Investing in the Netherlands
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The Netherlands, long Europe's trading crossroads, is an obvious choice when it comes to finding the best place to locate a pan-European business. The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) is the organisation that can assist foreign companies in their entry to the Dutch market. The NFIA has been set up for the specific purpose of helping and advising those businesses who wish to take advantage of the Dutch business environment as a strategic base to cover Europe. The NFIA has set up offices and websites with customized information for companies in different parts of the world. For Japan information can be found at: www.nfia-japan.com.
1. News flash
Written for food industry decision makers, Food for Thought reports periodically on agro-food activities and advances within the Netherlands. Its articles, overviews and white papers provide an overall perspective on food technologies, innovations and R&D taking place here. (updated may 24th, 2009)
2. Why invest in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands provides a strategic location to serve markets within Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The central geographical position of the Netherlands, combined with accessibility and an excellent infrastructure are only some of the reasons why numerous European, American and Asian companies have established their facilities in the Netherlands.
International business environment
The Netherlands, long Europe's trading crossroads, is an obvious choice to locate a pan-European operation, whether it is a European headquarters, a Shared Services Center, a Customer Care Center, a distribution and logistics operation, or an R&D facility. The country's pro-business environment creates a gateway to Europe that helps international companies succeed throughout the continent. An international outlook and openness to foreign investment is firmly engrained in the Dutch culture, and this has yielded a wealth of world-class business partners who know how to deal with global business challenges in today's economy.
Superior logistics and technology infrastructure
The Port of Rotterdam is the world's third largest seaport, while Schiphol Airport is recognized as one of the major business hubs in Europe claiming over 100 international awards over the last couple of decades. The Netherlands is also classified as one of the most ‘wired' countries in the world, a dynamic force in electronic commerce, communications and outsourcing. More than a decade of investment in high-speed Internet, cable and digital communication systems, as well as the rapid adoption of state-of-the-art computer and mobile phone technology, have created an ideal base for companies seeking to take advantage of modern technology.
Highly educated, multilingual and flexible workforce
The Netherlands features one of the most highly educated, flexible and motivated workforces in Europe. Dutch professionals are also among the most multilingual in the world, enabling them to successfully operate in companies in any industry serving customers throughout the continent.
Quality of life
The Netherlands is proud to have a high standard of living, while maintaining an affordable life for its residents. The costs of living, housing, education and cultural activities are lower than in most Western-European countries.
Favorable fiscal climate
Since January 2007 the Dutch tax environment for international companies has become even more attractive. The corporate tax rate has been lowered to 25.5%, which is well below the EU national average. Dividend tax has been reduced from 25% to 15%. Furthermore, a patent box with a 10% tax rate on income from innovations was introduced. Combined with other traditional features of the Dutch tax system (wide tax treaty network, participation exemption, 30% tax break for highly qualified foreign employees) the fiscal climate is quite simply one more reason to establish or expand your European operations in the Netherlands.
3. Netherlands Japan Social Security Agreement
The Japanese-Dutch Agreement on Social Security will entered into force on 1 March 2009. The Agreement determines the country in which employees posted to the Netherlands by their employer are to be insured with regard to disability for work, old age, death and medical expenses. As from the effective date of the Agreement, a Japanese employee working temporarily in the Netherlands will be insured exclusively in Japan. This will apply equally to all Japanese employees, whether posted before or after 1 March 2009.
This article informs you about the changes affecting Japanese employees who are stationed in the Netherlands and their employers as a result of the Agreement. The information is provided by the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) and the Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen(UWV, Dutch Institute for Employee Benefit Schemes). These organisations implement the Dutch social insurance schemes. The SVB is responsible for national insurance schemes, such as old age pension, survivor benefit and child benefit, which apply to all people resident in the Netherlands. The UWV implements industrial insurance schemes, which provide employees with cover against unemployment, sickness and incapacity for work.
Until the 1st of March 2009, Japanese employees in the Netherlands were covered under Dutch social insurance. This also applied to any of their family members living in the Netherlands, allowing them to accrue pension rights, receive child benefit and be insured against sickness or the costs of health care in the Netherlands. Employers deducted social insurance contributions from their employee’s salaries which they passed on to the Dutch Tax Administration (Belastingdienst).
After 1 March 2009, the employees are insured in Japan only. As proof that they are subject to Japanese social security legislation, the employees need a posting certificate. This means they will no longer be subject to Dutch social security legislation and neither will their family members who are living, but not working, in the Netherlands. If a family member works in the Netherlands, however, he or she will remain covered under Dutch insurance. As from 1 March 2009, employers do not have to deduct Dutch social insurance contributions from the salaries of employees with posting certificates.
Below you will find an explanation (for each insurance scheme) of how employees are affected by no longer being covered by Dutch insurance. For the sake of convenience, we have taken 1 March 2009 as our starting point, as this is the date that the Agreement will enter into force. However, if the posting certificate has a later effective date, the later date will apply instead of 1 March 2009.
- Dutch old age pension (AOW pension)
Your employees stoped building up entitlement to Dutch old age pension (AOW) as from 1 March 2009. For example, an employee who has, on 1 March 2009, already been working in the Netherlands for four years will be entitled to 8% of the full AOW pension. For each year of insurance a person is entitled to 2% of the full AOW pension. When the employee reaches the age of 65, the SVB will start to pay the amount of pension to which the employee is entitled, regardless of whether he or she lives in the Netherlands or Japan. If you want employees to know how much AOW pension they will be entitled to on leaving the Netherlands, they can apply for a statement of their insurance record at www.svb.nl. As from 1 March 2009, employees who want to increase their entitlement to AOW pension can take out voluntary insurance under the AOW scheme. More information about this is available at www.svb.nl.
