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.

Avoid non-essential travel

Border workers who travel to and from Belgium or Germany are still permitted to go to work. However, the Dutch, Belgian and German governments strongly urge everyone not to travel abroad, unless this is essential. There are several measures in place to ensure no-one travels without a valid reason.

All travellers from a high-risk area within the EU / Schengen region must show a negative COVID-19 test result, when travelling to the Netherlands by air, ship, international train and bus. Cross-border commuters (including students and school children) and people travelling by car do not need to show a negative test result.
Find more information here.


Curfew

From 23 January - through at least 28 April, a curfew ('avondklok') is in place in the Netherlands. There are some exceptions: for instance for medical emergencies, work (an employer's declaration will be required), and walking the dog. For more information, read the article Curfew, employer's declaration and your company.

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 schemewas 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 - July 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. With the extended TVL scheme, companies will be able to claim up to €550,000 (SMEs) or €600,000 (larger companies) per three months. The scheme applies from 1 October 2020 to 30 June 2021 and can be applied for every three months. 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 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.

  • Flanders: Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (VLAIO, in Dutch)
  • Brussels region: 1819, FAQ for entrepreneurs
  • Wallonia: 1890 (in French), FAQ (in German)

Travel to Belgium

The Belgian government has banned unnecessary travel from and to the Netherlands until 19 april 2021. Until 19 april 2021, all travellers to Belgium need to be able to show a Declaration upon your honour (Verklaring op eer, in Dutch), in which they attest the purpose of their journey.
Are you a cross-border worker? Don't travel to or from Belgium for work unless this is necessary. If you do need to go to work, you do not need to be able to show a negative test result at the border, nor do you need to quarantine yourself.
Are you staying in Belgium for more than 48 hours? Then the Belgian government requires you to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) as well as the Verklaring op eer.
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 tool (in Dutch). 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 your company is 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

Germany has a high number of coronavirus infections. Only travel to Germany if necessary. When you return to the Netherlands, you 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. The "local border traffic" regulation applies to border traffic between Germany and the Netherlands. This means that persons from the Netherlands who stay in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia or Lower Saxony for less than 24 hours are exempted from the testing and quarantine obligations. From 25 January until 14 February, wearing a medical face mask in public places - including the workplace - is required in the regions North-Rhine Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

The Euregion Maas-Rijn has developed a tool (in Dutch). In a few clicks, you can see if you can travel to Germany and how to prepare. It also tells you which measures you must take upon your return to the Netherlands.

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