+31 (0)20 244 18 21

Start-Ups in Netherlands

Monday, 26 November 2018 10:28

Start-Ups in Netherlands.

Why start up a business in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is in the top 5 of the most competitive economies in the world. The outstanding infrastructure, main ports and good communication networks make a strategic location to enter European market, attracting non-resident companies and individuals to do business in the Netherlands. Moreover, The Netherlands also takes a world-leading position in international education, healthcare and recreation.

Start-ups receive a great deal of support in the Netherlands to develop into successful enterprises.

What is Start-up Visa?

The startup visa is a special one-year residence permit for non-EU entrepreneurs, who want to launch an innovative business in the Netherlands. After one year, the start-up entrepreneur may have his residence permit extended on the basis of

the Dutch government's self- employment scheme under the condition that the

start-up entrepreneur meets the standard requirements applicable to the self-employment Scheme.

As a start-up entrepreneur, you need a residence permit for work in the Netherlands

​ One condition in this regard is that a reliable supervisor (facilitator), in the Netherlands, supervises them.


In addition to certain conditions that apply to everyone, following conditions apply to you and your facilitator:

  • Collaboration with a reliable and experienced facilitator.
  • The product or the service is innovative
  • The start-up entrepreneur has a (step-by-step) plan in order to move from idea to business.
  • The start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator are both registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce.
  • There are sufficient financial means (resources) to be able to reside and live in the Netherlands.

What is a facilitator?

One of the conditions for the residence permit is working together with a business mentor: a facilitator.

The facilitator provides the start-up entrepreneur with a tailor-made package of support depending on the specific needs of the start-up entrepreneur. The facilitator may, help with operational management, marketing, research and investing acquisition for setting up an innovative business. This cooperation must be laid down in a (signed) agreement between the start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator. The agreement must clearly state:

a) The nature of the mentoring,

b) The conditions under which the mentoring is offered

c) What the facilitator's potential interest in the company is.

Three Aspects of innovative product or service

The product or service is innovative if it has at least 1 of the following 3 aspects:  

  • The product or service is new to the Netherlands.
  • It involves new technology for production, distribution or marketing.
  • It involves an innovative organizational procedure and method.

Examples :

  • Business activities stimulated within the context of the Top Sector Policy.
  • Self-developed new products or services.
  • New product-market combinations.
  • Social responsible enterprises.
  • Original approach to energy conservation.
  • Original approach to environmental/sustainability issues.
  • Smart and creative adaptions or combinations for the purpose of cross-sectorial applications.
  • Creative or innovative market approach.
  • Social innovation.

What does step by step plan provide?

The start-up entrepreneur must undertake specific activities to progress from concept to business. The Government wants to know in advance what activities will take place.

The step-by-step plan provides:

  • Information on the organization.
  • The start-up entrepreneur must play an active role in the organization. This means he is not merely shareholder or financier.
  • The step-by-step plan must detail the following:
    • The structure of the organization.
    • The assigned roles and tasks.
    • The legal form of the company.
    • The personnel.
    • The purpose of the company.

Registration in Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce

The start-up entrepreneur must register in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce.

The registration must show that the start-up entrepreneur has an active role in the start-up. This is essential in order to be able take decisions regarding the future company.

The facilitator must also be registered with the Chamber of Commerce.

The RVO will audit the entry in the Trade Register. 

Financial resources must be Sufficient to be able to reside, live and start up a business in the Netherlands

The start-up entrepreneur must have sufficient financial resources (income) to be able to reside, live and set up a business in the Netherlands. Start-up entrepreneurs may not rely on welfare benefits or other benefits from public funds.

The start-up entrepreneur can prove sufficient resources in various ways:

  • The entrepreneur proves by way of a bank statement, that he has sufficient funds in his account.
  • Another (legal) person, for example the facilitator, may fund the stay by providing financial resources to the start-up entrepreneur. The support must be available for the entire stay of the start-up entrepreneur (maximum of 1 year).


Legalization of foreign documents:

You have to have official foreign documents legalized and translated into Dutch, English, French or German.

Online application

Application procedures will be online.

The application form can be downloaded directly from the IND’s website.

Once the complete application for the start-up permit has been filed, the IND informs the Expat center and consults the RVO. The RVO considers firstly if the facilitator is trusted and qualified to act as a business mentor to the candidate and secondly if the product or service the candidate wants to build their business on is innovative.

The IND then considers the application on the basis of this advice.

For more information please check Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) website at ind.nl

Read 2118 times