Company Formation Netherlands



Creating a Publishing Business in the Netherlands

Updated on Friday 09th February 2018

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Dutch citizens continue to read the written press despite the development of the modern online media. However, currently there are only three large Dutch publishing companies accounting for 90% of the written press in the country. The Netherlands has a comprehensive legislation regarding the freedom of the press. The Dutch legislation is also in accordance with the EU directives.

Our company registration agents in the Netherlands can offer more information on the regulations applicable to publishing businesses.

Journalism and media in the Netherlands

The governmental policy encourages and protects a free and diversified press in the Netherlands. Publishing companies in the Netherland are free to decide on the content they provide to their readers. However, the publishing industry in the Netherlands belongs to private investors, without any public newspapers. The policy on journalism, as established by the local authorities, is divided into:

  • - the Government establishes the rules on media concentration, thus ensuring all publishing companies have equal rights in controlling the market,
  • - financial support for publishers is available through the Press Promotion Fund,
  • - the Government supports self-regulations, when it comes to publishing practices.

The media industry in the Netherlands

The Dutch media industry is made up of radio, television and the written press. During the last several years, the publishing sector has won over more people than the other media channels thanks to the digitization of most publications. The publishing industry relies more on digital books, as this segment developed a lot in the last 10 years.

Foreign investors who want to open companies in the publishing sector can also set up bookstores, including online shops.

The Media Act in the Netherlands

The Dutch Media Act is the main legal framework regulating the funding and competences of public broadcasters and publishers. The Media Act also lays down the requirements for publishing companies in the Netherlands. The Media Act specifically establishes the freedom of expression and independency of the written press, as conferred by the Dutch Constitution. The Media Act was last amended in 2009 and contains provisions about Dutch companies providing online content.

How to set up a Dutch publishing company

The incorporation procedure for a publishing business resides in registering the company with the Dutch Trade Register and selecting the appropriate NACE code in the Nomenclature of Activities. In Section D, subsection DE 22, one can find the following codes for publishing:

  • - 22.11 for publishing books,
  • - 22.12 for publishing newspapers,
  • - 22.13 for publishing journals and periodicals,
  • - 22.14 for publishing sound recordings,
  • - 22.15 for other publishing,
  • - 22.21 for printing newspapers,
  • - 22.23 for bookbinding and finishing,
  • - 22.25 for other activities related to printing,
  • - 22.33 for reproducing computer media.

Licenses for publishing companies in the Netherlands

There are no special licenses related to setting up a Dutch publishing business, however, foreign enterprisers who want to establish such company can apply for an all-in-one permit with the local municipality. The license will be issued after the company formation is completed.

If you need assistance in setting up your publishing company, please contact our company registration agents in the Netherlands.


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