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Set Up an e-commerce Business in the Netherlands

Updated: Jan 8, 2021

Are you set to start an e-commerce business in the Netherlands?

With one of the fastest internet connections in the world, the Netherlands has become a popular hotspot for e-commerce companies of all types and sizes — from small startups to giant e-commerce corporations. In fact, by the end of 2020, the revenue by e-commerce businesses is predicted to reach an astronomical €24 billion!

Some of the key factors of the e-commerce boom in the Netherlands is its world-class tech infrastructure, a highly tech-savvy population, as well as regulations put in place by the Dutch government to support business development in the e-commerce sector.

Regulations for e-commerce businesses in the Netherlands

The Dutch government’s active support of e-commerce businesses has resulted in fairly relaxed regulations for business development in the e-commerce sector. That said, while no special licenses are required to run an e-commerce business in the Netherlands, there are certain rules and regulations that e-commerce businesses, especially online stores, need to adhere to. These include the following:

  • Compliance with certain laws and regulations specifically related to online businesses.

  • Information about the company’s business address, company registration number, and VAT number must be displayed.

  • Personal data protection protocols must be in place to ensure data security.

  • Terms & conditions concerning payment, delivery, and product guarantees must be displayed on the website at all times.

We are experts in Dutch company formation in the e-commerce sector, and we can offer you great advice about how to set up an e-commerce business in the Netherlands. Call us now!

How do I set up an e-commerce Business company in the Netherlands

  • The first thing you have to do when starting a Dutch business is to register a Dutch company with the Dutch Trade Register, which must include the mandatory NACE (Nomenclature of Economic Activities) number. For e-commerce businesses, the numbers are as follows (depending on the type of operation): Section G; Division 47; Group 47.9; Class 47.91.

  • Once registered you need to choose, purchase and register a .nl domain name(.com domain names are also popular) with the SIDN (Stichting Internet Domeinnaamregistratie Nederland). There are certain technical and legal requirements for .nl domain names.

  • Design, publish and open an online shop for your e-commerce business.

  • It is recommended that you set up a merchant account with a reputable Dutch financial institution.

  • When you set up an e-commerce business in the Netherlands, such as a Dutch BV, you must apply for a VAT number.

Frequently asked questions:

Do I require a license to operate an e-commerce business in the Netherlands?


Why is The Netherlands such agood place to start an e-commerce business?

  • Highly developed tech sector.

  • The Netherlands has one of the best Internet connections in the world.

  • With its 17 million tech-savvy residents, The Netherlands is the perfect place to test online concepts.

  • The Netherlands is considered as Europe’s Silicon Valley, with a reputation for cutting-edge startups.

  • The .nl domain extension is the third most popular domain in Europe.

  • Highly educated and skilled information technology professionals.

  • The relatively small size and central location of the country make it perfect for worldwide shipping (sportswear brands Nike & Adidas both use The Netherlands as their worldwide distribution hubs).

  • The Dutch government has extensive intellectual property protection laws.

  • Attractive tax rates that draw a lot of investors to the Dutch e-commerce markets.

  • The Netherlands has a very stable and resilient business environment.

How long does it take to start an online shop in the Netherlands?

Starting a Dutch company usually takes between 2-5 days.

Can I start an online shop in the Netherlands as a non-Dutch or EU citizen?

Yes. The Dutch government allows foreigners to start a Dutch company or bring their existing business from abroad. However, certain legal conditions apply.