Corona measures for businesses in the border regions

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium are all taking different measures to deal with the corona crisis. Entrepreneurs living in the Netherlands and working in Belgium or Germany, or vice versa, may be entitled to some financial measures from the Netherlands and some from Belgium or Germany. This article lists the main support measures per country.

Reopening plan

The government is gradually reopening society. As a result, the rule against all non-essential travel abroad has been replaced on 15 May with the advice to check the situation in the country you are travelling to, and any countries you may be passing through on your way there. You can see which colour code each country has on the Netherlands Worldwide website.

From 26 June, employees can also arrange with their employers to work up to maximum 50% of their working hours at the office, provided 1.5 metres distance can be observed.

Check The coronavirus and your company to see all measures to be relaxed.

Dutch corona measures in the border region

Temporary bridging measure for self-employed professionals (Tozo)

Belgium and Germany, like the Netherlands, apply the "territoriality principle" (the country of residence determines the valid laws and regulations) for regular subsistence assistance.

The Dutch government offers self-employed professionals the Temporary bridging measure for self-employed professionals (Tozo). Tozo offers two kinds of help: support for the cost of living, and a business capital loan. The scheme is for self-employed professionals living AND working in the Netherlands. In order to help entrepreneurs who live OR work in the Netherlands, the government has devised additional conditions:

  • If you live in the EER or Switzerland, but run your business in the Netherlands, you can apply for a business capital loan under Tozo conditions. Applications must be sent to the municipality of Maastricht. You must submit an application for this to the municipality of Maastricht, which implements this scheme for the whole of the Netherlands. More information and the application form can be found on the website of the municipality of Maastricht. You cannot apply for Tozo support for the cost of living. You can apply for social assistance in your country of residence.
  • If you live in the Netherlands, but run your business in Belgium or Germany, you can apply for Tozo support for the cost of living. You submit an application for this to your municipality of residence. You cannot apply for a Tozo business capital loan. For financial support for your company, you canturn to the country where your company is located.

Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW)

In the Netherlands, the NOW scheme was set up to compensate employers for a substantial part of their wage costs. Does your business have a Dutch business address? Then you will be able to apply for NOW 3.0, for the period October 2020 - December 2021. NOW 1.0 and 2.0, covering earlier months, are now closed. If your business is located in Belgium or Germany, and you have one or more employees for whom you pay social security premiums in the Netherlands, you will be able to apply for NOW 3.0 for them.

Reimbursement Fixed Costs for SMEs (TVL)

If you live in Belgium or Germany and run a business with its address in the Netherlands, and the business is in trouble due to the government measures against the virus spreading, you may be eligible for the TVL scheme. For TVL Q2 2021, April through June 2021, the subsidy percentage will be increased to 100%. The scheme applies from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021 and can be applied for every three months. There is a separate scheme for Q1 2021 for starting entrepreneurs who have registered with the Chamber of Commerce between 1 October 2019 and 30 June 2020. RVO carries out the TVL.

Taxes

If you live across the border, but pay taxes in the Netherlands, you can make use of the tax measures that are in place. Payment extensions for several taxes, for instance, and lower tax interest rates. See the article Tax measures. In some cases, Dutch entrepreneurs who live or work across the border can make use of support measures in Belgium or Germany. The social security banks of Netherlands, Germany and Belgium keep an overview of the measures taken by these countries for self-employed persons in the border region.

Payroll tax and cross-border workers

The corona crisis forces many employees to work from their homes. Or they are forced to remain at home. If you employ workers who live in Germany and have to work from or stay at home, you can still withhold Dutch wage tax from their pay.

Support measures in Belgium

Bridging benefit

If you live in the Netherlands and work as a self-employed professional in the Flanders region of Belgium, you can apply for a bridging benefit from the social insurance fund – provided you pay your main occupation (hoofdberoep) social insurance premiums to the Belgian social insurance fund. You are not eligible for this benefit if you already have a different source of income.

