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Government support for entrepreneurs

Orange Carpet: making it easier to launch a startup in the Netherlands

This information is provided by

Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service | Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy | Netherlands Chamber of Commerce | Netherlands Enterprise Agency

Do you want to launch an innovative business in the Netherlands? The Dutch government, in cooperation with the StartupDelta initiativeExternal link and the Dutch industry, has created a startup package with incentives for international startups: a startup visa, an 'Orange Carpet' programme, including organisations that can assist startups in setting up shop in the Netherlands, as well as a wide range of incubator and accelerator programmes. These 7 steps help you setting up your company. EU citizens can proceed to step 3.

Step 1: Apply for a residence permit for non EU entrepreneurs

The startup visaExternal link is a special one-year residence permit for ambitious non-EU entrepreneurs, who want to launch an innovative business in the Netherlands. Check if you are qualified for a startup visaExternal link, and apply.

At the end of the startup visa year, you can continue running your business under the self-employment schemeExternal link.

Step 2: Find a startup facilitator

One of the requirements for obtaining a startup visa is working together with a business mentor: a facilitatorExternal link. This cooperation must be officially established in a (signed) agreement between the startup entrepreneur and the facilitator. The facilitator must have experience in guiding innovative startups. The facilitator provides the entrepreneur with a tailor-made package of support dependent on the specific needs of the startup.

For the self-employment schemeExternal link a facilitator is not required, but you do have to submit several supporting documents, including a thorough business plan, proof of income and education.

Step 3: Choose a business location

Choosing a business location is perhaps the most important decision a startup has to make. The Netherlands has a large variation of workspaces, incubators, startup facilitators, accelerators and other facilities available for startups. See the company and investor mapExternal link.

In certain premises or locations zoning regulations stipulate which types of business may be conducted. Contact the local authorities to find out how areas have been zoned or premises have been designated for business usage.

Step 4: Register with your local council

To identify yourself or get access to authorities you have to register at your local council's Municipal Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP). Most towns offer online registration; check the website of your town of residence to find out how to register. You'll receive a citizen service number (burgerservicenummer, BSN) once you've registered with your local council, or if you're a non-resident once you've recorded your details in the Non Residents Records DatabaseExternal link (registratie niet-ingezetenen, RNI). Registering is free of charge and you need to make an appointment.

Need help with your residence permit application or local council registration? Call one of the Netherlands' expat centers. They can be of assistance with all these personal and/or family-related matters. Please be aware that some expat centers charge a fee for their services.

Step 5: Register your company

To register your company in the Netherlands, you will need to make an appointment with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel or KVK), or use the services of a notary. This will depend on the type of legal structure you've chosen for your business. Once you've registered, the Chamber of Commerce will forward your details to the Tax and Customs AdministrationExternal link (Belastingdienst) so that they can issue you with a VAT number.

Step 6: Open a business account and a personal bank account

To handle financial business transactions in the Netherlands you'll need a Dutch business account. There are several banksExternal link to choose from. Leading banks in the Netherlands are ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank.

Besides a business account, you'll also need a personal bank account. For non-EU residents, your citizen service number (BSN), an extract of your business registrationExternal link and your residence permit is required when opening a personal bank account.

Step 7: Arrange your personal and family matters

Settling in The Netherlands will also raise many questions about personal and family matters. Such as:

Where to go for support

This 7-step plan should help you get started. You can make use of the Dutch startup ecosystem to find organisations to team up with, apply for funding, etc. Check out the Dutch startup ecosystemExternal link.

Organisations that can help you on your way quickly are:

Other options for highly educated and highly skilled persons

The Netherlands offers several other types of visa besides the startup visa. You can apply for an orientation year visa or, if you will be working as an employee, take advantage of the highly skilled migrant scheme. For recruiting personnel, you can benefit by becoming a recognized sponsor. For investors, there is also a special investors scheme.External link

This information is provided by

Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce
Netherlands Enterprise Agency