Roadmap for setting up a business in the Netherlands

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Tax Administration, Belastingdienst
Netherlands Tax Administration, Belastingdienst
Benelux Office for Intellectual Property
Benelux Office for Intellectual Property
Employee Insurance Agency, UWV
Employee Insurance Agency, UWV

Do you want to start a business? There is a lot involved in starting a business. This roadmap shows you what you need to know and arrange at each stage.


It is important to prepare well for entrepreneurship. Follow the steps to find out what you need to do.

Need to do

To start a business, you need to choose a legal structure. Find out which legal structures there are.

You enter your company name when you register in the KVK Business Register. Read all you need to know about choosing a company name on

Perhaps you need extra money to start your business. You can then look for funding. For example, through a bank or an investor. Financiers will then ask you for your business plan. Read how to write a business plan on

Are you starting a business while receiving an unemployment benefit? You must have permission from the Employee Insurance Agency UWV (in Dutch). There are a number of conditions you must meet.


You must register in the Business Register if you meet the KVK's requirements. Read whether or not you need to register your business on

Do you have a location in mind for your business? Then do not forget to consider the environment plan. In the plan, the municipality describes what is allowed on the site.

When you start a website, you choose and buy a domain name. Read how to apply for a domain name and check if an .nl domain name is already registered.

In a business plan, you describe your business plans and goals. It provides clarity and helps to determine the financial viability of your business.

To think about

You will have to deal with income tax and possibly VAT and/or payroll taxes. You can see which tax issues you will have to deal with on the website.

Do you have an idea and want to prevent someone else from running off with it? Answer the questions in the ideeSCAN from the Netherlands Patent Office and Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (in Dutch) to find out which steps you need to take to protect your idea.


You are well-prepared and ready for the next step. Check out what you need to arrange at this stage.

Need to do

Start your business registration in the KVK Business Register online. Check the FAQ to see if you meet the entrepreneurial criteria. Will you lease business premises? Bring a copy of the lease to your registration appointment at KVK.

Bring DigiD and identification

To finalise your registration, you must visit a KVK office. Make an appointment online by logging in with your DigiD. Also bring valid proof of identity with you to the appointment.

In some cases, you need eHerkenning to arrange things online with government organisations. For example, if you are starting a general partnership (vof). Read more about eHerkenning and how it works.

Every business is subject to laws and regulations. You should make sure you are aware of the laws and regulations that apply to your business. Find out more about the regulations that apply to your sector. And download the NieuweWetten app (in Dutch) to stay informed of law changes.

Sometimes mandatory: checking licences and/or diplomas

Some professions are protected in the Netherlands. To practice certain professions, you must meet professional requirements. Read more about professional requirements and diplomas .


Your trade name or logo are only truly yours once you register them with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP). You are then the only one who can use this brand.

It makes sense to insure your business. You can insure your business against various business risks. For example, against damage to goods, legal disputes or illness of your staff.

General terms and conditions give your customer clarity on warranty, cancellation, liability, and payment. You are not obliged to draw up general terms and conditions. But if you do, there are rules you should follow.

In business

You have registered with KVK and finished preparing. Now you can start doing business. These steps will help you further with things you need to know and arrange.

Need to do

You must file a VAT return (turnover tax) every quarter. In your VAT return, you enter the VAT you have charged your customers for your products or services. This includes VAT you paid for business expenses. You are usually allowed to deduct these. You pay the difference to the Netherlands Tax Administration or get a refund.

You pay income tax on the profit you make from your business. Every year, you will receive an invitation from the Netherlands Tax Administration to file a tax return. Check with the Netherlands Tax Administration whether you must pay income tax on your activities as an entrepreneur. Also check when and how you must pay.

Are you going to hire staff? If so, you must deduct payroll tax and national insurance contributions (called loonbelasting in Dutch) from their salary. You have to pay these to the Netherlands Tax Administration. As soon as you hire your first employee, you must register as an employer with the Netherlands Tax Administration.

You must keep business records and retain them for at least 7 years. You fill in your tax returns with data from your records. Such as turnover, costs and hours worked.

Something may change in your business. For example, you move to larger premises or you need an additional trade name. Report the changes to KVK and update your registration in the Business Register.

Do you use or store customers' personal data? If so, you must comply with privacy rules. Find out what is covered by the General Data Processing Regulation (called the AVG in Dutch) and how to comply.


Have you registered your trademark with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP)? Then you must maintain your registration. For example, you must actually use your trademark. And keep an eye on whether someone is copying your trademark without your permission. Do you offer different products or change your logo? Then you must apply for a new trademark registration.

You need to keep your records. This will give you an overview of your business's financial situation. You may also be eligible for tax benefits. Read what to look out for when keeping your records.

You want to keep your business financially sound. You do this by finding the right balance between your business income, expenses and private income. Check out tips and tools for finding the right balance between your private and business finances.

Sometimes mandatory: open a business bank account

Certain legal structures require you to have a business account. Do you have a sole proprietorship or general partnership (vof)? Then it is not required. Yet it may be wise. Read how to open a business bank account on

Apply for funding

Do you need money to start your business? Perhaps you can apply for funding. Make a financial plan. And check if there are financial opportunities with banks or the government. Such as an SME credit or subsidies. Read more about financing to grow your business.

You do not automatically build up a pension as an entrepreneur. You have to take care of this yourself. Sometimes a pension scheme is compulsory. Read how to build up a pension as an entrepreneur.

In some business sectors, it is mandatory to offer employees a pension through an industry pension fund (bpf). In other business sectors, you can decide for yourself whether to offer a pension. Find out how to arrange pensions for your employees.

Avoid having to pay extra on top of your income tax return. Or repay allowances that you receive from the Netherlands Tax Administration. Apply for a provisional assessment for income tax and keep your allowances up-to-date.

The government supports entrepreneurs in various ways. Through subsidies, tax breaks, or financial schemes. You may be able to take advantage of these. Read what schemes there are and how you can qualify.

There are rules for business websites. For example, you are not allowed to post misleading reviews on your website.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK