ACCESS NL > Dual careers in the Netherlands > Starting a business in the Netherlands > Dutch legal business structures > What are the steps to start my own business in the Netherlands?

Dutch legal business structures

What issues should I consider in order to set up and develop a business?

What are the fundamental requirements that I will need to comply with in starting a business?

How can I choose the legal form or business structure for my company?

Are there any entities that can give support for starting a business?

How do I terminate/dissolve my company?

What are the steps to start my own business in the Netherlands?

Registration with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK Kamer van Koophandel)

Before you are allowed to start your business operations you must register your enterprise in the Dutch Trade Register at the Chambers of Commerce (KvK). Registrations in the Trade Register are public.

All entrepreneurs are required to register with the Chamber of Commerce  (KvK). You qualify as an entrepreneur if you supply goods or services independently with the intention to make profit. More  of  the information about the requirements from the the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) to register as an entrepreneur are available on the website of the government.

Self-employed without personnel (ZZP) and freelancers also have to register if their business satisfies the criteria for an enterprise. If unsure about whether you need to register your business contact the KvK.

You need to choose the legal form of your business before registering it at the KvK. A checklist of what you need to do when starting your own business is available on

You should register with the Chamber of Commerce:

  • No later than one week after starting your business; OR
  • One week prior to starting your business; OR
  • Earlier, in which case, the registration (with Chamber of Commerce registration number) will become official one week before the start of your business.

There is a registration fee that cannot be paid in cash.

Licences and Permits

Most businesses operate without permits or licenses, but for some, like the catering business, transport, or a taxi firm, a license is needed. If your products or business operations affect the environment an environmental permit may be required.

Permits and licenses are usually issued by the municipality or the provincial authorities.

Regulated professions and professional competence requirements

A diploma or permit is usually not needed for starting a business in The Netherlands. There are, however so called regulated professions and professions subjected to professional competence requirements.

A regulated profession is one you can practice only if you meet the professional qualifications established by law..

Professional competence requirements apply to professions, such as: personnel in healthcare and child care, architects and town planners,  financial service providers, bailiffs, bus and lorry drivers, driving instructors, crew of seagoing vessels, security guards and other.

European agreements on mutual recognition of diplomas enable access to regulated professions in member states.

You can have your foreign credentials evaluated by IDW (International Credential Evaluation)



For some businesses/professions it is advisable to register at, or become member of an umbrella organisation. For example, tourism.

A tour operator will find it hard to attract customers without registration at the General Dutch Association of Travel Agencies, (ANVR), which prescribes travel and booking terms conditions, or membership of the Travel Guarantee Fund Foundation (SGR) which guarantees repayment in case of default of the tour operator. Over the years both memberships have become almost a necessity.