If you are currently the owner of a crypto company, or plan to establish one in the near future, then launching an ICO can be an interesting way for you to raise funds for your business. It can also allow you to create a new coin, service or app. An ICO is essentially a profitable way to raise money, for services and products that are somehow related to cryptocurrency. An ICO is somewhat derived from an IPO, with the difference that an ICO is mostly aimed at software services and products. In some cases, ICOs have been massively successful with a high amount of returns for all investors. In other cases, ICOs failed or turned out to be fraudulent. This means, that we do strongly discourage people with no knowledge of cryptocurrency at all, to launch an ICO. You will be better off investing in some already established coins instead. To launch an ICO, you need at the very least a basic understanding of cryptocurrency, exchanges and wallets. Due to the fact that ICOs are mostly unregulated, investors should be cautious and diligent when investing in any ICO.

What is an ICO exactly?

ICO is an abbreviation of Initial Coin Offering. When someone starts a new crypto project, they launch its own coin (token), which is then sold to early investors. This model is very similar to the first round issue of shares of a regular company, which is named Initial Public Offering (IPO). One major difference is that the issue is accessible to the general public, on the contrary to solely being reserved for venture capital. Most ICOs are taking place on Ethereum (ETH). The offered tokens can also sometimes be purchased in a regular currency such as euros or dollars, but in general investors pay with already established cryptos. When you can find a handful of investors who believe in the new project, they will pay you in ETH, and get the new tokens in return. The investors can use the coins in the new app, or simply sell them at a profit at a later stage. ICOs are internationally purchasable, since anyone with internet access and a digital wallet can buy the tokens.

So in general, ICOs are a profitable way for (new) companies to finance the development of their products or services. Via the use of blockchain technology, the provider issues new digital tokens during an ICO. All crypto tokens differ greatly in design and function, and you are fairly free in the development stage. Often tokens constitute a right to the service to be developed, or a (future) reward, and sometimes no value whatsoever. It is also possible that you entitle investors to a share in a project, or a predetermined part of the expected returns. ICOs are structured in a way that they often fall outside the scope of financial supervision, as we already explained above. As a result, the general protection that Dutch financial supervisory legislation offers to investors is absent. With a few exceptions, the AFM cannot therefore supervise ICOs.[1]

More about blockchain technology

If you are fairly new to crypto, it’s advisable that you inform yourself about the technology that backs it: blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is based on the principle of a decentralized system and openness. A blockchain essentially consists of a network of computers, but these computers are not the exclusive property of solely one participant. Via algorithms, all participants in the network are able to decide which information is valid and which is not. This involves factors  such as transactions that are carried out on the network. Then, this information is stored in ‘blocks’, that together form a chain. Hence, the term blockchain. This means, that all participants in the network have access to the same information in the blockchain, simultaneously and at any time. This is made possible in the form of a shared ledger, that any participant can access.

One of the main benefits of blockchain technology is, that it’s completely impossible for any participating individual to manipulate information. Due to the fact that everyone has access to the same information, the information doesn’t become tainted with redundant or fraudulent data. There are many possible variants of a blockchain. At this moment, bitcoin is the most famous application. Many blockchains have an open character, so this means almost anyone can participate. If you have access to the internet, then you can use such a blockchain, for example, to carry out transactions. All participants in the network then verify these transactions, and record the valid transactions in the blockchain. Information about all actions is stored securely and truthfully.

What is the difference between cryptocurrency and an ICO?

People often ask what the difference between an ICO and crypto is. Currently, there is not really a very clear distinction between tokens in an ICO and regular cryptos, since these terms are mostly used interchangeably. Nonetheless, they are definitely not completely the same. Once important difference is the fact, that anyone can create and spend tokens, if they have a bit of programming knowledge. In crypto, though, this is carried out by an algorithm that has a predetermined set of rules. The regulation of the creation of units, which is called mining, is possible due to certain cryptographic techniques. These also play a part when transactions on the decentralized blockchain network need to be verified.

This means, that the issuance of the units involved is determined in advance. This relates to, for example, how many and in which way the tokens will be issued. If you take Bitcoin as an example, you see that miners receive tokens as a form of reward for finding blocks in the chain. Then, the transactions are recorded as Bitcoins in these blocks. After that, the block will be added to the already existing blockchain. This actually requires a very high amount of computer power. On the other hand, digital tokens can be seen as units that can be created on an already existing blockchain. If you are the designer of such a token, you basically can decide a lot of details for yourself. This entails the amount of tokens you would like to create, how to issue these, and other functionalities you want to assign to the token. The Ethereum blockchain is actually specifically designed for this purpose.

ICOs create new and exciting opportunities

One of the main benefits of an ICO is the fact, that it makes it very easy to raise a substantial amount of funds very quickly – if it succeeds, of course. This enables you to start up new crypto projects, plus you are obviously also rewarded for your work in the process. A reason that tokens are so popular, is due to partial ownership. This also plays a role in the issuance of shares, since owning a token or share might bring in money at some point. As long as you still own the token, there is a possibility of making a large profit. Therefore, it is fairly easy to encourage people to join your network. Furthermore, ICOs open up many possibilities for investors who don’t have that much to invest. Not everyone is a millionaire: most people have to live with regular wages. But even with a regular salary, you can easily invest in tokens. It sounds like a dream, which it can be, but it is very important that you also inform yourself about all the risks involved with starting an ICO. We will outline these below.

Are there any risks involved with launching or investing in ICOs?

If you consider launching or investing in an ICO, you should be acquainted with the various troublesome scenarios that currently flood the market. For example, there are many cases known in which people bought tokens with money they actually needed, and thus, this got them into trouble. The same applies to people who borrow money to buy tokens, in some cases these amounts are staggeringly high. Why do people do this? Because they feel they might miss a great opportunity, since they believe that the price of the token will yield as much profit as Bitcoin did. This anticipation of extremely high profits can blind people to the risks associated with an ICO, whether you are the one launching it or investing. You genuinely risk losing your entire investment. Please keep in mind that the crypto market is still speculative in nature. Therefore, you should never invest money that you cannot miss at the moment, or might need for later. There are other factors that might negatively impact your investment, which are explained in detail below.

Be sure your knowledge about the market and topic is sufficient

One of the main ingredients of a successful investment, is prior knowledge about its specifics. If you don’t know what you are investing in, you are basically giving others the power to scam you. Especially in a volatile and fast-paced market such as crypto, it is essential to educate yourself about the coin you want to invest in. In the past, due to this reason, the possibility of investing in a start-up was generally reserved for professionals with plenty of knowledge and expertise. Nowadays, it is possible to privately invest due to blockchain technology. Anyone with a bit of money, an internet connection and a wallet can invest in tokens. A lot of private investors get carried away with exaggerated promises of almost impossibly high returns on investment, and thus, underestimate their own experience and knowledge. Without this expertise and in-depth knowledge, actually meaningful revenue models are almost not distinguishable from projects with no added value. Make sure you know what you are doing and spend time reading information, before you spend money.

Do not overestimate possible returns beforehand

Crypto has mesmerized millions of people, especially after Bitcoin skyrocketed during recent years. This has led many investors to believe, that their investment will also yield enormous returns. Please be cautious, though, since crypto is still in its infancy. The promise of fancy new revenue models always attracts plenty of investors, but only experienced investors should actually put money into something so new and volatile. If you want to invest, it would be wise to seek assistance from someone who knows the ropes. New technology always creates new revenue models, but can also lead to expectations that are overoptimistic. There is a big chance, that your personal expectations will not be met. Especially ICOs are in very early stages of development, and thus, it is highly unclear if any plans or expectations can be fulfilled in reality. Blockchain technology in itself is very new and still in development. Errors in the code can pose a threat, as well as theft of your tokens. Even a great idea can tumble sometimes, so make sure you can miss the money if you decide to go for it. Because there is also a chance, that the value of the token will be much lower than your initial investment.

A general lack of transparency

Another issue with ICO’s is the fact, that certain providers aren’t always transparent regarding the information they provide to potential investors. Often, basic information is hard to find, and important parts are even left out completely. This can include information such as the rights that the holders of the tokens are granted, the risks involved with a specific project, and the way the financing of the project is spent. If you don’t have all the essential information, it’s almost impossible to be able to value an ICO correctly. Furthermore, it is also very difficult to distinguish good projects from fraudulent ones. Next to that, a lack of transparency can also lead to inefficient pricing of tokens. Always try to provide as much information you are able to, when you launch an ICO. If you are an investor, make sure you have all information you need. If this information is not provided, you should try to contact the provider and ask for extra information before you invest.

ICOs attract scammers

One of the largest problems with ICOs is the fact that it attracts scammers internationally. Blockchain technology allows for cross-border investments, which means that everyone can participate worldwide. But there is also the topic of anonymity surrounding crypto. Even though it’s generally a positive feature of crypto, it inevitably also attracts criminals and fraudsters. Due to it’s worldwide reach, some have taken advantage of this fact in a very negative way, by creating very advanced pyramid schemes. These are sometimes hard to recognize for people who don’t know much about ICOs and crypto, so there are a lot of very easy targets for fraudsters to hit. The hype surrounding crypto makes it easier for them to make investors believe, that they might miss a fantastic opportunity by not investing. There are also fraudulent ICOs, aimed at misleading investors to get rich themselves. The intentions of providers are generally good, but keep in mind that some others might outright scam you too. Some of these scams are known as exit-scams, where the provider and developers suddenly disappear after they have sold their own coins. Be mindful and watchful when you invest.

Massive price fluctuations

Last but not least: keep in mind that all tokens are subject to enormous price fluctuations. Most people who invest in ICOs generally step in with a speculative purpose. They essentially invest, because they expect they will be able to sell their tokens quickly for a higher price. This speculative nature surrounding ICOs leads to extremely volatile prices of traded tokens, on various platforms. Since these platforms do not fall under the scope of financial supervision, this is something that cannot be regulated. Sometimes a token can fluctuate up to 100% per day. This can be exhilarating when the price goes up, but at the same time disastrous when it goes down. On top of that, the trading of a lot of tokens is limited. This makes it possible for fraudsters to manipulate the process, if it suits them.

Is it wise to even consider launching an ICO with so many risks involved?

The list of possibly negative scenarios within this business is quite severe. It might put a lot of people interested in ICOs off, which is not exactly a bad thing. As we already stated above, it is of the utmost importance that you inform yourself about the entire market. If you don’t, you can easily fall into the hands of experienced scammers. We generally advise investors and start-ups to read information and acquire substantial knowledge, before taking action. You can also seek aid from more experienced parties, such as companies and individuals specialized within the market. Intercompany Solutions can definitely assist you, in order to make sure that you don’t make any mistakes. This can have very serious consequences, ranging from losing all your money to going to jail.

When does an ICO fall under the Dutch Financial Supervision Act (Wft)?

As previously discussed, a large portion of the worldwide crypto market falls outside the scope of financial supervision institutions such as the Dutch Wft. Most tokens can be structured, for instance, in the form of a (prepaid) entitlement to a future service of the issuer. In all these cases, they fall outside the scope of the Wft. One exception to this, is if the token, for instance, represents a share in the project or if the token gives entitlement to part of the (future) returns from the project. In these circumstances, the token may qualify as a security or a unit in a collective investment scheme, as defined in the Wft. The Dutch Authority on Financial Markets (AFM) assesses each case separately to determine whether the Wft applies, and will also closely supervise whether the Wft might apply. Potential issuers need to properly analyze the extent of any overlap with financial regulation and supervision, before launching their ICO. It would be prudent to investigate properly what the definitions are, that the AFM uses to determine the security status. It is a possibility to approach the AFM with a clear prospectus (offering), and get a ruling in advance. This way you limit risks on your end.[2]

The qualification of a security (effect)

In each separate case, it has to be determined whether a token qualifies as a security as defined in Section 1:1 Wft. This is done on the basis of the token’s legal and other features. In line with the definition in this section, it is important to establish the extent to which the token qualifies as a negotiable instrument that is equivalent to a negotiable share or other negotiable instrument or an instrument equivalent to a right. A token may also qualify as a security, if it represents a negotiable bond or other negotiable debt instrument. A token additionally qualifies as a security, if a share or bond can be acquired through the exercise of the rights attached to a token or through conversion of these rights. Lastly, a token meets the definition of a security if it is a negotiable security that can be settled in cash, where the amount to be settled depends on an index or other measure.

