This article was published as part of the Logan & Partners and qLegal series, which showcased practical and helpful insights on a variety of legal topics. qLegal is a pro bono law clinic at Queen Mary University of London that works with entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.
Where to find out company information in the Netherlands?
In this article, we explain how commercial registration works for companies in the Netherlands.
How do you register a new company in the Netherlands?
When you start a business, you first have to choose a legal structure. Your choice will determine whether you have personal, joint, corporate liability, and your tax obligations. The main categorization of legal structures in the Netherlands are business structures with and without corporate legal personality which can effectively be summarized in the table below.
To have a legal personality means that a company has an independent legal existence separate from its shareholders, directors, officers and creators, and in consequence has the ability to sue or be sued as a collective entity.
You have to register your company in the Commercial Register (Handelsregister) which is maintained by the Chamber of Commerce (KVK – Kamer van Koophandel). This must be done no later than one week after starting your business, or one week prior to starting your business, or even earlier, in which case registration will take effect from one week prior to the start of the business. The documents required for registration are:
- A citizen service number (BSN – Burgerservicenummer)
- A Dutch address
- A suitable trading name for the business
- Choose a legal structure
Further information can be found in this comprehensive official website: https://bit.ly/3vtSlPl
Once your business has been successfully registered in the Commercial Register, you will be issued a unique 8-digit KVK number, which is proof of your registration at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce. If you want to end your company, you must deregister at KVK.
How do you access information regarding any registered company?
The Commercial Register is only available in Dutch: https://bit.ly/3jQuSm6. You can search the database using several identifiers (e.g. the unique KVK number, company name or address) and when you find a registered company, the following information is accessible:
- Name of the organization
- Contact details such as address, telephone number, email address, etc
- Date of incorporation
- Details of branches
- Officers and authorized signatories
- Number of employees
The Commercial Register not only contains publicly accessible details of registered companies, but also details of deregistered companies and organizations that may still be subject to liability and debt issues from the past.
What are the benefits of registering?
There are several benefits to registering companies in the Netherlands:
- ·Privacy by using nominees – Nominee shareholders and directors can be used to protect the privacy of the actual ones.
- Double taxation treaties – The Netherlands has entered into many double taxation treaties with other countries to prevent foreigners from paying double taxes on the same income.
- No minimum authorized capital – Since 2012, companies registered with the Netherlands no longer have to declare a minimum authorized capital value.
- Two shareholders – Incorporation only requires a minimum disclosure of two shareholders.