6 Reasons To Launch A Startup In The Netherlands

6 Reasons To Launch A Startup In The Netherlands

In recent years, the Netherlands has been building a reputation as a great environment for enterprising new startups. With a long-standing culture of innovation, the Dutch love new ideas and technology. 

Many of the most successful tech businesses in the world have their origin in the Netherlands, such as Philips, Booking.com, TomTom, WeTransfer, Guerilla Games (the makers of the Killzone and Horizon Zero Dawn videogames), and more. There are a plethora of reasons to put down business roots on Dutch soil – let’s take a look at 6 of them now:

1) Attractive financing

The capital city of Amsterdam attracts a large number of venture capital investors, eager to secure a slice of the startup pie for themselves – in fact, some recent reports have gone so far as to suggest there may be too much capital in the city. If your startup is going to need funding, then, there can hardly be anywhere better to try to get it than Amsterdam. 

Startup investment aside, there are many other monetary aspects in which Amsterdam is attractive. The cost of living in Amsterdam in general is 18% cheaper than in London, and 2% cheaper than Paris, and so for an entrepreneur looking to make their money go as far as possible, the Dutch capital makes good sense as a base of operations. 

Amsterdam is also well equipped with startup accelerators, two of which – Rockstart and Startupbootcamp – are the best-performing in the entire continent. With these programmes, an entrepreneur or new business can secure not only funding but also education and mentorship. 

There is also a 30% personal income tax break allocated to many skilled migrant workers in the Netherlands, although qualifying for it as a business owner requires a bit of legal wrangling; the allowance is available only to employees, meaning that entrepreneurs technically have to become an employee of the legal entity that is their company in order to be eligible. 

2) The availability of talent

If your business is in need of smart, well-educated employees, you could do much worse than the Netherlands. Boasting one of the best education systems in the world, the Dutch are famed for their expertise with STEM subjects as well as their superior grasp of English – with the Netherlands being the only country in the world to have a 100% TOEFL score (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

Amsterdam also has a strong community of English expats and other foreign workers. In fact, the country offers a “Highly Skilled Migrant Visa”, which is designed to help businesses bring talented expats to work in the Netherlands. There is also the EU “blue card” scheme, which has a higher income requirement and education requirement. 

3) Geographical situation

The Netherlands’ position in Europe means that any business setting up shop there will be well-placed to expand across the continent. Bordered by Belgium and Germany, the country is also home to the Port of Rotterdam, the largest port in the entirety of Europe – and is situated in close proximity to the United Kingdom, with whom it shares a maritime border.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is one of the busiest in Europe, and is easy to reach from the heart of the city. Travelling domestically, most of the major Dutch cities are within an hour’s drive of each other, and there are excellent rail links. 

In fact, the Dutch use trains more than any other type of public transport, and the country has as many train stations as it does municipalities. There are also good rail links to other EU countries, such as Germany, Belgium and France. 

4) Community 

If there’s one thing Amsterdam will never be accused of lacking, it’s entrepreneur meetups and startup community events. The city boasts an overflowing calendar of business community meets, seminars and classes on a diverse range of topics – workplace wellbeing, drones, IT skills, women in technology, food wastage, Bitcoin, and an endless roster of other subjects are presented, discussed and workshopped on a daily basis in the Dutch capital. 

Amsterdam and Rotterdam both have an abundance of unique and appealing coworking spaces with great facilities and features, as do other major cities such as Utrecht and Eindhoven (the original home of electronics giant Philips and now a strong location for enterprising small businesses in its own right). 

5) Work-life balance

The Dutch are very careful to keep their professional and personal lives distinct, and their annual holiday allowance is generally between 25 to 32 days depending on the particulars of their contract. Company structures in the Netherlands are often less hierarchical and more egalitarian than in other countries, with all employees giving input on decisions instead of deferring to the singular and unarguable vision of “the boss.”

For the tech industry, the spectre of “crunch time” doesn’t hang over offices the way it does in many other countries, and employees can generally expect to work sensible hours and go home at a normal time. There is Dutch legislation designed to mitigate overworked employees, too, with workers who are experiencing burnout able to take paid leave in order to recuperate. 

6) Dutch paperwork

The process of applying for to start a new company in the Netherlands is relatively straightforward compared to the more convoluted bureaucratic processes favoured by some neighbouring countries. Registration with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce is simple, and the institution also offers English-language information and resources to help new businesses get up and running. 

Having registered with the Chamber of Commerce, you will then be issued a VAT number by the Dutch Tax Office (Belastingdienst), which you will need in order to pay levies to both the government and the municipality. The Belastingdienst website also offers information in English to explain Dutch taxation for businesses.

Overall, the Netherlands represents a golden opportunity as a location for any new startup. Many innovative new businesses have found huge success from their beginnings in Amsterdam, and all of the right ingredients are there. From abundant funding to community events and the availability of talent, the Netherlands offers everything a startup needs to really get off the ground and make its mark on the world. 

Blue Box Business