With so many heavy hitters in the global economy coming from Europe such as Germany, Britain and France, it’s easy to forget that one the brightest stars in the international business scene is a smaller country nestled in North Western Europe – Holland.
There are many reasons why the Netherlands is great for international business and for those global entrepreneurs who want to branch out and expand their markets into Europe and beyond, there are few countries that can offer such strong prospects for building a solid business empire.
Location & Transport
The Netherlands provides an excellent location to serve markets within Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The central geographical position of the Netherlands - next to Germany and Belgium, and just a short hop to the UK – make it perfect for transport and freight companies that need easy access by air, sea, train and road.
The main cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam allows access to 95% of Europe’s most lucrative consumer markets within only 24 hours. The Port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest and most important seaport and along with the Ports of Amsterdam, Groningen and Zeeland, these Dutch ports together move more than 500 million metric tons annually and account for 54% of all trade shipping in Western Europe.
The capital’s Schiphol Airport is ranked as Europe’s best airport for both cargo and passenger transport and Holland’s extensive, modern network of roads and highways is responsible for 14% of all international road transport in Europe, making Holland a top European location for international road freight transportation.
The Dutch rail system is also impressive with direct connections to inland container terminals and links to destinations across the EU, Scandinavia and the Middle East. And thanks to Holland’s three high-speed rail lines and the Betuweroute - the double-track freight railway that connects Rotterdam to the German border - companies have fast, direct access to Europe’s major logistics hubs.
Holland has an extremely investment-friendly tax system which includes many tax breaks and incentives for certain kinds of businesses looking to expand in Europe. Some of these advantages include:
- Nearly 100 bilateral tax treaties to avoid double taxation
- A corporate income tax rate of 20 percent on the first €200,000 and 25 percent for taxable profits exceeding €200,000
- A 100% exemption for qualifying dividends and capital gains
- Reduced or zero withholding tax on dividends, outgoing interest and royalty payments
- Favorable expat tax programs with a 30% personal tax income advantage for qualified, skilled foreign employees
- Research & Development companies can benefit from the “innovation box” which reduces the corporate tax rate to only 5 percent, as well as the tax credit (WBSO) which gives reductions on wage tax and social security contributions plus an allowance for R&D costs (RDA).
- Tax-free reimbursements of 30 percent of an employee’s salary, provided the employee has been recruited or assigned from abroad with specific expertise scarce in the Dutch labour market
- All benefits related to a qualifying shareholding are exempt from Dutch corporate income tax, as well as the fiscal unity regime, designed to freely offset profits and losses among group members.
Startups & Industries
Renowned internationally for its open culture and emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, the Netherlands is home to a vibrant, collaborative startup ecosystem.
Holland has 10 leading innovation hubs, where startups benefit from world-class incubators and R&D facilities. And since 2015, a “startup visa” makes it possible for ambitious entrepreneurs outside of the EU to apply for a temporary residence permit.
Startups are popping up all over Holland which is now home to more than 8,000 foreign companies. In fact, 50% of Dutch Gross Domestic Product is actually derived internationally. And some of that percentage comes from the following thriving industries - agrifood, IT, chemical, high tech, science & health and creative sectors.
Recruitment & Lifestyle
High on the list of priorities of anyone opening a business in a foreign country is how to recruit reliable staff. Luckily in Holland there is a highly educated and multilingual workforce readily available - 90% of Dutch are fluent in English!
And if you’re thinking of moving to Holland and actually basing yourself in the country, you’ll be pleased to know that the quality of life in the Netherlands is exceptionally high - it was even ranked as the 7th happiest place on earth in the World Happiness Report. The good news is that the high standard also comes at a low cost, much lower than most European countries
How to Set up Your Business in Holland
A private limited company in Holland is called a Dutch BV. To incorporate a Dutch BV usually takes from seven to ten working days.
To start the process you will need the following documents:
- Passport copy of the chosen director and shareholder
- Proof of address (e.g. utility bill) of the director and shareholder (not more than three months old)
- Proposed company name
- Description of activities for the new company
- Invoice details (name and address)
After the incorporation you will receive your company documents and an extract with your company’s registration number. With your registration number you will be able to apply for a Dutch business bank account.
If you are interested in finding out more about how to go about opening a company in the Netherlands, please feel free to call us on 0033 (0) 1 53 57 49 10 or email us via our contact page and we’ll be happy to discuss all your requirements for expanding your business to Holland.