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Business License in the Netherlands

Business License in the Netherlands

While not all types of activities require business licenses in the Netherlands, there are sectors in which such permits are mandatory. Among these, the financial sector is one of the most highly-regulated. Applying for such a license implies respecting certain steps, however, the most important is the documentation that must be filed with the authority in charge.

If you need to apply for a trade license in the Netherlands and need support, our local specialists are at your disposal.

Procedures before obtaining a business license in the Netherlands

Before reaching the stage of applying for a Dutch trade license, a business must pass through other stages, such as:

  • obtaining a tax identification number;
  • registering for VAT (if necessary or relevant for the licensing phase);
  • registering for employment purposes;
  • securing specialized workforce (such is the case of HoReCa businesses).

Also, when the entrepreneur has not incorporated a business, this step is mandatory before applying for any license.

If you need support in starting a business in the Netherlands, you can rely on our local agents who are at your disposal with complete company registration solutions. Our company formation agents can also help you buy a shelf company in the Netherlands if you choose this option to start a business in this country.

What are the sectors that require trade licenses in the Netherlands?

Setting up a company in the Netherlands is quite simple, as most enterprises do not require special licenses. However, there are a few that do, and among them, we mention the following:

  • financial businesses that include banks and insurance agencies;
  • financial service providers such as investment management companies;
  • restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels and other tourism related entities;
  • trading companies for import and export activities (additionally, these must also apply for EORI numbers or use EORI numbers obtained in other EU states);
  • transport licenses are also available for businesses operating in this sector.

Other than these, a general Dutch business license is the all-in-one permit. It must be obtained by all enterprises that want to use, build or renovate the spaces used for their operations. 

Feel free to address any questions on the available trade permits to our Dutch company formation advisors.

How to obtain special Dutch business licenses

Securing a Dutch trade license depends on the authority issuing it. For this purpose, one must prepare various documents and file them within a pre-established period of time. Also, it is important to note that the issuance of such permits can range from a few weeks and up to several months, based on the complexity of the authorization procedure.

When applying for a Dutch business permit it is important to ask for specialized support in order to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the authorization file. This is also one of the services you will find in our portfolio, so do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Here is also an infographic on this subject:

Documents required when applying for a business license in the Netherlands

Depending on the kind of business activity, there are different requirements in the Netherlands for acquiring a business license. Nonetheless, you can be requested to provide documentation such as these:

  • evidence of the company’s identification (KVK number);
  • evidence of registration, if any, with the Dutch tax authorities;
  • proof of social security contributions registration, if applicable;
  • feasibility study or business plan.

These are the essential documents issued when opening a business in the Netherlands, except for the feasibility or business plan. Our local consultants can assist in helping you obtain them for the purpose of applying for the necessary business permits.

What to consider when applying for business permits in the Netherlands?

Among the general aspects to take into account when applying for business licenses in the Netherlands are:

  • making sure you respect the procedure, as imposed by the issuing authority;
  • ensuring you have all the documents required;
  • knowing that some licenses need to be renewed.

All these aspects can be left in the care of our agents who can help you.

Business license regulations for financial companies

Strict laws and regulations govern financial service providers doing business in the Netherlands. The majority of companies are required to get a license in order to provide financial services in accordance with the Financial Supervision Act.

The Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and/or the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (AFM) are in charge of overseeing the business licensing process in the Netherlands. Companies must meet a number of standards in order to be granted an AFM license, such as compliance with numerous legal and operational business requirements.

The process of obtaining an AFM or DNB license is complex and demands careful planning. The licensing authority will initiate the procedure, which entails assessments by policy makers, interviews, and completeness checks. Most business licenses usually imply an average decision-making period of 13 weeks, although in some cases, this can be extended by 8 weeks.  The DNB or AFM’s registers contain records of the licenses that are awarded.

Our Dutch company formation agents specialize in offering support in applying for financial licenses.

Applying for transportation licenses in the Netherlands

Import/export is one of the most important economic sectors of the Netherlands. Both types of operation rely on transportation by sea, land and air for the inbound and outbound delivery of goods. For this purpose, transporters must obtain various Dutch business licenses.

The transportation sector is heavily controlled. This implies that in order to use Dutch infrastructure for the commercial transportation of persons or products, a company will require a haulage license.

For drivers, the most popular business permit is the Euro license. Transporters who own at least one vehicle that can carry a load greater than 500 kg, this license is mandatory. It is required for both internal and international travel within the European Union, and it needs to be renewed every 5 years.

Please contact our local consultants if you have any questions about this type of license.

Business permits for the pharmaceutical industry in the Netherlands

A manufacturer’s authorization is required for the preparation or distribution of medicines and it covers tasks like labeling and packing medications that are imported from countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).

The wholesale permit is necessary for companies selling medicines in the Netherlands. Purchasing and delivering medications within the European Economic Area states require this type of business permit.

Another permit is the broker business license in the Netherlands. This type of companies need to register with Farmatec in order to broker drugs. Brokering is only permitted between manufacturers and consumers of medications with EEA market authorization.

Here is a video on this topic:

Companies by industry in the Netherlands

According to data presented by this magazine, at the beginning of this year:

  • there were more than 1.866 million companies registered in the Netherlands;
  • out of these, 770,089 were operating in the services sector;
  • 703,081 had as main object of activity finance, insurance, and real estate;
  • 102,375 companies were operating in the retail trade sector.

If you need assistance in applying for a business license in the Netherlands, please contact us!