International Trade and Brexit desk

The Netherlands’ central geographical position in Europe in combination with having excellent logistic services such as the Port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam Airport, both are one of the biggest in the world. This makes it a popular destination for international companies to set up their head office in the Netherlands. The Netherlands plays an important role in distribution because of its favorable location by the North Sea and is often referred to as the Gateway to Europe.

Many UK based and US based companies therefore chose to locate their head offices here in the Netherlands. Also as a result of the Brexit, there is an influx of companies that are relocating to the Netherlands to avoid the Brexit complications.

All the above-mentioned factors including the Brexit, many companies are establishing their head office or setting up a branch office here in the Netherlands. This means that these companies need to be familiar and comply with Dutch Employment law, Private law, Public law and Tax law.

Setting up a company here in the Netherlands.

There are a number of ways in which a company, that is not registered in the Netherlands can start its activities in the Netherlands.

Following are the ways through which a foreign company can start its activity in the Netherlands:

  • setting up a legal entity under the laws of the Netherlands
  • Setting up and registering a legal entity in the Netherlands for tax and legal purposes
  • entering into a joint-venture agreement with a company registered under the laws of the Netherlands
  • purchase of assets of or shares in a company registered under the laws of the Netherlands
  • entering into a rental agreement
  • employing staff
  • Drafting and registering General Terms and Conditions of Trade
  • Purchase and sales contracts for the sale of its products and/or services
  • VAT registration
  • Entering into loan agreements and attracting capital funding.

Brexit Advice

The UK exited the EU on 31st January 2020 and the transition period in the Withdrawal Agreement ended on 31st December 2020.

Existing EU Treaties, EU free movement rights, and general principles of EU no longer apply to the UK. The EU and UK entered into a post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement effective from 1st January 2021, covering three main areas being free to trade agreement, partnership for the safety of citizens, and agreement on governance regarding the EU-UK partnership.

The Brexit affects your way of doing business in the broadest sense if your company does business between the UK and the EU.  This may include the following:-

  • Import from the UK and Export to the UK
  • Taxes and tariffs
  • Providing Services to the UK
  • Working in the UK
  • Data Protection
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Contract Management
  • Commercial Contract issues such as territory clauses in contracts, force majeure clauses, pricing clauses, jurisdiction etc

Are your considering entering the Dutch market?

Do you have questions on how to enter the Dutch market, or are you a Dutch company that regularly trades with the UK and internationally within the EU and outside it, then please contact Madelon van Breemen for further information. You can also reach out to us at

Her knowledge of the Dutch market and Dutch legislation, in combination with her English background, means she can form the bridge between the international company and entering the Dutch market. She makes a useful contribution to companies in the Netherlands that are active in the English-speaking market. Madelon can advise on which legal entity to incorporate and build up the company from scratch from a legal point of view can also help foreign companies that are active on the Dutch market to find their way here in the Dutch market.

Madelon van Breemen
Dutch International Contracting Lawyer