Doing business in the Netherlands 2020
The purpose of this detailed manual is to guide you through the investment environment in the Netherlands.
Doing Business in the Netherlands is published by your accountant who is a member of the SRA network. The purpose of this detailed manual is to guide you through the investment environment in the Netherlands. It offers practical information about the country and how to set up a business, adopt the ideal legal form, the subsidy schemes, the tax system, labour law and much more. For more detailed information, please do not hesitate to contact your personal accountant.
The Netherlands is an open economy, carried along by international economic trends. International economic or financial crises and the Brexit process mainly affect the Dutch economy through exports, as a result of a reduction in world trade. However these have a relatively limited direct real impact on Dutch exports. The financial situation of companies (profitability and solvency) is on average in good heart, enabling companies to withstand the ups and downs in the global economy.
Country and Government
The Netherlands has a total population of 17.4 million inhabitants (January 2020) and is governed by a monarchy. The ministers are the people’s representatives with respect to the actions of the government. The head of state does not bear political responsibility and can therefore not be held politically accountable by the parliament. The Netherlands has 12 provinces, each with its own local authorities. Since 2010 the Netherlands, together with the countries of Aruba, Curacao and Sint-Maarten have formed part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The islands of Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius and Saba have a separate status and form part of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
Most of the major industries in the Netherlands are situated in the country’s western regions. The Port of Rotterdam is one of the biggest ports in the world. The railway line, the ‘Betuweroute’, ensures fast and efficient transport from the port to the European hinterland. Utrecht is a central traffic junction and Schiphol, the main Dutch airport, is growing at a rapid rate. The Low Lands, as the Netherlands is also known, play an extremely important role in the functioning of the transport artery.
The country’s perfect location and healthy financial policy have helped to ensure that the Netherlands has grown into an important import and export nation. The country’s most important industrial activities include oil refineries, chemicals, foodstuff processing and the development of electronic products. Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, China, Great Britain, France and the United States are the country’s main import partners. All the above-mentioned countries, including Italy, are also the country’s most influential export partners.
The Dutch National Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank, DNB) is responsible for the money flow in the Netherlands. One of the government’s most important objectives is to keep prices stable and thereby to contain inflation. Dutch banks offer an extensive range of financial services: some are specialized, while others offer an extremely wide range of services. Dutch banks are reliable: most financial institutions use organizational structures that prevent the possibility of entanglement of interests. The general prohibition on commission also contributes to this.
Right to establish a business
Foreign companies wishing to set up shop in the Netherlands can set up the existing foreign legal entity in the country without the need to convert it into a Dutch legal entity. They will however be required to deal with both international and Dutch law. All foreign companies with establishments in the Netherlands must be registered with the Chamber of Commerce.
A most competitive economy
The Netherlands is an attractive base for doing business and for investment. Its open and international outlook, well-educated work force and strategic location are contributors. The attractive fiscal climate and technological infrastructure create favourable propositions for international business.