For a token to qualify as a security equivalent to a share, one important consideration is whether the token holders participate in the company’s capital and receive any form of payment for this. This payment must correspond to the return achieved with the invested capital. Any controlling rights are not decisive in this respect. The AFM moreover uses a wide and economic approach for the term negotiability. Further information on this is available in the Negotiability Policy Rule of the AFM. If the tokens qualify as a security, a prospectus approved by the AFM is compulsory – to the extent that no exception or exemption applies. Further information is available on the AFM website. In any case, investment firms facilitating trading in such securities must observe the requirements with respect to the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing.[3]

Qualification of a unit of participation in a collective investment scheme

An ICO is subject to financial supervision, if it concerns the management and offering of units in a collective investment scheme. This is the case, if an issuer of an ICO raises capital from investors in order to invest this capital in accordance with a certain investment policy in the interests of those investors. The funds raised have to be used for the purpose of collective investment, so that the participants will share in the proceeds of the investment. An increase in net asset value also qualifies as the proceeds of an investment. In this connection, amongst other things, the AFM applies the guidelines published by ESMA on key concepts of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. Under Section 2:65 Wft, a license from the AFM is required for the offering of units in a collective investment scheme, unless the issuer is eligible for the registration regime. Further information is available on the AFM website.[4]

Trading of tokens falling under the Wft

So what happens to certain platforms, when tokens are traded that fall under the Wft? We discussed before, that most platforms don’t fall under any financial supervision. Nonetheless, when platforms facilitate the trading of tokens that fall under the Wft, these specific platforms will also require a license from the AFM. This is necessary for the provision of investment services, pursuant to Section 2:96 Wft. If you want further information about this topic, then you can find it on the AFM website. Potential issuers considering an ICO, and wishing to issue it subject to financial supervision, may contact the AFM for any questions. The Intercompany Solutions team can also help you with any questions you might have regarding this topic.

What to think about when you want to launch your own ICO?

If you have read all the information and still want to launch an ICO, then we can definitely assist you with your plans. It is smart to research other providers. This is undoubtedly a requirement for the coin offering. If you really want to start, it’s essential to make a list of everything you need to do beforehand. Especially for ICOs you will have to look into various aspects. The following questions can help you sort out the most important information:

Once you have accumulated all this information, it will be much more clear to you, as well as your investors, what it is you are trying to accomplish. When you are ready, you can contact our team to help you further with your ICO.

Intercompany Solutions

Intercompany Solutions has assisted in the establishment of hundreds of different companies in the Netherlands, ranging from small businesses to large multinationals. Currently, Intercompany Solutions is also assisting several other crypto firms. One of our clients is starting an initial game offering, whom we are assisting with all the legal paperwork and regulations. The initial game offering is quite similar to an ICO as an idea, however the products that are sold vary from tokens. We have also extensively researched the legal and tax status of cryptocurrency in the Netherlands, so we have quite some information readily available. If you want to launch an ICO, please make sure you can provide us with all the information we need, for a smooth process. When we receive the relevant information, we can discuss your case with our Authority of Financial Markets specialized lawyer. We can always schedule a phone call and give you a quick estimation of the scope of the requirements, the best course of actions and timeline. Feel free to contact us anytime.




[1] https://www.afm.nl/professionals/onderwerpen/ico

[2] https://www.afm.nl/professionals/onderwerpen/ico

[3]funds for your business. It can also allow you to create a new coin, service or app. https://www.afm.nl/professionals/onderwerpen/ico

[4] https://www.afm.nl/professionals/onderwerpen/ico

Ever wanted to operate as an independent consultant? In the Netherlands, you can benefit from many possibilities to achieve this dream. Starting a consultancy business involves a lot of thinking on your part though, before you actually establish the business. So where do you start? Whether you are an independent communication consultant, a legal consultant or an ICT consultant, this article will help you on your way to starting your own business. Do colleagues and friends often ask you for advice? Then you have probably already  thought about setting up a consultancy firm. We will outline some of the most important factors you should consider, in order for your business to achieve potential success. We will also provide you plenty of examples and extra details to think about.

Why would you start a consultancy business?

Some people have worked as a consultant for a larger firm, and decide they want to jumpstart their career by opening their own business. In other cases, maybe the profession of consultant simply appeals. The Dutch consultancy market is a very vibrant and demanding one. During the past decade it has grown exponentially. One of the main reasons for this development is the improved flexibility of the Dutch labour force. Not only do people work more from home, but many previously employed consultants started their own smaller businesses. This lead to an increase in the amount of Dutch freelancers.

The fact that these smaller firms now exist, has put some serious pressure on some very well known larger firms. A large firm has a lot of expertise and experience to offer, but due to the amount of employees, the firm can sometimes put a consultant on a project who doesn’t fit there at all. This has led to many clients preferring somewhat smaller consultancy firms. A smaller firm offers a more personal approach, often with a very clearly defined niche. Next to that, the rates of a smaller consultancy form are often lower than the rates the large companies offer. This makes consultants also affordable for smaller businesses.

Which basic knowledge do you need to start as an independent consultant?

If you want to start a consultancy business, experience and knowledge about this field of work is essential. No client will hire you, if you cannot prove your worth. In general, consultants are very proficient at conducting research and analyzing the results they have obtained from the research. Consultants collect a lot of (related) data, which will help them come up with workable solutions for the client they work for. A consultant is able to identify behavioral patterns, production bottlenecks, market trends and of course customer preferences. With those and other factors, they can create standard business processes that can help the organization achieve its goals and objectives.

As a consultant, your core responsibility is to improve your client's operations or business activities, by making changes based on your analysis. You must be able to implement the changes for your client within an agreed time. Companies are willing to pay very high rates, as long as they get the preferred results. A very specific trait of the consulting industry, is that there is a readily available market for such services, simply because clients naturally want to improve their performance on an annual basis. Companies always strive for evolution and more success. So if you are well positioned, knowledgeable and know how to deliver results, you can achieve very good results with a Dutch consultancy company.

Consultants are good in one thing: problem-solving

If you want to know whether you can keep your head above water as a consultant, you should look into your personal problem-solving skills. As a consultant, you are constantly solving problems for your clients. When a client offers you information about an internal issue, you create a business case out of this. It is very important to know which problem you are actually solving. One way to look at the bottleneck from all angles, is to interview many employees who are involved in the same business process. The business case generally consists of three steps: determination of the problem, finding out why it exists at all, and offering a solution to fix the situation.

Determining the problem

There are many possible business cases, since every company has its own personal problems. One issue that very often comes up, are outdated business processes. Since technology evolves very rapidly, businesses need to update and refresh their business processes on a structural basis. In such cases, you should find out exactly which processes need updating and how you will achieve this.

Figuring out the reasons for the problem’s existence

In the case of business processes, the fact that these have not been updated is mainly the issue. But with other problems, you should dig deep and find out how the internal issue originated in the first place. Maybe some employees are behind on work? Or maybe management hasn’t provided enough information to its employees? Maybe the employees need training? Every problem has its own solution, and it’s your job as a consultant to expose the core of the difficulties.

Offering a solution to the problem

Once you know the problem and the reasons for its existence, you need to come up with solutions to solve it. Obviously, that is what your client is paying you for. In the case of the previously mentioned business processes, the best solution is to implement new and updated processes. Make sure that you are good at solving problems, before you start a consultancy business. Otherwise, you should not expect to earn a lot of money.

Choosing the specialization or niche of your business

If you want to open a  small or medium-sized consulting company, then we usually recommend clients to choose a well-defined niche. In the consultancy world, a niche usually means specializing in a certain type of client and/or subject. To determine your niche, you should look at what skills and knowledge you have that could benefit clients in the Netherlands. Of course, you need to have the necessary expertise to be able to give advice at all. Do you know a lot about a certain subject? Then you can start a consultancy business within this field it. The most chosen niches in the consultancy world are:

Marketing consultancy

A lot of start-ups are marketing consultants. This is also one of the easiest niches to enter, since you can rely much more on your expertise, than your education. Marketing is something that can be very easily learned online, without the need of formal education. You will need to have a knack for marketing subjects, and it’s imperative that you build a solid reputation during the first years of your business. Marketing results can very easily be measured via a wide variety of marketing tools and apps. If you are also a graphic designer, then this is an added bonus. If not, take into account that many clients will ask you to design new company logo’s and similar things. You will need to outsource this, if you don’t know how to create material. Keep in mind that the marketing consultancy industry in the Netherlands is extremely fierce. You will have to be able to stand your ground, in order to succeed.

Communication consultancy

The communication consultancy market in Holland is also booming. Clients are always looking for new ways to deliver the same message. Communication consultancy also involves writing, so if you are a good writer and have a talent for solving marketing issues too, this might provide a good start for your business. It can help to join the Dutch Association of Recognized Advertising Consultancies (VEA). This is the association of communication consultancies in the Netherlands. There is also a lot of competition in the communication consultancy industry, so you will need to stand out and offer something that others don’t.

Management & strategy consultancy

The management and strategy industry is mostly aimed at larger companies, in which there is also high-level decision-making involved. In essence, if you are a management consultant, you will help your clients with managerial problems. This means you will also act as a company executive in some cases. Large corporations often hire external parties to solve executive issues, due to the fact that external parties can look at problems independently. It is imperative that you have experience with management consultancy before you start a business, because you will be dealing with high-level problems that require a solid amount of experience and knowledge.

Operations consultancy

The operations consultancy industry is specifically aimed at the optimization of operational and business processes. A good example is advising on the supply chain of a logistical company. But as an operations consultant, you can have clients from all industries. Often, governmental organizations are looking for operations consultants, to streamline the vast amount of processes within the organization. This niche requires you to be adept in logical thinking, and seeing where processes are failing.

HR consultancy

Human resources is mainly concerned with the personnel policy and the organizational policy of the client. In Dutch, HR consultants are also referred to as P&O consultants. This means you will help out clients with hiring employees, training employees and all kinds of administrative matters. You will generally need to show education within this field, if you want to start a successful company.

I(C)T consultancy

ICT is currently one of the consultancy industries with the highest growth. This sector includes information and communication, and the space where these two overlap. In general, as an IT consultant you advise companies on the solutions they want to achieve in the field of digital work processes and services. This can be system development and system integration, but also the introduction of entirely new systems. Proficiency with information and technology is a must to be able to be an IT consultant.

Legal consultancy

Last, but certainly not least, there is the option of becoming a legal consultant. In the Netherlands you do not need a law degree, to name yourself a legal consultant, since the title is not protected. It is essential that you have experience with and knowledge of the Dutch legal system, otherwise you will not be able to help any single client. You can also start a legal consultancy business based on the legal framework of your home country, and help expats and people who might need your specific expertise in the Netherlands.

The necessity of market research

So you want to start a consultancy company, and you know which niche is best for you? Then it’s time you do some market research. This involves creating a target audience that you will research first. You can do this by looking up demographics about your niche on the internet, and finding out which area might have potential clients. You can also schedule interviews with people from your target audience, in which you talk about your plans and their wishes. It is also possible to start a conversation with people from your target group in focus groups, or to send out online questionnaires via social media. The most important thing to find out, it whether there are clients in the Netherlands who are willing to pay for your services.

How do you acquire new clients for your business?

The Netherlands houses a very wide array of consultancy businesses. The best thing you can achieve, is to stand out to your specific type of client. A potential client will be looking for a certain type of expertise, and it’s your job to know when someone is looking. The way you present yourself is also just as significant, since first impressions are very important in the consultancy industry. You should pay a lot of attention to the overall look and feel of your website and marketing material, but also the clothes you wear when you have a meeting with a potential client. Finding clients can be tedious sometimes, but the Netherlands offers an enormous amount of networking events for all industries. You can also join a certain type of business club, or look at online platforms aimed at freelancers. Once your business is up and running, and your clients are satisfied, you are sure to get new projects via referrals.

Explore the competition in your region or field

Once you know what your market is waiting for, it's important to investigate what the competition is doing. The best things to do is to look up at least ten competitors within your region, including large as well as smaller firms. We also advise to map out the ten best firms within your specific niche. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor, so you can quickly see where your opportunities lie. You can also request the annual accounts and extracts of your main competitors from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. Also research what prices they charge, since this will help you in determining a realistic rate.

