In the last few years, the Netherlands has become one of the best countries in Europe for starting a business. Among the activities that can be successfully completed here are research and development, fintech and other similar ones which rely mostly on innovation and which are suitable for startup businesses.
Special legislation applicable (YES/NO)
No, Company Law applies
Startup visa availability (YES/NO)
Sponsorship required (YES/NO)
No, however, a business facilitator is required to open a startup in the Netherlands.
Types of entities under which it can operate
Limited liability company, usually the private one (BV) is preferred
Foreign shareholding availability (YES/NO)
Yes, full foreign ownership is possible to create a startup in the Netherlands.
Resident director required (YES/NO)
Minimum share capital requirements
- no minimum amount is required for BV,
- 45,000 EUR for a public company (NV)
Business plan required (YES/NO)
Yes, under the startup visa
Acitvities it can complete
- innovative activities,
- e-commerce etc.
Timeframe for incorporation (approx.)
It takes around 3 to 4 weeks to open a startup in the Netherlands
Best cities to operate in
Special tax regulations applicable (YES/NO)
Yes, the new company tax relief may apply if certain conditions are met.
Special incentives available (YES/NO)
Reasons to choose the Netherlands
- one of the most technologically advanced countries in Europe and the EU,
- special tax allowances and deductions for foreign citizens moving here,
- access to a large number of double tax treaties
Support in company registration (YES/NO)
Yes, full Dutch company formation services are available.
Opening a startup in the Netherlands is not complicated, the only requirement for foreign entrepreneurs seeking to create such a business venture being to register a legal entity with the Trade Register.
Below, our Dutch company formation agents present the main steps for the creation of a startup. You can rely on us for assistance or for registering the Dutch startup on your behalf. If you want to create a new Dutch innovative company, you can decide for an Amsterdam startup.
You can read about the procedure of opening a startup in the Netherlands in the infographic below:
Key elements in opening a startup in the Netherlands
There is no difference between a startup and any other business registered in the Netherlands if we are to define this entity from a legal point of view. However, when it comes to its features, we could say that the following apply to a Dutch startup:
it usually relies on a thorough business plan and model in order to attract potential investors;
it operates in innovative sectors which meet specific requirements and demands, in most cases;
the owner or owners do not have substantial amounts of money to invest in the company;
it is created by young entrepreneurs who rely on the professionalism of seasoned investors (usually angel investors);
it obtains most of its funds from crowdfunding platforms, friends, and other investors.
From an incorporation point of view, a Dutch startup does not imply going through specific procedures.
Our company registration consultants in the Netherlands can help with the creation of such a venture.
If you are interested in starting a small business in the Netherlands, you can decide for an Amsterdam startup which is easy to create.
Steps for creating a Dutch startup company
Creating a startup in the Netherlands implies the same steps as for any other type of company, which is why it is not hard to complete. Even if such a business does not fall under the provisions of the Company Law, the legal entity under which it would operate does. Which is why foreign investors interested in setting up such companies will follow the same registration procedure, which implies:
selecting a structure that suits the activities of the startup (there are several business forms available, however, the BV is preferred by most entrepreneurs);
drafting the incorporation documents, which consist in the Articles of Association;
filing all the documents with local office of the Trade Register;
registering for taxation and VAT, and social security.
When choosing a legal entity for a startup company, the BV but also the flex BV are the most sought by foreign investors as they are very suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises. The differences between them are not many, which is why one can decide for any of the two.
If you want to open a company in the Netherlands and decide for an Amsterdam startup and need assistance, our local consultants are at your disposition for guidance.
The most popular way of opening a Dutch startup
The private limited liability company or BV is the most suitable option from a legal entity point of view when seeking to open a startup in the Netherlands. As mentioned above, the startup relies on an idea which usually requires a significant investment and the funds are gathered through specific means such as crowdfunding platforms which are very popular in the Netherlands. Considering the Dutch BV does not require a high share capital, it is one of the most suitable options for a startup company.
In terms of registration, the startup registered as a BV requires at least one shareholder who needs not be a Dutch resident, a director and a few documents that need to be filed with the Trade Register.
What to consider when opening a startup in the Netherlands
Foreign investors will benefit from the same treatment as local entrepreneurs if they want to set up companies in the Netherlands, and this principle also applies to startups. The only difference between local and foreign businesspersons is that the latter are required to obtain Dutch residence permits if they want to move here and run their operations.
Another aspect to consider before choosing a legal entity is to create a solid business plan and a business model based on which he or she can gather funds from angel investors or incubators.
The city in which the company will operate is also important and in the Netherlands an Amsterdam startup can really thrive.
If you want to open a Dutch company as a startup, you can rely on our officers for assistance and advice on how to make suitable choices.
The Netherlands – Europe’s largest incubator for startups
The startup ecosystem has started developing a few years ago and the Netherlands was one of Europe’s first countries to participate to the spreading of this culture. Relying on a younger population compared to the rest of the European states and thanks to the large number of expats living here and embracing the Dutch business culture, the Netherlands has quickly become the largest incubator for startup companies on the Old Continent.
In order to ease the access of foreign investors in the Netherlands, in 2015, the government created the start-up visa scheme which targeted non-EU investors with innovative ideas seeking to move to the EU and open their own companies. Based on this program, an investor can obtain a Dutch residence permit by opening a startup in the Netherlands, the only requirement being to rely on mentorship from a Dutch-based experienced investor.
After one year of living in the Netherlands based on the residence permit, the startup owner can extend his or her stay in accordance with the self-employment scheme.
It is also useful to note that the program brought the Netherlands on the 3rd position in the 2019 Global Innovation Index among EU countries, according to the Dutch agency InvestinHolland.
At the level of 2019, the Netherlands hosted more than 10 innovation hubs dedicated to research and development facilities for startups.
If you are considering in opening a startup in the Netherlands, you can rely on our support.
The creation of an Amsterdam startup can be overseen by our company formation advisors in the Netherlands.
Why choose Amsterdam for a startup?
Amsterdam is one of the most prolific cities in the Netherlands and in the past few years it has become an example for other cities in Europe when it comes to the creation of startup businesses. The infrastructure, the high internet speed, the talented workforce which is mainly made of young persons from all over Europe and the increasing number of incubators have put Amsterdam at the center of the European startup ecosystem.
Those who want to open such businesses in the Netherlands can easily decide for Amsterdam startup companies and benefit from enhanced support in order to thrive.
The Netherlands is considered the 3rd most supportive countries in the world thanks to the easiness of digital businesses, according to the Harvard Business Review. Moreover, the government also assists foreign startup companies to expand or relocate here with numerous tools and information, and many of these business owners choose Amsterdam for their enterprises.
The Netherlands has also adapted to new technology quite quickly which enabled companies here to come with innovative products and services that have transformed them into successful businesses in and outside the country. Moreover, the government has also invested in Artificial Intelligence (AI) which is why it now has a plan for the further developments in this sector.
Top 3 startup ideas in Amsterdam
If you are interested in the creation of an Amsterdam startup, there are various options, as the Netherlands is a very suitable state from this point of view. Among the ideas you can implement are:
an IT company which can create various types of innovative solutions that can be employed in day-to-day activities, such as mobile phone apps;
e-commerce companies that can sell innovative goods;
a software company relying on Artificial Intelligence for the development of various programs.
Fintech companies (blockchain or cryptocurrency businesses) are also good ideas for those with the necessary experience in the financial and information technology sectors, as these can thrive through Amsterdam startups.
We invite you to watch our video below:
Amsterdam – the Dutch hotspot for startups
Amsterdamis the leading startup hub in the Netherlands as, according to statistics:
- tech companies here have raised 750 million euros in 2018;
- the top startup incubator in Europe in 2018 was located in Amsterdam;
- in 2019, the city was Europe’s 4th most active startup hub;
- in 2019, there were more than 1,200 startup companies in Amsterdam;
- in the same year, the city also hosted 150 scale-up businesses.