Leading the charge and embracing the modern, digital economy, the Netherlands is thriving. The country has a world-class infrastructure, highly skilled workforce and excellent quality of life, putting it at the heart of the global supply chain and making it a desirable location for growing businesses.

Covid-19 latest information

This guide is an accurate reflection of the pre-Covid-19 business environment in Netherlands. Please note that due to the current situation, some circumstances may have changed in this country. Figures and data in the guide were last updated in May 2021.


Welcome to the Netherlands

HSBC has been operating from its branch in Amsterdam since 1999, initially as a global liquidity and cash management office, before expanding in 2011 to offer a full range of banking services to our corporate clients.

HSBC is now a major international bank in the Netherlands supporting both international clients headquartered in the Netherlands and overseas multinationals that have local or regional subsidiaries in the Netherlands. HSBC is continuously investing in the Netherlands by growing our local presence and offering additional products and services such as the recently introduced real estate financing.

The Netherlands offers many opportunities for dynamic, fast-growing businesses across sectors as diverse as logistics and distribution to high technology. Through our worldwide connections, HSBC is well placed to deliver a comprehensive range of cross-border and financial services, combining global perspective with local knowledge and expertise.

Bart Remmers Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Continental Europe, The Netherlands

Head office address: De Entree 236, 1101 EE Amsterdam-Zuidoost, The Netherlands


17.1 million1
41,850 sq km
Main languages
Dutch and English
Capital city
Other major cities
Rotterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven
Dialling code
USD57,609 per capita2
Top exports
Machinery including computers, electrical machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, pharmaceuticals, optical and medical apparatus and vehicles4
Top imports
Electrical machinery, machinery including computers, mineral fuels, pharmaceuticals, vehicles, optical and medical apparatus, and plastics4
Unemployment rate
Corporation tax
Typical office hours
9.00am – 6.00pm, Monday to Friday
Time zone
UTC +1, but from March to October the country observes UTC +2
Emergency numbers
112 for police, fire and medical emergencies

1 World Bank Group, 2019
2 OECD, 2021
3 Trading Economics, 2021
4 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 2019
5 Deloitte, 2019
* Map shows cities of economic significance according to the CIA, 2019

The Netherlands: A digital gateway to Europe

  • Global trade

    Ranked first for ease of doing business in cross-border trade by the World Bank (2018), the Netherlands has a long history of being at the forefront of international business. Trade makes up a significant proportion of the country’s GDP and it is ranked fifth globally in export terms.

  • Digital giant

    Amsterdam-based AMS-IX is the largest internet exchange in the world and the Netherlands has the highest level of broadband penetration (and some of the fastest speeds) in the world. With 11 out of 15 sea cables connecting Europe with the Americas going through the Netherlands, the country truly is a digital gateway.

  • Impressive reach

    The Netherlands is densely populated, with 160 million consumers within 24 hours reach of Amsterdam or Rotterdam, making it an ideal test bed for businesses looking to expand into Europe.

  • Robust economy

    The Netherlands is the sixth largest economy in the Eurozone. Its GDP growth forecast is moderate and both public and private investment is stable according to the International Monetary Fund (2017).

  • Well connected

    The Netherlands’ port infrastructure is the best in the world, with a network of deep-water ports, rivers and canals, moving more than 500 million metric tons annually, accounting for 54% of all trade shipping in Western Europe.

  • Highly competitive

    The Netherlands is the fourth most competitive country in the world, ranking highly for factors including infrastructure, innovation and technological readiness by the World Economic Forum (2018).


# 36

for ease of doing business (in a survey of 190 measured economies by The World Bank)

Country profile

The Netherlands is a quietly powerful force in Europe. Traditionally famous for its bulb fields, windmills and canals, the country is renowned today for its infrastructure and digital connectivity.

With three strategically significant deep-water ports and a network of canals, the Netherlands is, not surprisingly, one of Europe’s top-rated countries for logistics, offering a gateway into the wider European Union.

The education system in the Netherlands is considered excellent, with almost half the population continuing into higher education and others participating in vocational training. This creates a highly skilled workforce. The country scores well for innovation, its global outlook and quality of life.

90% of the Dutch population is fluent in English, though a number of other languages are also spoken, including German and French.

A supportive corporate tax structure positions the Netherlands as one of the most favourable business locations in Europe, complemented by an abundance of multilingual, multi-skilled employees and an excellent physical and telecommunications infrastructure.

Read on to discover more about the dos and don’ts of doing business in the Netherlands. Also find out how trading in or with the country could help boost the future growth of your business.

5 reasons to do business in the Netherlands1

  1. Highly innovative
    The Netherlands is rated second in the world for logistics performance and third for innovation by The World Bank.
  2. World-class education
    A highly-skilled, multi-lingual workforce and world-class education system are central to Dutch society.
  3. Ideal expansion location 
    Its size and location make the Netherlands an ideal trial market for businesses seeking expansion in the European Union.
  4. Gateway to key markets
    95% of Europe’s most lucrative consumer markets are within 24 hours of Amsterdam or Rotterdam.
  5. Well networked
    The Netherlands boasts a 100% digital telecommunications network, with 99% of households able to access broadband.

5 key challenges2

  1. 1

    Investor protection

    The Netherlands ranks 79th out of 185 global economies for protecting minority investors, according to The World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2020.

  2. 2

    Registering a property

    Registering a property involves a number of steps. A notary is required to conduct a title search at the Land Registry and a search on the representation of the parties. Transfer and registration of the deed is then required, and registration with the tax authority must also be completed.

  3. 3

    Paying taxes

    Paying taxes in the Netherlands is particularly time-consuming. Nine corporate tax payments are required each year, taking an average of 127 company hours to file.

  4. 4

    Construction and energy

    Dealing with construction permits can take around 150 days, with 14 different procedures to be undertaken, including some that are unique to the Netherlands. Additionally, it can take around 100 days to be connected to the electricity supply.

  5. 5

    Securing credit

    The absence of a public registry can make obtaining credit more difficult, although the Netherlands has a stable financial environment.