Netherlands Market Entry
- Market entry
- Forms and conditions of operation on the market
- Marketing and Communications
- Issues of intellectual property protection
- Public procurement market
- Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
- Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
- Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
- Fairs and events
The Netherlands is an important territory for Czech exporters not only from the point of view of the size of the internal market (17.6 million inhabitants, mostly with above-average purchasing power), but especially with regard to the possibility of re-exports to the whole world. The Dutch economy and business skills are at a very high level, so Czech manufacturers have the opportunity to place their products and services on the local market only if they maintain high quality and competitive prices. Logically, the Netherlands could and should be a destination for Czech companies that have already established themselves in Germany or other (surrounding) Western European countries (e.g. Belgium, France or Great Britain). Check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Netherlands.
The Netherlands has been building its position as a trading power for centuries. Tens of thousands of Dutch trading companies oriented towards import/export and wholesale hide great know-how not only of Dutch but also of world trade. This is an opportunity especially for Czech small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, who sometimes find it difficult and lacking experience to find a market for their products. Establishing contacts with Dutch trading companies does not mean only the possibility of exporting Czech products to the Dutch market, but also the possibility of reaching third markets, including the markets of developing countries, through Dutch companies.
One of the other possibilities for entering the NL market is production cooperation with local companies, which are often looking for manufacturers or suppliers for their distribution networks. In such a case, however, Czech products often do not have to bear the brand of a Czech manufacturer, but the brand of a Dutch company (private label). Dutch companies prefer doing business on the basis of long-term cooperation, where business partners know and trust each other. There is a permanent interest in production cooperation, where Dutch companies have components or even entire products produced in the Czech Republic (outsourcing). This is a wide range of products, starting from simple components made of wood, plastic or steel, to complex engineering components or finished products according to the required documentation. There is interest in production cooperation, where Czech companies can produce special products in small series for their partners. In this regard, the Czech Republic ranks first among the countries of Central and Eastern Europe among NL companies. Dutch companies choose the Czech Republic not only for outsourcing, but also for the relocation of entire productions with the aim of reducing production costs and increasing their competitiveness. Another potentially huge area is the cooperation of Dutch and Czech companies in third markets, including developing countries. The Czech Republic has competitive industrial products, which combined with Dutch knowledge of foreign markets and business skills can bring interesting opportunities. Another potentially huge area is the cooperation of Dutch and Czech companies in third markets, including developing countries. The Czech Republic has competitive industrial products, which combined with Dutch knowledge of foreign markets and business skills can bring interesting opportunities. Another potentially huge area is the cooperation of Dutch and Czech companies in third markets, including developing countries. The Czech Republic has competitive industrial products, which combined with Dutch knowledge of foreign markets and business skills can bring interesting opportunities.
The conditions for access of Czech products to the Dutch market are generally determined by the fact that it is an internal market within the EU. It is a very demanding market, requiring careful and permanent processing, a permanent presence on the market through a Dutch sales representative and good contacts. In terms of trade, it is appropriate to see the Netherlands as something more than a bilateral relationship, as Dutch people with business contacts around the world often look for suppliers for outlets in third countries. Through the Netherlands, Czech companies can reach the markets of the whole world, especially the countries of Latin America and Asia, where the Dutch traditionally have very good contacts. The choice of distribution and sales channels is of course dependent on the commodity. Given that direct processing of the market, including building one’s own distribution and sales channels, is very demanding, it is standard practice to use a local representative, or importers or wholesalers (Dutch Wholesalers Association ). Selling with the help of a Dutch “intermediary” is absolutely necessary for commodities requiring after-sales service, where the presence of a spare parts warehouse is also necessary.
