Although the private sector is the cornerstone of the economy, the Netherlands has an important and vibrant public sector. The government plays a significant role through permit requirements and regulations pertaining to almost every aspect of economic activity. The government combines a rigorous and stable microeconomic policy with wide-ranging structural and regulatory reforms.
Perhaps you're interested in establishing a partnership with one of the country's exporters. You may be considering joint ventures with Dutch companies, franchise or licensing opportunities or sales of your products and services in The Netherlands. Whatever your interests and needs, the resources provided in this section will lead you to information that can support your entry into this market.
More About Business Basics
Everything from understanding government regulations and tariffs to the right labeling and gaining local representation comes into play when doing business in the Netherlands. Getting the basics down can prepare you for market entry.
The Federation of International Trade Associations, (FITA), whose members include more than 450,000 trade-related organizations, created this resource, which provides an introduction to this market. Use the links on this page to navigate to more information about the country's economy and political structure, business environment and standards for selling, buying, and operating a business.
This profile of the market in The Netherlands was prepared by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), the Australian government's trade and investment development agency. It reviews the country's economic climate and provides information and statistics about trade relations.
Here, Austrade offers information about business opportunities and etiquette and such topics as tariffs; import restrictions; product certification, labeling and packaging; methods of quoting and payment; and various documentation and tax issues.
UK Trade & Investment, a division of the government of the United Kingdom, created this downloadable PDF report on doing business in The Netherlands. The report provides introductory information about the market, advice to companies that want to export to or do business in The Netherlands, and a guide to etiquette, language and cultural concerns.
The U.S. Department of Commerce prepared this report, and while it includes chapters dedicated to the sale of U.S. products and services in Argentina and leading sectors for U.S. export and investment, it also addresses topics of more universal interest, such as:
- Political and economic environment
- Trade regulations and standards
- Investment climate
- Trade and project financing
- Business travel
- Contacts, market research and trade events
Understanding market-specific issues, such as licensing, employment issues, getting credit or starting a business or franchise, is critical in moving into new countries.
This Holland Trade page offers links to resources related to:
- Customs and tariffs
- Procedure for temporary import
- Customs service
- Intellectual property
- Investing in the Netherlands
- Labor market and law
- Law on commercial agents
- Product safety
- Starting a business
- Taxation in the Netherlands
- Transportation law
The World Bank's "Doing Business In" project compares business procedures and economic regulations in 181 countries throughout the world. This page provides introductory information about the Dutch market. Most World Bank materials are published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, Chinese and Arabic.
This comprehensive report includes chapters about dealing with licenses, starting or closing a business, employing workers, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and trading across borders in the Netherlands.
This World Bank chart summarizes the procedures, schedule requirements and costs associated with setting up a business in the Netherlands.
Using the building of a warehouse as an example, this page features a chart summarizing the procedures, time and costs to build in the Netherlands. Text beneath the chart provides details about each procedural step in the process.
Business success abroad depends not only on the quality of your products and services, but also on the knowledge and respect you show for the customs and manners of business people in your host country. These guides will help you to ensure that your business conduct in the Netherlands makes a positive impression.
In addition, you may refer to the business etiquette sections of this report prepared by the Australian government.