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Government information for entrepreneurs

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Provision of services: 'cross-border' versus 'establishment'

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you are a resident from one of the countries within the European Economic AreaExternal link (Europese Economische Ruimte, EER) or from Switzerland, you are free to offer your services in the Netherlands without any legal or practical obstructions. You can do this either by establishing your company in the Netherlands or by offering your services in the Netherlands from within your own country.

No legal difference

The rules that apply to your services are basically the same. It makes no difference to Dutch law if you are a foreign or a Dutch service provider. Nor does it matter if you offer the service permanently (establishment), or as a temporary, cross-border activity. In Dutch legislation, specific rules apply to the activity itself. Who performs the activity or where they come from is considered not to be relevant.

For certain activities or services you must have an establishment in the Netherlands. For example, if you want to run a cafe or set up a childcare centre. In these cases, different laws and regulations apply, and you must register your establishment in the Netherlands with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

Please note: Should Dutch legislation distinguish between Dutch and foreign service providers for a specific activity, or between established and temporary, cross-border service, we will explicitly mention this on the relevant page on this website.


The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration does have certain rules for paying taxes in the Netherlands for foreign service providers, concerning the payment of tax in the Netherlands:

  • The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will view you as a foreign entrepreneur if you are not established in the Netherlands. This is the case if your business does not have a permanent address in the Netherlands. In this case you may still need to pay Dutch income tax, but the rules are different.
  • If your company is established outside the Netherlands, and you do business with the Netherlands, specific Dutch VAT rules apply. If you are established in the Netherlands or if you have a permanent establishment here, you will be subject to the same VAT rules as other entrepreneurs in the Netherlands.
  • If you run a business in the Netherlands or employ personnel in the Netherlands, you will likely have to pay payroll tax and social insurance contributions. This is true even if you have an establishment outside of the Netherlands.

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Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)

+31 (0)88 602 44 44

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO