15 steps to incorporate and start your company in The Netherlands

Business owners, directors or project managers may not feel confident setting up and managing companies abroad.

The first questions they come across are the following:

  • What are the steps to be taken?
  • How long will it take to start with commercial activities?
  • Who can set up the company and manage it in the Netherlands?

At Dolk Hesper we want to share our knowledge and experience sharing with you 15 key steps to follow when starting a business in the Netherlands:

STEP ONE: Clarify the business goals & plan the strategy for the market entry in the Netherlands, Europe or overseas.

Frequent scenarios:

a)     Access the Dutch local market

b)    The Netherlands as gate to Europe

c)     Worldwide investments structured via a Dutch holding company

STEP TWO: Find opportunities and partners, and plan your start.

STEP THREE: Explore the benefits of the legal environment of the Netherlands.

See for more information our blog “The Netherlands: key sectors, business, legal and tax incentives”

STEP FOUR: Plan your company structure and choose the legal form:

  • Private Limited Liability Company (BV),
  • Public Limited Company (NV)
  • Further options: Limited Partnership (CV), a Foundation (Stichting), Partnership (Maatschap), Commercial Partnership (VOF) or register as a one man business (ZZP).

STEP FIVE: Find an address for your company.

STEP SIX: Find a local director or company secretary who keeps your company in good standing and complies with Dutch corporate law requirements.

STEP SEVEN: Request draft of the Articles of Association in accordance with Dutch law.

STEP EIGHT: Incorporation: incorporate your company before the Notary Public.

STEP NINE: Registration at the Trade Register and Tax Authorities.

STEP TEN: Open a bank account and obtain internet banking access.

STEP ELEVEN: Draft a Shareholder’s Agreement, if necessary.

STEP TWELVE: Find an accountant who understands your business, communicates in your language and is used to work internationally.

STEP THIRTEEN: Arrange insurances.

STEP FOURTEEN: Permits and licences (if applicable).

STEP FIFTEEN: Employment of local or foreign employees, contracts and payroll. Please note that if you employ expats you may consider applying for an expat ruling, arrange housing, get local coaching, etc.


At Dolk Hesper we are specialized in setting up companies and managing international companies. We offer tailor-made solutions for your business. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you be interested in starting a business in the Netherlands.

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