Working for the government via a tender

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

If you want to supply your products or services to Dutch government organisations, you usually have to participate in a tender first. Tendering gives all interested businesses an equal opportunity to carry out assignments. Learn more about how tendering works.

What is a tender?

A tender (aanbesteding) is a way of purchasing used by government organisations. Or by an organisation that performs tasks for the government, such as a school or a security region. The organisation announces that it wants a certain task to be carried out by a company. For example:

  • to sell products, such as office supplies or solar panels
  • to provide services, such as a communication assignment or market research
  • to carry out work, such as building a bridge

Read more about the Procurement Act and which public authorities have to tender contracts.

Why tender?

Tendering is a fair way to manage public procurement. It gives all interested parties an equal chance to carry out an assignment. By tendering contracts, the government also ensures that there is competition between companies.

To ensure that tenders are fair, contracting authorities must follow established procurement procedures and rules. This means, for example, that certain choices made by a contracting authority must be explained (transparency). For example, why a business does or does not get a contract.

Finding government tenders

Tenders and their conditions for participation are published online. Which procurement platform is used depends on the assignment:

TenderNed is the online marketplace for (European) tenders from Dutch contracting authorities. On TenderNed you will also find European tender announcements from other tendering platforms:, Mercell Source-to-Contract, Nétive VMS BV, Proactis, and The Solutions Factory. You can respond to these assignments through those other platforms. You must then also create an account there. Create a personal profile on TenderNed to get daily updates on new tenders within your area of interest.

TED is the platform where all European tenders are published. You can view assignments from all other EU countries on this platform.

Participate in a tender

Through the tender platform, you can view tender documents, respond with questions, and submit a tender.

The tender documents state:

  • what exactly is the assignment
  • the steps of the tendering procedure (in Dutch)
  • the conditions for selection (in Dutch) and award (in Dutch)
  • the available budget, plan, and closing date

You can download and read the tender documents. You are not obliged to apply.

Participate in a tender with another party

Do you not meet the requirements to perform an assignment? For example, because you only have experience with part of the work. See if you can participate together with one or more businesses. For example, you can ask other businesses to join you as subcontractors. You can also submit a tender jointly with other entrepreneurs. This is called a combination formation.

National and European tenders

Government tenders are tendered according to national or European rules. This depends on the estimated value of a contract (in Dutch). If an assignment exceeds a certain value, the assignment will be put out to tender at the European level. This value is called the threshold amount (in Dutch). Threshold amounts are redetermined every 2 years by the European Union.

A value above or equal to the EU threshold amount

Is the estimated value of the contract higher than or equal to the EU threshold amount? Then the government organisation follows a European tendering procedure (in Dutch). European tendering procedures must always be published on TenderNed.

A value lower than the EU threshold amount

Is the estimated value of a contract lower than the European threshold amount? Then the national rules for procurement procedures (in Dutch) apply. The rules for procurement below the EU threshold amounts give the contracting authority a bit more freedom to make choices. Public authorities may publish contracts on TenderNed or a commercial platform. Businesses may then also be invited to participate by email.

A contracting authority typically describes in its procurement policy how contracts below the EU threshold are tendered.

The procurement policy states when:

  • a contract may be offered to one company (single private procedure)
  • multiple companies may be invited (multiple private procedure)
  • an assignment must be publicly announced

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK