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If you intend to start a webshop in the Netherlands, you must contend with various government rules and regulations. You can use this guide to quickly determine which obligations you must fulfil.
The guide serves merely as a guideline. Several steps can be carried out at the same time. You may need to fulfil other obligations as well.
1. Register with the Dutch Business Register and Dutch Tax Administration
New businesses must be registered with the Dutch Business Register. They will pass on your details to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. You therefore do not need to register separately with them.
2. Report a home business
If you intend to start a home-based webshop, you will usually have to report this intention to your local municipal authority. If you rent, you will also have to ask permission from your landlord.
3. Register your domain name (Internet address)
You have to apply to a domain name registrar to register and purchase a domain name. The registrar will submit a registration request on your behalf to the organisation that administers domain names.
4. Organise the transfer of copyright
If someone else builds the webshop for you, you will only be permitted to modify the website yourself if you hold the copyright. Preferably, the designer should waive his personal rights. Another possibility is a licence for use.
5. Draft the general terms and conditions
The general terms and conditions include rules about payment, delivery times, guarantees and disputes. You can use the specimen terms and conditions drawn up by the Dutch Home Shopping Organization (Thuiswinkel.org).
6. Give clear information on your website
Your website must clearly state your company’s identity. Besides your address details you state your business register number and your VAT number. You must also inform customers about the price and features of your products, the method of payment and the delivery details.
7. Ask your customer's permission in advance, to place cookies on their computer
A cookie is a small file that saves internet settings on your customer's computer. You can follow their surfing behaviour or place targeted advertisements. Your customer must give you permission to do this.
8. Make certain that your customers’ personal details are safe
You must handle customers’ personal details with due care. Customers’ personal details must be secured against loss or theft, for example. Please be advised by your internet hosting provider on available security options.
9. Ensure that your customers are able to pay securely
Secure payment is possible with a secure internet connection. A secure internet connection includes 'https' in your browser’s URL.
10. Send order confirmations in writing
You must send customers an order confirmation in writing, enclosing your general terms and conditions, your guarantee conditions and your contact details. Your customer must receive this information – at the very latest – when the product is delivered or the service is provided.
11. Observe the rules on email advertising
You are not permitted to send emails or make mobile phone calls to private individuals or companies for advertising purposes without their prior consent.
Other possible steps:
1. Follow the rules on selling alcohol
2. Follow the rules on selling tobacco
The online sale of tobacco is permitted. You can publish an overview of tobacco products (with or without logos) and a price list on your website, but you must not recommend any specific product.