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The Netherlands has a formal business culture in which honesty and courtesy are highly valued. Contacts and networks and very important, and you should try to arrange introductions through a third party.
Appointments should be made well in advance, preferably in writing. Normal business hours are 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. You may wish to avoid the holiday months of June, July and August. Turn up on time, as punctuality is seen as very important.
Although Dutch is the official language, most business people can speak English so it is not necessary to have correspondence translated, or to arrange an interpreter. However, you should ideally have your company promotional materials translated into Dutch.
Normal business attire varies considerably vary between industries. Unless you are aware that informal dress is the norm in your business area, wear a conservative suit for meetings.
A brief, firm handshake, with good eye contact, is the normal business greeting. Don't smile too much as this may be seen as insincere.
People should be addressed by their personal or professional titles with family names, unless you are invited to use first names. Academic titles are not normally used in speech.
Business cards are exchanged on meeting, and should include details of higher educational qualifications, which are highly regarded in the Netherlands. However, you should not refer to your qualifications in conversation, as the Dutch respect modesty.
Meetings are usually quite formal and well structured, with adherence to the agenda. The Dutch communication style is fairly quiet and reserved, but also direct and frank. You will be expected to give a well-structured, factually accurate presentation, with clear evidence or data to back up any statements made. The Dutch have a very analytical approach and will examine your proposals in great detail. You will be taken at your word, so don't make promises you can't keep, and avoid hard sell or exaggerated claims.
Since team-working rather than hierarchy is the main feature of Dutch business culture, decision-making is usually consensual. Once made, decisions are quickly implemented and will be regarded as final.
Business lunches and dinners, usually held in restaurants, are popular. Gifts are not usually exchanged in Dutch business culture, but if invited to someone's home, bring a small, good quality gift such as flowers, a plant or chocolates.
Foreign citizens of any nationality aged below 60 are allowed to run a business in the Netherlands if they meet certain requirements and are approved by the Dutch authorities to enter the Netherlands with the purpose of running a business. To enter the Netherlands with the purpose of running a business, you will be required to hold a valid passport or EU identify card, an authorization temporary stay visa if you are a non-EU national, health insurance, and evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents in the Netherlands. Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals are required to undergo a tuberculosis examination after arrival in the Netherlands.
In order to obtain approval to run a business in the Netherlands, you must be able to demonstrate that it is a new company, or a new branch of an existing company, which will serve a "material economic purpose" in the Netherlands, and that it is necessary for you to run this company within the Netherlands.
Additionally, for most types of business you are required to have specific professional or business qualifications. These may include the Dutch General Business Skills Diploma (Algemene Ondernemers Vaardigheden), unless you already hold an MBA or equivalent qualification. Information on the requirements can be obtained from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, which is also a good source of information and advice on other aspects of running a business in the Netherlands. The Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic) provides a foreign qualification accreditation service which will confirm whether or not your qualifications meet the standards required for conducting business in the Netherlands.
When submitting an application to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) to establish a company in the Netherlands you will be required to include a full business plan and any other relevant business information in the case of a new company; and company registration details, certified accounts, tax documentation and other relevant information for a subsidiary of an existing company. You also need to obtain a permit to run a business in the Netherlands from the local Chamber of Commerce (Kamers van Koophandel). With the exception of certain categories of freelance individuals, all businesses and other forms of self-employment have to be registered publicly with the Chamber of Commerce.
You will also be required to contact the Dutch Tax Office and complete an "Opgaaf gegevens startende ondernemers" form with information about your business, on the basis of which the Tax Office will make an assessment of the taxes that you will be liable for in the Netherlands, as well as any tax allowances. Dutch business taxes include Value Added Tax (VAT), Income Tax, Wages and Salaries Tax and Corporation Tax (for private companies with limited liability).
The main forms of business or self-employment in Holland are:
- Sole traders or freelancers (Eenmanszaak)
- General partnerships (Vennootschap Onder Firma or "VOF")
- Limited partnerships (Commanditaire Vennootschap or "CV")
- Private companies with limited liability (Besloten vennootschap or "BV")
- Public corporation with limited liability (Naamloze vennootschap or "NV")
BVs are normally used for subsidiaries of larger companies, joint venture companies and family businesses, and NVs for larger companies with shares publicly listed. All of these types of business have different legal obligations and entitlements in terms of profits, tax payments and allowances and liability to creditors.
Some freelancers are defined as self-employed and some as employees in the Netherlands, depending on whether or not they have a contract of employment.
Incase you are seeking some information related to any business or any sector of The Netherlands you may contact Holland Gateway. Holland Gateway increases the ease of doing business in the Netherlands. They do that through the supply of information and facilitating the connection between your business and national, regional and local public and private organisations. They aim to provide you with crucial information, key contacts and practical help with procedures. This will simplify your decision making process, enable smooth entry and settlement of your business in The Netherlands. They offer a meeting place for you and your advisors and business contacts. Online and at their business center at Schiphol Airport.
|WTC Schiphol Airport|
|Schiphol Boulevard 167|
|1118 BG Schiphol|
|Phone:||+31 (0)20 206 5920|
|Fax:||+31 (0)20 206 5929|
amsterdam in business
Whether your are planning to establish your business in Amsterdam or already present in the area, amsterdam inbusiness can be of great value to you. Amsterdam inbusiness is the official foreign investment agency of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Almere, Haarlemmermeer). They can show you the best locations, introduce you to the people who can add value or knowledge, and help you navigate quickly and safely through the bureaucratic and fiscal barriers that are part and parcel of any cross-border business venture. And it's all free of charge, strictly confidential, and without any hidden agenda.
|P.O. Box 2133|
|1000 CC Amsterdam|
|Phone:||+31 (0)20 552 3536|
WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency (WFIA)
The WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency (WFIA) is a government organization (economic development agency or IPA) which serves as the ‘one-stop shopping’ desk for the WestHolland Region and assists and advises international companies finding business location and staffing their operations in the WestHolland region.
The WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency was established in October 2000 by the cities of The Hague, Leiden, Delft, Zoetermeer, Lansingerland, the regional authority Haaglanden and the Chamber of Commerce of The Hague. The purpose of joining forces was to combine resources and experienced individuals from each city or authority to represent the WestHolland region as one investment promotion agency around the world. Due to the combined efforts of these organizations, the WFIA has the expertise and knowledge to assist international companies with various aspect of expanding a business abroad, finding strategic business location and connecting to important international networks. This expertise can save international companies time and help them to avoid making costly mistakes.
|2514 AA Den Haag|
|Phone:||+31 (70) 3115555|
|Fax:||+31 (70) 3115556|
Taxation for Individuals
If you are working legally in the Netherlands you will be issued with a SoFi or Social-Fiscal number (sofi-nummer) which will be used to record your tax payments and eligibility for social security benefits. You will need to apply at your local tax office (Belastingdienst) for a SoFi number, after having registered your details on the population register (Bevolkingsregister) at the local town or city hall. To obtain a SoFi number you will be required to submit your registration form along with your passport or EU identity card. Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals are also required to submit their Dutch employment contract, work permit and residence permit.
An individual's tax residence status in the Netherlands depends on factors such as the location of their usual residence and that of their partner or spouse, their usual working location, their length of time in the Netherlands and whether they have personal ties in the Netherlands such as a Dutch bank account, local society memberships etc.
Resident taxpayers have to pay tax on all their income from both Netherlands and overseas sources, whether this is employment, investment or other types of income. They also qualify for a wide range of tax deductions. Non-resident taxpayers only have to pay tax on their Netherlands-generated income, including income from employment or business, property, investments or other regular benefits, and do not generally benefit from many tax deductibles. However, non-resident taxpayers can apply to be treated as resident or "partial non-resident" for tax purposes if this is more beneficial to them in terms of tax liability and eligibility for deductions.
