One of the most important aspects of expanding your business to the Netherlands is understanding how to align your business processes so that they fit within the framework of EU GDPR and local Dutch implementation of those regulations.
The best thing you can do as a business owner opening in the Netherlands is to outsource the role of Data Protection Officer (DPO) to a Dutch speaker with experience of the local laws and the nuances of data protection in the Netherlands.
To search how to outsource this role, in Dutch it would be ‘uitbesteden functionaris gegevensbescherming’.
The Benefits Of Operating In The Netherlands
There are numerous benefits to operating a business within the Netherlands. It has a vibrant culture that is chock-full of great architecture, art, transport links, tax incentives for businesses, and much more.
When you are opening a business in the Netherlands, you’ll find an inspired, multilingual workforce that is educated and skilled, and also working within a business culture that promotes structure, hard work, yet an innovative attitude that gets things done.
All of these things combined makes the Netherlands a very attractive option for business owners considering different options for expanding a business into a different country.
What Business Structures Are There For Expanding Companies?
There is great flexibility within the Netherlands when you compare it to other countries in the EU. It has a liberal and flexible legal framework for non-resident organisations, businesses, and individuals looking to expand business operations in their country.
For example, there are no restrictions on foreign-owned businesses looking to open a business in the Netherlands.
There are a few different options as to the legal structure you want to take for your business in the country, and to have access to the free movement of goods and services in the EU, you would need to set up a physical presence in the Netherlands and register your business at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK).
The options open to you are as follows:
- Move your headquarters entirely to the Netherlands, becoming a de facto Dutch company. This would mean deregistering your company in the UK (or whichever country your business originates from).
- Another option is to set up a subsidiary of your company that has independent legal status within the Netherlands. This is usually seen as a private limited partnership. You can use this status to reproduce your goods and services for the EU market.
- Finally, another option is to upgrade the role of your Dutch distributor if you have one. They will already have a Dutch legal entity but would then become the director of your Dutch company branch. In this scenario your headquarters would remain in the UK.
It doesn’t matter which of these options you go with, you will need to change the business registration in some way in the UK, register your business in the Netherlands, make sure you have the correct permits and licences for your industry, and be sure to implement the correct tax structure for your business.
What Are The Next Steps You Should Take?
There are a few steps you should then take as a business owner opening a company in the Netherlands.
Choose Your Location
There are a few great cities in the Netherlands that have large populations, great transport links between them and to other countries, and a big workforce to choose from. Amsterdam is one of the most energetic and popular cities in the world for foreign businesses to operate within, whilst Rotterdam and Eindhoven provide good industry and transport links.
Along with a native DPO, the Netherlands provides you with a wide array of talent like few other places in Europe. On the whole, Dutch people are highly educated, highly skilled, and speak multiple languages well. This gives you an advantage from day one when hiring staff.
Test The Water
Before committing to opening an office, you can test the water in the Netherlands first. This could be in the form of a distributor or sales agent in the country, seeing how your goods and services fit before opening a full office at a later date.
The very thought of expanding a business to the Netherlands is an interesting and exciting one for any business owner. As you can see in this article, there are a few great benefits that make it an attractive option for a business owner looking at new opportunities and a business model that has access to the EU and great transport links to the rest of the world.
With a great source of local, multilingual workers, tax incentives, and a ready market for your products and services, there is a lot to like about operating a business in the Netherlands.
Just make sure that if you do make the move to expand into this vibrant European country, that you do so with regulations in mind. Particularly where data protection is concerned, outsourcing your DPO role to a Dutch-speaker is the best course of action to ensure you are fully within the parameters of GDPR in the EU.