Forced prostitution is illegal in the Netherlands and is punishable as an offence. Does your client know or suspect you are forced into prostitution or that you are a victim of human trafficking? Your client is punishable as well. You can read more about exploitation, your rights and how to get help in the brochure ‘Prostitution and exploitation’ (in Dutch).
Are you working against your will? Look for help.
Are you being forced to work as a prostitute, for example, by someone who has arranged the work for you or by a lover boy? Or are you under the age of 18? Call the police. If you are afraid to call the police, you can report your situation anonymously to Report Crime Anonymously (Meld Misdaad Anoniem) via 0800-7000.
What conditions do I need to fulfil to work as a prostitute in the Netherlands?
If you are 18 years of age or older, you are allowed to work as a sex worker in the Netherlands. However, in most cities the legal minimum age to work in prostitution has been raised to 21 years. Make sure to check with your municipality in advance. If you come from a non-EU country, you must hold a valid Dutch residence permit with the status ‘freelance work permitted’. On our page Moving to the Netherlands as an entrepreneur or self-employed professional, you can find more information about specific conditions that may apply to you.
Do I have to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce?
If you intend to make an income of your service as a sex worker, you may be considered an entrepreneur. Check whether this applies to you. As an entrepreneur you must register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KVK) and pay taxes to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst). It is therefore advisable to reserve some money in advance. As an entrepreneur you may be eligible for tax benefits, such as the entrepreneur allowance (ondernemersaftrek).
Tip: Working according to the opting-in scheme
The opting-in scheme is a middle course between working as an employee and working as a self-employed professional. When you and your operator choose the opting-in scheme, your operator is responsible for withholding payroll tax and premiums on your income and transferring it to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administrations. Your operator must notify the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration in a joint statement (in Dutch) prior to the start of the actual work.
Checklist: Starting as a self-employed sex worker
Every entrepreneur who intends to start a business in the Netherlands must arrange a number of things. When starting as a self-employed sex worker, you have to take the following steps into account.
1. Prepare you registration with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce
You can fill out an online registration form prior to your registration with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce. You must fill out your private address and business address. If you work from home, you can register your private address as your business address. You also need a citizen service number and a trade name.
2. Register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce
After you have completed the registration form, you can schedule an online appointment to finish up your registration. Do not forget to bring your ID-card. The registration fee is 50 euros. The KVK will pass on your details to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. Within two weeks you will receive your VAT identification number and VAT number from the Tax and Customs Administration by post.
Tip: Registering with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK and your privacy
The Dutch Business Register (Handelsregister) is a public register containing addresses and other information relating to businesses and legal entities. If you prefer no one to know that you are working in prostitution, you can register yourself under the heading ‘personal service’ and keep your trade name to yourself.
You can also shield your home address or visiting address in the Business Register. For example, because you want to keep your address secret because of your profession. To do so, you have to register another postal address, such as a PO Box. Have you not started your business yet? When registering, state that you only want your postal address to be visible. This postal address must be different from your home address.
Read more about shielding your address details.
3. Check whether you need a permit
When you start working as a self-employed prostitute, you may need to apply for a sex business permit. Your municipality determines where you are allowed to work. Make sure to check if you need a permit with your municipality.
Note: the new Regulation of Sex Work Act (Wrs) will make it obligatory for all sex workers and sex businesses to get a sex work permit. It is not yet certain when this regulation will take effect.
4. Pay VAT and income tax
You are required to pay income tax over your income. You must also pay VAT (turnover tax, BTW). If you do not make enough money, you may be eligible for the Small Business Scheme (kleineondernemersregeling, KOR). However, you must meet the 4 conditions.
5. Keep your business records
If you have a business in the Netherlands, you are legally obliged to keep records and to retain them for at least 7 years. Make sure your records meet all the conditions. For instance, you must be able to show how much tax you need to pay or have to receive back.
6. Choosing your workplace
As a sex worker, you can work in different places. For example, you may choose to work from home, a brothel, clubs, private houses or the streets.
You need an extract from the Dutch Business Register
For most workplaces you want to establish yourself, you require an extract from the Dutch Business Register. The extract is needed to prove that you are registered with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce. You can order the extract online from €7.50.
If you wish to receive customers at your home, you must first contact your municipality to find out if you are allowed to do so. Most municipalities prohibit prostitution at home. You may call them anonymously to ask for more information.
If you want to work in a brothel, you have to rent a window from a window operator for an agreed period of time. You work independently; you recruit customers yourself and negotiate the price and service. Window prostitution is only legal in the following cities: Amsterdam , Den Haag, Alkmaar, Leeuwarden, Haarlem, Deventer, Doetinchem, Nijmegen, Groningen and Eindhoven.
As an escort you can work in different places. You may choose to work via an escort agency or you may choose to work fully as a self-employed professional. Make sure to check with your municipality whether you need a permit. If you fail to do so, you run the risk of being fined if a permit is required.
If you work on the streets, you must hold a permit from the municipality. You are also restricted to certain areas. Working on the streets is prohibited in the Netherlands, except for so-called ‘streetwalker districts’. These districts are run by the municipality and allow street prostitution. There are 4 streetwalker districts in the Netherlands: Groningen, Arnhem, Nijmegen and Utrecht.
Do you want to quit working in prostitution?
Most municipalities offer special ‘exit-programmes’ in which several organisations collaborate to provide help. During an intake interview, you set goals together with your supervisor. These goals may include finding a job or learning how to keep better track of money matters. You are required to actively participate.