Registration at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Checked 27 Jun 2022
7 min read
Nederlandse versie

Every new company in the Netherlands must register in the Business Register (Handelsregister) of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK. You do not need to register separately with the Netherlands Tax Administration. That happens automatically when you register with KVK. Read here how to register in the Business Register.

Flowchart registering your businessFlowchart registering your business

Have your papers in order for entering the Netherlands

You must have a valid residence permit

If you come from outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you may need a residence permit or residence permit for foreign startups to stay and start a business in the Netherlands. Use our tool Coming to the Netherlands as an entrepreneur to find out.

Non-resident businesses

Do you run a foreign company? And do you not have, or want to start, a branch office or subsidiary (a permanent establishment) in the Netherlands? You do not have to register with the Dutch Business Register (Handelsregister). Does your company have to pay VAT in the Netherlands? Then, you do have to register with the Netherlands Tax Administration (Belastingdienst).

Register for a citizen service number

You must have a citizen service number (Burgerservicenummer, BSN) if you want to register your business in the Netherlands. To get one, you must:

  • register with the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP) in your city of residence, or,
  • register with the Non-resident Records Database (Register Niet-Ingezetenen BSN, RNIBSN) if you are staying for less than 4 months.

Have you registered as a non-resident? You need to have a permanent address abroad as well as a temporary one in the Netherlands. When you visit KVK to register, you must be able to show proof of both.

Check if you need to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK

You only need to register with KVK if you are an entrepreneur. KVK views you as an entrepreneur if you supply goods or services independently, with the intention of making a profit. Online businesses can also qualify.

Find out if you qualify as an entrepreneur.

If you are not sure whether you need to register your business then contact KVK.

Prepare for registration

Before registering with KVK, you need to arrange the following:

1. Your company needs a Dutch address

To register your company in the Dutch Business Register, you need to have a Dutch address. This can be your own address or a business address, (zakenadres), for instance, your accountant's address. Ask for a signed declaration of consent that they allow you to use their address as a business address. If you plan on establishing your company in the Netherlands, find business premises before you register at KVK.

There is an exception to the rule that you need a Dutch address. It applies to entrepreneurs who live abroad in the border region and can prove they perform business activities in the Netherlands on a structural basis. For instance as a market vendor. They can register using their foreign address.

2. Choose a trade name for your Dutch business

An important step in your company registration process is choosing a trade name.

Your Dutch business name must comply with these rules:

  • Your company name should match what your business does and should not give the wrong impression. For example, do not include the word ‘international’ in your name if you do not do business abroad.
  • Do not use other people's brand names or existing trade names. You can check your company name with the KVK name checker tool. The tool is only available in Dutch but it is easy to use. Fill in your idea for a name in the search field and click Zoeken ('Search'). The results will show if there are similar names in KVK's Business Register or the Trademak Register of the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP).
  • Avoid confusion with existing trade names.
  • Your trade name may consist of numbers and punctuation marks. For example, - + and &. Make sure your trade name is easy to pronounce. The Trade Name Act (Handelsnaamwet) does not protect these additions. However, you can try to get protection for these by registering a trademark.

3. Choose a Dutch legal structure

As a starting entrepreneur, you must choose a legal structure, like sole proprietorship, a general partnership (vof), or a private limited company (bv). Which legal form is most suitable for you depends on your situation. It determines who is liable (responsible for debts) and which fiscal benefits are available. Use the tool Choosing a Dutch legal structure to find out which legal structure suits your situation best.

N.B.: Freelancer and zzp'er are not legal structures. If you freelance in the Netherlands or if you are a self-employed professional without personnel, you have the option to register as a sole proprietor or as a private limited company (besloten vennootschap, bv).

4. Check if your business must register UBOs

Depending on the legal structure of your company, you also need to register ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs). A UBO is the owner or the person who is effectively in control of an organisation. For example, a person who owns more than 25% of a bv's shares.

Check if your chosen legal structure must register UBO's. Every EU country has to keep a UBO register. In the Netherlands, you register your UBOs with KVK.

5. Make an appointment with KVK

To finalise your registration you must visit a KVK office in person. During your visit to KVK you will receive your KVK number. You make an online appointment. When making the appointment you fill in the KVK registration form. Make sure you have the following information ready:

  • your personal details
  • your business contact details
  • a description of your company's activities
  • the sector in which you will be active

6. Bring your Dutch business premises lease contract

If your business address differs from your private address, you must bring your business premises lease or purchase contract, or a declaration of consent signed by the owner or landlord of the business premises.

When should you register?

There are 3 possible moments to register with KVK:

  • No later than 1 week after starting your business activities;
  • 1 week before starting your business activities;
  • Earlier. In that case, the registration (with the KVK number) will become official 1 week before the start of your business. You do not have to visit KVK again.

Registration fee

During your appointment at KVK, you pay a registration fee. Payment is possible by scanning the QR code on the invoice with your mobile phone's camera or with a QR app. After scanning the code, you can pay by iDEAL or credit card. You cannot pay in cash.

What is recorded in the Business Register?

The KVK BusinessRegister contains the following company information:

  • your name and contact details
  • your company's name
  • a description of your business activities
  • SBI code
  • visiting address
  • postal address
  • the number of employees
  • the officers and authorised signatories
  • a curator in case of bankruptcy

This information is public. Anyone can look it up in the Business Register. If you do not want to be approached by businesses and organisations sending you physical mail or visiting your registered address, you can activate the Non-Mailing Indicator or NMI. Companies offering products or services by telephone must comply with the rules for telesales.

Shielding visiting addresses

In some cases, you can shield your visiting address in the Business Register.

  • If you have a sole proprietorship then it is always possible to shield your visiting address. You must register a postal address that is different from your home or visiting address, for example, a PO Box
  • You are threatened and do not have a sole proprietorship. For ‘probable threat’, you can apply for shielding of the visiting address if it is the same as your residential address. This is possible for all legal forms except capital companies such as a bv or nv. With ‘concrete threat’, all legal forms can shield their visiting addresses, even if the visiting address is not the same as the residential address.

What are the consequences if you do not register?

Do you not meet the requirements to register in the KVK Business Register? You may still have to file a VAT return. For example, if you offer your product or service via an online platform. You must file an income tax return on your income. Check whether you meet the conditions.

Do you not register with KVK even though you meet the entrepreneurial criteria as set out in the Trade Register Act? If so, you are breaking the law. This is punishable under the Economic Offences Act. You risk a fine or imprisonment.

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Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK