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What permits you need and what rules and regulations you need to comply with when you start a business in Holland depends on your background and nationality.

The Dutch government encourages people to develop their entrepreneurship in the Netherlands. EU/EEA and Swiss nationals are free to do so. For people with other nationalities these activities need to comply with their residence permit.


There are several residence permits allowing you to set up your business:

  • Study permit – holders of a residence permit for study are free to be self-employed and to set up a company next to their studies.
  • Research permit – holders of a residence permit for research are free to be self-employed and to set up a company next to their research.
  • Highly skilled migrant permit – holders of a highly skilled migrant residence permit are free to be self-employed and to set up a company next to their work.
  • Orientation year – holders of an orientation year residence permit are free to be self-employed and to set up a company.
  • Start-up scheme – this residence permit is especially for entrepreneurs who want to set up a start-up. Ambitious entrepreneurs (start-ups) who want to start an innovative business in the Netherlands may apply for this one-year residence permit as a starting entrepreneur. To be eligible for this start-up scheme, various conditions apply. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) checks and evaluates the start-up. If they have completed the conditions for obtaining a residence permit for self-employed professionals and have a formal statement from their supervisor, they may obtain the residence permit. For more information please turn to the Pathfinder Career or the IND website.
  • Self-employment permit – this residence permit is your option if one of the above permits do not apply to you. This residence permit is not the easiest to obtain, but with a solid idea and enough finances it should be possible. For more information please turn to the IND website.


Chamber of Commerce
When starting a company, you have to register the company with the Kamer van Koophandel (Chamber of Commerce). This is also a good place to go to for practical advice. You can find a Chamber of Commerce in most large cities. An overview can be found on the KvK website.

More information on any of the above schemes is also accessible through the Pathfinder Career.