Under partial non-resident status, taxpayers are assessed as residents of the Netherlands in terms of their income and allowances, but as non-residents in terms of income from shareholdings, savings and investments. Partial non-resident taxpayer status can only be approved for people who have been posted from another country to work in the Netherlands, who eligible for a tax-free allowance from their employer of up to 30% of their salary to cover "extraterritorial expenses". This is payable for a maximum of ten years, and their employer must pay wage tax on their salary in the Netherlands. People posted to the Netherlands on this basis who subsequently change jobs can continue to benefit from the 30% ruling if they change jobs and continue to meet the eligibility conditions, if they apply within three months of starting their new job.
Employees in the Netherlands are liable for both income tax and wage tax. Wage tax is deducted direct from their salaries or wages, and set against their income tax bill. Income tax is payable on three types of income, defined as
Box 1: taxable income from work and dwellings;
Box 2: taxable income from substantial interest;
Box 3: taxable income from savings and investments.
Income tax is charged on a progressive basis on Box 1 income, at rates ranging from 2.5% to 52% (2007), at a rate of 22% on Box 2 income up to €250,000 and 25% on the excess (2007), and at a flat rate of 30% on Box 3 income.
Deductibles which are set against personal tax liability include interest on mortgages, childcare payments, alimony payments and pension contributions. Business expenses cannot be set against personal tax liability. Tax deductions are made in the form of an annual income tax levy rebate, but this can be claimed in advance on application to the tax office, with monthly payments made to a bank account.
The Netherlands has a number of tax treaties with other countries, which mean that the nationals of these countries who are living and working in the Netherlands are not required to pay tax in both countries. Under these treaties, people working in the Netherlands will normally be exempt from paying tax on their income earned there if they are physically present in the Netherlands for less than 184 days in a twelve month period or tax year and if they are paid by a non-Dutch employer. Alternatively, if they are working in the Netherlands for more than 183 days in a year, or for a Netherlands-based employer, they will normally be exempt from paying tax on their Netherlands-generated income in their home country. If not covered by a double taxation treaty, some foreign nationals working in the Netherlands may be covered by agreements which exempt them from paying tax in the Netherlands on overseas-generated income, even though the amount of this income might be taken into account when assessing their overall tax liability in the Netherlands. Specific arrangements for tax exemption between the Netherlands and other countries vary, so it is important to check the details of the double taxation treaty or other agreement which applies in any particular case.
Taxation for Business Owners and the Self-Employed
Business owners are liable for a range of taxes and other payments in the Netherlands, including wage tax, income tax, Value Added Tax (also called Turnover Tax) and Corporation Tax, as well as national insurance payments and employee insurance scheme contributions if applicable. For the self-employed with no employees, there may be a requirement to pay income tax and VAT (Turnover Tax). However, people categorised as entrepreneurs by the Dutch tax office who pay Turnover Tax, are sometimes exempted from income tax, depending on how much work is carried out on a self-employed basis, their turnover and profits, number of clients and other factors. If required to pay income tax, entrepreneurs often qualify for many tax deductions over and above the normal tax levy rebate made to all taxpayers. The deductions are even higher for those setting up a new business. Additionally, those who operate a business from home can claim a deduction for business-related expenses such as utilities.
Turnover Tax or VAT (Belasting oegevoegde Waarde or BTW) is payable on all services and goods in the Netherlands, currently at 6% or 9% depending on the specific goods or services provided. The providers of these goods and services must charge their customers based on the invoices that are sent, and are required to submit a monthly, quarterly or annual Turnover Tax Return to the tax authorities, depending on the nature of their business and level of turnover. VAT payments made to suppliers for the provision of goods and services can be deducted from the VAT owed. There are full or partial exemptions from VAT for those whose business income does not exceed a specified amount, under the Small Business Allowance (Kleine ondernemersregeling).
Private limited companies are also required to pay corporation tax, assessed on the basis of their taxable profits, after deductions. Current rates are 20.0% of the first €25,000 of taxable profits, 23.5% of of taxable profits up to €60,000 and 25.5% of taxable profits in excess of €60,000. Most business expenses are deductible. Additionally, any public limited or private limited company which distributes dividends to its shareholders must withhold tax at a rate of 15% on these dividends and remit this to the tax authorities.
Exemption from Customs Duties
Non-EU nationals who move to the Netherlands can apply for exemption from customs duties, VAT and other taxes and charges when importing their personal and household effects, including a car, to the Netherlands, if certain conditions are met. In many cases, the removal firm transporting these goods will apply for the exemption on behalf of the person moving to the Netherlands, and deal with all necessary paperwork.
To be eligible for this exemption, there is a requirement that the applicant must have been living outside the EU for at least a year prior to the move and be establishing a new principal place of residence in the Netherlands. Additionally, the effects must have been owned personally by the person for at least six months, and must be imported to the Netherlands within 12 months of the move. The goods cannot be sold or hired out to another person within the first twelve months of their import into the Netherlands, otherwise the exemption will be revoked.
There is no requirement for EU nationals to apply for this exemption, as they are not liable for customs duties or taxes when moving their personal effects to the Netherlands, with the exception of cars on which a vehicle tax is payable.
Opening a bank account
If you are living and working in the Netherlands you will almost certainly need to open a bank account in order to receive your salary, rent or buy property or open a utilities or telephone account, for example.
The main commercial banks offering personal banking facilities in the Netherlands include ABN-AMRO, ING, Rabobank and Postbank. ING has now taken over the previously publicly-owned Postbank, but Postbank branches can still be found in the Post offices.
In general, all the major banks offer a similar range of current account banking services, including current accounts (betaalrekening), savings accounts (spaarrakening), overdraft facilities and bill payments. If you open an account with the Postbank, this will either take the form of an income giro account (inkomstengirorekening) if your monthly income exceeds €500, or a basic giro account (basigirorekening) if your monthly income is less than this.
There is little variation between bank charges, although some of these are slightly lower in the case of the Postbank compared with the other commercial banks. No interest is normally payable on current accounts, but interest is usually charged on these accounts if they are overdrawn. Printed bank statements can be issued every week, fortnight or month, depending on the account holder's own preference.
All of the main banks now also offer internet and mobile banking facilities. Internet banking is very popular in the Netherlands, where it is reported that more than 40% of the population do their banking online. Some banks offer accounts that can only be accessed using the internet banking, and pay a relatively high rate of interest on credit balances, in return for the lower bank overheads associated with the account. The main banks also provide facilities for accessing accounts electronically via mobile phones. As well as checking account balances and making payments, customers can manage their investments and buy shares using their internet or mobile banking facility.
In order to open a bank account in the Netherlands you will usually be asked to provide your passport or another form of identify, proof of address such as a utility bill, and your Social-Fiscal Identification Number (sofi-number). You may also be asked for evidence of your income, such as an employment contract or salary slips; your residence permit or proof of application for this, and if you are a non-EU national, a record of registration with the foreign police. It is likely that the bank will run a credit check using the Bureau Kredietregistratie (BKR), the Netherlands' credit bureau, before approving the application for an account, and will register new customers on this system if they not already have a credit record in the Netherlands.
A new bank account is usually operational straight away, with a bank card and pin number being issued within days of opening the account. If required, the banks will also issue Eurocheques, or postcheques (girobetaalkaarten) in the case of the Postbank to their account holders. However, cheques are used infrequently in the Netherlands now that bank card payments have increased in popularity. Eurocheques can be cashed into other currencies at the banks in other European countries.
Normal bank opening hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, with some staying open later on Thursday or Friday evenings. Some banks are also open on Saturday mornings.
Stichting Bureau Krediet Registratie
4000 HB Tiel
Tel: 0900 - 257 84 35
Fax: 0344 - 63 49 73
Major bank websites:
ING Bank: www.ing.nl
Fortis Bank: www.fortis.com
SNS Bank: www.snsbank.nl
Bank cards and credit cards
A few days after opening a bank or post office account, you will be normally be issued with a bank card (bankpas/europas/giropas) and pin number. When ready, the bank card can be collected from the bank but the pin number is sent separately by post to the account holder for security reasons.
