When starting a business in the Netherlands, there are several structures to choose from. The most important question to ask yourself is: do I want a large or small financial risk?
Legal forms without corporate (legal) personality are:
- Sole proprietor (eenmanszaak)
- General partnership (vof or vennootschap onder firma)
- Professional partnership (maatschap)
- Limited partnership (cv or commanditaire vennootschap)
Legal forms with corporate (legal) personality are:
- Private limited company (bv or besloten vennootschap)
- Public limited company (nv or naamloze vennootschap)
- Association (vereniging)
- Foundation (stichting)
Setting up a legal form with legal personality requires the services of a civil law notary. A legal form without legal personality means you are liable for the debt of your company with your private capital. This is usually not the case for a legal form with legal personality. Please find more information regarding the different legal forms in the brochure 'Starting your own business' issued by the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce.
Self-employed professionals without employees
It is important to note that freelancers occupy a different position. Neither self-employed professional (also known as a zzp'er) nor freelancer is a legal form. Working as a self-employed professional or freelancer you have to select a legal form. Most self-employed professionals act as sole proprietors or have a private limited company.