On this page
When you own a business in the Netherlands and you are no longer able to pay off your debts, you can petition the court (in Dutch) to be declared bankrupt. Creditors, the public prosecutor, the court and your shareholders can also petition the court to declare you bankrupt.
How to petition for bankruptcy
To petition for bankruptcy, you must use this form (in Dutch). You can do this for yourself or for the company you represent. Whether or not you will be declared personally bankrupt depends on your legal structure.
As a sole proprietorship of general partnership you may consider debt restructuring under the following conditions:
- You have 2 or more debts, one of which is due immediately;
- You owe money to 2 or more creditors;
- You have stopped paying.
Partner must also sign
If you want to petition for bankruptcy for your sole proprietorship or general partnership and you are married or have a registered partnership, your partner must also sign the petition.
Shareholders must agree
If you are a director or officer of a public (NV) or private limited company (BV) with shareholders you can only petition for bankruptcy if the shareholders agree.
What happens after you have been declared bankrupt?
If the court declares you or your company bankrupt, they will appoint an official receiver. This is the only person who is allowed to manage your company from the day that you have been declared bankrupt. He/she decides on the order in which your creditors will be repaid.
If one of the company directors has committed bankruptcy fraud, he/she can be banned from acting as a director for a period of up to 5 years. During that time he/she cannot act as a director for a legal entity.
If you want to start again as entrepreneur, but you still have unpaid debts or accounts, then be aware you will still have to pay these debts or bills to your creditors, for example to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
Your customer's bankruptcy
If one of your customers has gone bankrupt and still owes you money, their receiver will send you a letter about their bankruptcy. If you have not received this letter, make sure to contact them yourself. You may clarify your claim, when the receiver calls a meeting to discuss all outstanding accounts.
Please note: if the receiver was unable to locate all creditors, any leftover amounts will be stored in the so-called Consignatiekas (consignment office, in Dutch). This deposit with the Ministry of Finance stores leftover (monetary) funds from, among others, bankruptcies and debt restructuring settlements for a period of 20 years. If you have a legitimate claim and have proof of this, you can file your claim through the Ministry of Finance (in Dutch). You can search the Ministry’s database (in Dutch) to find out if there are any funds left after a bankruptcy or debt restructuring settlement of your customer.
Central Insolvency Register
All bankruptcies, suspension of payments and debts managements of natural persons are listed on the Netherlands Judiciary website (Rechtspraak.nl). This is called the Central Insolvency Register (in Dutch).
Number of bankruptcies.