When you start your company, you must register in the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce Commercial Register (KVK Handelsregister). These are the steps you need to take.
On this page
Have your papers in order
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. 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
Check if you need to register with the Netherlands Chamber of CommerceYou only need to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce if you are an entrepreneur. You qualify as an entrepreneur if you supply goods or services independently, with the intention to make profit. 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 nameYour business needs a company name when you register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce. 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 Commercial Register
When you register at the KVK, your company will be listed in the Commercial Register or Handelsregister. There, every Dutch company is listed. Are you looking for a company, for instance to see if it is a bona fide company? 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 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? You can find some tips on how to choose on the page Legal business structures: an overview.
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, you have the option to register as a sole proprietor or as a private limited company (BV). The article on what to consider when choosing a legal structure can steer you towards the right choice for yur situation.
You may not need to register separately with the Tax and Customs AdministrationNew businesses must register with the Dutch Commercial Register at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK. If you register as a sole proprietor, the KVK will pass on your details to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, who will issue you with a VAT identification number, to use for correspondence and invoices to your customers, and a VAT number, 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 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 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 the KVKYou 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 one of the KVK offices in person to register if your business structure is sole proprietor or a partnership. During the appointment you’ll receive your Chamber of Commerce registration and KVK number. Upon registration, you pay a non-recurring (one-time) registration fee of 50 euros. You have to pay this fee directly with debit or credit card. You cannot pay cash.
Important! Don’t forget your ID
When you come to register, you need a valid identification document. 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 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 three possible moments to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce:
- No later than one week after starting your business;
- One week prior to starting your business;
- Earlier. In that case, the registration (with Chamber of Commerce registration number) will become official one week prior to the start of your business. You don’t have to come to the Chamber of Commerce again.