The whys and wherefores of doing business in the Netherlands: the attraction of the Low Countries

why business in the Netherlands

The Netherlands: Are you planning to launch a new business or are you considering taking your existing operations to an international level? Then you may well be doing yourself a disservice by dismissing the Netherlands out of hand! For this reason, we have put together the following selection of Dutch plus points geographically, economically and socially.


Official name:Population:
Kingdom of the Netherlands17,080,575
Capital city:Seat of government:
AmsterdamThe Hague
Currency:Surface area:
Euro41,543 km2 (16,040 mi2)


Geography and infrastructure

The Netherlands’ central location and state-of-the-art infrastructure have made it the obvious gateway to Europe. With both Amsterdam (Schiphol Airport) and Rotterdam (boasting Europe’s largest port) representing logistical hubs, the Netherlands provide easy access to the European market. In particular, Schiphol Airport currently ranks fourth in the “premier league” of European airports. The water transport from Rotterdam Port onwards is impressively well organized, too.  In addition, the country offers a conveniently dense road network that is well looked after. Last but not least, there is the eastbound Betuwe Railway Line. This 160 kilometer (100 miles) long freight transport connection enables the rapid and efficient transport of commodities from Rotterdam Port to the German border and on to the hinterland.


The Netherlands operates an open economy characterized by a great deal of economic interaction involving international trading partners. Besides that, the above-average stability of the Dutch economy has a knock-on effect on the profitability and solvency of the country’s business community. Businesses are quite adroit at “rolling with the punches” of a fluctuating international economy. The oil refinery sector, chemicals, food processing, electronics development and pharmaceuticals are the Netherlands’ main industrial activities. It mainly exports to Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, France, the United States and Italy and imports especially from Germany, Belgium, China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Tax friendliness

The Netherlands operates an extensive double taxation convention network involving a host of foreign countries. Domestic tax rates are relatively low and competitive. An example is the corporation tax rate, at a rate of 20% for taxable amounts of up to EUR 200,000 (excess earnings being taxed at 25%). The Netherlands offers further attractive tax schemes. Examples are the 30% ruling, the participation exemption scheme and the fact that no withholding tax is levied on interest or royalties. Find out more about the 30% ruling here:


The Dutch tend not to be backward in coming forward. As counterparts in business, they have a reputation of being quick-witted and easy to deal with. Furthermore, they are straight shooters who tend not to dilly-dally. At European level, the Dutch workforce ranks as one of the most educated. Workers tend to be quite flexible and have a good command of the English language.

Do you want to find out more about the legalities of establishing a Dutch-based business or the Dutch tax system? Please do not hesitate to contact CompanyNL. It will be our pleasure to provide you with additional information!