Choosing a legal Dutch entity for your business

Every entrepreneur must choose a Dutch legal entity, to be able to register in the trade register of the Chamber of Commerce. Which form is most suitable for your company, depends on factors such as your expected turnover and number of board members. The Netherlands offers the following legal entities:

We strongly suggest establishing a Dutch BV, whether it’s a new firm or a subsidiary. This legal entity offers limited liability, plus it is also seen as a professional choice to select a Dutch private limited company. If you would like some advice on this matter, feel free to contact the team of Intercompany Solutions anytime.

Creating a solid business plan

If you have a clear idea of what you are going to do, you can create a stable basis for your future consultancy company. That is why it is highly advisable to draw up a business plan. Your business plan is essentially a tool that will keep you on the right track. You can save your plan and update it yearly, when you look at your business results. A business plan makes it very clear what you want your business to be, and how you will achieve this exactly. There are many templates on the internet regarding a business plan, you can browse around a bit to find a template that resonates with you. Keep in mind that you can also use the business plan, to convince potential investors.

A business plan should always answer the following questions:

Many starting entrepreneurs find writing a business plan quite difficult. Intercompany Solutions can assist you with this process, if you feel you can use some help.

Contracts and legal documents you might need for your consultancy businesses

Once your business is established, you will need to prepare some standard legal documents for projects. One of the most important documents is the assignment agreement between you and potential clients, which is also called a freelance contract. This contract arranges the specific terms under which you will work for your client(s). This will inevitably vary per client, as every consultancy project will be subject to different terms and conditions. There is no legal requirement that obliges you to create an assignment agreement, we strongly urge you to do this, though. Because an agreement makes it easier to resolve any issues that might come up in the future. You can make a draft for your first client, which you can then use for any consecutive client as well.

Next to the assignment agreement, we also advise you set up general terms and conditions for the services you offer. These terms and conditions apply to all business activities you get involved in, as well as all clients. You can describe various standard conditions, such as payment and delivery conditions. Another document you should have at the ready is a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). A lot of the work you will do might entail sensitive information. Signing an NDA will make the relationship between you and your client feel more safe and trustworthy.

If you choose to establish a Dutch BV, you will also have to sign an employment contract between yourself and your company. This is due to the fact, that you are employed by your own company as a managing director. You can also choose to set up an account agreement between your BV and yourself. This enables you to establish a loan between you and your company, without having to set up a loan agreement every time you do this. The last mentionable document concerns a shareholders’ agreement, in the case that your Dutch BV will have multiple shareholders. This document describes the exact relationship between the shareholders, to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

The registration procedure

Do you feel like a Dutch consultancy business might be something for you? And have you read all the information above, still feeling like this could be a possibility for you? Then you should inform yourself about the Dutch company registration procedure. You can find more information about it here. This will enable you to prepare some necessary documents, that you will need to make the registration final. Intercompany Solutions can assist you during every step along the way. Once we receive all documents, we will validate these and send them back to you to sign. After we receive the signed documents back, we start the official registration procedure. We can also help you with extra tasks, such as setting up a Dutch bank account. The entire procedure can be realized within just a few business days. Feel free to contact us anytime for more information, or a clear quote for your future business.

During the past decade, we have seen a steady rise of companies establishing a subsidiary in the Netherlands. There are multiple reasons to do this, for example to be able to access the European Single Market. Currently, this is especially profitable for company owners in the United Kingdom, since the UK has been mostly cut off from the European Union after Brexit. Participation in the European Single Market offers a lot of benefits, particularly if you own a company with a logistical component. The EU houses a staggering amount of large (multinational) distribution centers, and not without reason. This enables these companies to trade goods and services without

The European Union currently has 27 Member States that profit from the Single Market. This Single Market was established, in order to guarantee the free movement of capital, goods, people and services within all participating Member States. This is also known as the ‘four freedoms’. If you want to purchase goods within the EU and sell these in a country that isn’t a Member State, opening a Dutch subsidiary might help you enormously, both fiscally and in terms of time-efficiency. The same goes for a reversed situation: when you would like to sell goods produced in the country your company is based in on the European Single Market. We will outline how you can streamline your flow of goods with a Dutch subsidiary in this article, and explain the benefits of establishing a company in the Netherlands.

What exactly is the ‘flow of goods’?

The flow of goods is essentially the flow of your available means of production, and the products you offer, within your company. This flow of goods is necessary to transport raw materials, semifinished or finished products from point A to point B. Due to the fact that all means of transportation cost a company time as well as money, an efficient flow of goods is indispensable for any company dealing with distribution activities. In general, the items that are delivered to a store usually do not come directly from the manufacturer, but from a wholesaler or a distribution center.

At every single store, most goods are not directly delivered from the manufacturer, but from a distribution center. A distribution center (DC) is basically a central warehouse. In a distribution center all orders from stores are collected and then shipped. A big advantage of this way of doing business, is that the store only has to communicate with the head office or the DC about deliveries. Within logistics and distribution, people often talk about an internal flow of goods that often follows a fixed pattern:

Incoming goods

Outgoing goods

The above list is almost always the basis, on top of which are often the movements to supplement the pick locations (for example, rack space for pallets of which only a few pieces are picked at a time). In order to run a tight business, it is very important to keep your warehouse in order. Next to the physical shipping of goods, other administrative tasks are involved when you supply goods to customers overseas. Especially if you live in a country outside the EU zone, and you want to do business within the EU, because this means you will need to create extra customs documents.

If you want to import and/or exports goods, you need to fill out various customs documents and official paperwork. Otherwise, you risk your goods being kept, or claimed, at the border. Within the EU, this problem does not exist due to the European Single Market. But if you own a company outside the EU, the paperwork can become excessive and time-consuming. Hence; if you establish a Dutch subsidiary, you don’t have to deal with the rather large amount of official paperwork anymore.

How to buy or sell goods using a Dutch BV?

If you want to establish a logistical trading company, or if you want to expand your foreign business to the Netherlands, it is necessary for you to create solid connections with sellers and buyers within your market. Especially if you own a webshop and you rely on punctual delivery times. If you already own a business, chances are you have already made such connections. The logistics market is a very dynamic one, with many changes happening in short bursts of time. In order to be able to deliver your goods on time, it is important to set up tight delivery schedules.

The profitable part of owning a Dutch subsidiary, like we mentioned before, is the fact that you get access to the European Single Market. This means you can freely trade your goods with the other 26 Member State as well as the Netherlands, which can help you save a substantial amount of money on customs and shipping costs. For example; if you own a clothing company and you want to enter the Single Market, all you need is a subsidiary. Via this subsidiary, you can ship goods to and from your home based company, without the extra hassle of international shipping. This is due to the fact, that you are transferring goods internally, meaning within your own company.

Which entities are involved with the flow of goods?

When you own an international logistics company, you already know that you have to deal with many different partners and organizations on a daily basis. This means that you best choose your partners wisely, like we mentioned before. But also consider the fact that preparing and creating customs documents requires the proper time and expertise. In most cases, you will be dealing with partners such as wholesalers and different kinds of sellers, as well as a wide array of buyers, of course. Next to that, there will be external parties involved, such as the Tax Authorities of the country your business is situated in.

If you decide to establish a subsidiary in the Netherlands, keep in mind that you will have to adhere to the so-called Dutch substance requirements. These have been put in place, in order to avoid the unintended use of (double) tax treaties by companies established in the Netherlands. The Dutch Tax Authorities monitor such things, so always be concise with your administration and business activities. Next to a country’s Tax Authorities, you will also deal with other organizations such as customs and the Chamber of Commerce. If you want to run a solid business, make sure your administration is always up-to-date.

Which business activities will take places in which country?

Once you decide to establish a Dutch subsidiary, you will have to make a business plan that covers every change you will have to make regarding your current regular business activities. For example; you might have to move your main distribution center, or set up an extra distribution center in the country you establish a subsidiary in. You will also need to figure out where you plan to take care of your administration, since this fact is very important to figure out where the substance of your business is situated. This also includes where you will center your business in general, and where the ‘real’ headquarters of your business will be.

In general, you will need to divide all business activities and see which country would suit which business activity best. If you have a lot of European customers you structurally ship goods to, it would probably be best if you base your (main) distribution center in an EU Member State. You can still do your administration from where you live, since it is not required in the Netherlands that you do this in the country itself. You are also not obligated to live in the Netherlands, which is why it is fairly easy to set up a subsidiary here. If you would like more information about the benefits a Dutch subsidiary can offer your company, feel free to contact us for personal advice.

How can you establish a subsidiary in the Netherlands?

The process of obtaining a Dutch business is fairly straightforward, but it does involve several steps that need to be followed through very precisely. We have a very broad guide regarding the formation of a company in the Netherlands, where you can look up all the information you need on the subject. The procedure itself consists of three steps or phases, which can generally be carried out in 3 to 5 business days. The amount of time the procedure will take greatly depends on the amount and quality of information you can provide, so make sure to acquire all the necessary documents beforehand. Most of the time is spent verifying the documents you provide, so it is beneficial if everything is correct and concise.

For the formation of a subsidiary, which is a Dutch BV (private limited company) in most cases, we follow the next three steps.

Step 1 – Identification

The first step consists of providing us with your identity information, as well as the identity of possible extra shareholders. You will need to send us copies of the applicable passports, next to a completely filled out form regarding the formation of your future Dutch business. We also ask you to send us your preferred company name, since this name will need to be verified in advance to ensure availability. We strongly suggest you don’t start creating a logo, before you know whether you can register this company name.

Step 2 – Signing of various documents

Once you send us the necessary information, we will proceed by preparing the initial documentation for the formation of the business. Once this is done, the shareholders will need to visit the Dutch notary public to sign the formation documents. Alternatively, it is possible for us to prepare the formation documents to be signed in your home country if you are unable to visit here in person. You can then send the original signed documents to our corporate address in Rotterdam. We will tell you exactly what you will need to do.

Step 3 – the registration

When all documents are verified and signed and in our possession, then we can start the actual registration process. This involves filing your company with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. After this is finished, you will receive your registration number. The Chamber of Commerce will automatically forward your company information to the Dutch Tax Authorities, who will subsequently provide you with a VAT-number. We can also assist with several other necessities, such as opening a Dutch bank account. We also have solutions to apply to certain Dutch banks remotely.

What can Intercompany Solutions do for your company?

If you are interested in expanding your logistics business, the Netherlands offers very exciting opportunities. With one of the best infrastructures in the world, you obtain access to a huge market of potential. Next to that, the IT infrastructure is considered one of the most advanced, with very fast internet speeds. Holland houses a very colorful and wide array of foreign entrepreneurs; from small business owners to large multinationals who have set up subsidiaries or even headquarters here. If you are an ambitious professional, your business is sure to thrive here, provided you put in the necessary work.

If you own an international webshop, you will also find plenty of opportunities in the Netherlands. This rather small country has been world-famous for its international trading capacity and this still shows. If you would like to receive personal advice regarding your company and the possibilities that are open to you, please feel free to contact Intercompany Solutions at any time. We will gladly assist you with any questions you might have, or offer you a clear quote.

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A lot of the entrepreneurs  we do business with are starting an entirely new company, often from abroad. But in some cases you might already own a company, which you would like to move to a more stable and economically thriving location. Is this possible? And, more importantly; is it possible to move your company to the Netherlands in particular? According to current EU regulations, as well as Dutch national law, this is entirely possible. And we would like to help your with this, if you need assistance. In this article we will outline exactly how you can achieve this, which information you will definitely need and how Intercompany Solutions can assist you during the process, if necessary.

What does it mean to move your entire company to a new country and/or continent?

Often entrepreneurs start a business locally, to find out during a later stage that their direct environment doesn’t provide the best basis for their specific product, service or idea. Next to that, some countries on this planet simply offer more entrepreneurial possibilities than other(s). In such cases, it might be desirable to consider moving your company abroad. For example, if you would like to own a company that deals with resources such as water, it helps if your company is actually situated near water. This is just a crude example, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of companies would benefit from a registration in a foreign country, due to a much larger market potential.

If you want to consider the step of moving your company abroad, this entails some administrative as well as practical decisions and actions. In the long run, it will definitely provide you with enough business opportunities to earn back the investment of moving your company. The choice to decide where your company is situated is entirely yours; in this new day and age, we don’t need to have an office building anymore, nor a permanent residence in a certain country in order to establish a business there. Business is profitable for the entire world, and you as a (potential) business owner should be free to establish yourself in any desired location.

Why would you choose the Netherlands as your company’s home base of operations?

