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Company formation

in the Netherlands



Complete our Order Form and send us all the company information

Receive and approve the Formation Deed/company constitution

Visit the notary, or courier your legalized documents​

More information

The process of starting a Dutch Company


Our Incorporation Officers can help you decide on the right type of legal entity, and provide basic tax and legal support without any extra charge, to start your Dutch business.


Once the company has been incorporated, you can visit a Dutch bank to open a corporate bank account, and apply for your Tax ID’s. INCO can assist you, and you can expect a valid VAT number within 2 weeks!


Did you know, that the formation of a Dutch private limited company might not be necessary to obtain a VAT number, or even a Business License? You can check out out Business Toolkit to find out more about the advantages of a ‘branch registration’ and obtaining a VAT number on behalf of a non-resident company.

Why start a company in The Netherlands

If someone wants to start a company in the European continent than The Netherlands ought to be the number one choice. This is true for companies of any size, and active in most industries.
Even if you are a relative small company (startup), and you don’t expect a lot of activity in the Netherlands for the first 12-24 months, you can easily start their company (low budget, and within 24 hours!) and have little bureaucratic affairs to worry about.

All government agencies, and most business in the Netherlands speak English, and we have a liberal attitude towards non-residents. In fact, the Dutch are not just ‘liberal’, in fact we welcome overseas business and expats with special tax incentives, and easy access to funding programs. The Netherlands provides Entrepreneurs Visa’s for establish entrepreneurs, and Startup Visa’s for promising & innovative startups.
INCO Business Group is a well established corporate service provider that can assist you with your whole process, as we have informed and assisted over 5.000 entrepreneurs and incorporated more than 1,000 legal entities since 2007. 


In case your company is expecting to increase its activities in the Netherlands as soon as possible, it’s important to know that The Netherlands has high-level ports, strategically located airports and a modern network of roads and highways.
In fact, more than 170 million consumers are located within 24 hours of Amsterdam or Breda, making the Netherlands the perfect springboard into the European market.

Consider also Holland’s competitive corporate tax structure (reducing its corporate tax rates even more!), highly educated and multilingual workforce, well-developed supply chain and it’s clear why multinationals like Coca-Cola, Nike, Adidas, IBM, Huawei and Google choose the Netherlands.

View Market Entry Scenarios

Market Entry Scenario’s

Each company is different, and unique in its own ways. In fact, your own business looks different every year, and the way you expand your business to a new country, such as The Netherlands, will also depend on the goals that you have set to achieve in The Netherlands. You might be planning to expand your business, and increase sales. Or you want be planning to relocate your sales activities, even if its just in paper, to create a EU reputation for your customers. You might be looking for talent (or to relocate them) or simply to protect your assets in a safe Dutch bank. So although each company is unique, your requirements typically are not. We have made an overview of typical market entry scenarios so you can get familiar with the most important information, and how INCO can help you to start a Dutch business.

Find out which market entry scenario suits your (future) business best!

What are the different types of companies

(legal entities) in The Netherlands?

The most commonly used company form in The Netherlands is the B.V. (Besloten Vennootschap) The B.V. is a so-called private Limited Company, which can be compared to the German GMBH, Belgium BVBA, UK LTD and French Sarl.
In order to start a Dutch business, it’s important to decide how your corporate structure will look like, and which legal entity suits with your needs.

For example; an independent IT contractor might typically be looking to establish a sole proprietorship, or a branch registration of his overseas company. Whereas a multinational which likes to attract multiple investors, might opt for a Public Limited company such as the Dutch N.V.  For any type of business in between, the Dutch BV is typically a safe bet!

Private Limited  COMPANY


Most companies that enter the Netherlands, prefer to set up a Dutch B.V. The Dutch B.V. is a so-called Private Limited Company, and is suitable for a range of activities and different types of corporate structures. The Dutch B.V. can be incorporated by non-residents, and fully owned by non-residents. No capital or transaction restrictions are in place, which means it’s an ideal vehicle to perform your international business activities.




  • Share capital of at least 1 share of 0.01 cent (not required to pay up)

  • No local director/shareholder required

  • Limited Liability for the director

  • Incorporated by a Dutch public notary (typically within 1-2 working days)

  • Requires registration at the Chamber of Commerce


A Dutch Partnership can easily be established in the form of a so-called VOF (Vennootschap onder Firma). It’s not very usual to establish such a partnership, in order to perform international business activities, but it might be suitable in case of a local partnership or joint venture. The VOF can also be interesting to jointly own an asset in The Netherlands, such as real estate, although the C.V. is also a popular partnership-type for this purpose.  




  • At least two partners required, which can be corporate bodies

  • No local director/partner required

  • Unlimited Liability for the operational manager/partner

  • No minimum share capital

  • No notary required in the process to setup a Dutch VOF

  • Requires registration at the Chamber of Commerce


/Trust (Stichting)

The Dutch Foundation (Stichting) is a very interesting legal entity.  It has no ‘share capital, so it has no shares to issue. Due to itself-owning character,  the Dutch Stichting can be used as an ideal legal entity to operate an NGO or a charity organisation. In combination with a Dutch B.V., the Stichting is also known as the STAK, and used for asset management or estate planning purposes.







  • At least two partners required, which can be corporate bodies

  • No local director/partner required

  • Unlimited Liability for the operational manager/partner

  • No minimum share capital

  • No notary required in the process to setup a Dutch VOF

  • Requires registration at the Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands


Representative Office

A branch registration in the Netherlands can be interesting for entrepreneurs that already operate an overseas company. A branch registration in effect, is the registration of an overseas company, at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. This means that no separate legal entity is set up. Generally speaking, it’s easier to establish a branch, then a legal entity, because no public notary is involved in the process. Furthermore, the Company law of the overseas is applicable, which means that it’s not required to draft any Financial Statements based on Dutch law. 




  • No local capital deposit requirements

  • No local director/shareholder required

  • Limited Liability for the director

  • Overseas Company law applicable

  • Registration requirement (Chamber of Commerce) depends on situation

Things to consider before you start a Netherlands company

Before starting the process of forming a company in the Netherlands it is important to be familiar with some of the basic concepts around rules and practices related to the company and the registration process.

The best piece of advice that we can give you, is to give a call (or schedule a call, so we can call you!) to our Incorporation Consultants to discuss your situation and requirements. 

frequently asked questions

Does your Netherlands company require a VAT number?

Not every Dutch (non-resident) company will be VAT liable, and therefore not required (or able!) to apply for a VAT number.
Companies that do not perform any trading activities, in general to not have to apply for a VAT number (such as holding companies, etc.)
In case your company sells goods or services within the Netherlands, or the EU, your company might be required to apply for a VAT number. You can check our Tax Overview, or contact our Incorporation Officers for more information.

How Can I Open a Dutch Bank Account?

The opening of a Dutch corporate bank account can be challenging. There is no legal requirement to open a Dutch bank account, so in case your Dutch company has no direct link with the Netherlands yet (such as a physical presence, staff, customers, etc.) we suggest that you consider using an overseas IBAN (for example at your current overseas bank), until you have a certain track record.  Dutch banks, like ING, do open corporate bank accounts, even for brand-new companies. You can read more about that here.

What is the difference between a subsidiary or a branch registration in the Netherlands?

The obvious difference between a branch, and a subsidiary, is that a subsidiary is a separate legal entity. And a branch, is an extension of your current overseas company.

Simply put, you can only register a branch in the Netherlands, if you already own an overseas company. The advantage of registering your overseas company in Netherlands (at the Chamber of Commerce) is that you don’t have to work with a Dutch notary, and your overseas Company Law is leading (so Dutch corporate law requirements on publishing of Financial Statements, paying up share capital, etc. are not relevant). 

Read More about the branch timeline 
Read More about choosing a branch or legal entity

Are there any Company Ownership-restrictions in Netherlands?

There are no company ownership restrictions in Netherlands, and non residents can own real estate, company shares, etc. without any limitations. 

What Non-Resident requirements do I need to consider?
Any non resident individual, or entity, can own or manage a company in the Netherlands. This means that there are no legal restrictions against this. However. Appointing a non-resident director (or shareholder) can have practical and tax consequences. 


Read more about Substance
Read more about opening a bank account

What are the Legal Address Requirements in The Netherlands?

All companies formed in the Netherlands need to have a unique registered address, which will be used for the registration at the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). In general, its expected that the legal address is in the Netherlands, but this is not a legal requirement in order to form a Dutch company. If your Dutch company is still in the startup phase, and does not have a physical presence in the Netherlands, it can use it’s overseas (residential or office) address.
In any case, a rental agreement, or permission letter, should be available which shows that the address can be used for this purpose.

In case you use a Dutch business address service, you need to consider that virtual office addresses are not allowed in the Netherlands. This means that any business address must be accessible by you, and provide at least a flexi-desk service. It also requires that a manned reception desk is available, and that the ‘business center’ can contact you if required.

Aside from the legal address, it’s possible to use a separate mailing address for any incoming mail from the tax authorities. Typically such letters are sent directly to the accountant or bookkeeper.

INCO can help you translate your Dutch government letters, or correspond with government agencies, as part of our 
Company Officer Service

What are the Requirements for a Company Administrator/Tax Representative in Netherlands?

There is no legal requirement to appoint a Company Administrator or Tax Representative in Netherlands. However, when a non-resident company applies for a VAT or wage tax number, it’s common practice that it uses the services of a local registered bookkeeping firm to communicate with the tax authorities and file the appropriate tax returns. INCO can assist you in the application of tax number, and filing of tax returns. 

What are the company name restrictions in Netherlands?

Before starting a business in the Netherlands, you need to consider your company name, and the restrictions that apply in the Netherlands. For example, you can’t simply use the name ‘bank’ , ‘university’, ‘accountant’ in your company name, unless you are licensed to perform these activities. You are also not allowed to use personal names of someone else in your company name, like ‘Albert Heijn’ or ‘Freddy Heineken’. Assuming of course, such names are still available, you can use these names if it’s your actual name. Do you use your own name in your company name? Keep in mind that you run a greater risk of unwanted sales and even identity fraud.

Do not choose a company name with a brand name from another company (or names similar to it). A customer or supplier can then get confused. They may think that the products with that brand come from the company that uses the brand name in its company name.

You may not use a company name that can cause confusion with the public (for example, with customers or suppliers) because the name resembles an existing company name. Whether confusion can arise depends, among other things, on:

  • the similarity  in the name/brand;

  • the extent to which the activities are similar;

  • the overlap of the work area, ie the area where the company operates.

  • If you find a company name misleading or confusing


Do you think the company name of another company is misleading or confusing? First try to solve it mutually. Is this not possible? Then you can start a procedure with the court.


Not all special characters and punctuation marks are allowed. You may only use @ & + and - in your company name. Characters like ()? ! * # / may not, for example, appear in your company name.

Can I add multiple Trading names in Netherlands?

Yes, you can. The trade names don’t have to be similar to the statutory company name. This way you have use multiple brands/trade names, using only one company. Please note that using a trade name does not protect your brand in all situations, and brand registration might still be suggested.

When you register a trade name in the Netherlands, you are allowed to issue invoices, or sign contracts, in the name of that trade name (instead of the legal company name). 

What is the process of starting a Company in the Netherlands?

As with everywhere else in the world, the process of setting up a company in the Netherlands can vary based on the type of activity that the company is going to operate. Several industries have their own agencies and specific licenses that are required in order to operate, but even if that’s the case, the Dutch company can be setup first, before applying for such license.

Below, you will find the steps needed to have a fully functioning service company formerly registered in the Netherlands.

  1. Start-Up Consult with an Incorporation Officer

  2. Complete the application form, and provide company details

  3. Collection of Documents

  4. Formation Process

  5. Approval & Signing

  6. Visit to the Netherlands; Meet the notary and/or bank


Check our full Company Incorporation Timeline
Request your personalized Timeline based on your corporate structure and requirements

How long does it take to form a company in the Netherlands?

Forming a company in the Netherlands is not an integrated process and therefore it is difficult to give an exact time frame. Technically a company can be set up within 1 working day, if the formation is carefully prepared and all documents are provided by the incorporator. In reality it takes time to collect the right information, instruct the notary, receive the formation deed, and get the signed and/or legalized documents from the incorporator. In general it should be considered it takes between 5 and 10 working days to set up a Dutch company. 


How much does it cost to form a company in the Netherlands?
The costs to set up a Dutch company depend on the company form that will be used. A sole proprietorship or Dutch branch can be registered at the Chamber of Commerce, without involving a Dutch notary. In this case the fees can be limited to the Chamber of Commerce fees (50 EUR). In case a Dutch legal entity is established, such as the Dutch BV or NV, notary fees (approx. 1.000- 1.500 EUR) need to be considered.  The exact fees can depend on the complexity of the formation, and the amount of stakeholders.

READ MORE about setting up a Dutch BV within 1 day! Or check our Company Formation Timeline.

Do you require an Import License in Netherlands?

A common motivation for forming a company in the Netherlands is to be able to import products to Europe. For importing goods into Netherlands no import license is required. In case of certain foods, or goods, an import certificate might be required.


More information about forming a company in Netherlands

In this guide we have tried to give a non-legal and simplified overview of forming a company in the Netherlands. There are many industry specific requirements and regulations that we have not covered and we encourage you to look at the many industry specific articles that we have published in our Business Toolkit to start your company in the Netherlands.

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 from our business toolkit 



Our experts have combined their knowledge and strengths to create a tool we call the Business Toolkit. 

The Business Toolkit will help you and entrepreneurs from around the globe to truly understand the Dutch market, regulations and laws. And will enable you to take a deep-dive into the topics displayed below. 

This way you will easily get up to speed with our Company formation process, Dutch Tax & Accounting and our corporate services. 

Make sure to check out our handy checklists, explainer video's and extensively written Whitepapers too!



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