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Obtaining Special Permits and Licenses in the Netherlands

Obtaining Special Permits and Licenses in the Netherlands

Like in many other countries, special permits and licenses are required in the Netherlands for certain activities and business fields. Additional rules can also apply for fields like television and the transmission and use of images with licenses, water permits and others. Before deciding to open a company in the Netherlands it is advisable to find out what permits and licenses are required in your business field.

Our Dutch law firm can provide complete information about the special requirements for businesses in the Netherlands.

Special permits and licenses for Dutch businesses

Activities that deal with building, renovation and environment generally require special permits. Special professions in the Netherlands, like financial services or taxi services require special licenses in order to be recognized. Apart from these, according to the business field, some companies in the Netherlands can make special requirements for diplomas and additional training before employing individuals.

 Quick Facts  
Business sectors requiring licenses and permits in the Netherlands

– retail and wholesale trade,

– hospitality and catering,

– art and culture and media,

– construction, etc.

Special licenses for professions

– financial services,

– architecture,

– real estate,

– cosmetology,  etc.

Special licenses for hospitality businesses

– Catering Act licenses,

– alcohol licenses,

– music performance licenses,

– registering food business with the Dutch Food and Consumer Products Safety Authority,

– hygiene code, etc.

Gambling licenses

The applicant must have their primary office or a subsidiary located in the European Union or European Economic Area;

Applicant must also submit an integrity form, proof of financial security and operational data from the last 2 years and 8 months;

Application must be sent to the Dutch Gaming Authority.

Transport licenses

The Euro haulage licenses for domestic and cross-border transport within the European Union.

How to obtain special licenses and permits in Netherlands

– apply for permits and licenses to the relevant authorities,

– have proof of business identity,

– register with Dutch tax authorities,

– prepare business plan.

Timeframe for permit issuance

Depends on the specific business licenses

Financial services licenses

– banking licenses,

– insurance licenses,

– broker licenses,

– crypto licenses, etc.

Pharmaceutical services licenses

– wholesale permit,

– manufacturing permit,

– permit for donor test labs,

– approval for organ banks, etc.

Event permits

– licenses from the relevant municipality,

– environmental permit,

– exemption for serving low-alcohol beverages,

– exemption from noise standard, etc.

 All-in-one permit for physical aspects

Can be used for businesses or individuals involved in various types of projects or activities that require multiple permits related to different physical aspects.

 Work permits

Requested for non-EU/EEA workers;

Our Dutch lawyers can help you obtain work permits.

EORI number

Required for trading companies that engage in import and/or export activities.

VAT registration requirement

Before applying for special permits and licenses, companies must complete the necessary VAT registration in the Netherlands.

 Assistance Our Dutch law firm can provide assistance in obtaining the relevant business permits and licenses for your business sector.

Company directors in the Netherlands should be well aware that failure to provide the necessary documents can result in administrative fines. The most important business sectors in the Netherlands that require licenses and permits are:

  • retail trade, wholesale trade and craft industry;
  • hospitality, recreation and catering;
  • childcare;
  • animal care;
  • art, culture and media;
  • business services and personal services;
  • construction industry;
  • transport;
  • agriculture, livestock farming and fishery;
  • private education.

The experts at our Dutch law firm can evaluate your business plan and specify what permits will be necessary for your business.

Licences for hospitality, recreation and catering business sectors

If you have a business in the hospitality, recreation and catering sector, like a café or restaurant, it is necessary to obtain a special license in Netherlands. If you intend to sell alcoholic beverages that people can consume on your premises, you will also require an Alcohol License and Catering Act license. This also applies to sports club canteens. If you wish to have an outdoor seating area, you will need a terrace permit, and for outdoor heating, an integrated environmental permit is required.

You should apply for the necessary permits and licenses in Netherlands for a catering establishment if you are starting a new café or restaurant, taking over an existing one, opening a new branch, or relocating your café or restaurant to a new location.

Once you have obtained the necessary permits and licenses for your catering establishment, you may need to apply for VAT registration in Netherlands.

Food manufacturers are required to comply with food safety regulations. Producers must obtain government approval for the production of new food products and apply for the required special permits in order to operate legally.

We highly recommend contacting our Dutch law firm for further information about the special licenses and permits in the Netherlands for the hospitality, recreation, and catering business sector. Our Dutch lawyers can provide you with detailed guidance on navigating the legal requirements and regulations for obtaining these licenses and permits. Additionally, if you require more information about the Food and Drugs Law in the Netherlands and how it applies to domestic-use and imported products, our experienced lawyers can assist you with that as well.

We invite you to watch a short video on the necessary permits and licenses for doing business in the Netherlands:

Gambling licenses in the Netherlands

Conducting any type of gambling activity requires obtaining special licenses in accordance with Dutch laws and regulations.

This gambling license ensures that the activities are held under appropriate conditions and pose no risk to the public. Companies involved in gambling in the Netherlands must demonstrate that they are not involved in any illegal activities.

To apply for a special license in the Netherlands for gambling, the applicant must have their primary office or a subsidiary located in the EU or EEA. The applicant can be a company in the Netherlands, a legal partnership, or an individual. It is important to note that the license holder must respect to any additional rules and regulations that may be implemented in addition to the existing ones.

We recommend contacting our attorneys in the Netherlands to obtain further information about obtaining gambling licenses and permits.

Transport licenses in the Netherlands

Transportation services also require special licenses, depending on the type of transportation provided.

The most common license required in Dutch logistics is the Euro haulage license, which applies to domestic and cross-border transport within the European Union. This license must be renewed every five years and is required for most transport companies that have at least one vehicle with a payload of more than 500 kg.

However, if you transport goods for your own business and not for third parties, you do not need a Euro license. If you transport goods with a maximum load capacity of 500 kg, you only need a Chamber of Commerce registration number.

We also recommend using the Dutch tax calculator as a helpful tool to estimate your tax liabilities and plan your business finances accordingly.

If you require further information or assistance in applying for a Dutch Euro haulage license, but also regarding how to obtain other special licenses and permits in the Netherlands, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers in Netherlands.

How to obtain special permits in the Netherlands

If you want to open a business that requires special permits and licenses to function, you must make a request to the relevant authorities. The permit is issued within a specific time-frame. If, however, the authorities fail to make a decision within that time, it is possible for the permit to be issued automatically. Businesses that require permits for building, renovation, demolishing, construction, environment and open space can request the all-in-one permit for physical aspects.

Companies will need to perform the needed VAT registration in Netherlands before they apply for the aforementioned special permits and licenses. This is a mandatory step for those businesses that engage in VAT-taxable transactions, even if these are subject to a VAT exemption. Our team can give you more details and assist you during the registration process, as well as with any other steps for company incorporation.

Here are some interesting facts about business sectors in the Netherlands that require special permits and licenses:

  • The restaurant industry in the Netherlands generated a revenue of approximately 3.87 billion euros in the year 2020;
  • As of the first quarter of 2023, the Netherlands had over 31,000 companies operating as restaurants or other eateries and approximately 8,255 cafes were operating over the same period;
  • The gross playing result from the Dutch legal online market from January 2022 to July 2022 amounted to 569,7 million euros;
  • On average, the Dutch gambling industry makes 81.4 million euros per month;
  • In 2021, the value of Dutch service exports was almost 211 billion euros.

Our law firm in the Netherlands can help you obtain all and any necessary permits and licenses, regardless of the business field in which you operate.