Dutch corporate law Advisor for Doing Business in Netherlands

On 1 July 2013 a number of important amendments to the Dutch company law policy has taken effect. The primary aim is to make stronger the corporate governance of listed and unlisted companies by decrease shareholder activism and promoting the dialogue between shareholders and the management board.

Dutch corporate law has gradually changed. Due to national and European government action it has increasingly become more detailed and complex. A large part of the law is considered to be mandatory. The aim of this paper is to clarify the scope of mandatory corporate law by examining the limits it places on modifications in by-laws and agreements between shareholders.

Amount of mandatory corporate law and the freedom of the individual guaranteed by private law. On the one hand, the freedom of the individual to contract and set up organizations is limited by mandatory corporate law. From the opposite point of view, it is mandatory corporate law which is limited by private law. In that respect, the mandatory effect of corporate law is lessened if shareholder agreements are allowed to circumvent corporate law. On the other hand, mandatory corporate law may be used to ensure the freedom of the individual.

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