First aid for your client’s expansion into the Netherlands


The BeNeLux as a whole, and the Netherlands in particular, represent an attractive spearhead for multinational companies for their expansion into the European Union. A competitive business climate, top notch digital infrastructure and an internationally focused workforce are just a few of the attractive advantages this region has to offer. Companies expanding into the Netherlands find themselves right at the heart of the European Union and able to make use of Europe’s largest seaport, and one of Europe’s busiest airports to start business with partners everywhere on the European mainland.

Choosing your local set-up

Incorporating a company in the Netherlands is not a complicated matter and when supported by a seasoned professional organisation like Maprima, the route from expansion plan to realisation can be carried out in a matter of weeks.

While the incorporation of a Dutch company can have legal and commercial advantages, it’s possible to opt for a less formal presence in the Netherlands by setting up a Dutch branch of a foreign company, or even registering for payroll purposes only.

These types of set up all come with different fiscal and legal compliance obligations, such as with tax returns and annual accounts. Depending on the set-up, registrations at the trade register may be due including the new UBO register.

Unique advantages for importing companies

When importing into the European Union, every country a company is going to import into will charge VAT at the border. This VAT needs to be paid immediately upon the goods entering the European Union.

Currently, in the European Union only three countries offer a way to postpone the payment of VAT on the import of goods from outside the European Union: the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. All three countries have a system in place allowing companies located in the respective country to apply for a license to defer the payment of VAT on goods imported from outside the European Union to their next VAT return. For companies importing large quantities of goods into the European Union this can lead to significant liquidity advantages.

Employing staff in the Netherlands

The Netherlands boasts a highly skilled, internationally oriented workforce making it an interesting pond for employers looking for qualified staff to fish in. At first glance, hiring staff and the subsequent payroll process looks fairly straightforward. However, depending on the industry a company’s employees could be covered by a collective labour agreement. Furthermore, employees in the Netherlands enjoy a wide array of social security and options for pension schemes, as well as protection from termination without a well-established cause.

The Netherlands offers multiple schemes and options for companies to efficiently reward employees, such as the work-related expenses scheme, which allows for employee expenses to be refunded or benefits to be granted tax free, as well as the so-called “30% ruling”, which can be used to pay up to 30% of the wages for a foreign employee moving to the Netherlands free of tax and social securities.

Differences in culture, customs and legislation can be challenging for foreign companies when dealing with Dutch HR and payroll matters. A correct and efficient set-up are key to avoid discussions with employees or with the fiscal authorities.

How can Maprima help?

At Maprima, we can assist with all local aspects the client faces in choosing the set-up of the company and carrying out the necessary formalities and registrations, as well as providing all the ongoing support needed afterwards, including our support in adhering to all the previously mentioned local fiscal and legal compliance obligations. Whether your client would like to come to the Netherlands, Belgium or Luxembourg, our seasoned local staff will help provide a soft landing, to ensure an efficient and effective start of their European business.

We have decades-long experience supporting foreign companies wanting to enter the European market through the BeNeLux. We are familiar with all the differences in culture, customs and bureaucracy foreign entrepreneurs may run into. Having an experienced local advisor who speaks your language – in the literal and figurative sense – can save a lot of time and money.

Beyond accounting, HR, legal and fiscal support Maprima acts as a so-called corporate liaison. Although companies usually have an internal officer or trusted adviser looking after their foreign affairs, these officers may not always be fully up to speed with all local regulations and procedures abroad. We advise these officers, if or when needed, on local legislation, business culture or other practical matters such as insurances, car leases or logistic matters.

For more information, please contact Hub van Grinsven at +31 (0) 43 365 3067, or [email protected]