The card and accompanying pin number can be used to make cash withdrawals from ATMs (geldautomaten/pinautomaten) in the Netherlands and other countries. There is a fully integrated ATM network in the Netherlands, which allows bank cards issued in one bank to be used to withdraw money from the ATMs of other banks, but you will need to check the symbols on the ATM against those on your card to be sure that the card is valid for use in that particular ATM. Many bank cards issued in the Netherlands can also be used to draw out cash from ATMs in other countries, if your card and the ATM display the relevant Maestro or Cirrus symbol. There is likely to be a fee payable per transactions for withdrawals of cash in other countries.
Most bank cards also act as debit cards for use when paying for items in shops. There is usually a requirement to key the pin number into a card reader to authorise the immediate debit of the relevant amount from the person's account.
In the case of the Postbank, account holders can be issued either with a basic card (basis giropas) which allows them to withdraw cash from Postbank and ING bank ATMs only, and a "normal" card (gewone giropas) which can be used to withdraw money from the ATMs of other banks in the Netherlands and in other countries. Both can also be used as a debit card for use when buying items in stores.
Small purchases in Holland are often made using another type of bankcard, the chipknip or chippas, although some banks incorporate the chip facility of this card into a single bankcard. In order to use the chipknip functions, you need to keep your card topped up with cash, which can be transferred directly from your bank account at a special machine at the bank. When using this card in stores, there is no requirement to key in a pin number, so the card offers less security than a standard bank card - anyone can use the card until the credit on it is used up.
The main credit cards in use in the Netherlands are Mastercard and Visa. There is often a requirement to have held a bank account for some time in the Netherlands, and to have a sufficiently income in order for a credit card application to be approved. There is usually an annual fee and sometimes additional monthly fees for a credit card account, as well as the interest that is payable on outstanding balances. Many smaller stores do not accept credit cards, as they have to pay a percentage of each transaction to the credit card company. However, most large stores, restaurants and hotels accept most major credit cards.
Social Security Overview
Everyone who is living and working in the Netherlands is required to make contributions to the Dutch social security system, unless their home country has a social security agreement with the Netherlands and they continue to make social security contributions in this country under the terms of the treaty. A certificate confirming social security coverage in their home country is likely to be required in order to apply for exemption from the Dutch social security system.
In general, foreign nationals posted to the Netherlands on a temporary basis of up to twelve months or another specified period are eligible for continuation of social security coverage under the legislation of their home country, if covered by a treaty.
Foreign nationals posted to the Netherlands who are not covered by a social security treaty may be required to pay contributions in both the Netherlands and their home country and will also be eligible for benefits in both countries. People on short-term postings of less than six months may be exempt from having to contribute to employee insurance schemes in the Netherlands but are still required to contribute to the national insurance schemes.
Under recent changes to Dutch social security legislation, eligibility criteria for claiming welfare benefits have become more restrictive, and now exclude many temporary, self-employed and fixed-term contract workers. In general, however, everyone who has a residence permit and a work permit, if this is required, will be covered by the Dutch social security system.
All members of the Dutch social security system are issued with a SoFi number (sofi-nummer) by the tax office, which is used to record their tax and social security contributions and eligibility for social security benefits.
Netherlands has separate compulsory insurance schemes, which apply to the general population and to all employees, respectively, unless they are exempt because covered by another country's social insurance scheme.
Social Security Schemes
The National Insurance schemes (volksverzekeringen) apply to all residents of the Netherlands, and consist of the General Old Age Pensions Act (AOW), the General Surviving Relatives Act (AnW), the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ) and the Child Benefit Act (AKW). Contributions are paid in the form of income tax, at 2007 rates of 17.9% for the AOW, 1.25% for the AnW and 12% for the AWBZ. People aged over 65 do not contribute to the AOW. The AKW is not a contributory scheme.
