Registration in the commercial register

In the Netherlands, it is mandatory for every business and almost all legal entities to be registered in the commercial register. In law, you are considered to be running a business if you independently sell goods and services to others with the intention of making a profit.

You have to register in person at an office of the Chamber of Commerce (you have to make an appointment) if you are starting one of the following types of business:

  • sole trader
  • a commercial partnership (vof)
  • a limited partnership (cv)
  • a professional partnership (maatschap)

If you are starting a legal entity, such as a private limited company (bv) or a foundation (stichting), your notary will arrange this registration. You are also required to register your business in the commercial register if you do not have an office in the Netherlands but do employ staff in the Netherlands.

Whether established foreign business are required to register will depend on the situation. All foreign businesses with a branch in the Netherlands must register in the commercial register, describing the type of establishment they have in the Netherlands. When a foreign company has control of a Dutch legal entity, it only needs to register the Dutch legal entity. Registration requires detailed information on the controlling foreign company. Finally, a Dutch legal entity which only has offices outside the Netherlands also has to be registered but the commercial register does not contain detailed information on these offices.


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