Going Dutch – Hop on the Bus or Miss the Boat!

Guest Piece by Adrie de Poorter of AAme Accountants en Belastingadviseurs

The Netherlands is hot and sexy again for doing business within the staffing and recruitment industry. If you approach a hot and sexy girl, you know it can be a lot of work!

Eindhoven (known as the brain port) and the province of Brabant has received several awards at the international real estate fair MIPIM in Cannes, for their high ranking in the Financial Times survey of ‘FDI European Cities and Regions of the Future”.

The Times ranked (2014) Eindhoven third on the overall European Foreign Direct Investment Index (FDi index) and first on the ranking for Western Europe. With Eindhoven (3), Amsterdam (9), Rotterdam (14) and Utrecht (18), the Netherlands is well represented in the top 25 of European cities and regions of the future.

The average request of flexible labour across the Netherlands gained 15% in 2014. Both the ranking and the balance of supply and demand makes Holland a hot place for business. So if you haven’t started yet, hop on the bus.

The Netherlands

Before you all run to the Netherlands to do business, you need to do your (legal) homework. If you know how to handle a Dutchy, you have already done 70% of your job.

The Netherlands’ name literally means “Low Country”, with a population density of 406 people per km², it is a very densely populated country for its size. Only Bangladesh, South Korea and Taiwan have both a larger population and a higher population density.

The Netherlands has 16.77 million people and 18 million bicycles. Public transportation in Holland is the bicycle. Feel free to take any bike of which you can pick the lock. Just don’t expect your own bike to be in the same spot where you parked it 3 minutes earlier.

A Dutchman is always right and he knows it. With this in mind it is very easy to cope with most Dutchmen. If you ever get in an argument with a Hollander, tell him he was absolutely right and that you now realize how wrong you were. Your world will be opened….

Most nations regard the Dutch as organized and efficient. But, they also have a reputation for being opinionated, stubborn, and incorrigibly mean. Generally though, other nations see them as forthright to a fault. Dutch frankness completely overwhelms more reticent peoples such as the Japanese who find the Dutch most arrogant of the Europeans they do business with – though they are impressed by Dutch acumen as traders. ‘Where a Dutchman has passed, not even the grass grows any more,’ say the Japanese. The English survey the Dutch with guarded approval as the closest any Continentals come to the sacrosanct state of being English.

Ask the question of what the Netherlands is known for to Dutch and foreigners and you’ll get answers like liberal, tulips, windmills, wooden shoes, cheese, coffee shops without coffee, red-light district, and canals. Netherlands is much more than these.

Don’t buy wooden shoes. They will look completely ridiculous. Which is the reason they will try to sell them to you. Embarrass yourself in Holland! Enter a coffee shop and ask for a cappuccino with a biscuit. Coffee shops – remember this – do not sell coffee. They do, however have a large variety of stimulating products at reasonable prices. For unknown reasons, coffee shops are very popular amongst tourists.

woodem shoes

The Netherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of food and agriculture products. It is the largest beer and cheese exporter in the world. 70% of the world’s bacon and 75% of the world’s flower bulb production comes from Netherlands. Yet, tulips do not originate from the Netherlands. The first tulip bulbs were imported from Turkey to the Netherlands, where they proved to grow extremely well on Dutch soil.

The Dutch are the world experts on water management. It would take just 48 hours for an entire province of Flevoland, 3 times the size of Manhattan, NY, to be submerged in water if a dike broke in that area. Don’t make holes in the dikes. Such behaviour is commonly disapproved and in extreme cases it can get you stoned by wooden shoes. But feel free to put your finger in the dike if you feel the urge. It will at least get you a few laughs from the natives.

Gin was invented in the Netherlands. Called “jenever”, it was used for medicinal purposes in the 16th century. Rotterdam is the second largest port in the world. The Dutch are the tallest in the world with an average height of 184 cm for men and 170 cm for women. The Dutch are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers after the Scandinavians with an average of 140 litres of coffee a year or 3.2 cups a day. 86% of the population speak English as a second language. It has the highest number of part-time workers in the European Union, with four in every ten people. Dutch electronic dance music has conquered the world with Dutch DJs exporting their music to the remotest corners of the world. The exports totalled EUR81.5 million in 2010.

Before I forget, The Netherlands also has tax rules, employment legislation etcetera.

When you do business, you and your client have several (chain) liabilities in hiring staff from an agency or self-employed. Chain liabilities (you pay the price as well) follow from tax, health and safety matters, work permits, registration obligations, employment, minimum wage, maximum working hours, and more.


At AAme we passionately believe that all legislation and regulations should be more accessible and understandable for all people and companies. We believe that doing business in whatever country should be the same as doing business in your own back-yard.
We create simple cost-effective solutions for the long-term and at a fair remuneration.

Like Einstein said, if you can’t explain it simple, you don’t understand it well enough.

AAme logo

If you don’t want to miss the boat, want to know more about these rules, and you want to work safe and compliant, please contact AAme and or check our website, http://www.aame.nl/en/home