Getting Started in the Netherlands
Monday January 17, 2022
Thinking about building your tech startup? The Netherlands is the perfect location for you and your company. Moving to the Netherlands for business requires you to do some paperwork. This guide will inform you about what you need to take care of before and after you arrive.
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The Netherlands has consistently ranked as one of the top ten most competitive economies in the world for the past decade. There are several reasons why the Netherlands is an ideal place for entrepreneurs, including foreign nationals.
Some of the reasons why are:
A key driver of the country’s encouragement for entrepreneurial success is the practice of fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education institutions. In 2010, a public policy, known as the “Valorisation Programme”, served as a new way of applying research with practice as a means to educate students on entrepreneurship and valorization structures.
The Netherlands is thus an ideal destination for foreign & entrepreneurs of tech startups.
The Netherlands is a relatively affordable country by western European standards. However, the cost of living in the Netherlands varies from city to city. Amsterdam and some other major Dutch cities are the most expensive places to live in. It is estimated that the monthly costs of a single person minus rent can reach €900. Meanwhile, monthly costs for a family of four may surpass €3,000 without including rent.
Here’s how you can expect to allocate your living costs in the Netherlands:
Renting is easily one of the most convenient solutions to housing. Rental homes that are owned by social housing associations make up 32% of the Dutch housing stock. However, in 2020, it was reported that landlords increased rent by an average of 3%, which was the biggest rent increase since 2015. Major cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague saw the highest rent increase. Nonetheless, the Netherlands remains an affordable option for many expats.
The most popular cities to rent in the Netherlands are:
If you’re looking for housing, check out real estate developers such as Citylife.
If you are not an EU/EEA citizen, you will need to apply for a residence permit. As an EU/EEA citizen, you are eligible to work in the Netherlands without applying for a permit or visa.
As a non-EU/EEA citizen, you cannot apply for a work permit yourself. You must ask your employer to apply for it for you.
If you are an entrepreneur who is looking to build and develop your own tech startup, you can apply for a start-up visa. Make sure that you meet the following conditions as indicated on the IND website:
Upon arrival, it is important that you take care of two essential checklist items:
Coworking spaces are extremely popular worldwide. In 2022, there were reported to be more than 28,500 coworking spaces globally, and they are predicted to surpass 40,000 by 2024 worldwide. They’re practical, affordable, and the perfect networking hubs for meeting like-minded individuals.
There are plenty of coworking spaces all around the country, and you can book them online. For example, in Rotterdam, you can find 42workspace that offers coworking spaces in the city. Moreover, if you prefer a more private area to do your work and set up your office, you can also look for office spaces in Rotterdam. Additionally, in Amsterdam, you can find coworking office spaces at Regus.
When you work in the Netherlands, it is mandatory that you take out health insurance. Your options include the Dutch standard healthcare which costs around €100. It covers basic medical care such as doctor visits, ambulance services, dietary advice, etc. Alternatively, you can get coverage for more extensive medical treatments like dental care, physical therapy, etc. by paying extra. Check out the available packages on the website of your selected healthcare provider.
The largest healthcare providers in the Netherlands are:
For visiting other European countries, make sure that you take out travel insurance if you are not an EU/EEA citizen.
For taking care of your taxes, it is highly recommended that you hire an accountant. They will let you know about everything you need to pay, including when to file tax returns. That way, you can never be wrong. There are different types of taxes in the Netherlands that you are likely to pay. Types of taxes include:
When starting a business in the Netherlands and establishing yourself among other tech startups, you must take into account several checklist items. As indicated on the Business Government (information for entrepreneurs), these items include:
Find the complete checklist on starting a business in the Netherlands here.
For information and subsidy from partners and advisors, visit RVO. The website provides information for many industries.
Additionally, be sure to check out the companies below which can assist you on specific matters for launching your tech startup in the Netherlands.
Dutch Startup News Sources:
Banks for opening account:
Mentoring and Coaching for startups:
The Netherlands has created the perfect casual biking culture for its people next to its efficient public transportation system. The Dutch own around 22.5 million bicycles — 84% of the population ride a bike. On average, they own 1.3 bicycles per capita which is more than any other country in the world. In addition to cycling, the Dutch transit system makes intercity travelling much easier. Use the OV-chipkaart, the national smart-card payment system for public transport in the Netherlands, which includes buses, trains, metros, trams, ferries and even bike rental.
There are different subscriptions and various Dutch providers to choose from. Services such as Youfone allow you to retain your current mobile phone free of charge. For internet services, you can sign up easily via your phone or online. The most popular internet providers in the Netherlands are:
Learning Dutch may not seem necessary in a country where the majority of the people speak English. However, there are a few compelling reasons why you should learn Dutch:
Useful links and apps for learning Dutch:
As a foreigner, you might need to make the extra effort to meet new people. However, there are different ways of meeting new people in the Netherlands. As already mentioned, one way to meet people is by working in shared office spaces. Attend events for tech startups in your area. You are more likely to meet peers and entrepreneurs there. Additionally, taking Dutch lessons might also be beneficial. Last, try starting a conversation with a stranger on the train! You never know how far a simple compliment or a curious question can take you.
Starting a business and joining other tech startups in a foreign country comes with a lot of paperwork and planning. But with the right preparation and enough resources, you can integrate into the Netherlands smoothly and build your company from scratch.
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