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

This information is provided by Netherlands Enterprise Agency

If you are a resident from one of the countries within the European Economic AreaExternal link (Europese Economische Ruimte, EER) or from Switzerland, you should be able 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 difference establishment and cross-border service

Regardless of what you choose, the rules that apply to the services provided by you are basically the same. Dutch legislation does not differentiate between foreign or Dutch service providers. The same is also true in terms of establishment versus temporary, cross-border service. 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.

Obviously, for certain activities or services, you must have an establishment in the Netherlands. This is true, for example, for running a cafe or setting up a childcare centre. In this case, there are differences in terms of laws and regulations and one must register their establishment in the Netherlands with the Dutch 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 impose certain rules on 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 you do not have a permanent establishment 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 of the Netherlands, and you do business with the Netherlands, you will encounter specific Dutch VAT rules. You can read up on how to calculate VAT on the website of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. 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.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency