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Business structures in the Netherlands: overview

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKStatistics Netherlands, CBSStatistics Netherlands, CBSLast updated on Nederlandse versie

In the Netherlands, you have to choose a legal structure when you start a business. You cannot operate without choosing a business structure and be an entrepreneur.

You choose a business structure when you register at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK). Your choice will help determine such aspects as liability and tax obligations.

Which corporate structure suits your company?

There are many possible business structures, as listed on this page. Which one suits you best depends on your circumstances. To help you choose, you can use our interactive tool for choosing a Dutch legal structure. Or you can scroll down on this page to find the most common considerations in the paragraph Tips for choosing a legal structure.

There are business structures with and without corporate (legal) personality.

Business structures without corporate (legal) personality are:

If you choose a business structure without legal personality, you will be personally liable for the debt of your company, with your private capital and belongings.

Legal structures with corporate (legal) personality are:

When you set up a legal structure with legal personality, a civil law notary has to draw up the relevant papers, including your registration at KVK, to create the legal personality. If your company is a legal personality, you will not be personally liable for the company's debts. There are some exceptions to this, for instance if grave mismanagement, recklessness, or fraud on your part has led to the debts.

If your business is a legal entity or a partnership, you receive an RSIN number when you register at KVK. This is the business equivalent of a citizen service number (BSN in Dutch).


You must determine your business structure before you can register your business at the Chamber of Commerce KVK. See step 1:

Registering your company, step 1 and 2

Filing financial statements

Certain types of company are required to file their financial statements with KVK. The size of the company determines how the statments have to be submitted.

Putting your company on hold?

It is not possible to put your company on hold. According to KVK and the Tax Administration, having a business means having business activities. If you do not have business activities, de-register your company. If your company is a legal entity, you must dissolve it before you can de-register. So long as your business is registered, your legal obligations continue. Depending on your legal structure, you have to file tax returns, keep business records, and file financial statements with KVK. You also have to honour any contracts with suppliers and customers you have entered into.

European legal structures offer you the option to work together across borders with companies from other Member States of the European Union. There are three European legal structures:

Legal entity supervision

Do you want to incorporate a private or public limited company, or amend your articles of association? Your legal entity falls under the continuous supervision of Justis, the Agency for Scrutiny, Integrity and Screening (Ministry of Justice and Security). The aim is to detect and prevent abuse. You do not require a certificate of no objection (verklaring van geen bezwaar).

The Governance and supervision Act (Wet bestuur en toezicht rechtspersonen, Wbtr) will come into effect on 1 July 2021. This act arranges that all legal entities will have the same rules with regard to governance and supervision. These rules are already in place for public limited companies (nvs) and private limited companies (bvs).

Changes in the legal structure or the collaborative venture in which your business participates will have fiscal and administrative consequences. Changes must be reported to the Netherlands Tax Administration (Belastingdienst) and KVK. You may have to re-apply for certain licences from your municipality, including, for example, the licence under the Licensing and Catering Act and operating permit.

There are quite a few considerations to be taken into account when making the choice for a legal form or business structure. The statements below can help you find out which bracket suits your situation best. Select and deselect statements to access information on several considerations you may have. Try to read all the information here; it will help you make a well-informed decision.

Not what you are looking for?

If you need personal advice, contact KVK. They can talk you through the options.

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