Under the AOW, pensions are payable from the age of 64, with amounts dependent on the duration of employment in the Netherlands or another country that has a reciprocal pensions agreement with the Netherlands. Two percent of the full pension amount is payable for each year of full contributions made to the scheme. The AnW pays income-related benefits to the widow or widower and any dependant children of a deceased person insured under the Act. The AWBZ provides payment for medical expenses and treatment in excess of coverage already provided by the Health Insurance Act and any private health insurance. Under the AKW, regular payments are made to families for each child under the age of 18.
All employees are required to belong to the Netherlands' Employee Insurance Schemes (werknemersverzekeringen), consisting of the Sickness Benefits Acts (ZW/WULBZ), the Disability Insurance Act (WAO), the Unemployment Insurance Act (WW) and the Health Insurance Act (Zorgverzekeringswet), and must contribute to these schemes (with the exception of the WAO) up to a specified annual income. Employers are also required to make contributions to these Schemes for each of their employees. WAO contributions are made by employers only, at a rate of 5.15% of salary in 2007. Contributions to the WW are currently at a rate of 3.85% of salary for employees and 4.40% for employers.
The WULBZ requires employers to pay at least 70% of an employee's salary per day, up to a specified maximum amount, during the first 104 weeks of sick leave, while the ZW provides similar cover of 70% of normal wages, for temporary staff and others who have no regular employer. Maternity leave payments for at least 16 weeks of leave are also paid under this Act, which along with sick leave payments account for 100% of normal salary.
The WAO provides insurance cover for people unable to work after 52 to 104 weeks of disability, with amounts dependent on factors such as the age, severity of the disability and previous salary.
Unemployment benefits payable under the WW consist of 70% of the minimum wage or the last wage received if this is lower, for six months, for a person previously employed for 26 of the preceding 39 weeks before becoming unemployed. If an unemployed person was also employed in at least 52 days in at least four of the last five years before becoming unemployed, they are eligible to receive 70% of their most recent salary in unemployment benefits, for a duration dependent on their length of time in employment.
The Netherlands introduced a new compulsory Health Insurance Act in 2006, which replaced both the previous public health insurance system which provided cover for all employees with gross wages below €33,000 per year, as well as the private health insurance systems required for employees earning above this amount. Under the new scheme, employees are required to pay a nominal contribution of around € 1,100) to their health insurance company, as well as an income-dependent contribution of 6.5%, up to a maximum of €2,080, with the income-dependent contributions generally being reimbursed by employers. The self-employed are also required to make these contributions. Non-working spouses are only required to pay the nominal contribution; dependant children receive free cover. Health insurance companies are required by law to accept all eligible individuals for cover for a wide range of medical and dental care. Additional private insurance can be purchased to supplement the basic health insurance package.
Van Heuven Goedhartlaan 1
Postbus 1100, 1180 BH Amstelveen
Tel: 020 656 5656
Fax: 020 656 5000
College voor zorgverzekeringen (CVZ) (The Health Insurance Board)
Postbus 320, 1110 AH Diemen
Tel: (020) 797 8555
Fax: (020) 797 8500
The Netherlands recently introduced a new statutory health insurance system under the Health Insurance Act 2006 (Zorgverzekeringswet), replacing the previous Ziekenfonds health insurance system. Everyone living in the Netherlands is obliged to take out health insurance under this scheme, and will be reimbursed for their main healthcare needs under the basic insurance package. The system is administered by private insurance companies, and individuals can choose which company's scheme to join. All companies are required by law to accept anyone who applies for medical cover.
Members of the insurance scheme aged over 18 pay a nominal contribution, which varies between insurance companies but is around 92 Euros a month. People in employment or receiving state benefits are also required to make an income related contribution (6.25% of income is paid automatically by employers directly from salary, people who run their own business receive a bill from the tax authorities/belastingdienst), which is usually reimbursed by their employer or the relevant benefits agency. No contributions are required for children aged below 18.
