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  • Writer's pictureDMS Netherlands

Can I work in The Netherlands as a foreign entrepreneur?

When starting a business in The Netherlands, it is vital to know about the rules and legislation in the country. The Netherlands is known for being a centrally located tax haven with an outstanding command of the English language. But as a foreign entrepreneur, can you start your business in the country?

Sole Proprietorship

The Netherlands recognizes all foreign business structures, except for non-Dutch sole proprietorships. When a foreign entrepreneur wants to set up a company as a proprietor, one should register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. When you are registered, the Dutch Commercial Register and Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will also have you listed. When your company needs to convey VAT, a VAT identification number will be sent to you within a few weeks.

Dutch Commercial Register

When a business wants to set up in The Netherlands and is not a sole proprietor, the company does not have to register as a separate legal entity. However, it needs to register at the Dutch Commercial Register. This means you are running a Dutch business but does not allow you to live in The Netherlands. In order to live in The Netherlands, you will need to apply for a visa.


Furthermore, most people in The Netherlands speak English on a very high level. Research by EF (Education First) showed that in 2020, Dutch people were the most proficient English speakers in the world, that is, outside the Anglosphere. Especially citizens of Amsterdam and The Hague had a very high proficiency. When starting to work in The Netherlands, the language barrier will not be as significant a problem as it would in other countries where the level of English is not as high.

When setting up a business in The Netherlands, it is helpful to work with a company that can provide a corporate director or individual directors for your Dutch entity. To add to that, the administration is complicated but vital that it is done right. DMS could help you with your domiciliation, management, administration and, if necessary, liquidation.

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