Applying for a subsidy from the government

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Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO

Do you have an interesting project idea for which you need money? You may be able to apply for a subsidy from the Dutch government or European Union. This takes time, but can be worthwhile. On this page, you can read which steps to take when applying for a subsidy.

Please note: does not provide any grants or subsidies.

1. Investigate subsidy opportunities

The Dutch government and the European Union offer many subsidies for companies. Especially for products or services that have something to do with the topics they find important. Such as sustainability, innovation, or international cooperation. Read what different types of subsidies and schemes exist.

2. Write your subsidy application

Most subsidy schemes have special application forms or documents. You can download these from the website of the organisation that manages the subsidy. Sometimes you need an eHerkenning tool to do this. This is a secure way to log on to the government organisation’s platform.

In your application, clearly describe your project plan. Do this enthusiastically. You need to convince the government of your idea and the intended result. Basically, you need to sell your project. But do not oversell it or tell lies. You must be able to explain and justify everything in your project plan.

3. You get a confirmation of your application

After the government organisation has received your application, you will usually get a confirmation of receipt. This will state the period (deadline) in which you will get a response to your application.

4. You get a decision or question letter

The government organisation reviews your application. This results in a decision (beschikking) — positive or negative — or a question letter. What this means is explained below.

Positive decision

This means that the government wants to spend money on (invest in) your plan(s). The decision tells you, for example, how much money you can spend, and when you can spend it. But also how to record the costs. The decision also tells you how you will receive the amount. For some schemes, you can request an advance. You will then get part of the money in advance.

Will you not get the money until after your project? In that case, you must first pay for the project yourself (pre-finance). You will usually receive a grant decision. With this, you can prove that you will receive the subsidy. This may be necessary to get a loan from a bank.

Negative decision

The government decides that your project does not (sufficiently) meet the conditions for the scheme. But it can also happen that there is no more money left for the scheme. You can object to the rejection. The decision tells you how and by what date you must do so. Only object when you are sure you can convince the government. Do not unnecessarily waste your effort.

Question Letter

The government organisation may need more information to evaluate your application. In a question letter they will ask you to provide additional information or explanations for your project. Be careful to keep to the deadline mentioned in the question letter. If you respond too late, you will not be given another opportunity.

5. Keep project records

Start keeping project records before you start the project. The government wants to know what you do with the money they grant you. You must record all activities and expenditures your records. Often there are guidelines you must meet. Comply with these guidelines, because the government will check them during your project. And you need them for your final declaration.

6. You make a final declaration

Do you receive the subsidy after your project? Then the government organisation will determine the exact amount by means of the final declaration. In this declaration, you make an overview of all costs, including the supporting documents. For example, invoices and bank statements.

7. You get the final decision

This states the final subsidy amount you will receive. The government organisation bases this amount on your final declaration. Did you receive money during your project? And is that amount higher than your final declaration? Then you must pay back the remaining amount. Before the final decision is sent, the government organisation may pay you a monitor visit. They will then check your project records. Sometimes they will ask some critical questions about the course of the project. Be prepared for this.

Please note: Even after the final decision, your project administration and final declaration may be checked.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO