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Starting a business as a student

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNederlandse versie

Are you a student? And do you want to start a business in the Netherlands? Find out what you need to know and what you have to arrange in order to start your business.

The Dutch government encourages initiatives that ensure that students are able to combine their studies with building a successful business. For example, it should be possible for an entrepreneurial student to graduate while running their own business. You can approach the Centre of Entrepreneurship at your university or college for practical assistance and support.

In general, the rules and regulations of the Dutch government that you will have to deal with as a (starting) student entrepreneur are often the same as for other entrepreneurs. Students may receive (partially) reduced study grants and loans. They can also use government schemes that are meant to stimulate entrepreneurship as an entrepreneurial student.

Am I allowed to start a business as a foreign student?

Foreign students in the Netherlands can start a business alongside their studies. This is true if you are an EU-citizen, or if you are a non-EU citizen with a valid student visa or residence permit. You do not need additional documents or visa from the IND. Nor do you need a work permit (TWV, tewerkstellingsvergunning) from the Employee Insurance Agency UWV. You only need a TWV if you work in paid employment. There is no legal limit to the number of hours you spend on your business.

Business or hobby

You are an entrepreneur if you work independently and outside of the family atmosphere for several clients. Do you sell goods or provide services in exchange for money? And do you expect to make a profit? Then the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration considers you an entrepreneur for income tax.

Checklist for starting a business

If you want to know how to become an entrepreneur you can read our checklist Starting a business in the Netherlands. You have to register your company with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK). You pay a one-time fee for this. KVK will then forward your details to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst), and they will provide you with a VAT number and a VAT-ID.

Consequences for student finance

You can earn an unlimited amount of additional income. This does not have consequences for your student finance.

Internship at your own company

It is possible to do an internship or graduate at your own company. There are educational institutions that encourage student entrepreneurs with a Top Entrepreneurs scheme. Ask your (future) educational institution about the options.

Starting as a minor

Limited legal capacity

In the Netherlands, minors (younger than 18 years of age) who own a business need permission from their parents for legal actions. For example, if you take out a telephone subscription, or if you want to borrow money from a bank. Do you want to perform legal acts without your parents' permission? Then you can apply to the subdistrict court for limited legal capacity. You have to be at least 16 or 17 years old to do so. Please note that you will be personally liable.

Consequences for child benefit

If you are a minor, your parents or guardians may receive child benefit (kinderbijslag) for you. The additional income you make with your business does not have any consequences on the child benefit, regardless of the minor's age (but younger than 18 years of age) or the profit that is made.

Subsidies and tax schemes

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

As a young entrepreneur, you will be given the opportunity to work temporarily at the SME of an experienced entrepreneur in another EU country.

Small businesses scheme (KOR)

If you run a small business, you may be eligible to participate in the small businesses scheme, as part of which you will be exempt from paying turnover tax (VAT).

Entrepreneur allowance

This is deducted from the profits so that the entrepreneur pays less tax. The entrepreneur’s allowance consists of, for example, a private business ownership allowance and tax relief for new companies.

SME loan guarantee scheme (BMKB)

If you have a business in the Netherlands and employ no more than 250 workers, you may be eligible for a guarantee for part of a loan, which will enable you to borrow more than would otherwise be possible based on your collateral.


The microcredit facility is available for (start-up) businesses in need of a loan or guidance. This scheme consists of a business loan and coaching.

Start a business with incapacity benefit

Students with a long-term occupational disability may be eligible to receive support in establishing their own business.


The following organisations promote the interests of student entrepreneurs. You can contact them for more information. Please note: these websites are all in Dutch.

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