Scheme for startups

The Netherlands has traditionally been a country that welcomes entrepreneurial spirits. After centuries of enterprise and ingenuity, the combination of innovation, trade and entrepreneurship remains a driving force within the nation’s economy and is a key source of economic renewal and job creation. As such, it is recognised that entrepreneurs stimulate economic growth.

Under the scheme for startups, new international startups launching in the Netherlands will be offered the necessary support to develop into a mature enterprise. This scenario is not only beneficial for the entrepreneur but also creates a solid foundation for job creation and economic growth. Read more about how the Dutch government is supporting ambitious entrepreneurs and startups.

Why start a business in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is one of the five most competitive economies in the world. It has much to offer foreign entrepreneurs and investors: for example, exceptional road, rail, sea and air infrastructure; digital infrastructure that is world-leading in terms of both speed and reliability; and a broad spectrum of (international) businesses with multilingual and productive employees. And besides the excellent business climate, there is the fantastic quality of life, with the Netherlands setting high standards in (international) education, healthcare and recreation.

Read more about what the Netherlands has to offer international businesses.

How does the ‘scheme for startups’ work?

This scheme is aimed at ambitious entrepreneurs arriving from outside of the European Union. The scheme’s associated residence permit entitles the applicant to be a resident of the Netherlands for one year. Within that year, the startup entrepreneur can create a business based on an innovative product or service under the guidance of an experienced mentor.

After one year, the startup entrepreneur may have the duration of their residence permit extended on the basis of the Dutch government’s self-employment scheme under the condition that the startup entrepreneur meets the standard requirements applicable to the self-employment scheme (click here for an overview of these requirements). As of 1 January 2016, the application for the new permit can include a reference letter from the facilitator, increasing the chances to be granted a permit.

What are the conditions for a startup permit?

Click through the key points below for in-depth information about the startup permit.

  1. Working together with a trusted and experienced mentor (facilitator) that is based in the Netherlands;
  2. A product or service that is innovative;
  3. The startup entrepreneur has a (step-by-step) plan to develop their idea into a business;
  4. The startup entrepreneur and the facilitator are registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel);
  5. The startup entrepreneur must have sufficient finance (resources) to reside and live in the Netherlands for one year.


As an interested startup, you must gather together the means of evidence before submitting your application to the IND. Please refer to the page "How to submit an applicationon the IND's website and the official application form for further information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read our Frequently Asked Questions article for further information.