If you want to do business in Europe, then the first thing is to select the right country to start with. Europe consists of around 30 countries, with various sizes, economic development and languages. The Netherlands might be an interesting option to you to start your European activities. Here are the five reasons why.
1. You'll get around with English everywhere
No matter where you are, people speak at least basic English and if you try to utter some words in Dutch as a foreigner, you mostly will get a response in English. This common knowledge of English has many advantages:
- Product packaging or manuals hardly need to be adapted;
- You can keep your marketing slogans in English, it's only useful to translate the rest of the advertisements;
- If you work with local staff or vendors, communication difficulties will be limited.
It's also very well accepted to have agreements in English and there is no need to translate them in Dutch to make these legally binding.
2. Short travel distances
The major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague are at maximum on hour by car or train apart from each other. This 'Randstad' area already captures 7 of the 15 million people who live in The Netherlands. Even for the most remote cities or regions you'll travel at maximum 3 hours by car. This ensures that you service the whole country from one location.
3. A lot of spending power
The Dutch GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world. And in contrast to other high-ranking countries the income distribution is rather even. This means that a large part of the population has quite some money to spend.
4. Good chances through the internet
The internet broadband penetration is one of the highest in the world, thanks to the phone and coax networks that are all around the country. The Dutch are also very much open to online sales and it is easy and cheap to arrange payment for the goods and services you sell though the internet. There is no specific preference for Dutch products, if you have a good deal, you'll be able to sell it.
5. Easy to set up a business
The Netherlands ranks number 27 on the Ease of Doing Business Index. This is quite o.k., and setting up a company can be done through a public notary in just a few days. For small businesses there are limited requirements, there is no local director or accountant needed. Company tax is 20%, you'll only pay an additional 15% withholding tax that can be settled with dividend taxes that you'll pay elsewhere.