls and funeral parlours are open.
- Theatres, cinemas and other cultural institutions remain closed.
- All other public venues, such as saunas, casinos, and zoos remain closed.
- Libraries may still open for lending and returning books.
- Groups of no more than 2 persons from different households may gather outdoors.
- Community centres may provide services to vulnerable people.
- Hotels are open, but may not serve food.
- Public transport is for essential travel only.
- All air travel from India, South Africa, and all Middle- and South American countries is banned. Travellers from other countries need to be able to show 2 negative Covid-19 test results, as well as observe a 10-day quarantine period.
- Face masks are compulsory for public indoor spaces.
On 15 May, the restriction on non-essential international travel will be lifted. If you want to travel to a country from that date, please use the Wijs op Reis website to check the situation in that country and the countries you will be passing through.
The curfew ('avondklok') in place in the Netherlands has been lifted on 28 April.
There are several economic support measures in place for businesses affected by the corona crisis. Measures such as NOW, Tozo and TVL will continue to be expanded and amended as seen fit by the government. Businesses and self-employed professionals who have been hit hard by the recent measures will continue to receive support.
- NOW3: Employers with more than 20% turnover loss can apply for the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW,Tijdelijke Noodmaatregel Overbrugging voor Werkbehoud) to receive compensation of their employees' wages from October 2020 - July 2021. NOW1 and NOW2 are now closed. NOW 3 is divided into three periods: NOW 3.1 compensates wages from 1 October 2020 until 1 January 2021. NOW 3.2 runs from 1 January until 1 April, and NOW 3.3 from 1 April until 1 July 2021.
- Tozo3 and 4: Self-employed professionals can apply for Tozo, the temporary benefit to bridge the loss of income over the months October 2020 - July 2021 in the municipality where they live. Check with your municipality how to apply.
- TVL: The Reimbursement Fixed Costs Scheme for SMEs and self-employed professionals aims to compensate companies for fixed costs other than wage costs. You can apply for TVL once every 3 months, until 1 July 2021. The TVL subsidy percentage increases with the loss of turnover.
- Extra TVL support for hospitality businesses: Hospitality businesses that have had to close due to the second corona wave will be able to apply for an extra compensation on top of the TVL in the 4th quarter of 2020 to reimburse the costs of stock and adjustments. The maximum amount is €20,160. This amount comes to an average of €2,500 per entrepreneur. This scheme, the Horeca Stock and Adjustments (HVA), is still being worked out.
- Extra TVL support for events businesses and their suppliers: Events businesses and their suppliers that applied for TVL during the 3rd quarter of 2020 will receive an extra fee in the 4th quarter of 2020 and 1st quarter of 2021, based on the summer TVL fee. €11 million has been reserved for this. More information follows.
- Subsidy for cancelled events: From 1 July 2021, events organisers will be able to organise events again. If the event has to be cancelled due to corona restrictions, they can reclaim the costs incurred. See Subsidy scheme for events cancelled due to corona measures.
- TVL Stock Support Closed Retail (opslag Voorraad Gesloten Detailhandel): retail businesses that have had to close their doors, and that have applied for TVL, will receive a supplement for the stock they have been unable to sell. Read more about this supplement in the TVL article. Check the list of retail SBI codes that qualify (in Dutch).
- Extra support for the cultural sector: The government allots €454 million to providing extra support for cultural organisations and events.
- Extra support for zoos: zoos will be able to apply for extra support from 22 February. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO will execute this measure.
- SET: Caregivers can apply for the special corona-related Incentive scheme eHealth at Home: SET COVID-19 2.0. The available funds are for care providers who invest in a structural setup for digital care. The scheme runs from 27 July - 30 November (unless funds run out sooner).
- Travel: A credit facility or voucher bank for travel guarantee funds is being set up by ANVR sector organization, the SGR guarantee fund and the government. Through this voucher bank, the travel guarantee funds can obtain an additional loan from the government. The guarantee fund can thus provide temporary credit to a travel organization that have issued vouchers for package tours.