- Dutch survivor benefit
If an employee passes away on or after 1 March 2009, the surviving partner will no longer be entitled to a Dutch survivor benefit (Anw). If any of your employees wish to remain entitled to survivor benefit, they can take out voluntary insurance. More information on this is available at www.svb.nl.
- Dutch child benefit
Entitlement to Dutch child benefit (AKW) ended on 1 April 2009. Employees received child benefit for the first quarter of 2009 in April.
- Exceptional medical expenses
As from 1 March 2009, the costs of long-term care, such as nursing care, are no longer be reimbursed.
As from 1 March 2009, employees are no longer be entitled to unemployment benefit.
As from 1 March 2009, employees are no longer be entitled to sickness benefit.
- Dutch incapacity benefit (WIA benefit)
As from 1 March 2009, your employees are no longer be able to claim Dutch incapacity benefit. Because the employees have been working in the Netherlands before 1 March 2009, they will be entitled to a partial Dutch incapacity benefit for that period after they return to Japan.
- Health insurance
Medical expenses incurred after 1 March 2009 will no longer be reimbursed. Employees are free to take out private health insurance to have their medical expenses reimbursed.
The Japanese-Dutch Agreement on Social Security entered into force on March
1, 2009. Those who are affected by the agreement and would like to know the
details please be advised to consult with the following organizations.
The Embassy is NOT in a position to answer any questions with regard to individual cases.
SVB = Sociale Verzekeringsbank
UWV = Dutch Institute for employee Benefit Schemes
Japan Pension Service (Former Social Insurance Agency)
4. Reports on market sectors
Companies looking for investment and trade opportunities in the Netherlands will find comprehensive and detailed descriptions of the Dutch economy at the website of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) available at www.hollandtrade.com. Here, facts about the Dutch economy, information on promising market sectors and market developments is available.
The reports on promising Dutch market sectors provide detailed sector-specific information which can be very useful to potential investors and exporters. The reports in English cover the following market sectors:
5. For further assistance to invest in the Netherlands
The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency promotes the Netherlands as a basis for international/European activities and assists foreign (Japanese) companies considering setting up a new subsidiary or expanding an existing company. The NFIA provides companies with a range of basic information; economic, financial and statistical; assistance in organizing fact-finding trips and site selection studies, and general consultation once a company has decided to establish an operation. The NFIA can also answer questions about government incentive policies. NFIA's services are free of charge and strictly confidential.
For more information, or a personal meeting please contact either our Tokyo or Osaka office:
NFIA Tokyo Office
NFIA Osaka Office
Twin 21 MID Tower 33F.
6. Useful websites
Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency
Doing Business in the Netherlands
Answer for Business
(Contains a wealth of information on all aspects on enterprise, rules, permits, taxes, subsidies, etc.)
Search for products and companies
(contains about 30.000 Dutch companies with international relations)
(search engine for finding Dutch exporting companies)
Dutch Chamber of Commerce
Yellow Pages (in Dutch)
(search engine for finding companies)
Ministry of Economic
Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
Economy & Statistics
Trade & Industry
for promotion of imports from developing countries (CBI)
Chamber of Commerce
(profiles of companies world wide)
Federation for Dutch Export (FENEDEX)
(information for Netherlands companies)
(B2B and general information)
(Information of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) on trade initiatives, export and Dutch economy)
IMF about the Netherlands
Netherlands Economic Institute (NEI)
(economic research and consultancy)
OECD on the Netherlands
(Public management information)
Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER)
(advisory body of the Netherlands government)
Statistics Netherlands (CBS)
(valuable facts and figures)
The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB)
(provides independent forecasts and analyses)
The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa)
(assesses mergers and acquisitions and enforces the prohibition on cartels and abuse of a dominant market position
The Netherlands Industrial Property Office (NIPO)
(enforces patent laws)
(US website containing general and sector-specific information about the Netherlands)
(network of shipyards, suppliers and service providers who work together in all locations and conditions in the field of maritime technology)
Association of Dutch suppliers in the oil and gas industry
(organization with 300 member companies)
(NIABA - biotechnology association with 55 member companies)
Dutch Chemical Industry
(information on this industrial sector)
(unites over 450 companies in the Dutch IT, Telecom, Office and Internet Market in the Netherlands)
Flower trade in the Netherlands
(information about companies and useful facts and figures)
(official marketing & promoting agency for Dutch Cinema)
Netherlands Airport Technology group (NAT)
(offers a comprehensive range of products and services for integrated airport systems)
Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)
(applies scientific knowledge with the aim of strengthening the innovative power of industry and government)
The dredging industry
(Central Dredging Association - an independent society promoting the development and exchange of professional knowledge in all fields concerned with dredging)
The offshore gas and oil industry
(containing information on the Netherlands and its off-shore industry and governmental and quasi-governmental organizations in the field)
(information on shipping, business opportunities and port authorities)
Port of Rotterdam
(information on companies, business, transportation, port authorities, etc
(information on transportation, distribution, business opportunities, airport info)
Exhibition centres and fairs
Holland for your convention - Netherlands Convention Bureau
(website on international meetings, congresses, conventions and exhibitions in the Netherlands and opportunities for organizing such events in the Netherlands)
(major convention center for the organization of events in the fields of business, communication and entertainment)
(major convention center in Amsterdam)