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The Netherlands

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European Union
The Netherlands

The Netherlands plays a key role in a globalised economy.  Its success is based on strategic location, cutting – edge infrastructure and world – class service providers.

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy with King Willem-Alexander as the head of state since he succeeded his mother Queen (now Princess) Beatrix in 2013.  The King is married to Queen Máxima and has three children. The official language in the Netherlands is Dutch, but approximately 90% of all Dutch people can speak some English.

Located in North West Europe, the capital city of the Netherlands is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague. The Netherlands is made up of 12 provinces and borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east. It is a geographically low – lying country, with about 20% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level (It measures 41.543 sq. km, 7,650 of which is water). The highest point is 322 meters above sea level and the lowest 7 meters below sea level. The Netherlands has a temperate marine climate. The average temperatures are 16 degrees C in summer and 3 degrees C in winter. The Netherlands has a population of 17 million people.  The current and projected population growth is high compared to international standards, which is a promising sign for the future availability of Dutch employees.  During the first decade of the 21st century, the relative population growth in The Netherlands was higher than in the European Union as a whole.

The Netherlands uses the Euro as its national currency since 2002.  Its most important trading partners are Germany, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom.

Additional Info



The Netherlands’ business climate and strategic location make it one of the best countries for business.

The Netherlands, also known as the “gateway to Europe,” is the most competitive economy according to the WEF Competitiveness Index in Europe and one of the best countries for business investment in the world. With just over 17 million inhabitants, our country is small but full of innovation.  The nation has a lot going for it. A great location, extremely well – connected, and a highly educated and skilled workforce make the Netherlands an attractive place for business.

The Netherlands: A well – connected business location

The Netherlands is strategically located on continental Europe with access to 170 million consumers within 500 km and 244 million consumers within 1,000 km. This means that major European economies, like Germany, the United Kingdom, France, are all within a day’s reach. In addition to physical connectivity, the Netherlands is a digital frontrunner and has the highest broadband penetration per capita in the world, which means companies can stay connected online or in person. Add to that the Netherlands’ stable and pro – business climate and it’s no wonder why it’s known as an ideal base for companies looking to expand into Europe.

Fostering a growth environment for international companies

Collaboration is in the Dutch DNA. The Dutch take a unique, quadruple – helix approach to collaboration, involving participation from businesses, knowledge institutions, government, and citizens. Together, they create a dynamic location where foreign companies can also innovate and excel – and that’s exactly what’s happening. According to the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2019, the Netherlands ranks in the top five countries for innovation.

In addition, companies seeking an English – speaking workforce have come to the right place. 90% of the Dutch population is fluent in English and a higher percentage speaks German and French than their counterparts elsewhere.

The Netherlands’ education system produces some of the best graduates in Europe. In tandem with top education, quality of life is high in the Netherlands, with several cities recognized for their liveability. When you pair a high quality of life with an outstanding education system, it’s no wonder why both international companies and their employees find a great new home in the Netherlands.

Find out more:

* Welcome to the Netherlands – Your Gateway to Business Growth
* What to Consider When Expanding a Business Internationally
* Incentives and Taxes in the Netherlands 2022
* Expat Centers in the Netherlands

Source: NFIA


The Dutch Economy Embraces Innovation, Digitalization, and Sustainability

The Dutch economy rivals European and global competitors making it a welcoming, stable, and rewarding choice for foreign businesses to invest. The Netherlands’ GDP per capita is above EU averages and ahead of most nations. The Dutch economy has proven time and time again to be a powerhouse on the global stage. The Dutch punch above their weight by ranking as the most competitive economy in Europe and fourth in the world according to the World Economic Forum, the fourth most competitive nation in the 2020 IMD rankings and fifth in the 2020 Global Innovations Index.

Competitive business climate

A competitive business climate rewards companies with government-sponsored incentives, especially for innovators. These fiscal endeavors are buttressed by a highly educated multilingual workforce and an openness to new ways of thinking. The country’s Expat Centers welcome internationals living in the Netherlands, creating a dynamic and diverse workforce to contribute to this economic success. In 2019, a record number of foreign companies invested in the Netherlands, taking advantage of these benefits.

State – of – the – art infrastructure

The Netherlands is a strategic choice geographically. 95% of Europe’s most lucrative markets just 24 hours drive away from Amsterdam or Rotterdam.  State – of – the – art infrastructure connects the Netherlands domestically and internationally, with efficient airports, railways, waterways, and ports.

Future proof and innovative

The Netherlands fosters an unrivaled entrepreneurial spirit. By embracing innovation, sustainability, and digitalization, the Dutch economy attracts the world’s leading businesses. Companies look to the Netherlands to tap into the public – private partnerships between the private sector, research universities, and government that lead the way in future – thinking applications related to everything from agrifood and financial services to quantum technology.  The EU Innovation Scoreboard 2022 ranked the Netherlands as the fourth best nation for innovators, a nod to the nation’s prowess for future – oriented thinking.

Source: NFIA


The Netherlands actively promotes engaging in Research & Development activities through a favorable corporate tax system and specific R&D incentives that support innovation throughout the entire R&D lifecycle.  The following measures may significantly lower company R&D cost and taxable base.

R&D Tax Credit (WBSO)
Companies performing particular R&D activities may benefit from a 32% tax credit *up to 40% for start – ups) of the first €350,000 in R&D wage costs and other R&D expenses and investments, and 16% for those costs and investments exceeding €350,000.

Innovation Box
Companies may benefit from an effective tax rate of only 7% for income from tangible assets – including technological innovations – created by the Dutch tax payer and for which R&D tax credit was received.

Allowance for Public – Private Partnerships in R&D (PPS Allowance)
R&D partnerships between public entities and private partners may receive cash grants of 40% on the private investment costs for the first €20,000 and 30% for the excess.  The cash grant has to be invested in the R*D project of the partnership.

Innovation Credit
Innovation Credit is a risk bearing loan from the government for the technical or clinical development of a new product, process, or service.  Funding may vary from 25% for large – scale companies to 35% for medium sized companies, and 45% for small companies, of relevant project costs with a maximum of €10 million, and the remainder being financed by the company’s own resources.

The Netherlands offers a number of measures to facilitate work and residence procedures for foreign workers, includign the “Highly Skilled Migrant Visa”, which allows business to bring uniquely qualified international talent to live and work in The Netherlands for a maximum of five years.  To qualify as a highly skilled migrant, the foreign employee must earn a minimum gross monly income of €4,404 or €3,229 if under 30.  Employers wishing to employ highly skilled migrants are no longer required to apply for work permits and must submit only an Admission and Residence application for those employees.

Intra – Corporate Transferees, labor migrants, and self – employed individuals from outside the EU / EEA may also apply for work and residence permits and highly educated foreign nationals may apply for a one – year permit to search for a job.  Employers must apply for a work and residence permit on behalf of these employees.


Ranked No 3 in the world for overall logistics performance, The Netherlands is home to world class seaports, centrally located airports, an extensive network of roads and highways and the second highest quality broadband network in Europe.

Driven by world – class seaports and airports, an extensive network of roads and rail, and a 100% digital telecommunications network that ranks among the world’s best for quality, speed, and reliability, Holland’s infrastructure is one of the best on the planet.

The Netherland’s dense, high – quality infrastructure offers fast connections no matter how or where you and your products or services are travelling.  And with access to 160 million consumers within 24 hours of Amsterdam or Rotterdam, companies that choose The Netherlands have the perfect springboard into the European market.

With the highest broadband penetration per capita in the world – 99% of all households – as well as one of the world’s fastest average broadband speeds, The Netherlands is one of Europe’s most wired and cyber – secure countries.  It also directly links continental Europe to North America, with most transatlantic sea cables going directly to The Netherlands.

Holland’s state – of – the – art, 100% digital advanced fiber – optic network supports an innovative community of start – ups, data centers, and multinational digital companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Tata, Infosys, Huawei, Oracle, Intel, IBM, Verizon, and Google.  Amsterdam, in particular, has become a digital hub in recent years thanks to the presence of AMS – IX: the world’s leading Internet exchange point.

Plus, Holland’s world – class resources and dynamic start – up climate are drawing in an expanding array of providers and helping to steadily decrease tariffs and further improve cost competitiveness, making The Netherlands one of the best values in Europe.  

Holland’s extensive, modern network of roads and highways serves as a major asset to companies looking to establish logistics / distribution operations in Europe.  Interlaced with more than 139,000 km of roads, including 3,055 km of limited – access, high – speed motorways, The Netherlands ranks first in the EU and fifth worldwide for the quality of its roads.  This makes Holland a top location for international road freight transportation.  The Dutch rail system is no less impressive, with 3,055 km of network rail with direct connections to inland container terminals and links to destinations across the EU, Scandinavia, and the Middle East.  And thanks to Holland’s three high – speed rail lines and the Betuweroute – the double – track freight railway that connects Rotterdam to the German border – companies have fast, direct access to Europe’s major logistics hub.

Home to award – winning Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and four regional airports that also offer international services, The Netherlands has one of the highest ranking air transport infrastructures in the world.  For 30 years, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has won almost 200 European and global airport awards from both airline and passenger organizations, making it Europe’s top airport for cargo and passenger transport.  Plus, it’s located within an hour and a half of all major Dutch cities via the country’s dense and sophisticated network of highways and secondary roads.  Holland’s world – class airports combined with its strategic location gives companies a significant edge in reaching millions of consumers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Home to world – class, deep – water ports, many rivers, and a dynamic network of canals, The Netherlands has the best port infrastructure in the world.  The Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest and most important harbor, can reach all major industrial and economic centers in Western Europe in less than 24 hours – providing companies with the perfect springboard into the European market.  The Port of Amsterdam, Europe’s fifth largest port, is another major asset for logistics and distribution operations.  In all, Dutch ports move more than 580 million metric tons annually.


Ranked as the sixth happiest place on earth by the World Happiness Report, The Netherlands has a high standard of living with a lower cost of living than most European countries.  The Netherlands offers a favorable living environment with an exceptional quality of life.  There is a large variety of property to choose from and while rental pricing is somewhat higher than other European countries, it is much lower than European capitals such as London or Paris.  If you choose to buy rather than to rent, interest paid on mortgage is fully deductable from your income tax return, if your property is used as primary residence and you are registered as a resident taxpayer.

What’s more, The Netherlands has a special tax regime for expats – the 30% ruling – which provides a substantial income – tax exemption (up to 30%) for a period of up to 60 months.  The employer may also reimburse certain costs tax free, including international school fees, relocation expenses, and moving allowance up to a certain amount.  This is viewed as a reimbursement of the extra costs that come with living abroad.

  1. YOU CAN’T BEAT OUR LOCATION: We’re no island.  We’re on the continent, close to Europe’s 500 million consumers, not to mention your business customers.
  2. OUR INFRASTRUCTURE IS FIRST CLASS: Our world – class airport, top – ranked seaports, and high – speed road, rail, and broadband networks are second to none.
  3. WE ARE FLUENT IN ENGLISH: Some 90% of Dutch speak English – the language of business worldwide – and many people are multilingual.
  4. WE HAVE AN AWESOME BUSINESS CLIMATE: Just ask Petronas, Basis Bay, Sime Darby, IOI Corporation, and hundreds of other multinationals thriving in Holland.
  5. WE ROLL OUT THE ORANGE CARPET: The Netherlands Foriegn Investment Agency offers free, confidential services to make starting up, rolling out, and expanding your company easy in The Netherlands.