A license is required to import certain types of goods. It concerns goods that can only be imported in limited quantities or subject to special supervision, such as weapons and selected medicines. In these cases, it is necessary to contact the institutions Belastingdienst Douane, Centrale Dienst voor In- en Uitvoer (CDIU). It is necessary to prepare for the fact that the staff may only be willing to communicate in Dutch. Correspondence address: Postbus 30003, 9700 RD Groningen Physical address: Kempkernsberg 12 Groningen Tel.: 0031 (0)88 151 21 22 E-mail: [email protected] All information regarding customs issues can be obtained from the information telephone number of the Dutch Customs Administration: 0800-0143 (from abroad: 0031-555 385385). This information service can also be contacted in writing at: Nederlandse Douane Informatiedienst, Kloosterweg 22, PO Box 2865, 6401 DJ Heerlen.
Forms and conditions of operation on the market
Use of local sales representatives (working on a commission basis – Association of Dutch sales representatives) is possible and common in the Netherlands, especially for consumer goods and for products with high technical demands. VNHI will find a suitable sales representative for the company either through paid advertising in its magazine or on its website. The Dutch sales representative, as well as local importers or wholesalers, usually demand exclusivity. When appointing a representative and granting exclusive representation for a given product, it is necessary to conclude a representative agreement, which must be governed by applicable legal regulations. In order to avoid the possibility of disputes, it is necessary to pay due attention to this legal issue. An interesting opportunity to process the Dutch market is the possibility of using compatriots operating in the Netherlands. As part of the ” We live abroad ” project, a number of expatriates have registered as persons offering their services to Czech entities.
The choice of legal form of business is decisive for the scope of liability for obligations from business activity and the determination of tax obligations. The following legal forms of business can be registered in NL: a) De eenmanszaak (a company with one person’s capital), the advantage is that no capital needs to be raised, but the founder guarantees all his assets b) De vennootschap onder firma -VOF (partnership under a firm), may include a group of partners united on the basis of a contract of tasks, no financial basis is required c) De commanditaire vennootschap – CV (limited partnership classic or with a silent partner) d) De maatschap (partnership) e) De besloten vennootschap – BV (company with limited liability) f) De naamloze vennootschap – NV (joint stock company) g) Het Europese Economische Samenwerkingsverband – EESV (company under European law, rarely used form) h) De vereniging (associations/associations) i) De coöperatie en de onderneme waargmaatschappij (cooperatives) j) De stichting (foundation) k) Buitenlandse rechtsvormen (foreign legal entities). The most common form is, as in the case of the Czech Republic, a limited liability company – BV.
Business registration must be done at the local branch of the Chamber of Commerce – Kamer van Koophandel. KvK registers the business at the earliest a week before or at the latest a week after its actual start. If you are establishing a business, you must appear at the KvK in person, if you are establishing a legal entity, a notary will handle the registration for you. KvK reports your business to the tax authority itself.
The website www.answersforbusiness.nl provides detailed information in English about doing business in the Netherlands.
Marketing and communication
The Czech exporter must present himself in a standard manner common in international trade. Due to the highly competitive environment in the local market and the wide range of offers, it is necessary to work with each potential customer individually. Sending offers with catalogs from the Czech Republic and waiting for a response is completely insufficient. As a follow-up to such a mailing campaign, after about 1 week to 10 days it is necessary to call the sent Dutch companies and remind them, if the offer did not reach the right person, to send it again. In the next stage, potential customers need to be personally visited with a specific offer. For a Dutch businessman, the Czech Republic is a “close market”, which can be reached in about hours by plane and can be reached in about 10 hours by car. Likewise, the Dutch market must be “close” for Czech exporters.
One of the appropriate forms of promotion is participation in specialized fairs and exhibitions. It is necessary to have high-quality printed company materials in English (or Dutch, possibly German) with a technical description of the product. Prices are indicated only if they are fixed and unchangeable prices. Before participating in the fair, it is advisable to send out invitations to the stand and at least “remind” yourself by phone before the start of the fair – every specialized company will receive a whole series of such invitations before the start of the relevant fair. It is recommended to have brochures without price lists available and to indicate approximate prices during negotiations and then prepare a detailed offer with prices and delivery and payment terms.
