So, you are thinking of expanding your business to the Netherlands? Great and rightly so! The Netherlands has a competitive climate, a sociable business environment and is one of the most connected countries in Europe. With its supportive tax structure, international business trade, superior logistics and highly developed infrastructure it is hard to beat.
Whilst the world is still very much on lockdown, now is the perfect opportunity to start doing some research for when business returns to some sort of normality. Below I am going to discuss the 6 main benefits for businesses looking to expand their business into the Netherlands.
Firstly, you cannot beat the location. The Netherlands gives access to 95% of Europe’s consumer markets as well as providing markets to the Middle East and Africa, it is also the fourth largest trading partners for the UK. The main cities in the Netherlands which have an ideal location to contemplate expanding a business in are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Tilburg, Groningen and Haarlem.
Due to the location, the Netherlands has a massive multilingual and International workforce, making it a convenient place for international business. It also offers a highly skilled migrant visa, allowing companies to bring over highly qualified expats to work in their offices in the Netherlands.
With over 17 million people living in the Netherlands it gives you great access to a large talent pool and large consumer market. What’s more, the Dutch are very well educated with the majority of them educated to university level, so you are sure to find the right skill set to expand your business.
The culture of the Netherlands is diverse to say the least, people can be very direct and straight forward. However, this is not discrediting the Dutch locals in any way, they are also very innovative and are extremely great at implementing new ideas. The Dutch culture and customs are a unique part of life in the Netherlands and businesses must be able to recognise these differences and adapt to them to be able to expand successful.
With its many advantages, one key component of expanding into this market is that culturally the Netherlands is quite similar to the UK. Dutch is the official language, but many people also speak more than one language. English is widely spoken (over 90% of the population speak English) German and/or French are the third or fourth language spoken. This means that communication can easily be done in English, although Dutch can sometimes be preferred. It is important to remember to take on board any cultural factors in your necessary paperwork when translating any document or marketing material, which may not always translate correctly in your target market.
The Dutch economy has been stable for years and is continuously seeing steady growth being the eighth largest importer of goods across the world. The economy is noted for reliable industrial relations with low unemployment and inflation.
The Netherlands has a first-class transportation infrastructure system which is essential for your company to move people and products with ease. It has one of the best European transportation hubs, with Rotterdam by far being the most important port in Europe and Amsterdam having one of the biggest airports in Europe, accepting cargo from numerous locations. Not to mention how easy it is to stay well connected to UK, Germany, France and Belgium by road and rail.
The Dutch Government have identified within the Netherlands the top sectors with strong performance and Industrial activity and they are predominantly in:
- Food processing
- Oil & Energy
- Petroleum refining
- Financial services
- Electrical engineering/ machinery
- Medical and pharmaceutical products
- Petroleum and gas products
With significantly low corporate tax rates, the tax benefits are a substantial reason for any company to expand into the Netherlands. Once you have registered your business you will be taxed on the profits you have generated.
The Dutch social security is very comprehensive, covering Dutch residents is divided into the national security and the employee insurance. The employee insurance is compulsory for all employed people within the Netherlands. The financing for this is automatically deducted from the employee's income by the employer. Everyone who resides in the Netherlands are required to pay into the social security system, including all residents from outside the Netherlands.
The Netherlands fiscal position is also very strong. With a competitive statutory corporate income tax rate in Europe—25% (16.5% on the first €200,000)—the Dutch fiscal climate has a number of attractive features for international companies, although there are many other tax payments which can be confusing for businesses new to the fiscal environment. Click here to find out more.
Before you expand your business to the Netherlands, research, and plan what you expect your business to be like and all areas of the potential market. For more information about expanding a business to the Netherlands, check out our free Payroll and Tax in The Netherlands Guide.