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 of your place of education 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 who have a valid student visa or residence permit can start a business alongside their studies. 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
Did you enroll in higher education (HBO) or in university after 1 September 2015? Then you can earn an unlimited amount of additional income.
Did you start studying before 1 September 2015 or are you currently enrolled in secondary vocational education (MBO)? Then you can earn a maximum of € 15,828.77 in additional income (in 2022). If you earn more than the maximum additional income (in Dutch), you must stop your student finance.
When are study costs deductible?
Study-related costs for which you receive student finance are not deductible as operating costs. Study costs for expanding your knowledge are deductible. See All tax schemes for new companies for an overview of deductions and schemes.
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 you 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
As a young entrepreneur, you will be given the opportunity to work temporarily at the SME of an experienced entrepreneur in another EU country.
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).
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.
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.
Students with a long-term occupational disability may be eligible to receive support in establishing their own business.
Chat with Tax Administration
Every day between 09:00 and 16:00 it is possible for starters and SMEs to chat with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. Go to https://goedestartbelastingdienst.nl/ to start a chat. You can also make an appointment for a video call with one of their advisors to ask them your tax questions.
The following organisations promote the interests of student entrepreneurs. You can contact them for more information. Please note: these websites are all in Dutch.