- TONK: Entrepreneurs faced with financial difficulties as a result of the corona measures. This scheme, the Temporary Support for Necessary Costs (TONK), runs through municipalities and is expected to open on 1 March. Read more about TONK.
- RBC: To help businesses that suffered damages because of rioting and looting in the first week of the curfew, the government and insurance companies will install a fund, the 'Regeling bedrijvenschade corona-rellen' (Arrangement for businesses damaged by curfew riots) to compensate those damages that are not covered by the usual business insurances and that fall under the policy's deductible excess (eigen risico). Businesses that have not taken out insurance will also be eligible for this compensation. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency will execute the scheme. It will open in mid-February.
Help for employers and employees
- Read the article Employer during the corona crisis to find out what you can and must do to keep the workplace safe.
- NL Werkt Door: Employers can use the NLWerktDoor! (The Netherlands keeps on working, in Dutch) website to offer or look for temporary employees on loan. The scheme was set up by the Employee Insurance Agency UWV, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, several municipalities, employers, and trade unions.
- NL Leert Door: On 1 August, the government launched a temporary support scheme NL Leert Door (The Netherlands keeps on learning) for the career development and training of anyone, working or not, from age 18 to retirement. On the hoewerktnederland.nl (in Dutch) website, you will be able to find free online courses and self-development advice. The first stage of NL Leert Door, the free-of-charge advice program applications, has now reached its limit of 22,000 applicants and is closed.
Credits and guarantees
- BMKB-C: From 16 March 2020 to 31 December 2021, the SME credit guarantee (BMKB) scheme is extended to help SMEs that are affected by the coronavirus secure bank guarantees and bridge financing.
- BL-C: For agricultural entrepreneurs, the equivalent of the BMKB-C is the Credit Guarantee scheme for Agriculture (BL-C).
- COL: Startups and scale-ups can apply for the 'Corona-Overbruggingslening' (Corona Bridging Loan or COL) via the Techleap.nl website. Regional Development Companies (ROMs) supply the loans, that vary between €50,000 and €2 million.
- GO: The Business loan guarantee scheme (GO) has been extended until 30 June 2021.
- Microcredit: Entrepreneurs who have a loan from microcredit provider Qredits do not have to repay their loan for a period of 6 months. During this period, the interest will be reduced to 2%. The government supports Qredits with 6 million euros.
- Small Credits for Corona Guarantee Scheme (KKC): SMEs with relatively small financial needs may be eligible for a bridging loan of up to €50,000 under the Small Credits for Corona Guarantee Scheme (Klein Krediet Corona garantieregeling or KKC). This credit measure has been extended until 30 June 2021.
- Tozo3 and 4: Self-employed professionals can apply for Tozo, a loan to bridge the loss of income over the months October 2020 - July 2021 in the municipality where they live. Check with your municipality how to apply.
- Tozo for entrepreneurs living abroad: If your company is in the Netherlands, but you live abroad (in the EER or Switzerland), you can apply to the municipality of Maastricht for a business loan.
- Growth Facility Scheme: The intended phasing out of the Growth Facility Scheme has been extended to 1 July 2021.
- Proof-of-concept funding: Businesses that make use of the Proof-of-concept funding scheme (VFF) or the Innovation credit scheme (IK) can apply for a repayment extension. Also, no interest will be levied on the VFF.
- Export credit insurance: The government has extended the export credit insurance facility.
- DTIF: The Dutch Trade and Investment Fund (DTIF) has been extended to include pre-delivery advances.
- Temporary support for local media: New budget has been allocated for the Temporary Support for Local Media scheme. Applications can now be submitted for the period 15 September - 15 December.
- TOGS: The Reimbursement for entrepreneurs in affected sectors scheme (TOGS) expired on 26 June. It is replaced by the TVL scheme.
- Compensation for turnover loss for horticultural businesses and potato farmers: Horticultural businesses (food and ornamental) and farmers who produce processing potatoes could claim compensation for part of their turnover loss until 18 June.
- Indirect Emission Costs Subsidy Scheme (ETS): The Indirect Emission Costs Subsidy Scheme (ETS) was made available sooner. It closed 15 April.
- TOFA: The Temporary Bridging measure for Flex Workers or TOFA compensates flex workers that have been laid off after 1 March due to the corona crisis, and who cannot claim benefits. Application at the UWV closed on 27 July.
Tax options for entrepreneurs
Call the Tax Information Line
Since the information on the tax options offered to entrepreneurs during the coronavirus crisis is mostly only available in Dutch, it would be wise to consult the Tax Information Line if Dutch isn't your first language. The number for resident entrepreneurs is +31 (0)800 0543; non-residents can call +31(0)55 538 53 85.
It is also a good idea to ask someone - your accountant, for instance - to help you.
Several municipal and regional taxes have also been extended:
If you need help finding out for which scheme you are eligible, try using one of the following tools:
- The Corona Calculator (in Dutch): employers organisation VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland have prepared this tool to help you find the schemes you're eligible for, and calculate their impact on your financial position. In Dutch.
- Krijgiktozo (in Dutch): a tool to see if you are eligible for the temporary benefit for self-employed professionals Tozo. In Dutch.
- Rekenhulp omzetverlies (Turnover loss calculator, in Dutch): this tool helps you find if if you qualify for the NOW scheme. In Dutch.
Rules and protocols for businesses
Check the rules for your business sector in these articles. The rules and protocols have been drawn up by the government together with the sector organisations.
- Corona: rules for the hospitality sector
- Rules for shops in the 1.5 metre society
- Rules for contact-based professions
- Rules for gyms and fitness centres
- Rules for tourism and events
- Rules for arts and culture
- Rules for childcare during the corona crisis
Coaching by Entrepreneurs Sounding BoardThe Foundation Entrepreneurs Sounding Board (Stichting Ondernemersklankbord, OKB) offers free coaching to SMEs that have been affected by the corona crisis. Read how to apply.
- Wash your hands regularly
- Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow
- Use paper tissues
- Don't shake hands
- Keep at least 6 feet distance from each other
General health measures
- People must work from home, unless it is vital that you work on site.
- When indoors in a public place, wear a face mask that covers your nose, mouth and chin.
- Everyone in the Netherlands who has symptoms of COVID-19 can apply for a test. If you or one of your employees starts having complaints that correspond with the coronavirus symptoms, stay at home and apply for a test. If you test positive, aid the GGD with their contact tracing.
- There are travel restrictions in place for travel into the Netherlands. Travellers from India, South-Africa or any of the South-American countries may not enter the Netherlands. Travellers from other countries can only enter the Netherlands if they can show two negative test results: from a corona test and a 'rapid test'. After arrival in the Netherlands you or your guest must quarantine for ten days, also when the test results were negative. Border workers are mostly exempt. Read the Government.nl article for detailed information.
- As from 15 May 2021, the government no longer advises against travel to countries with a low infection rate. Countries with code green or yellow can be travelled to for recreation. For countries with code red a negative travel advice remains in force. Travel advice can be found here.
Information and advice
You can turn to these organisations for further information and advice:
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM
- National information phone: 0800-1351 (from abroad dial +312 0205 1351)
- Advice and information on the coronavirus
- Current information about the novel coronavirus COVID-19
- Information on contact tracing
- Coronavirus dashboard
- Tackling new coronavirus in the Netherlands
- Frequently asked questions about coronavirus and health
Business and work
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK) Coronaloket
- Advice and information on the coronavirus for entrepreneurs (in Dutch)
- Call the KVK Coronaloket: 0800 2117, open Mon-Fri from 8:30-17:00 hours. From abroad: +31 (0)88 585 2222.
Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)
Travel / immigration /emigration
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)
- Coronavirus response - information on the health and socio-economic measures proposed by the EC
World Health Organization (WHO)
FME, technology sector organisation