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Living and Having a Business in Amsterdam

Featured image by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Amsterdam, one of the most enticing cities in the Netherlands, is located in the western part of the country, close to the sea. You can have a beautiful life in Amsterdam, whether in just of living in Amsterdam or visiting as a tourist. However, the city is about so much more than that.


It is easy to tell just by looking at its population and location that Amsterdam is good for business. You will have loads of opportunities if you start a business in this famous place. If you wish, you can start your business before moving over. In the meantime, you can easily establish a business address in Amsterdam and complete the registration remotely.

How Is Life in Amsterdam?

Life in Amsterdam is calmer than most visitors expect, as the Dutch capital is a relaxed, family-friendly place.

The city is very safe. You can reach almost any place in town by bike and the public transportation is also very well-organized. Moreover, salaries in the Netherlands are good. However, it’s also true that Amsterdam is a bit more expensive than most other capitals of Europe.

When living in the city center along its renowned cannels, a large chunk of your monthly income might be spent on housing. Amsterdam is ranked the 11th most expensive city in Europe.

Harsh weather is inevitable, although most rain falls in autumn. Summers have been pleasantly warm in recent years. Education and health care in Amsterdam are of high quality.

Could You Have a Business in Amsterdam?

Starting a business in Amsterdam is relatively easy, depending on your nationality and what you intend to do in your business. For example, if you want to do something related to legal and finance the south side of Amsterdam is one of the world’s hotspots.

Moreover, you need to consider the following:

  1. If you are an entrepreneur from outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will need a visa to live and start a business in Amsterdam. To request one, submit a business plan. In it, describe your work experience and inform the Ministry of Economics how you will add value to the Dutch economy. If your business provides an innovative product or service this process will be straightforward.
  2. You must obtain a company registration at the Chamber of Commerce.
  3. You will need a Dutch address for your company.

Consider These Ideas for a Business in Amsterdam

Are you planning to start a business in Amsterdam but you have no idea about what to do? Here are some typical Amsterdam-style businesses.

1. Start a Bicycle Repair and Rent Shop

Amsterdam is known for its flat landscape. For this reason a lot of people make use of bicycles in the country. With that many bicycles in the country, a great business to start is a bicycle repair store. Every tourist who can cycle should rent a bike and explore the beautiful spots outside the city. And did you know that you can even lease a bike in the Netherlands?

2. Open a Specialties Shop

Have you ever heard of a licorice drop? This is a candy that contains the root of glycyrrhiza glabra from which a sweet flavor can be extracted. The Dutch are the biggest licorice eaters in the world, so this is a good business to open. People in this country love this treat. Other typical Dutch delights are small cookies called “pepernoten,” tiny fluffy pancakes known as”‘poffertjes,” and pancakes. Business from tourists alone will make this a successful venture.

3. Get a Cheese Shop Going

The Netherlands is the biggest exporter of cheese and the country’s dairy industry is worth billions. So if you have a passion for cheese you should start a cheese shop. And what about having a business in exporting this delicious food to your home country or starting your own local cheese factory?

4. Start an Ice Cream Shop

The summers get warmer in Amsterdam because of climate change. Because the city is child-friendly, it is home to many children. Most children love ice cream. Grownups, too, love to eat ice cream. Research has shown that starting an ice cream shop offers a large chance of success.

5. Open Up a Coffee Café

The Dutch are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers. You can never go wrong by opening a coffee shop because they drink a lot of coffee in Amsterdam. Setting up a coffee shop in any area will attract customers during office breaks and in the weekend.


What Challenges Do Businesses in Amsterdam Face?

The Netherlands is located in the heart of Europe. Its modern infrastructures make it ideal as a base for a business in Europe. Additionally, Amsterdam has a business-friendly climate.

What’s more, the import and export of goods is well-facilitated. The tax authorities are well-organized and you can do most filings online.

The competitive fiscal climate and friendly business environment allow businesses to expand with relative ease. Still, there are some challenges you will face while having a business in Amsterdam.

1. You Will Have Taxes to Pay in Amsterdam

There can be a large number of taxes applicable on your business. Did you know that you will need to pay if you put up a sign outside of your shop? Paperwork takes an average of 127 hours per company to file. There are many other tax payments that can be confusing for any business owners new to the fiscal environment.

The most likely tax rate for small and medium-sized businesses is 15%.

2. You Must Deal with Construction Permits

It takes more than 150 days to obtain construction permits because of the many different procedures that one must trawl through.

3. You Will Need a Notary to Register Your Company and Property

Businesses must use a notary when incorporating a company or registering property. Also, the transfer of real estate at purchase and the registration of mortgages require a notary.

4. Learn the Culture

The Dutch appreciate plain speaking above anything else, so avoid vague references while speaking.

Nonetheless, there is a much more equal corporate structure in the Netherlands. Employees and managers are often given an elevated level of independence to make decisions instead of having to operate in a strictly hierarchical structure.


Living and Having a Business in Amsterdam

Given the city’s beauty and its modern infrastructure, living and having a business in Amsterdam could be ideal for you.