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Government information for entrepreneurs

Registration at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

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.

Have your papers in order

You must have a valid residence permit

If you originate from outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you need a residence permit or startup visa to stay and start a business in the Netherlands.

Non-resident businesses

If 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 AdministrationExternal link yourself.

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 (BRP) in your city of residence, or, if you are staying for less than 4 months, with the Non-resident Records Database (RNIBSN). There are 19 registration addressesExternal link. As a non-resident, you need to have a permanent address abroad as well as a temporary one in the Netherlands, and be able to show proof of both when you come to register your business.

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

You 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

To register your company in the Commercial Register, you need to have a Dutch address. This can be your own address, if you have one, or a so-called zakenadres, for instance your accountant's address or a virtual address. If you plan on establishing your company in the Netherlands, find business premises before you register at the KVK.
There is an exception to the rule: if you live abroad in the border region, and you can prove you perform business activities in the Netherlands on a structural basis, for instance as a market vendor, you can register with your foreign address.

Choose a name

Your 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 functionExternal link. 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:

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 Administration

New 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 form

You can prepare for your company registration with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce by filling out the form onlineExternal link as much as possible. You can think of:
  • your personal details;
  • your business contact details;
  • a company description.

Make an appointment with the KVK

You can make an online appointment for your registrationExternal link, 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 contract

If your business address differs from your private address, you must bring your business premise lease or purchase contract.

Register in time

There 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.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK