The Challenges and Benefits of Expanding to the Netherlands

The Challenges and Benefits of Expanding to the Netherlands

Although it’s by no means the largest country in the European Union, the Netherlands is, in fact, one of the EU’s most well-connected countries. Its optimal location and extensive resources offer many impressive benefits for companies looking into international business expansion – it’s even ranked #7 in the world by Forbes for ‘best countries for business’.

Here, Galvin International looks into the benefits and challenges that may come with expanding your business into the Netherlands.

The Benefits


Businesses based in the Netherlands benefit from having access to 95% of Europe within 24 hours of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, two of the country’s major hubs. With 170 million consumers within 500 km and 244 million consumers within 1000 km, there’s likely to be a healthy market for your business’s products and services.

The country is home to Europe’s best port infrastructure, the port of Rotterdam, which processes 461.2m tonnes of cargo each year and the port of Amsterdam, which is the fourth largest port in Europe, processing 100m tonnes of cargo each year. On top of this, the country is home to the 3rd busiest airport in Europe, Amsterdam airport Schiphol, with more than 63.6mn passengers in 2016, with flights to over 176 destinations. Finally, the Netherlands’ road infrastructure ranks 4th in Europe, with its railroad system ranked 7th in Europe, based on the Global Competitiveness Report for 2016/2017. All of these factors combined make the Netherlands a highly accessible country, suitable for international expansion.

Highly Educated

The Dutch workforce is very well suited to international business – this is due not only to the fact the Netherlands’ higher education system is ranked 3rd globally, but also due to the fact these educated citizens are typically multilingual, speaking a multitude of languages including English, French and German.

International Friendly Workforce

The Netherlands is home to more than one million foreign workers – it is a convenient place for international business expansion as a highly skilled migrant visa is available, which allows companies to bring over highly qualified expats to work in their Netherland offices. There is also a favourable expat tax program and a wide network of around 100 bilateral tax treaties that aim to avoid double taxation and offer reduced or no withholding tax on dividends, interest and royalties.

The Challenges

Open Market

While the Netherlands benefit from having such an open market with ample businesses and opportunities, this can also be seen as a disadvantage for those looking to expand internationally as the market is highly competitive. Furthermore, due to the ease of doing business in the country, many companies already have international offices in the Netherlands, offering both national and international competition for companies looking to break into the market.

Cultural Differences

Dutch culture and customs are a unique part of life in the Netherlands, and businesses must recognise these differences and adapt to them in order to expand successfully. Politeness is highly valued. It is considered rude to talk about what a person earns, as are personal and intimate questions and anything to do with appearance. The Dutch appreciate prompt replies and consistent service, and wish for things to be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.

When looking into expansion within the Netherlands, the benefits for most companies will outweigh the challenges. Doing business in the Netherlands is a great way to break into the international market and seamlessly connect your business with the rest of Europe in the process.

Whether you’re considering expansion into the Netherlands or another market, Galvin International’s team of experts can help you make the best decisions for your business’s growth. Our international expansion concierge service offers expert advice and solutions to help you expand your business seamlessly. Get in touch with us today and learn how we can help you expand your business overseas into the European market and beyond.



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