Under normal conditions, the benefit is only available for entrepreneurs who live and work in Belgium. This extension for self-employed professionals living in the Netherlands and working in Belgium is temporary.

Read more about the conditions for the bridging benefit (in Dutch). You can also apply for a reduction of or exemption for paying social insurance contributions.


Wages for living – Leefloon

Do you live in Belgium, and work in the Netherlands as a self-employed professional? Then you may be eligible for wages for living – so-called Leefloon. Whether or not you are eligible depends on your situation. You can find out by contacting the Public Center for Social Welfare (OCMW, in Dutch) in the municipality where you live.

More measures in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia

The several administrations in Belgium have more measures in place to help businesses cope with the corona crisis, such as tax payment extensions, short-time working benefits. You can find a full list of all measures on the following websites. This information is also relevant for Dutch entrepreneurs who run their business from a fixed place in Belgium.

Travel to Belgium

Are you a cross-border worker? You may travel to or from Belgium for work. You do not need to be able to show a negative test result at the border, nor do you need to quarantine yourself. See the Belgian coronavirus information website for the full list of people exempted from testing and quarantine.
Non-work travel is allowed, but both the Netherlands and Belgium advise against it. Both countries are considered an 'orange zone'. Read the Belgian travel rules here.
The Dutch government also has information available (in Dutch) about travel to Belgium. Are you staying in Belgium for more than 48 hours? Then the Belgian government requires you to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).
The measures and travel advice differ per region. Before you leave, check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Euregion Maas-Rijn has developed a 'crossing borders' tool. First choose your language, top-right, then below in the blue field, click the 'go to tool' button. In a few clicks, you can see whether your trip to Belgium has consequences. It also becomes clear which measures you must take upon your return to the Netherlands.

Support measures in Germany

In Germany, the government is taking extensive support measures to help entrepreneurs through the crisis. You can find an overview (in German) of the measures taken to support businesses and individuals on the German government website. If you have questions concerning your German business and speak German, you can call the special coronavirus hotlines for entrepreneurs.

The Border info point can give you the latest updates on German measures, and what they mean for businesses in the border region.


The German government announced a new set of fincancial measurements on 3 June. With this "Konjunkturpaket" the government wants to boost the economy. The most important measure is the temporary reduction in VAT. The reduction from 19 to 16% and from 7 to 5% applies for a period of six months.

Do you live in Germany, but is your company in the Netherlands? Then you may be entitled to support from the "Grundsicherung" (Arbeitslosengeld II or Sozialgeld). More information can be found on the website of the "Bundesagentur für Arbeit".

Useful link

The SVB, the organisation responsible for the execution of Dutch national insurance schemes, has published an article listing the measures in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany for cross-border workers and entrepreneurs.

Read the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) information on international trade with Germany.


Travel to Germany

Cross-border workers who travel to Nordrhein-Westphalen have to be able to show a negative test result no older than 72 hours, or proof of a full vaccination. They need not self-quarantine upon arrival in Germany. The Euregion Maas-Rijn has developed a 'crossing borders'tool. First choose your language, top-right, then below in the blue field, click the 'go to tool' button. In a few clicks, you can see if you can travel to Germany/North Rhine-Westphalia and how to prepare. It also tells you which measures you must take upon your return to the Netherlands.

Ohter travellers: When traveling from the Netherlands to Germany, you must register before departure. If you were tested for corona in the Netherlands and the test result is negative, you do not have to quarantine on arrival in Germany. You can also get tested for corona in Germany, but then you have to quarantine while waiting for the results.

When you return to the Netherlands, go into home quarantine for 10 days. In the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, border residents and other visitors from the Netherlands are allowed to visit Germany briefly under certain conditions. For example to get fuel or go shopping.

More information about travel advice to and from Germany can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The local measures differ per state and can change from one day to the next. Check this before you leave.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK