Starting an IT company in the Netherlands

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Statistics Netherlands, CBS
Statistics Netherlands, CBS
3 min read

Starting an IT business in the Netherlands is for the most part the same process as starting any other type of business. You don’t need any special permits or licences to start an IT company, but you would be well-advised to join one of the existing branch organisations, in order to receive support and advice, and to profit from networking opportunities.

Starting an IT business

Information Technology is one of the Dutch economy’s key sectors . This mean that there is a lot of focus from the Dutch government on this industry, and your business can benefit from this. For instance, did you know that the digital infrastructure in the Netherlands is among the best in the world?

Within the range of IT, there are several growth industries. They are:

This is not to say that other types of IT business are less likely to succeed; but if you are still orienting on what route to take, why not ride one of the bigger waves?

The Radiocommunications Agency produces a yearly trend monitor, called the ECD-Radar, which charts the most important (expected) trends in IT and communications. You can find it on their website.

Coming to the Netherlands

Are you planning to come to the Netherlands to start your IT business? Be aware that, unless you are an EU/EEA citizen, you will need a residence permit. Our interactive tool Coming to the Netherlands as an entrepreneur can help you find out quickly if this is true for you, and tell you what other obligations you have to fulfil.

If your business idea is highly innovative, you may apply for a residence permit for foreign startups. Perhaps you already live in the Netherlands, because you have studied here or have a job. There are special residence permits available if you are a highly skilled/trained person:

If you plan to start doing business in the Netherlands, you will also need to have or apply for a business bank account (IBAN). The Dutch Banking Association has created a Quick Scan to help you find out if you are eligible. Read how it works.

Write a business plan

There are many IT businesses, and their number continues to grow. What have you got to add to the mix? Before you set out on your entrepreneurial journey, think: what is it that makes you unique? What skills set do you possess that sets you out? Is your idea an innovation, or a serious improvement to an existing technology or IT service? Write a thorough business plan, that incorporates finances, marketing, product development and organisational details (for instance, are you going it alone, or will you hire personnel ?). Write down who you are, what you are capable of, and what your ideas are. This will help you focus. Set realistic goals. Your starting phase may be quite small: perhaps you can set up from the shed, or your bedroom. Don’t invest in more hi-tech equipment than you know you are going to need in that first phase.

Find financing

In order to set up your business, you will probably need money. How do you go about getting it? Well, it starts with you: you have to be able to sell yourself and your business to potential investors. Once you’ve written your business plan, you can go out there and look for investors. It pays to have a strategy for this: think about the type of investors you want to attract, and if you can, even write down a top 10 of your most wanted investors. In the meantime, visit networking and matchmaking events and IT fairs and practice your pitch on anyone who will listen. Most importantly, don’t ignore the feedback. Use it to hone your pitch to perfection. Once you’re satisfied, start setting up meetings with your top 10 ideal investors. See also: 5 blogs about financing for startups

Register with KVK

Every new business has to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, to be included in the Business Register. Read what this entails in our article Registration at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK).


You can get help getting started and expanding your IT company from several Dutch organisations:

Startups can turn to the following organisations for support:

And there are several mentoring and coaching initiatives you can turn to, such as O3NL, Bright Move Eindhoven, and Yes! Delft.

Statistics: number of companies

Number of IT companies, inluding software developers and consultancies. The number of IT companies shows continuous growth over the past years.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Startup Information Desk, KVK