Corporate Compliance Guidelines To Follow If Migrating Your Business To The Netherlands
For those businesses expanding to the Netherlands, or considering it, there is a need to fully understand the difference in law, compliance, and culture between the Netherlands and the country your business originates from.
One area in which this is vital is in the regulations surrounding data privacy. An important step in making the transition to opening your business in the Netherlands is to consider outsourcing a DPO role to a person that is a native Dutch speaker. This person will be your representative in the country and will understand the different nuances and regulations for GDPR and data processing within the EU and specifically in the Netherlands. In Dutch, this is ‘externe functionaris gegevensbescherming’.
Why expand your business in the Netherlands?
Before we go into the detail of Dutch data compliance and regulations, let’s first look at some of the reasons why you might want to expand your business operations to the Netherlands in the first place. Hundreds of business owners have expanded into the country in recent years, and with good reason, as it is the sixth largest economy in Europe.
Great location – the Netherlands is in the perfect location for a business in any industry. It is a crucial trading hub with excellent transport links to the UK and Ireland, the rest of Europe, North America, and Asia. Its location makes it the perfect place to access trading routes by road, rail, sea, or air.
Well-developed cities – There are several well-developed cities that are ready and ripe to engage with as a potential market for your products and services. Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht, are all prime locations for your business.
A varied, well-skilled labour pool – the large pool of skilled and educated workers in the Netherlands is well known and well respected. It is also a country that has a workforce that is versed in the latest technologies and developments in business. On top of that, you’ll find that many Dutch people or people living in the Netherlands speak multiple languages well.
How to expand a business to the Netherlands
There are a few simple steps that you should follow to successfully expand your business to the Netherlands. This begins by determining whether your business can legally expand into the Netherlands in the first place.
Can you expand? – If your business is based in another EU country, or you are a national from a European Economic Area (EEA) member, or Swiss, there will most likely be no problems with operating from a Dutch city. If you are from the UK or another non-EU country, it is best to check with a professional service to determine whether you can expand your business into the EU and how to go about it legally and effectively.
Have a clear business plan – this is vital as you attempt to expand into a new country, as it will include research on your target market, the potential challenges that are specific to the Netherlands, as well as a forecast of your profits.
Discover the correct business structure – there are four main types of business structure for you to choose from in the Netherlands, each suitable to specific types of business. These are:
· Sole proprietor or sole trader (eenmanszaak)
· Professional or public partnership (maatschap)
· General or commercial partnership (vennootschap onder firma)
· Limited partnership (commanditaire vennootschap)
On top of this you’ll need to ensure that you have the necessary permits and licenses to operate, depending on your business type.
Register the business – you must register the business with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce who will then pass your details onto the Dutch Tax and Administration.
What about GDPR compliance?
GDPR is the European regulation relating to data privacy. It ensures that businesses have the responsibility of processing any personal data in a secure manner. You must have a good reason to process personal data and have the ability to explain the process should you be asked. These rules apply throughout the EU and EEA, with UK GDPR following similar regulations since the UK left the EU. In the Netherlands, GDPR is referred to as AVG. GDPR applies to any business operating within the EU or one that deals with customers or suppliers in the EU and processes data from that area. Failure to comply with regulations could lead to large fines.
Doing your research around data protection and AVG before migrating your business to the Netherlands is the best way to approach your new venture as you expand your business operations. An outsourced DPO service will help you navigate the waters of Dutch data law and the implementation of GDPR in the country if you are unsure of this yourself. This is a vital step in the process, ensuring that your organisation is fully compliant with all data privacy regulations, whilst also embracing the culture of the country, and all the other benefits that expanding into the Netherlands brings to a business.