How do you register a new company in the Netherlands? Every starting Dutch company must register in the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce Commercial Register (Handelsregister). Read what you need to do.
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Have your papers in order for entering the Netherlands
You must have a valid residence permit
Non-resident businessesIf you are a foreign company that doesn't have a permanent establishment in the Netherlands, you don't have to register with the Dutch Commercial Register (Handelsregister). However, if you have to pay VAT, you do have to register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration yourself.
Register for a citizen service number
- 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.
Check if you need to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK You only need to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK if you are an entrepreneur. You qualify as an entrepreneur if you supply goods or services independently, with the intention to make a profit. Online businesses can also qualify.
Find out if you qualify as an entrepreneur.
Are you starting up as a freelancer or sole trader? You may need to register; it depends on whether your business satisfies the criteria for an enterprise. If you are not sure whether you need to register your business then contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce.
Your company needs a Dutch address
Choose a trade name for your Dutch business The first step in your company registration process is finding a suitable trade name. Your Dutch business needs a company name when you register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK. A good company name:
- doesn’t create a wrong impression;
- is not a brand name used by another company;
- does not sound or look too much like that of another business;
- does not contain special characters ( ) ? ! * # /.
The Handelsregister - the Dutch Commercial Register
When you register at the KVK, your company will be listed in the Commercial Register or Handelsregister. Every Dutch company is listed there and everyone has access to check the register. Are you looking for a company, for instance to see if it is trustworthy? Then check the Commercial Register. Go to the KVK website and use the search function. This page is in Dutch. Fill in the name of the business you're looking for in the frame underneath 'Zoeken', and press enter. All entries of companies bearing the name you entered will appear.
Choose a Dutch legal structure
As a starting entrepreneur, you must choose a legal structure, like sole proprietorship, a commercial partnership (vof) or a private limited company (bv). Which legal form is most suitable for you, depends on your situation. For instance, how do you want to appoint liability (who is responsible for debts), and which fiscal benefits are available? Use the tool Choosing a legal structure to find out which legal structure suits your situation best. You can also find some tips on how to choose on the page Legal business structures: an overview.
Tool for choosing a Dutch legal structure
If you are in two minds about which legal structure to choose, use our Tool for choosing a Dutch legal structure. It will guide you through some of the main considerations, such as liability, staff and taxes, and give you advice suited to your needs and wishes.
The following legal forms are always required to register in the Commercial Register:
- sole proprietor (eenmanszaak)
- private limited company (bv);
- public limited company (nv);
- commercial partnership (vof);
- limited partnership (cv);
- foundation (stichting);
- association with notarial deed;
- public partnership (openbare maatschap);
- cooperative and mutual insurance society.
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).
Check whether your business must register UBOsDepending 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. Every EU country has to keep a UBO register. In the Netherlands you register your UBOs with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK, in Dutch). See for more information the KVK article UBO register: questions and answers.
You may not need to register separately with the Tax and Customs Administration
If you register as a sole proprietor, KVK will pass on your details to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst). You do not need to register separately.The Tax Administration will issue you with a VAT identification number (BTW-id), to use for correspondence and invoices to your customers, and a VAT number (BTW nummer), to use for your dealings with the Tax Administration. You will receive these numbers from the Tax and Customs Administration by post.
You will need to register separately with the Tax and Customs Administration if you have chosen a private limited company or public limited company (nv) as your legal structure. In that case, your registration at both the KVK and the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will be handled by a civil-law notary, and you will be issued with an RSIN number (identification number for legal entities and associations).
N.B.: the Tax and Customs Administration uses different criteria to establish whether or not you are an entrepreneur for VAT or income tax purposes.
Fill out the online formYou can prepare for your company registration with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK by filling out the form online as much as possible. You can think of:
- your personal details;
- your business contact details;
- a company description.
Make an appointment with KVK
You can make an online appointment for your registration, or you can call +31 88 5851585 (press 9 for the menu in English). You have to come to a KVK office in person to register if your business structure is sole proprietor or a partnership.
Costs and KVK number
During the appointment you will receive your Chamber of Commerce registration and KVK number. Upon registration, you pay a non-recurring (one-time) registration fee. You have to pay this fee directly with debit or credit card. You cannot pay cash.
Important! Do not forget your ID
When you come to register, you need a valid identification document, for instance a passport. Without one, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce cannot complete your registration. You will have to return with your ID to make your registration final.
Bring your Dutch business premise lease contractIf your business address differs from your private address, you must bring your business premise lease or purchase contract.
Register in timeThere are 3 possible moments to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK:
- No later than 1 week after starting your business;
- 1 week prior to starting your business;
- Earlier. In that case, the registration (with the KVK number) will become official 1 week prior to the start of your business. You do not have to come to the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce again.