How to run your business successfully in the Netherlands  

Ranked 4th in the world by Forbes’ “Best Countries for Business”, the Netherlands is truly a world-class business destination. The strategic location of the Netherlands on Europe’s doorstep provides the perfect steppingstone to the European market. So, it is definitely worth keeping an eye on the Dutch market or even expanding into the Netherlands. We will give you the necessary knowledge about the Dutch market and useful tips on how to successfully expand. 


9 reasons why you must absolutely expand into the Dutch market 

1. Dutch company structure  

People in the Netherlands are generally well educated and often multilingual. Add to this the excellent logistics and technology infrastructure and it’s no wonder that so many multinationals from small and mediumsized enterprises to the leading Fortune 500 companieshave chosen the Netherlands as their gateway to Europe.  

2. Strategic location   

Strategically located on Europe’s doorstep, the Netherlands offers access to 95% of the most lucrative consumer markets in Europe within 24 hours from Amsterdam or Rotterdam.  

3. Business climate in the Netherlands   

The Netherlands has a competitive international climate and is home to over 15,000 foreign companies. 50% of Dutch GDP is generated internationally. 

4. Infrastructure in the Netherlands  

The Netherlands, which is the world’s number 3 in total logistics performance, has the largest seaports in Europe, centrally located airports, an extensive road and motorway network and a very good broadband network 

5. Taxes in the Netherlands  

The Dutch tax climate has several attractive features for international companies.  

In addition, the Netherlands has a special tax regime for foreigners, the 30% rule, which provides for a substantial income tax exemption for a period of up to 60 months. The employer can also reimburse certain costs tax-free, including international school fees, relocation costs and relocation allowances up to a certain amount 

6. Highly qualified, multilingual workforce   

As a model of efficiency and commitment, the highly educated workforce in the Netherlands is among the most productive in Europe. In addition, 90% of Dutch people speak fluent English. 

7. Creative and innovative environment  

The Netherlands has an attractive test market, adaptable consumers and an open culture. As one of the world’s most multicultural hubs for creative talent, the Netherlands is a great place to bring ideas to life 

8. Thriving sectors   

Driven by internationally renowned research institutes and public-private partnerships between universities, industry and government, the Netherlands is driving the growth of its thriving sectors, agri-food, IT, chemicals, high-tech systems, life sciences and health 

9. Cost of living in the Netherlands  

The Netherlands are ranked fifth happiest place on earth in the World Happiness Report. Moreover, the cost of living in the Netherlands is lower than in Germany or France, for example. The Netherlands offers a favourable living environment with an exceptional quality of life. Rental prices in the Netherlands are much lower than in European capitals such as London or Paris.   

Business Culture in the Netherlands  


The Dutch are known worldwide for their directness and straightforwardness. This is also reflected in the Dutch business culture. The Dutch tend to get straight to the point, so they don’t expect much small talk. Moreover, private and professional life in the Netherlands are often separated. Ideas are discussed very openly at meetings and everyone has a right to their own opinion. Dutch people treat people respectfully and honestly and are not too impressed by ranks and titles 


To greet each other in the Netherlands, you shake hands. It is important to repeat your name and make direct eye contact. To say goodbye, it is considered polite to shake hands with everyone present once again 


Punctuality is very important in the Netherlands. Time management is important, and business meetings usually do not take longer than necessary, and it is important to follow the fixed agenda 

When planning an appointment, remember that Dutch people often take holidays in July and August and in the end of December. 

Dress code in the Netherlands  

Standards and styles vary greatly from sector to sector. For example, in the banking sector, formal dress is usually the norm, while other sectors such as the IT industry do not impose such strict dress codes on their employees. In general, Dutch fashion is casual, unpretentious and simple. 

Legal forms in the Netherlands  

The trade register in the Netherlands is kept in the Kamer van Koophandel, which also functions as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Netherlands. Chambers of Commerce at   

Maatschap (Civil Society)  

  • At least 2 persons (often lawyers, tax consultants, doctors)   
  • Shareholders are liable to third parties with their own assets without limitation  

Vennootschap onder firma (V.O.F., General partnership)  

  • Special form of the Maatshap  
  • At least 2 persons run a business under one name  
  • Company has its own assets and is liable for its debts  
  • (If the company’s assets are insufficient, the partners are liable without limitation and jointly and severally for all the company’s liabilities)   

Commanditaire Venootschap (C.V., limited partnership 

  • Public cooperation of at least 2 persons  
  • Distinction between active shareholders and silent partners/limited partners  
  • Shareholders have unlimited liability  
  • Liability of the limited partners is limited to their contribution 

Naamloze Venootschap (N.V., public limited company 

  • Often found in larger companies  
  • Shareholders can issue registered and bearer shares  
  • Company has its own assets, liability only for the payment of the contribution  

Besloten Venootschap met beperkte Aansprakekijkheid (B.V., Ltd)  

  • Most common type of company  
  • Low capital requirement   
  • For smaller companies  
  • Liability only with paid-in capital   

Coöperatie (cooperative society 

  • Association, which is defined as Coöperatie at the time of its foundation   
  • Almost exclusively in agriculture   

When setting up a company abroad, it is always advantageous to have a qualified advisor on your side, who can support you at every step. Especially when entering a foreign market, it is important to have a good communication strategy. Since many documents must be available in another language, it makes sense to contact a translation agency in this case. They have the capacity and knowledge to handle such large-scale projects professionally. Especially for legal translations or interpreting at meetings, it is advisable to rely on the help of experts, as they can guarantee an efficient and high-quality translation. 

Whatever sectors you wish to expand in, be it e-commerce or logistics, Smylingua is there to advise you. We take care of your project, no matter what size it may be. Be it SEO translation of your website into Dutch, or legal translations. We would be happy to give you professional advice on your expansion in the Netherlands and support you in all your projects. Our team of experts, who are perfectly familiar with the target market and the conditions in the respective country, will be happy to assist you 

So do not hesitate any longer and contact us by e-mail or call us on +33 1 76 43 32 76. 


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