Work as a freelancer
In the Netherlands, the self-employed are known as ZZP’ers (zelfstandige zonder personeel or “self-employed with no staff”). Freelancing is becoming more and more common throughout the Netherlands. Read on to learn how to register as a freelancer in the Netherlands.
Let’s get started
- Residence permit: If you are a non-EU and non-EEA citizen, the first thing you will need is a valid permit to live and work in the Netherlands. You may be able to obtain a residence and work permit on the basis of your freelance work.
- Registration with the KVK: To set up a Dutch company, you will need to register your new business at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KVK). It also offers free webinars in English on how to register as a freelancer and other topics.
- Choosing a legal form: When working as a freelancer in the Netherlands, the most common business structure is an eenmanszaak (one-person business).
- Registration with the Belastingdienst: Register with the Belastingdienst (the Dutch tax office) to get your VAT number (BTW nummer). This is important as most freelancers are required to charge VAT (21% or 6%), depending on their service. The tax office collects this tax four times a year via the VAT declaration (BTW aangifte).
- Annual income tax: Your annual income tax return is slightly more complicated as a freelancer because you will have to calculate your tax independently. But don’t be intimidated! There is plenty of help and assistance available, for example at the Dutch government’s business pages and from the Belastingdienst itself. An accountant can also help.
- Model agreement to clarify your income tax status: If you’re working for a company or client, it is often difficult to determine your work relation. Are you really freelance or might this be a case of employment in the traditional sense? To clarify where you stand, you may need to use a pre-approved or individual “model agreement”. This statement clarifies the status of a self-employed person’s income and whether another company should or shouldn’t withhold levies and premiums.
- Insurances for freelancers: New freelancers need to consider insurance. There are several types, including business liability, health and unemployment insurance.
- Pension: As a freelancer, the only contributions going towards your retirement will be payments that you deliberately set aside yourself. And so it’s important to think long-term and invest in your retirement. Take time to investigate the Dutch pension system for a collective pension fund or an individual pension product to invest in.
Learn more about working in the Netherlands. See our resources on where to find a job or how to create a resume for the Dutch market. Or check out our guide on where to find volunteer positions in The Hague.