Pension provisions for self-employed professionals without staff (zzp'ers)

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK | Statistics Netherlands, CBS

In the Netherlands, you build up rights to a General old age pension (AOW) if you live and work here. This basic benefit is usually lower than what you earned while working. As a self-employed professional without staff (zzp'er), you have several possibilities for supplementing this benefit. Find out what they are.

AOW: basic pension

The Dutch government provides everyone who has lived and worked in the Netherlands for over a year with a basic pension under the General old age Act (Algemene Ouderdomswet or AOW in Dutch). You build up 2% of the maximum AOW pension for each year of AOW insurance. You will get a full AOW pension if you have been insured for 50 years. Read more about the AOW on the Social Insurance Bank website. You receive AOW from the AOW entitlement age until your death. Check your AOW entitlement age on the Social Insurance Bank website.

Use to find out how much pension you will receive

Every Dutch citizen can check their pension provisions on the Dutch-language ('my pension overview') website. It lists your AOW-entitlement plus any pension schemes and funds in which you participate (or have participated). That way, you can find out quickly how high your pension will be. You can also find out if you In addition, you can use the 5-question tool on the website (in Dutch) to calculate how much money you will need after your pension.

Fiscal benefits of annuity savings schemes

One way of supplementing your future pension is taking out an annuity insurance or annuity savings scheme. Insurance companies, banks and investment brokers offer such services. They will invest your money and, once you stop working, pay out your savings plus profits in instalments. Annuity savings schemes also offer fiscal benefits: you can deduct the inlay sum from your income tax, under the heading ‘uitgave inkomensvoorziening’ (expenses for income provision).

Put money aside in the retirement reserve (FOR)

The fiscal retirement reserve (fiscale oudedagsreserve, FOR in Dutch) allows you to put aside a part of your business profit (maximum 9.8%) for retirement purposes. You can deduct this sum from your profits, resulting in a lower (corporate) income tax assessment. You will have to pay tax over this sum once you reach the retirement age and withdraw the money. The fiscal retirement reserve comes with a number of conditions. These are the main ones:
  • the Tax Administration considers you an entrepreneur for income tax;
  • you spend at least 1225 hours a year on your business;
  • you have not reached the AOW entitlement age yet.

Continue your existing pension scheme

Did you work as an employee before you started out as a self-employed professional without staff (zzp’er)? It may be possible to continue your old pension scheme for another 10 years, including all additional coverage, such as survivor benefit (nabestaandenpensioen in Dutch). Or get an exemption from contributions if you can no longer work due to disability. Ask the pension service provider if this applies to your pension scheme. If you want to continue participating in your employee pension scheme, you must apply within 9 months of leaving employment. You may deduct the contributions from your income tax as expenses for income provision.

Check if you are obliged to participate in a pension scheme

In some professions and industries, participation in a pension scheme is mandatory. Are you an entrepreneur in one of the following types of company? Then you must participate:
  • painting companies, glaziers and finishing companies
  • plasterers, installation companies, natural stone companies, and terrazzo and flooring companies
Do you practice one of the following occupations? Then you must participate in your occupational pension fund.
  • apothecaries
  • veterinaries
  • physical therapists
  • general practitioners
  • obstetricians
  • medical specialists
  • (marine) pilots
  • (candidate) notaries and actuaries
  • rowers in the Port of Rotterdam Area

Take part in a collective pension scheme

One way of supplementing your pension is voluntary participation in a collective pension scheme. Banks, insurance companies and investment brokers offer such group pension schemes; there is a number of schemes especially set up for zzp’ers.

Consult a pension advisor or financial planner

If you have difficulty finding out what your best options are when it comes to your retirement and pension, consult a pension advisor or financial planner. You can find a list on the website (in Dutch). An expert can explain the options and consequences.

Statistics: self-employed without employees aged 65 and older

Number of self-employed professionals without employees aged 65 to 69 and 70 to 74 years.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Statistics Netherlands, CBS