Once you decide to move your company abroad, the very first question you should ask yourself is: where am I going? This is a very valid question, one that deserves the proper time to think about, since you will need to connect your personal business goals with a certain type of inviting national climate. Even though the world is internationalizing at a high rate, all countries still have the benefit of keeping their unique traditions and national customs. This, in the end, is what makes us all unique. Hence, your business can definitely flourish in one of the 193 countries on this planet.

So why is the Netherlands a good decision? One of the main reasons mentioned by both media and reputable business platforms, is the fact that the Netherlands has always been excellent in (international) trade. This tiny country, with currently around 18 million citizens, has achieved a worldwide status as one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world. The Dutch are famous for their innovative spirit, cross-border cooperation and ability to link multiple interesting yet also contradicting disciplines. If you decide to do business in the Netherlands, you will have plenty of opportunities to elevate your business to your desired status.

Next to the trading history, the Netherlands is also very welcoming towards foreigners and actively stimulates diversity in every way. The Dutch have learned from hundreds of years of travel all over the world, that every single nation has something valuable to offer. This, in turn, provides for a very colorful and lively business climate, with the potential to attract customers from all over the world. You are sure to find a broad clientele for your product or service, provided that it’s good. If you want to know more about the Dutch, you can read some of our blogs about special sectors and characteristics of the Netherlands as a business haven.

Is it legally possible to move your company oversees?

In order to understand how you can move your already existing foreign company, it is crucial to know what the Dutch law says about this. Due to increasing internationalization, there is a larger demand for company relocation. There have been many developments within this area in Europe during recent years. Pursuant to Section 2:18 of the Dutch Civil Code (Burgerlijk Wetboek), a Dutch legal entity can convert into another legal form subject to certain requirements. However, Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code does not yet contain any rules for the cross-border conversion of companies. There is also no legal regulation at European level at this moment in time. Nonetheless, it is still entirely possible. We will now explain in detail how you can achieve this.

Cross-border conversion of companies

Cross-border conversion means that the legal form and nationality (applicable law) of the company change, but the company continues to exist and retain legal personality. The conversion of a Dutch legal entity into a foreign legal entity is also called an outbound conversion, and the reversed variant (when a foreign company moves to the Netherlands) is named an inbound conversion. The EU/EEA Member States apply different doctrines, when determining the law applicable to a company. Some Member States apply the incorporation doctrine, whilst others apply the real seat doctrine.

The incorporation doctrine means, that a legal entity is always subject to the law of the Member State in which it is incorporated and has its registered office. The Netherlands applies this doctrine; a Dutch legal entity must have its registered office in the Netherlands and must be incorporated in the Netherlands. According to the doctrine of the real seat, a legal entity is subject to the law of the State in which it has its central administration or real seat. As a result of these theories, there may be a lack of clarity as to whether a transfer of seat is possible.

Official EU/EC court rulings explain how cross-border conversion is possible

Questions about this have been put to the Court of Justice of the EC/EU several times during recent years. The EC/EU Court of Justice has issued two important rulings on cross-border conversion of companies. The freedom of establishment as laid down in Articles 49 and 54 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) played a role in this. On December 16, 2008, the Court of Justice of the EC ruled in the Cartesio case (Case C-210/06) that Member States are not in themselves obliged to allow the cross-border transfer of a registered office of a company incorporated under their own law. However, it was noted that the transfer of a registered office must be recognized, if the company can be converted into a local legal form after transfer of its registered office in the new Member State of residence. Provided there are no compelling reasons of public interest to impede this, such as the interests of creditors, minority shareholders, employees or the tax authorities.

Subsequently, on 12 July 2012, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled in the Vale judgment (case C-378/10), that a Member State of the EU/EEA cannot hinder a cross-border inbound conversion. According to the Court, Articles 49 and 54 TFEU mean, that if a Member State has a regulation for internal conversions, this regulation also applies to cross-border situations. A cross-border conversion may therefore not be treated differently from a domestic conversion. Keep in mind that in this case, as with the Cartesio ruling, an exception applies if there are compelling reasons of public interest.

In practice, there may be a need for the possibility of converting a company into a legal entity governed by the law of another country, without it ceasing to exist. Without such a conversion, a company that has transferred its activities to another country may be governed by several legal systems. An example of this is a company incorporated under Dutch law that (completely) transfers its activities to a country that follows the actual seat doctrine. Under this law, the company is governed by the law of the country it is residing in. Seen from a Dutch perspective, however, this company (also) remains governed by Dutch law (incorporation doctrine).

Although the company is in fact no longer active in the Netherlands, Dutch obligations with regard to the preparation and filing of annual accounts, for example, remain in force. If these kinds of company law obligations are overlooked, this can have unpleasant consequences, for example, in the field of directors' liability. Because Dutch law does not provide for cross-border conversion of legal entities, the route of cross-border merger was often chosen in the past. This legal concept is in fact regulated in Dutch law, exclusively for mergers between capital companies established under the law of a member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area.

A new European Union Directive has been adopted

Following these historical rulings, an EU Directive on cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council (Directive (EU) 2019/2121) (Directive). This new Directive, amongst other things, appears to clarify the currently existing rules on cross-border conversions and mergers in the EU. Next to that, it also introduces rules specifically applicable to cross-border conversion and divisions, that are intended for all Member States. A country such as the Netherlands might benefit from this Directive, since we already stated before that the Dutch currently doesn’t have any proper legislation regarding this subject. This would allow for international harmonization, making it much more easy to move your company throughout the EU.

This Directive already went into effect on the 1st of January 2020, and all Member States have until the 31st of January to implement the Directive as national law. However, this is not mandatory, since Members States can choose for themselves whether they implement the Directive. Due to the fact that this is the first time, ever, that there is a legal framework in the European Union for cross-border conversions and divisions, it makes it directly relevant for limited liability companies such as the Dutch BV. This also complements both the Vale and Cartesio rulings, since both have shown that these legal operations were already entirely possible, based on the right of freedom of establishment.

A cross-border conversion is defined in the Directive as "an operation whereby a company, without being dissolved or wound up or going into liquidation, converts the legal form under which it is registered in a departure Member State into a legal form in a destination Member State, as listed in Annex II, and transfers at least its registered office to the destination Member State, while retaining its legal personality."[1] One of the main advantages of this approach, is that the company will remain its legal personality, assets and liabilities in the newly converted company. This Directive is aimed at limited liability companies, but for cross-border conversion of other legal entities such as cooperatives, you can still invoke the freedom of establishment.

The amount of cross-border conversions keeps rising

Based on these rulings, both outbound and inbound conversions within the Member States of the EU/EEA are therefore possible. Dutch notaries are increasingly confronted with requests for cross-border conversion, due to the fact that more people are considering moving their company to a more economically friendly atmosphere. There is no Dutch statutory regulation regarding this, but that does not have to be an obstacle to notarial execution of the conversion. In the absence of harmonized legal regulations, the procedures that must be followed in the inbound and outbound Member State must be carefully examined. These procedures may differ per Member State, which can make the process a bit complicated if you are not backed by a professional. Of course, Intercompany Solutions can assist you through the entire process of cross-border conversion.

What are the steps involved to move the registered office of your company to the Netherlands?

Starting a company in the Netherlands involves a few less steps than moving an entire company to the Netherlands. Nonetheless, it’s very much possible. If you want to move the seat of your company, you need to take into consideration that there are multiple legal as well as administrative actions involved in this process. We will outline all these actions in detail below, providing you with enough information to consider your move abroad. Of course, you can always contact Intercompany Solutions if you feel like you need more in-depth information, we are always happy to assist you in any way we can.

1.     Registration of a branch office and company director(s) in the Netherlands

The first thing you will need to do, is register a branch office in the Netherlands. This entails multiple administrative steps that need to be followed, in order for the process to go smoothly. On our website, you can find plenty of articles that describe the entire procedure, such as this one. If you want to settle your company in the Netherlands, you will need to think about some basic decisions such as the location of your company and the legal entity you prefer. If you already have a limited liability company, you can convert it to a Dutch BV or NV, depending on whether you want your company to be private or public.

We will need information from you, such as valid means of identification, details about your current business and market and the necessary paperwork. We also need to know who the current directors of your company are, and whether all directors want to participate in the new company in the Netherlands. This is necessary in order to register the directors in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. After we receive this information, we can register your new Dutch company in just a few working days. You will then receive a Dutch Chamber of Commerce number, as well as a VAT number from the Dutch Tax Authorities.

2.     Adjusting the foreign notarial deed of incorporation

Once you have registered a company in the Netherlands, you will need to contact a notary public in your own country, in order to adjust the original notarial deed of your company. This means you will have to change all the information that is relevant to your current local company, into the data that you received when you registered a company in the Netherlands. In essence, you are replacing old information with new information, whilst the substantive information explaining your company in detail remains the same. If you don’t know how to do this, you can always contact us for more information and advice. We can also possibly assist you with finding a good notary in your country of residence, and keep in touch with your notary so the cross-border conversion process can be executed smoothly.

3.     Validating your new company via a Dutch notary

Once you have adjusted the foreign notarial deed, you will need to contact a Dutch notary to validate and set up your company in the Netherlands officially. This will entail communication between the foreign and Dutch notary, so all company specifics are adopted correctly. Once this has been initiated, the branch office you registered will be transformed into the new headquarters of your company. Regularly, branch offices are registered for companies and multinationals that want to have an extra location in a different country. Since you will want to completely move your company, the branch office will be the new location of your main company. Hence the necessary extra steps, in comparison to solely opening a branch office in the Netherlands.

4.     Dissolution of your foreign company

Once you have moved your entire company to the Netherlands, you can basically close down the business in your home country. This means you will have to dissolve the company. Dissolution means you completely disband your foreign company, and it will continue existing in the Netherlands instead. Before you dissolve your company, you should ask yourself some questions:

Overall, dissolving a company generally consists of a few steps, but these can vary a lot per country. If you want to know more about dissolving your company in your native country, we suggest you hire a specialist who will take care of all important matters for you. All assets and liabilities your company has, will then be transferred to your new Dutch company, including shares. If you would like more information on this subject, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Intercompany Solutions can help cross borders with your company!

Always wanted to do business oversees? Now is your chance! With ever-increasing internationalization within the business sector, chances are great your company might flourish in a new country. Sometimes, the climate of a certain country can simply suit your business needs better, than your native country. This doesn’t have to be a problem anymore, with the possibility of cross-border conversion. Intercompany Solutions has helped thousands of foreign entrepreneurs to settle their business(es) in Holland with success, ranging from branch offices to headquarters of multinationals. If you have any questions about the entire process, or would simply like to chat about the options for your current business, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. Our experienced team will help you along the way.

[1] https://www.mondaq.com/shareholders/885758/european-directive-on-cross-border-conversions-mergers-and-divisions-has-been-adopted

5 business sectors enabling you to achieve success in the Netherlands

If you are a foreign entrepreneur and you are considering in which country you should set up your business, the Netherlands might just be one of your best bets right now. Even during a global pandemic, the Netherlands have maintained a stable economy with plenty of opportunities business wise. Next to being a stable country, the business climate is extremely open to unique ideas, collaboration proposals and general innovation in every sector imaginable. In this article, we will outline some sectors that are open to foreign investors and entrepreneurs, offering you possibilities for ownership of a Dutch business.

Why choose a certain sector?

If you want to establish a business, you generally have some laid out plans about the sector you want to invest your time in. In some other cases this might be different, for example when you just want to broaden your horizons, but you don’t know exactly how to accomplish that yet. In such situations, it is wise to invest some time in your genuine qualities and experience, and think about what might be the best way to invest those in a company structure. Often, the most successful companies rise up out of a combination of experience, passion and determination. Below we will outline some sectors, that are currently booming in the Netherlands.


One of the most profitable business options nowadays is within the field of e-commerce. This sector has been booming since the very incorporation of the internet, but until a few decades ago has been a playground for only a few lucky ones. Thankfully, the internet started to provide everyone with opportunities for the establishment of an online business and now, in 2021, the number of online business owners is exponentially growing at a stable rate. E-commerce can entail everything: from an online webshop that allows you to offer a variety of products, an online advertisement agency to various artistic professions that can be economized. It is basically a gateway to selling whatever service or product you have to offer. The amount of success highly depends on the quality of your work, as well as your ability to do business with different individuals.

Another option is to become an affiliate, for example with a stable e-commerce business like Bol.com. Bol.com is the Dutch equivalent of Amazon, and as such is very often visited. Bol.com accounts for almost 15% of all online shopping actions performed by Dutch citizens, as you can see here for example. When you become a franchisee, you don’t have to worry about factors such as keeping an inventory, as the franchiser will sort out all these details for you. Online business in the Netherlands is a very active and profitable market, provided you run a solid business and have unique ideas. If you want to know more about Bol.com, you can look at this in-depth article about becoming an official partner.

IT and engineering

Another very interesting sector in the Netherlands is IT, especially when combined with engineering. With robotics as a newly upcoming immense industry, this field will change and possibly enhance our society like never before. If you have ambitions related to this sector, the Netherlands will definitely provide you with a very fertile ground for growth and success. Many technical universities in the Netherlands are internationally renowned, such as in Delft, Eindhoven (the city of Philips) and Breda. If you would like to cross bridges between regular mechanical engineering and Artificial Intelligence, this might be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Next to highly skilled and experienced employees, you can find a vast array of interesting freelancers within these fields. This will make it easy to expand your company in due time, because of the very vast amount of well-educated, multilingual and qualified personnel. IT is a very dynamic business that changes almost constantly, which makes it a good sector for anyone who likes constant change within their field of work. Both sectors are also very profitable, mainly due to this constantly evolution. You can jump into the market at any time, provided you have innovative and sustainable ideas.

Freelance opportunities

If you would like to do business in a country with many self-employed people, the Netherlands is one of the safest bets worldwide. With a very colorful array of different universities, excellently reachable cities and plenty of opportunities to co-work, the Dutch have made a habit out of experiencing all life has to offer. This results in many small business owners, who often provide fantastic services for very reasonable prices. If you want to compete with the Dutch as a freelancer yourself, you best make sure you are up for the challenge.

The small business market is highly competitive in the Netherlands, and in general the most highly skilled and unique freelancers flourish. For larger companies this provides a good business opportunity in terms of flexible employment. Due to the high internet accessibility and nearly perfect infrastructure in the Netherlands, most employees will be able to work from home. This makes it easier to establish flexible contracts, plus you will also not have to pay any wage tax or insurance premiums.


The Netherlands profits from a logistically very strategical position. This is due to the port of Rotterdam, and the largest national airport, Schiphol, being only approximately one hour away form each other. Hence, there are many multinational logistics companies settled near these areas, as well as many other businesses that profit from a good infrastructure. If you plan to start a business with a warehouse or suspect to own plenty of stock, the Netherlands (at the very least) offers you excellent transport possibilities, making import and export extremely easy. You also benefit from the European Union and its Single Market, which allows for free transport of goods and services throughout the entire EU, as the Dutch have been a member state since the beginning. Especially for e-commerce businesses, this is a great opportunity to trade swiftly and without too many legally necessary documents.

Life sciences sector

The life sciences sector has been in the spotlight for quite some time, especially since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. The whole world is watching whilst plural companies try to come up with the best vaccine against it, which has resulted in a greater attention for healthcare in general. If you would like to add your expertise within this field, the Netherlands offers a very competitive and also innovative life sciences sector. The country houses many renowned pharmaceutical companies, which are often backed by research institutions and (local) universities. This offers an ample amount of possibilities in terms of groundbreaking research and solutions for existing problems. Just two days ago, researchers in Rotterdam might have possibly found a cure for arthrosis. The life science sector is all about improving life in any way possible, so if this is your niche, you will have plenty of resources in the Netherlands to accomplish your goal.

Intercompany Solutions can set up your Dutch business in just a few working days

If you would like to know more about the various sectors in the Netherlands, or how you can involve yourself with our country, you can always contact our team directly. With many years of experience assisting foreign investors and entrepreneurs with establishing a business in the Netherlands, we know exactly how to tackle all necessary actions and possible problems. Feel free to send us your questions, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

What are the benefits of establishing a Dutch holding BV company?

If you are thinking about establishing a multinational in the Netherlands, a holding structure is probably exactly what you need. Starting a business oversees can be a tedious task, especially if you are not well-acquainted with the laws and regulations of a specific country. This also entails choosing a legal entity for your business, which can be tricky if you have no prior knowledge about this subject. The legal entity is basically the ‘form’ your business will have. Some legal entities also have legal personalities, whilst others do not. Such details are important, because it regulates factors such as liability and the amount of taxes you will have to pay.

The Netherlands has a vast array of legal entities available, making it possible to tailor your business form to your personal needs and preferences. The best choice for your business depends on a few factors, but in general the Dutch BV is the one of the most chosen company forms in the Netherlands. This legal entity makes it possible to issue shares, and dissolves personal liability for any debts the company makes. In most cases, a Dutch BV with a holding structure could be the most beneficial option. This is especially true for multinational and/or large organizations, since this structure makes it possible to divide various parts of your business.

Forming a holding business requires a professional approach

If you are interested in setting up a holding structure, we advise you to inform yourself about all Dutch legal entities and decide for yourself, what the best choice might be for you. Intercompany Solutions is also ready to assist you with any questions you might have. We understand that a large corporation would prefer professional advice regarding the best location for their European headquarters, since this combines our professional expertise with logical and timely planning – which saves you both money and time. You can potentially set up a holding structure in just a few business days, provided you have all the necessary information at hand.

What exactly can be defined as a holding structure?

When you establish a business with a holding structure, this comprises a Dutch holding BV and one or multiple entrepreneurial BV’s, which are sometimes also referred to as subsidiaries. The role of the holding BV is administrative in nature, as it involves controlling and monitoring the activities of the underlying BV’s. It also deals with all external stakeholders. The entrepreneurial BV’s are aimed at the daily business activities of the company, i.e. gaining and creating profit and extra sources of value. You can thus separate your assets and keep a broad overview of your entire company and its structure.

Benefits of owning a holding company in the Netherlands

One of the main benefits of a Dutch holding is that this legal entity is very advantageous from a tax point of view. This is only true, of course, if you want to generate profits with your business endeavor. Due to the so-called participation exemption, the profit, on which you have already paid tax in the entrepreneurial BV, is not taxed again in the holding company. As a result, you can easily get your profit from your entrepreneurial BV without paying any tax, via a dividend payment to your holding company. You can then also use this profit in your holding company for reinvestment(s), or to provide a mortgage loan to yourself. If you do not have a holding company, however, you must pay tax via box 2 if you distribute the profit to yourself.

You can also cover your risks when you own a holding structure, because this ensures that you separate your activities from your assets. This can be anything, such as your profits of course, but also your website and trademark rights. By placing these assets in your holding company, you cannot ‘lose’ them if the entrepreneurial BV should go bankrupt. When the bankruptcy is being settled, the insolvency administrator cannot access the assets in the holding company. But when the assets are in the entrepreneurial BV, on the other hand, he can access these assets. The same applies to third parties who have claims on the entrepreneurial BV. If valuable items are housed in the holding company, it is not possible for third parties to claim these.

5 reasons why you should definitely establish a (holding) company in the Netherlands

If you are thinking about setting up an oversees business, there are probably many options you are considering. This might involve the location of your business, the approximate size and details such as whether you want to hire staff. But there are other elements that have an impact on the possible success of your company, such as the general economic climate in the country you wish to establish your business. The Netherlands is consistently ranked high in many top lists concerning countries, that are rated excellent for business opportunities, economic wealth and stability as well as innovation in every sector. The Netherlands also has a very welcoming climate for multinationals and holding companies, which is why some of the world’s biggest names are settled here like Netflix, Tesla, Nike, Discovery, Panasonic and now also the EMA (European Medicine Agency).

One of the main benefits of a Dutch company, is the multitude of interesting tax incentives and the relatively low corporate tax rate. The Netherlands actually has quite a history as a well-known jurisdiction regarding company structures, especially when it comes to asset protection and tax planning. If you are serious about your business and invest time in a correct administration, the Netherlands can offer you many benefits for your international business. The Dutch business climate is highly competitive, and thus, you are expected to actively invest in Dutch expansion and innovation. If you want to benefit from something, it’s always good to offer something else in return. This also makes it nearly impossible to establish an artificial presence in the Netherlands, whilst still expecting to take advantage of all the tax benefits the country has to offer.

  1. The Netherlands provides a gateway to Europe and the entire international market

One of the largest attractions in the Netherlands business wise, is the access to two internationally renowned logistic hubs: Schiphol airport and the port of Rotterdam. One of the main reasons for establishing a holding company at a certain location, is the access to gateways to international trade and markets. If you want your business to succeed in a relatively competitive situation, it’s essential that you have access to a wide plethora of markets in a short amount of time. Around 95% of the most lucrative markets in Europe are reachable within just 24 hours from the Netherlands, and Amsterdam and Rotterdam are only 1 hour apart from each other. Both the port and the airport are directly connected to one of the best rail networks in Europe, which also offers high-speed connections to large cities Such as Paris, London, Frankfurt and Brussels.

Next to that, the Netherlands’ position along the North Sea also offers many possibilities and benefits. The port of Rotterdam was home to no less than 436.8 million tons of cargo in 2020 alone, even during the pandemic. If you would like to read some interesting facts about the port of Rotterdam, you can look at this leaflet. The sea is connected to an extensive river delta in the country itself., including three deepwater ports, which means you can easily transport goods into and out of Europe via this route. The Netherlands also benefits from a world-class infrastructure, backed by the latest technology and continuous innovation.

  1. Access to highly advanced technology

The Netherlands is very well known for its innovative and unique technological solutions, which are also backed by multiple universities that constantly invest in the future of the country, and the whole world. If you want your multinational company to grow quickly, you will need access to high-quality infrastructure, technology and human resources. This especially involves trustable and professional service providers, who can help you source for intellectual property and new technologies. The Netherlands has everything you need!

Furthermore, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is the largest data traffic hub worldwide, which is quite an example. This concerns both the total traffic, as well as the total number of members. The Netherlands is also ranked 7th place in the world for technological readiness on the World Economic Forum list. On average, you can expect one of the fastest internet speeds in the Netherlands when compared to Europe entirely. This above par digital infrastructure is what makes the Netherlands so attractive for foreign multinationals.

  1. The Netherlands houses exceptional and multilingual talent

Due to the small size of the Netherlands, you can find an extremely high concentration of expertise, knowledge and skills within a very compact area. In contrast to many bigger countries, where resources are further apart and scattered. The Netherlands also houses renowned research institutes, as well as very interesting partnerships between the private and the public sector. This interdisciplinary approach involves universities and knowledge centers, the entire business industry as well as the Dutch government. The Netherlands also has a very old tradition of involving foreign investors and entrepreneurs, in order to advance and accelerate growth in nearly all imaginable sectors. These include huge sectors such as IT, life sciences, high-tech systems, agri-food, the chemical sector and of course the health sector.

Regarding personnel, you can rest assured that the Netherlands is one of the best countries in the world to find highly skilled, well-educated and experienced employees and professionals. Due to the large amount of excellent universities and masters programs, the Dutch workforce is known worldwide for its expertise. Next to being well-educated, almost all Dutch natives are bilingual. If you look for highly qualified personnel, you can even expect employees to be trilingual. The gross salary in the Netherlands is relatively high compared to some other countries in The south and east of Europe, but there are little to no labor disputes. This makes the cost of Dutch labor highly competitive and worthwhile.

  1. The Netherlands provides much in terms of efficiency gains

As a multinational and/or holding, establishing efficiency in the way you do business is crucial. A very well-known motive to start a holding company in Europe, or to expand your already existing multinational, is access to the European Single Market. This allows you to freely trade goods and services in all Member States, without the hassle of extensive customs regulations and border agreements. As such, it is very easy to streamline your European activities such as sales, manufacturing, research & development and distribution from solely one headquarters. This significantly reduces your overhead costs.

The Netherlands provides one of the best bases for a multinational operation, since its access to Europe and the international market is almost unparalleled. The Netherlands has always been on the forefront of worldwide trade, and this is still visible in the current culture and business climate. In the latest World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, the Netherlands was ranked 6th in 2018. The country especially scores high in terms of the efficiency of its customs and border procedures, but also regarding the high quality logistics and IT infrastructure, the very high level of professionalism in the entire sector and the many easy and affordable shipping options. According to the DHL Global Connectedness Index, The Netherlands is still the world’s most globally connected country in 2020. This has been consistently so for years.

  1. Excellent business climate and tax conditions

Due to the very stable political and economic climate, the Netherlands houses many internationally known multinationals. If you would like to profit from a more attractive business climate, for example one that is better than the country you currently reside in, this country will suit you well. The Netherlands is a perfect base for optimizing your current tax situation, as well as for the protection of your assets and investments. The Netherlands is somewhat considered as a safe haven and also a tax haven, although the last depends on the legitimacy of your business. Criminal activities will not be tolerated.

Nonetheless, the country offers a welcoming and safe climate for entrepreneurs, who otherwise suffer from a rather poor business climate in their native or home country. The country’s economy is naturally very open and also internationally oriented, since it is one of the main goals of the Dutch government to make the international flow of goods, services and capital completely possible without any obstacles whatsoever. One of the main benefits of the Netherlands is also the legal system. The system has plenty of checks and balances, making the legal framework very trustworthy, professional and flexible as well.

How to establish a holding company in the Netherlands, and what should you definitely consider?

When you want to set up a completely new holding company (meaning you don’t already own a multinational company), there are some choices to make and factors to consider. One of the first questions you should ask yourself, is whether you want to start the company alone, or with other people. It is strongly advisable to set up your own holding company, without any other shareholders. This is also named a ‘personal holding company’. If you set up a personal holding company, you can prevent, amongst other things, problems with making certain decisions. This can involve decisions such as profit distribution, or your salary. With a personal holding company, you can make all these decisions yourself. In addition, you no longer have many of the advantages of the holding company when the holding company is not a ‘personal holding company’. For example, you are unable to set up other BV’s yourself, due to the fact that you don’t own the holding company by yourself.

It’s best to establish your holding company in one go

In some cases, new entrepreneurs establish only a Dutch BV, and afterwards find out they would have been much better off with a holding structure from the beginning. For example, it can cost you much more money if you first start your entrepreneurial BV, and only later your holding company. In such cases, you will have to transfer or sell your shares in the entrepreneurial BV to the holding company. You also have to pay income tax on the exact purchase price. The problem with this is, that your entrepreneurial BV often becomes more valuable over time. And the higher the purchase price, the higher the tax you will have to pay to the Dutch government. Avoid this higher tax by setting up your holding structure in one go. If you already own a work BV, it is still possible to set up a holding structure. In that case, keep in mind that a share transfer must take place, whereby the shares of the entrepreneurial BV are transferred to the personal holding company.

What about taxation of a holding company?

A huge benefit of the Dutch tax system is its very low tax rates, compared worldwide. The corporate tax rate declined to 15% for a profit up to 245,000 euros in 2021. This amount will further be increased to 395,000 euros in 2022. Above that sum, you pay 25.8% in corporate tax. Next to that, the Dutch extensive network of tax treaties as well as the participation exemption regime work to avoid double taxation for all (foreign) companies, that might have to deal with taxation in multiple countries. A nice detail, is that the Dutch Tax Authorities have a very cooperative attitude, and aim to help any entrepreneur along the way in every possible situation.

There are also certain tax incentives available for new and existing entrepreneurs, often to encourage investing in the research & development department. As we stated many times in this article, the Dutch are very interested in innovation and progress. So basically every entrepreneur who enters the Dutch market with such ambitions, will be very welcomed here. These incentives involve the Innovation Box, for example, taxing the income you have derived from IP at a lower tax rate. Furthermore, you can acquire the so-called ‘WBSO-status’, which allows subsidies on certain salary taxes. This mainly involves employees involved in research and development.

One very important factor to consider are the Dutch substance requirements, in order to even be able to benefit from certain Dutch tax incentives. These requirements state, that the management of your holding company must be situated in the Netherlands. Nonetheless, there is no direct requirement to appoint Dutch board members. There is also no necessity to own a physical location in the Netherlands, or have a Dutch bank account. Once your company starts to become engaged in business activities, however, and you start making profit, these factors should be reconsidered for further benefits.

How to establish a holding company in the Netherlands?

The process of establishing a holding company is actually the same as setting up a Dutch BV, with the difference that you are setting up multiple BV’s at the same time. A holding is also considered a Dutch BV, after all, but with a different purpose than an entrepreneurial BV. So the steps involved are exactly the same, just with more companies involved. The first step in establishing a holding company, is deciding the legal entity. As said, a BV will be the best option in 90% of all cases but other legal entities are also able to act as a holding company, such as the foundation.

If you decide to set up a BV as a holding, then this is generally possible in just a few business days. The registration of any Dutch business needs a personal approach, since there is not one singular road to achieve this. If you have all the necessary documents at the ready though, and can provide us with all the information we need, it’s a fairly straightforward and swift process. The one thing that is important to know, is that the shares of all subsidiaries established will be transferred to the also established holding company. That’s one reason why it is named a holding: the holding company holds all the shares of all entrepreneurial BV’s involved.

In general, you can simply see a holding as the center of a spiderweb, which holds all involved entrepreneurial BV’s. In Dutch, it’s also described as a head office. People in the Netherlands find it actually very common to implement a holding structure, especially if you have plans or ambitions to expand in the future. This way you can build around a central core business, that enables the several underlying companies to flourish out of one main hub. The operational activities of practically any business can involve a lot of potential liabilities, so from a safety point of view, it makes sense to limit the risk and put your hard-earned money where it’s most safe. A holding company enables any entrepreneur to pay dividends to the holding BV, which in turn protects these dividends from any external claim. Also, the holding is not taxed for this incoming dividend, and neither is the entrepreneurial BV taxed for the outgoing dividend. This is all based on the participation exemption, you can read more about this here.

Starting a Dutch company as an already existing multinational?

If you want to start a brand-new holding company in the Netherlands, you can simply contact us for more information and, of course, a personal quote. In some cases, you might also be part of a large multinational organization wanting to expand to the Netherlands. There are plural ways to achieve this, which are mainly based on the legal entity you choose and your personal preferences regarding your business. Please feel free to contact us for personal advice any time.


If you want to set up a Dutch business, you will have to register your company with multiple governmental organizations such as the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and the Dutch Tax Authorities as well. It’s best to be prepared for registration, since you will have to provide a lot of documents and information in order for the process to run smoothly. If you want this done well and precise, Intercompany Solutions can take care of the entire process in just a few business days. In this article, we will outline the necessary steps to acquire a Dutch Tax Authorities registration.

Check whether you need to register with the Chamber of Commerce

Registration with the Chamber of Commerce is only necessary if you aspire to be a real entrepreneur according to Dutch law. According to the Chamber of Commerce, you are an entrepreneur if you independently supply goods or services with the intention of making a profit. But this criterion is a bit too crude to be certain, hence the Dutch Chamber of Commerce has listed extra criteria. Below are the criteria you must meet to register.

Criteria of a Dutch company

Do all 3 of these entrepreneurial criteria apply to you? Then there are a following number of questions that enable you to check whether there is entrepreneurship.

Control questions

If you cannot answer all questions with a ‘yes’, then you probably cannot register with the Chamber of Commerce. If all these questions apply to you, then it is possible to register a Dutch company. This will entail several steps, which we have outlined below in detail. If you so wish, Intercompany Solutions can assist you during the entire process of company registration in the Netherlands.

Registration with the Dutch Tax Authorities

After your registration in the Dutch Trade Register, the Chamber of Commerce will pass on your details to the Tax Authorities. You do not have to register your company separately with the tax authorities, as this has already taken place. If the Dutch Tax Authorities include you as a VAT entrepreneur in the administration, you will receive your turnover tax number and your VAT identification number (VAT ID). The Tax and Customs Administration also determines whether you are an entrepreneur for income tax purposes.

Get organized in advance to register your Dutch company

Before you register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, you must prepare yourself. Have you thought about the type of company you want to register? Do you have any previous experience in the field you would like to operate in? These are questions you need to ask yourself and, subsequently, prepare for when you have the appointment. This means that you will have to arrange and prepare several documents and information, which are mentioned below.

A company name

You need a company name to register your company with the Chamber of Commerce. A company name must meet a number of rules, namely that it should not give the wrong impression, it cannot be the same as an existing brand or trade name and it should be clear and understandable. The following characters are allowed: @ & - +. However, characters such as ( )? ! * # / may not appear in your company name. We advise thinking about this for a while, because your company name and logo will be like your company’s business card.

Choose a legal form

As a starting entrepreneur, you must choose a legal form, such as a sole proprietorship, general partnership or a Dutch BV which is equivalent to a private limited company. Which legal form best suits your company depends on your personal situation and preferences. For example, this entails how you arrange liability and which option is the most tax advantageous. Intercompany Solutions can help you decide which legal entity suits your ideas and ambitions best.

Check whether your company has to register Ultimate Beneficial Owners

Depending on the legal form of your business, you must also register beneficial owners. Ultimate beneficial owners are persons who, for example, are the ultimate owner of or have control over an organization. If you are setting up a business alone, this will only be you. But if you want to start a business with multiple people in charge, all these people need to be named and identify themselves with proper identification.

Make an appointment online

To finalize your registration, you must visit the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). During your visit to the Chamber of Commerce, you will immediately receive your Chamber of Commerce number. You can make an appointment online easily. When you fill in the Chamber of Commerce registration form, make sure you have the following information at hand:

If you register with the Chamber of Commerce, you will receive an SBI code. This code indicates what your exact business activities are. If you are renting an office building, also take the lease of your business premises with you. If you are establishing the company in a commercial building, you should bring the rental agreement or purchase agreement with you. If you register your company at a so-called registration address, then take the contract with you.

When do you have to come by for registration?

The timing of registering your business is very important. In general, you can register your company at any Dutch Chamber of Commerce office at three distinct times:

How much does it cost to register with the Chamber of Commerce?

Registration in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce involves a one-off payment of 51,30 euros. You must pay this amount on location with your debit or credit card. You cannot pay in cash. During your registration, you need a valid ID. The Chamber of Commerce cannot complete your registration without proof of identity.

What to do if you cannot travel to the Netherlands?

For foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a Dutch business, it might prove to be very difficult to come to the Netherlands in order to show up for your appointment. Especially during a pandemic, since a lot of borders are closed momentarily. Intercompany Solutions can still take care of the entire registration process for you, without the need for you to travel here. Please contact us directly, if you would like to receive more information about such options.

Source: https://www.kvk.nl/advies-en-informatie/bedrijf-starten/moet-ik-mijn-bedrijf-inschrijven-bij-kvk/

If you would like to invest time and money in the life science sector, the Netherlands offers a very innovative and stimulating base to expand your knowledge and expertise. The life science sector is continually growing and evolving in the country, due to numerous interesting interdepartmental collaborations, as well as many other sectors benefiting from any innovative ideas that come from the life science branch. In this article, we will outline more about the life science sector and possible ways for you to invest in this highly active sector.

What exactly are life sciences?

Life science is a very broad sector that also encompasses many other fields, such as pharmaceuticals, life systems technologies, biotechnology, nutraceuticals, biomedical technologies, food processing, biomedical devices, environmental companies, life systems technologies and other institutions and organizations that devote a large amount of time and effort into technology transfer and research and development within various fields. In general, life science can be defined as all interwoven sciences that deal with living organisms. This entails plants, humans and animals right now. The following scientific fields are currently included:

More about the Dutch life science sector

Since the life science industry deals with living organisms, there is no other industry as tightly regulated as the sector that develops, tests and distributes vital drugs and medical devices. The life sciences industry in the Netherlands is growing rapidly. Innovation, R&D and production within this field have acquired a strong reputation worldwide. The development of new products within the life science sector takes much time and is very complex. The chances of success depend on many factors. The pressure for fast time to market is enormous due to the expectations and requirements on the global market. This is also made more difficult by the increasing power of insurance companies, tightening the rules.

Invest in a sector that matters now more than ever

Global health is a very current issue, that involves many overlapping sector working together. This encompasses important questions, such as which new medical devices, medicines or therapies should be invested in? And for which R&D projects is the success rate high enough to invest in? Is it an ethical investment? Does securing a fast time-to-market of a continuous flow of promising products appeal to you? The life science sector is a very rapidly evolving business, that definitely requires a stable form of commitment to succeed. There are regularly challenging projects and permanent incentives at leading life science companies, in which you can make your contribution to a healthier society.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

Within a constantly evolving field such as life sciences, it is very important to collaborate with adjoining sectors and other innovative companies. The Dutch Life Sciences & Health top sector stimulates innovation in this regard. It plays a connecting role between the business community, government, knowledge institutions, patients and social organizations. The separate organization Health~Holland initiates and stimulates multidisciplinary public-private partnerships in order to accelerate innovation. In addition, it gives this vibrant and productive sector a boost by attracting financing, sharing best practices, and a strong positioning. In this way, they aim to strengthen the (international) position of the Dutch LSH sector in tackling the social challenges surrounding prevention, care and welfare.

Vitally functioning citizens in a healthy economy

The top Life Sciences sector encompasses a wide range of disciplines: from pharmaceuticals to medtech, from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. The Netherlands is committed to ensure the outcome of vitally functioning citizens in a healthy economy. To realize this mission, the country and the top sector build on the strengths of Dutch Life Sciences to tackle the biggest societal challenges in the field of prevention, cure and care: improving the quality of life (vitality). Whilst at the same time aiming to limit health care costs for its citizens. If you would like to contribute to this goal with your unique knowledge and resources, the Netherlands provides for a very healthy economic and competitive business climate.

Life sciences innovation stimulation and special subsidies

If you would like to work with others on innovation projects as an entrepreneur, then the Dutch MIT scheme may be something for you. This scheme stimulates innovation among businesses and entrepreneurs across regional borders. In addition, MIT encourages business projects to align better with the innovation agendas of the top sectors. Next to that, there is a so-called PPP surcharge. Private-public partnerships and TKI’s can submit an application for a PPP project allowance. Read more about how it works and how you can join a TKI.

Evolution in the healthcare sector

The Dutch government also wants to accelerate the broad application of effective healthcare innovations. That is why 'Health Deals' between the government and (private) partners have been created, in order to help these healthcare innovations further on their way. It concerns concrete healthcare innovations in which it is not possible to get the application further than, for example, the local hospital, the healthcare institution or the region. This is because a company might experience obstacles which may be solved with the help of the Dutch government.

Would you like to know more about possibilities for your company in the Life Science sector?

Intercompany Solutions has assisted a wide plethora of foreign companies and investors with making sustainable and logical choices. We can help you with the entire process of setting up your company in the Netherlands, with accounting services and many other practical extras. We can also inform you about your chances of success within a certain sector, if you can possibly partner up with someone else and how you might be able to start your business in a profitable way. Feel free to contact us anytime for more information and advice.

[1] https://www.fractal.org/Life-Science-Technology/Definition.htm

Finding work as an ex-pat in the Netherlands can be hard. Starting your own recruitment agency is one answer to the problem, whether it's aimed at locals or internationals.

To start an employment agency, you need clients and temporary workers. But there are also many other practical matters that come your way. Read our guide on all you need to know to establish an employment agency.

Starting an employment agency
There are no special rules attached to starting an employment agency. The usual first step is to register with the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce (Chamber of Commerce). You will be assigned a Chamber of Commerce number, after which the tax authorities will automatically assign you a VAT number.

Before you go to the Chamber of Commerce, it is important to write a business plan and to consider the following points for attention.

1. Target audience
Most start-up employment agencies choose a niche, for example, branches such as catering, healthcare or IT. Or just students. As a specialist, you are recognizable and reliable because of your professional knowledge. Moreover, you can build a network faster in one sector.

2. Company name
If possible, let your target audience come back to your company name. You want a company name that makes it clear what your employment agency stands for. Caroline's Employment Agency doesn't tell anyone anything, Student Employment Agency is much more informative. Moreover, you are easier to find on Google.

3. Domain name
It is advisable to choose a company name of which the domain name is also still available. Not only because of the uniformity and recognizability, but also because of the findability on Google.

4. Choose the legal form
To start an employment agency you can choose the legal form of a sole proprietorship, BV or general partnership. A sole proprietorship is obvious, but you are personally liable. In the unlikely event that you go bankrupt, you will also enter the ship privately.

If you expect high turnover, a BV is a good option to consider. Nowadays, it is very easy to set up a flex BV, you no longer need mandatory start-up capital. You are bound by more tax rules. This way, you have to pay yourself the usual wage.

If you are going on the adventure together with others, a general partnership is a good option.

Starting an employment agency from home
There is no need to immediately rent a large building at the start of your employment agency. You can initially just start from home.

Nowadays, there are many representative flex desks that you can rent for half-days, including all necessary materials. Here you can receive customers or hold meetings. It saves a lot of money, and you have the time to build up your company calmly.

Financing your employment agency
As a new employment agency, you need start-up capital. Apart from the usual operating costs such as a laptop, workspace, inventory and a company car, additional financing is required. You may also have to pre-finance the wages of your temporary workers.

Contact us for more advice on starting a recruitment agency in the Netherlands.

Also read: Opening a recruiment company Netherlands


Since the start of e-commerce and a continually growing amount of online businesses, the various innovative options for handling an online administration have been booming as well. One of these successful software companies is named Xero: an online administration solution that offers easily accessible accounting software for entrepreneurs all over the world. Especially online webshops benefit from their approach, since doing your administration online is exceptionally easy with this brand. Intercompany Solutions has chosen to become officially Xero certified, which means that we can offer you a seamless connection between your administration and ours. We will outline some benefits of Xero in this article, especially in combination with our administration services.

What is Xero and what do they offer?

Xero can be described as online accounting software, that handles all financial and tax related tasks with one solution. You can compare it to standard accounting software, with the difference that Xero operates online. This is extremely efficient because a lot of entrepreneurs are often on the go, and don’t always have access to company PC’s or notebooks. Due to Xero being online software, you can access it with every device that has a connection to internet. The software also connects directly to your bank, making swift transactions possible.

Xero allow you to access various documents such as in- and outgoing invoices, your contact list and all your accounts online, wherever you are. It also allows for online collaboration, for example by inviting your financial advisor in. This entails accessing real time information at the same time as colleagues and partners, the option of leaving comments and discussing business data in real time. If you have any employees, the software also allows them to submit expenses in real time, for example when they are at a restaurant. You can customize Xero to suit your exact needs, in relation to the size and preferences of your company. Since Intercompany Solutions also works with Xero, we can simplify the entire administration process for both your company, and ourselves, by using this software.

Elements of a solid business administration

If you want to use a specific tool for your (online) administration, there are multiple factors to hold into account regarding Dutch fiscal and tax laws. An administration needs to entail several mandatory sections and features, in order for you to always have everything you need in one tool or app. Below we will outline the most common parts of an administration, which you should have sorted out in a proper administration at all times.

Receiving, sending and storing invoices and quotes

One of the most important parts of any administration is the in- and outflow of money. Thus, you need a system that tracks and pays bills on time. But you will also need to be able to link invoices, clients and transactions. Make sure you choose a system that simplifies these actions, since there will be plenty. This will enable you to have a clear overview of accounts payable and the general cash flow. Next to that, also look for a system with design options regarding invoices and quotes. That way, you can create everything via one software package.

Being able to track all current and past projects

Accounting software should be able to link certain documents and actions, such as quotes, invoices and the total project development. With a system that links this information, you can easily keep track of the total costs, profitability and timeframe of any project within your company. If you have several active projects at all times, this will prove to be an invaluable tool.

Claiming employee expenses

Employee expenses can be messy at best. If you want to keep real time track of all the costs employees make at your expense, software that allows this will prove to be a major benefit. It should also be possible to submit, approve and reimburse employee expenses claims, preferably also in real time.

A good connection to all banks

A massive pro is any system that handles bank operations (almost) in real time. Otherwise, you risk having to wait several days, until transactions even start. With solutions like Xero it’s possible to connect your bank to them and set up bank feeds. All transactions will flow securely into Xero each business day, this way. It is also possible to categorize your bank transactions, in order to keep a healthy overview.

Company contacts and business details

Any normal administration contains, at the very least, basic information of all the contacts the company has. If you want audits to run smoothly, it’s necessary to have everything in the same place and easily traceable. It should be easy to look up a customer or supplier, to see a full history of sales you and them were involved with, plus be able to access emails, invoices and payments as well as contact details.

A solid database of all important files and documents

If you don’t like keeping a physical database of files, being able to digitally store your documents is a must for any good accounting software. That way, you can scan every document involved with your company and store it safely for easy access forever. Some programs even offer the option of not having to enter any data manually anymore, which might save you a lot of time.

Reporting requirements

It is very important to track everything you do, especially fiscally and financially. You will need to create various accounting reports periodically for tax purposes, as well as eventual audit possibilities. Especially in the Netherlands, it is very important to keep track of your administration and always being able to provide proof.

Logistics and inventory control

If you own a webshop, you will know that having control of and access to your current inventory at all times is a basic necessity. This means, that especially webshops need a real time solution that keeps an inventory up-to-date indefinitely. Any stock changes can have crucial effects on your store availability. Keep track of what’s in stock with solid inventory software. This option should also link to invoices paid and sent.

Multi-currency accounting possibilities

If you are an online entrepreneur, for example in the field of e-commerce, you will inevitably deal with customers from all corners of the world. This means that you will also have to deal with plural currencies, which is made substantially easier by good accounting software. Look for tools that allow payment in many countries, including current exchange rates and instant currency conversions.

Analytics options are a necessity too

If you also like to look into the future of your company, an analytics function is definitely necessary. This will allow you to analyze possible future cash flow, link it to current projects, always be able to check your company’s financial health and also track metrics. This also simplifies the calculation of the equity of current, as well as future, projects.

Intercompany Solutions is your administration partner in the Netherlands

If you want to partner up with a Xero certified financial and administration professional, then our firm can provide you with all the assistance and solutions you need. From the registration of a Dutch company, acquiring a VAT number and bank account, to assisting you with the accounting and administrative services we provide. If you would like to receive more information about our services, or a personal quote, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. Our team is always happy to provide advice.

You can always quit your business or cease trading. You do not need permission for this. There is a lot to consider with company closure (also called liquidation). But what rules and permits will you have to deal with? What are the tax implications? What should you do with your registration in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce? Read on this page which are the most important steps you need to take to end your business.

Let customers and suppliers know that you are going to stop
Contact your customers and suppliers. First, take a good look at which contracts or agreements you have with them. Only then let your customers know that you are quitting.

Dismiss staff
Do you have personnel? Then there are obligations that you must meet. If you need to fire staff, you must apply for a dismissal permit. You can record agreements in a social plan, such as severance pay.

Check whether you are eligible for a discontinuation allowance
Are you selling your business and is it profitable? In that case, you must pay tax on the profit (discontinuation profit). You may be eligible for a discontinuation allowance. You then pay less tax on the strike profit.

Check whether you are entitled to benefits
If you quit your business, you as an (older) self-employed person may be able to get financial help from your municipality through

- the Self-Employed Assistance Decree (Bbz)
- the Income Provision for Older and Partially Disabled Self-Employed Persons (IOAZ).
One of the conditions is that you are still registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce.

Deregister from the Trade Register
Deregister your company from the Chamber of Commerce. How you do this depends on the legal form of your company. To deregister a legal entity, you must first dissolve it.

The Chamber of Commerce will inform the Tax Authorities that you are stopping. The Tax and Customs Administration will send you a letter about the consequences for VAT. Would you like to apply for benefits? Then wait a while before unsubscribing.

Stopping a business with debt
Are you forced to quit your business? For example, because creditors have filed for bankruptcy. See if you can settle your debt. And check what to do with your staff.

Settle for VAT (sales tax)
The Chamber of Commerce will pass on your details to the tax authorities. The tax authorities will send you a letter if you are an entrepreneur for VAT purposes. If you still have to make a final VAT return, this will be stated in this letter.

Pay for income tax
You must settle with the tax authorities for tax purposes. This means that you close the administration of your company. You draw up the balance sheet and pay for all tax types. Have you built up an old age reserve? Then you settle it for income tax. Do you still have stock in the warehouse? You have to pay VAT for your own use.

Cancel your business insurance and subscriptions
If you quit your business, you must cancel your business insurance. Also consider cancelling permits, telephone numbers and subscriptions. And also cancelling current contracts, for example for an office space.

Cancel (the domain name of) your website
To cancel a .nl domain name, contact your hosting provider (also known as 'registrar'). The latter will pass on the change to the Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland (SIDN).

Keep your records
After your business has ended, you must keep your administration for at least 7 years. You may also scan your paper administration and only keep it digitally.

Facts and figures: how many companies quit per quarter?
The graph shows the number of business closures in the Netherlands per quarter.

Interested in reading more on closing a Dutch BV company? See our other article.



A lot of entrepreneurs all over the world choose to start an affiliate company. International multinationals such as Amazon.com have proven to be a very effective and safe method of earning an income, whilst not being subject to some of the risks that starting an entirely new company can entail. In the Netherlands Bol.com has made quite a name for itself, by now also internationally. This Dutch equivalent of Amazon.com is constantly growing and evolving, meaning that foreign entrepreneurs can profit from becoming an official partner-seller. In this article we will outline the details regarding becoming a Bol.com partner, as well as provide you with all the necessary regulations that you will need to adhere to. If you would like personal advice, feel free to contact Intercompany Solutions for extra tips & tricks.

Relevant article: Starting an Amazon store in The Netherlands.

Why sell products via Bol.com in the Netherlands?

As opposed to starting your own webshop, becoming a Bol.com partner has quite some perks. You immediately reach 10 million potential customers, as Bol.com is the number one platform to-go in the Netherlands. You acquire an online store without any start-up costs, plus you only need to pay for the items you actually sell. This eliminates the whole necessity of an inventory, making this option practically risk-free. You are very free in choosing the specific products you like to sell. From experience we know that becoming an affiliate always works best, if you have any specific or prior knowledge about the products you want to sell. So take this into consideration, especially if you want to redirect clients via blog sites and affiliate sites.

Tips for creating referral websites to your webshop

If you are making special websites to redirect people to your Bol.com store, there are some tips and tricks to consider to make this a successful endeavor.  One of the most important contributing factors is a good-looking website, since it will be your website that will pull potential customers to your store. We also cannot stress enough how important it is to write flawless articles and blogs. A lot of errors and typing mistakes can diminish a potential client’s interest. Make sure you offer a nice range of products, since a broader product assortment is beneficial for your conversion and turnover. Make sure that you write informative articles and referrals, often a comparison of some products you sell works very well. Also make sure that your items comply with Bol.com’s assortment policy and the laws and regulations.

Compliance with the Bol.com service standards

It is important to meet customer expectations by providing adequate service, since this ensures customers coming back to your webshop. That’s why Bol.com has several service standards with which all sellers need to comply.  The aim is to form the best shopping platform in the Netherlands and Belgium together with Bol.com, that ensures a standard minimum quality and thus, makes every client feel safe and secure regarding their shopping on the platform. In order to be able to guarantee stellar service, a number of service standards apply to the Bol.com shopping platform.

What are the Bol.com service standards exactly, and how do these work?

In order to guarantee the overall quality of Bol.com as a website and platform, a number of service standards are applied which apply to the entire shopping platform. The main deal is, that the better you perform on these service standards, the better you can sell. And thus, the more sales you achieve and the more likely your assortment is to get the desired attention. These service standards apply to all sellers, and are measured via different routes. We will explain these standards in detail below.

1.     On time delivery for a minimum of 93% of all ordered items

To ensure a high quality of service to its customers, the service standard 'Delivered on time' applies. This states that at least 93% of the ordered items must be delivered to the customer on time. This applies to both the assortment of Bol.com itself as well as your own. If three or more items have been delivered late during one week, and your weekly score is 93% or lower, you will receive a so-called strike for that week. The higher your score is, the better your chances of successfully selling items are. So it makes sense that you should always try to deliver within the promised due date. In your sales account you have a good view of your delivery performance and you can see where there is still a profit to be made for you to optimize the 'Delivered on time' score. This service standard is measured by two methods, namely deliveries measured by Bol.com or deliveries measured by the customer you are sending items to. We will outline both methods below.

Deliveries measured by Bol.com

If a delivery is carried out by Bol.com itself and can be followed by the platform, the on time delivery will be measured by Bol.com as well. In such cases, Bol.com will check whether the first delivery attempt falls within the promised delivery due date indicated by you. This applies to orders sent with Dutch postal service PostNL, DPD, DHL and Bpost. Is the customer not at home when the package is offered? Or did the customer change the delivery address? Then these situations will not affect your score. Keep in mind in your delivery promise, that the time at which the customer placed the order is leading. So when the customer orders an item at 15:57 where the delivery promise is 'ordered before 16:00, delivered tomorrow', the customer really assumes that he will have the item at home tomorrow. Even if you don't receive this order until 16:03.

Deliveries measured by the customer

Some orders cannot be followed by Bol.com. This happens with products that have been sent by letter post or by another carrier. In such cases, the customer will receive a delivery confirmation by e-mail on the delivery deadline. Via this e-mail the customer can indicate if and when he has not yet received the order. This email will directly reach you as the seller, which means you will have to respond. Is the customer responding? Then this is seen as an item that has not been delivered on time. If you receive no response whatsoever, then the item is measured as delivered on time. To help you determine a realistic delivery promise, Bol.com publishes historical data weekly on the average delivery times of different carriers.

2.     Maximum percentage of 2% cancellations

It can be very disappointing for a customer if their order is cancelled, and therefore the percentage of cancellations counts in the Bol.com service standards. If three or more items are cancelled during one week and the percentage of cancellations is therefore higher than 2%, you will receive a strike. Within the service standard 'Cancellations', two aspects are measured, namely cancellations by you as a seller and cancellations by the customer after the promised delivery date. We will outline both scenarios shortly below.

Cancellation made by you as a seller

If you wish to do so, you can cancel any order that you receive from a customer. However, please keep in mind that almost any customer will experience this negatively, since they obviously buy your products because they want to receive them. Thus, Bol.com wants to prevent cancellations made by sellers as much as possible in order to facilitate a stable and reliable shopping environment for all customers. That is why 'Cancellations' is one of the service standards every seller needs to adhere to.

Cancellation by the customer after the promised delivery date

Any customer will assume that their order will be delivered on the promised delivery time, so when this does not happen, a customer will inevitably be disappointed. The dissatisfaction increases, when a customer cancels an order that has not yet been delivered. That is why this also counts as a cancellation and will affect your overall score. Does the customer cancel the order before the promised delivery date? Then this cancellation will not count towards your score. Are you unable to deliver an order on time? Then cancel the order as soon as possible, making it possible for the customer to search for an alternative.

3.     Always provide a Track & Trace number for all parcel shipments

If you send a parcel to a customer, the customer generally likes knowing where the parcel is at any given time. By providing a track & trace number with every order, you enable the possibility of clients being able to follow their order. Sometimes people aren’t home at the promised delivery time, which will make it easier for them to switch their activities and be home when the carrier delivers their products. Therefore, we advise to always add it to your packages. For letterbox post, a track & trace number is not mandatory, however it is highly desirable to provide these clients with the same service.

4.     You need a customer rating of an 8 or higher

The customer's opinion is essentially the most important factor when doing business. Because a satisfied customer comes back faster, but will also be inclined sooner to post a positive review about you. Other potential customers look at these opinions, that your customers post for you. The rating for customers is a measure of a partner's quality and customers take this into account in their purchase consideration, in addition to the delivery time and selling price. With a good rating, customers are much more likely to choose to buy an item from you. In your Bol.com sales account, you can see your average ratings. You will also find tips and advice about how to maintain and improve your rating. For a good performance on the service standard 'Rating figure' we use an 8 as the lowest limit. If you have an 8 or higher as an average during the past three months, this means that your customers are really satisfied.

5.     Telephone accessibility for 90% of all call attempts by Bol.com

In some cases, Bol.com will try to reach you if they need certain information from you. This can be about handling orders, customer questions or complaints and such subjects. In order to be able to serve the customer as quickly as possible, it is important that you respond to at least 90% of the call attempts during office hours, Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 17:00. If you structurally don’t pick up the telephone, this will result in a lower rate for you as a seller.

6.     Questions from customers

In order to provide customers with the best possible service, it is important to inform them as fully as possible about anything you sell. This means providing information such as product characteristics, or the current status of their order. Because this can prevent questions from the customers that you might have to answer, if you don’t provide them with sufficient information beforehand. This can cause a lot of extra work, which is why it’s important to provide detailed information about your services. You would also do this, if you had made a unique webshop. A personal dynamic standard is used for the number of customer questions you receive, regarding the total number of orders. This information is based on the items you sell and can be found on the 'Performance' page in your future Bol.com sales account. The expected percentage of customer questions based on your sales is your personal 'dynamic standard'.

If you exceed this standard, you will receive an email from us in able for you to make a change. At this time, this service standard does not include calculating your future performance score. It is always very important to help the customer as soon as you can. Ideally also satisfactory, providing that you:

Do you receive a lot of customer questions? Then look at which questions could have been prevented by providing sufficient information, and how you can prevent such questions in your information provision to subsequent customers.

7.     A response time of 90% of customer questions handled within 24 hours

Responding quickly to customer questions has a positive effect on customer satisfaction. For this reason, Bol.com measures your response time. The platform expects every partner to handle 90% of customer questions within 24 hours. If you have not given an initial response within 24 hours in one week out of ten or more new customer questions, you will be sent an email about this, so that you can improve your response time. Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that you receive a customer question twice. For example, because the customer service of bol.com forwards a follow-up question to you. Bol.com expects you to provide an answer to all duplicate customer questions, so that the response time to all these customer questions is well measured.

8.     NPS after customer contact of 10 or higher

The NPS (Net Promotor Score) after customer contact is a recommendation score that indicates how satisfied customers are with the service, in response to their customer question answered by you. When you close a customer question, the 'NPS after customer contact survey' can be sent to the customer 24 hours later. Amongst other elements, customers answer a recommendation question and they do this by giving a grade on a scale of 0 to 10. The higher this figure, the more satisfied and loyal customers are in general. The NPS is then calculated by deducting the percentage of 'detractors' (customers who give a 0 to 6) from the percentage of 'promoters' (customers who give a 9 or 10). This results in an NPS score between -100 and +100. For a good performance on the service standard 'NPS after customer contact', Bol.com uses an NPS after customer contact of 10 as the lowest limit. At this time, this service standard does not count in calculating your overall performance score.

9.     Returns and how to handle these

Even when you have a solid webshop and great products, returns are essentially inevitable. There will always be some customers who won’t be satisfied, so it’s important to provide clear and concise information about the products you offer in order to prevent as many returns as you can. Everyone benefits from preventing returns; it is good for customer satisfaction and it saves you time and money. Insights into the amount of returns and the expected return percentage can help you keep a grip on your returns. Bol.com calls your personal 'dynamic standard' the expected return percentage based on your sales. If you exceed this standard, Bol.com will inform you about this by e-mail, so that you can adjust to it. Do you get a lot of returns? Then use the return reasons in the sales account to find out how to prevent returns in the future.

How are all these service standards calculated?

Every week the Bol.com platform checks whether you have met the three most important standards: 'Delivered on time', 'Cancellations' and 'Response time'. This is due to the fact that these service standards are most important for customer satisfaction. You get a strike for the 'Delivered on time' service standard when the weekly score is less than 93% for 3 or more late items. There is an absolute lower limit in numbers; if you do not meet the service standard for only 1 or 2 late items per week, then this will not be counted towards your overall score.

To ensure you have as much insight as possible into your own performance, your scores are updated daily in your Bol.com sales account. This way you always have an up-to-date overview of your seller performance, so that you always know where there is still profit to be made. However, these scores are not immediately definitive because they won't be until after a week and a half, on Wednesdays. This is because scores such as 'Delivered on time' are not immediately known.

Choosing a carrier for transportation

Bol.com spends a lot of effort in customer satisfaction and thus, the carrier you choose will greatly impact your performance as a partner. It is known that the delivery process has a lot of influence on customer satisfaction. You are of course free to decide for yourself, which carrier you have your orders shipped through. However, Bol.com cannot track parcels sent through a party other than the delivery services affiliated with bol.com – PostNL, DPD, DHL or Bpost – and also letter mail. In the interest of the customer, Bol.com thinks it is important to have insight into the 'Delivered on time' score. That is why the delivery confirmation has been introduced. This method has been extensively investigated and proved representative. At the article level, differences sometimes arise, but these deviations are as often positive as negative. As long as all the results are counted, a realistic picture of reality is created and therefore no corrections are made.

Intercompany Solutions can assist you with setting up a Dutch webshop

Becoming a Bol.com partner is a safe way to make money overseas, due to the small amount of risk you take. As you can see, however, becoming a Bol.com partner does require research and hard work. You will have to meet the service standards continuously, in order for customers to find you and come back to your webshop. We also strongly advise to research the types of products you want to sell. Knowing what you sell makes it easier to actually sell items, as you can provide customers with plenty of information about the products. Make sure you invest time in customer relations and always keep your webshop up-to-date, and you should be able to successfully make money via Bol.com this way. If you have any questions regarding setting up a Dutch webshop, whether it’s via Bol.com or directly, please feel free to contact our team anytime for more extensive information about the subject.

Source: https://partnerplatform.bol.com/nl/hulp-nodig/prestaties/servicenormen-bol-com/

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