The use of mass media for the promotion of their products can only be recommended to financially strong companies (taking into account the high tariffs both on television and in newspapers). The Dutch advertising association BVA or the marketing association DDMA can help you find your way. As advertising channels, successful companies mostly use FB, TW, Instagram, LinkedIn, TV, radio, web, printed materials, billboards and other advertising areas. At the same time, care must be taken that the advertisement is not deceptive or comparative.
Issues of intellectual property protection
Protection of intellectual property rights is at a high level in the Netherlands. The Dutch government places great emphasis on this issue and is aware of its role for innovation and the knowledge economy. NL is a member country of the European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Improving the quality of the national patent system is one of the priorities of the current economic policy. The Dutch Office for the Protection of Intellectual Property, established on the basis of the Patent Act of 1995, belongs to the system of the Ministry of Economy, specifically to the agency RVO.
The text of the Patent Act in English can be found, for example, on the website of the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam.
Public procurement market
The public procurement system in the Netherlands is governed by the relevant European acquis and public contracts whose volume is higher than the set threshold amounts are published in the Official Journal of the EU. The public procurement market in the Netherlands represents more than 50 billion euros per year, and one in eight company contracts falls into this sphere.
The market can be divided into:
a) central government (ministries);
b) regional and local administration (province) – individual provinces have their own purchasing policy, while the general tendency is to purchase locally or regionally; most purchases are in the area of environmental protection, transport and the road network;
c) enterprises with an ownership share of the state (local governments), or privatized enterprises providing public services – mixed public organizations, public consulting organizations, railways (Nederlandse Spoorwegen), airports (Schiphol), etc.
In the Netherlands, there are no specific registration or approval procedures for foreign applicants, however, it is necessary to expect compliance with strict standards, the need for certification, references, etc. The importance of criteria based on the acceptability of proposed solutions from the point of view of sustainable development is also growing. The awarding of public contracts is governed by the government regulation Besluit aanbestedingsregels voor overheidsopradchten. The selection criteria according to this regulation are the lowest price and the most economically advantageous offer. The TenderNed service as a platform for electronic public procurement plays a key role in the entire public procurement process.
The so-called expert center for public tenders PIANOO takes care of the proper operation of the TenderNed service. Tender notices are published on the TenderNed website, in Dutch only. After registration, the company will start receiving notifications about tenders related to the sphere of its business. The procedure for logging in is described here, but the fact that registration and other subsequent steps are only in Dutch can be a complication. Some tenders are also published on the Aanbestedingskalender website. The TED portal is also a source of information about European tenders issued in the Netherlands .
In the case of military equipment, the Ministry of Defense and the police carry out their purchases exclusively through tender procedures. Detailed information about the procedure is available on the website of the Dutch government. The Dutch Defense and Security Industry Foundation NiDV (Nederlandse Industrie voor Defensie en Veiligheid, similar to the Defense and Security Industry Association in the Czech Republic) is a sector organization bringing together companies and institutions of the defense industry in the Netherlands . A catalog of the foundation’s members is available on the website in English, each member’s website and contact details are listed.
Tenders for supplies in the system of international organizations are a special chapter. For those interested in this area, we recommend the following links to websites where you can find detailed information about tenders of international organizations based in the Netherlands, e.g. the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ( OPCW ) or the European Space Agency, which carries out part of its operations in Nordwijk, the Netherlands activities.
Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
The Dutch market does not present any special risks, different from other European markets. If a Czech company starts working with a new Dutch partner, it should request references and an extract from the commercial register, which is maintained by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. Only basic information can be obtained free of charge from the register (including information on whether the company has not been declared bankrupt). A more detailed statement can be ordered from the Chamber of Commerce for a fee, the amount of which depends on the complexity of the required documentation (mostly EUR 2.50 to EUR 10). Registration with the Chamber of Commerce is mandatory for companies in the Netherlands; if the Dutch company is not registered, or if some identifiers do not match, this is an indication that something is wrong.