You are free to choose your insurance company and your level of income will not be taken into account. You are also free to change your insurance company once a year.
There is a no-claim system in operation, under which people who had few health care needs in a year can be refunded up to €255 at the beginning of the following year. The cost of maternity care and visits to a general practitioner do not count when calculating eligibility for the refund.
The basis insurance system includes cover for general medical care, prescribed specialist treatment, appliances such as medical stockings, some medicines, maternity and obstetric care, the cost of ambulances or other necessary healthcare transport, and some forms of rehabilitation treatment such as physiotherapy or occupational therapy. Dental care is also covered until the age of 18.
Insurance companies may offer you a package with or without an own risk excess. You are free to choose whether you want your health care package with or without own risk. There are different own risk amounts: 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 euros. If you decide to include an own risk excess in your package you will have to pay the first 100-500 euros (depending on your own risk amount) of medical costs yourself. Your insurance company will charge you with a lower insurance fee if you include an own risk excess in your package.
This new health insurance system supplements the existing statutory insurance under the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act, which provides cover for the whole population for the cost of long-term nursing care. Everyone in the Netherlands can also opt to take out additional insurance to cover the costs of medical treatment or care not included in the statutory schemes.
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
PO Box 20350
2500 EJ The Hague
Tel: (0)70 340 79 11
Fax: (0)70 340 78 34
Other types of Insurance
Most of the main insurance companies as well as many of the banks in the Netherlands offer many different forms of insurance including motor insurance, buildings and contents insurance for the home, life assurance and travel insurance.
If you own a property in the Netherlands, you should take out homeowners insurance on the building, covering the risk of fire, storm, flood and theft, and this is likely to be required by your lender if you have a mortgage on the property. Tenants should check that their landlord has this insurance, and should find out whether or not their own contents are covered by the landlord's policy. Burglaries are not uncommon in the Netherlands, and everyone should therefore ensure that their personal possessions are covered by contents insurance (inboedelverzekering). Valuable items may need to be covered by a special separate policy.
It is compulsory under Dutch law for all road vehicle drivers to have third-party insurance (minimum liability coverage). This can be supplemented by optional all-risk cover (allriskverzekering) for theft or damage to your vehicle, or your own injury while driving, or by passenger insurance which covers the costs related to injuries sustained by any of your passengers. Motorbike and scooter drivers can take out Motor and Scooter Insurance package, as well as optional passenger insurance, and there is even a type of insurance designed especially for cyclists.
Other types of insurance commonly taken out in the Netherlands include personal liability insurance, accident insurance, life insurance, burial insurance, and legal insurance. Whilst many of these are similar to the insurance schemes in use in most other countries, the Netherlands is distinctive in the levels of insurance taken out by the population, which is reportedly among the most highly insured in the world. Legal insurance (Rechtbijstandverzekering) is less commonly used in other countries, but is taken out by many Dutch people to provide cover against the cost of disputes or lawsuits, and enables them to receive low-cost access to legal advice.
Finally, travel insurance is generally taken out by Dutch people when travelling to other countries. This usually covers the cost of lost luggage, cancelled flights, medical expenses abroad and any necessary repatriation to the Netherlands.
Many insurance companies offer discounted premiums for their customers who take out multiple forms of insurance.
Nederlandse Vereniging Van Assurantieadviseurs (NBVA)
4000 HD TIEL
Tel: 0344 - 62 02 00
Fax: 0344 - 61 79 28
Verbond van Verzekeraars (Dutch Association of Insurers)
2509 AL Den Haag
Websites of major insurance companies:
Centraal Beheer: http://www.centraalbeheer.nl/
SNS Reaal: http://www.snsreaal.nl/
Achmea Insurance: http://www.achmea.nl/
VGZ Zorgverzekeraar Insurance: http://www.vgz.nl/
Delta Lloyd Insurance: http://www.deltalloyd.nl/dlnl/index.jsp