In the country, it is customary to use normal payment terms, i.e. payment against documents for proven business relationships and L/C for larger contracts. In the contract, it is necessary to specify very precisely the terms of payment and the procedure for possible dispute resolution. Particular attention should always be paid to the wording of contracts and payment security. In the case of imports from the Netherlands, it is recommended to strongly consider any advance payments. In no case is it recommended to pay for goods or services without a proper contract, e.g. only on the basis of an advertisement or a verbal agreement. The relevant law offices and legal and consulting firms deal with the resolution of potential commercial and legal disputes, including debt collection. On the website of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in The Hague, there is a list of some companies that have already proven themselves in this activity.
Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory
Czech citizens can travel to the Netherlands with a valid passport or identity card. For nationals of the Czech Republic, if they want to stay in the Netherlands for a total of more than 4 months within a 6-month period, they are required to register at the relevant city/local authority and may (or may not) apply for a residence permit. A Czech driving license is recognized, as well as a certificate of technical license for a motor vehicle.
There are no special risks in the Netherlands, perhaps with the exception of falling into one of the mostly unfenced water channels, being run over by a cyclist or, conversely, being hit by a motor vehicle (probably the most common risk – it is necessary to pay special attention to crossing or crossing cycle paths; cyclists have almost absolute priority and often show great recklessness towards other road users), or encounters with petty or drug-related crime, especially in some parts of Amsterdam and other big cities.
Train transport in the Netherlands is of a very high standard and can definitely be recommended; you can find all the necessary information on the website of the Dutch railways (the train station is also directly at Schiphol airport). Public transport works just as reliably and is an alternative solution for the complicated and expensive use of a car (e.g. the parking fee in Amsterdam is normally 7 EUR/hour).
Connection to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in the Netherlands from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol or from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and other cities: train station Den Haag Centraal Station (CS) or Den Haag Holland Spoor (HS), further approx. 15 minutes on foot or by tram, bus ( Kneuterdijk or Buitenhof stops) or taxi.
Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
A citizen of the Czech Republic, as a citizen of an EU member state, does not need to apply for a work permit in the Netherlands. Information on employment for foreigners in the Netherlands is provided by the Center for Work and Income (job opportunities). The regulations regarding the temporary posting of workers of foreign firms to the Netherlands stipulate that foreign firms must post their workers to NL in accordance with the terms of the relevant Dutch sectoral collective agreements (CAO). This practice was known in the past from the construction sector. In NL, collective agreements exist in the vast majority of sectors and cover 85% of all employees. Only where a sectoral collective agreement does not exist will broadcasting continue to be governed by the minimum wage institute. For further information, practical advice and recommendations, see e.g. the website of the NL government. You can also find information about working in the Netherlands on the website of the Czech Embassy in The Hague.
Czech citizens in the Netherlands must have a European health insurance card with them, which they present to the doctor during treatment in cases of absolutely necessary care. If they are staying in the Netherlands for a longer period of time, e.g. for the purpose of work or a long-term stay, they must complete the appropriate form with their health insurance company before leaving the Czech Republic, with which they will then register with the local health insurance company (see e.g. iamexpat.nl). Another necessary step to access health care in the Netherlands during a long-term stay is to register with a general practitioner at your place of residence (can be found by postcode on the general practitioners website – Huisarts ).
For detailed information on setting up a company in the Netherlands, see e.g. Starting your business | Business.gov.nl.
Fairs and events
The most important organizers of exhibitions and fairs in the Netherlands are the RAI in Amsterdam and the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, which organize a range of international exhibitions, fairs and conferences every year.
Other exhibition centers are, for example, MECC in Maastricht or AHOY in Rotterdam.
Important international trade fairs in the Netherlands include, for example:
PLMA – trade fair for private label supplies for retail chains, food and non-food
ESEF – regional trade fair for sub-supply for the engineering, metalworking, plastic and electrical industries (once every two years)
INTERTRAFFIC – transport technology
OFFSHORE ENERGY – offshore energy
EUROPORT MARITIME – maritime fair
BOUWBEURS – construction industry
AQUATECH – water management
More information on selected fairs, or to participate in them, see www.PaulTrade.cz.
Other Dutch trade shows can be found, for example, at: 10times.com/netherlands/tradeshows