Doing Business with Netherlands
Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)
- emergency line (police, fire brigade, rescue service): 112
- Police (regular non-emergency contact): 0900 8844
- police (from abroad): +31 343 57 88 44
Important web links and contacts
Dutch Public and State Administration:
Dutch Public Administration – www.overheid.nl
Government, Ministries (in English) – www.government.nl/ministries
Dutch State Administration – www.rijksoverheid.nl
Tax Office – www.belastingdienst.nl
Other government institutions:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) – english.rvo.nl
Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) – investinholland.com Economic
Policy Analysis Bureau (CPB) – www.cpb.nl/en /node
Bureau of Statistics (CBS) – www.cbs.nl/en-gb
Banks and other financial institutions:
Dutch Central Bank (DNB) – www.dnb.nl/en
Amsterdam Stock Exchange – live.euronext.com/en/markets/amsterdam
ABN AMRO bank – www.abnamro.com
Rabobank – www.rabobank.nl
ING Group – www.inggroup.com
Chambers and industry associations:
Chamber of Commerce – Kamer van Koophandel (KVK) – www.kvk.nl
Association of Dutch Wholesalers (NVG) – www.nvg.n l
Association of Dutch Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) – www.vno -ncw.nl
Association of Enterprises in the Metal and Electrotechnical Industry (FME) – www.fme.nl
Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in the Metal Industry (Metaalunie) – www.metaalunie.nl
Netherlands Organization for Applied Research (TNO) – www.tno.nl
The Ten Commandments for Doing Business with the Netherlands
The PaulSourcing agency has prepared ten recommendations for doing business with the Netherlands for Czech entrepreneurs interested in business relations with the Netherlands. In 2020, it was supplemented with 4 current tips.
4 recommendations for entering the Dutch market during the coronavirus pandemic situation:
- Market entry
The Dutch market is slowly waking up from its coronavirus lethargy, and there is no better time for passive preparation and its gradual implementation. Although the local market is saturated in most fields and sectors, on the other hand, it is not closed to new (and better) cooperation not only with foreign entities.Small and medium-sized enterprises are breathing again. Thanks to billion-dollar investments by the state, they were not completely spared from the consequences of the past months, which could provide an opportunity to search for new supplier and subcontractor channels.
- Searching for business partners Searching for suitable entities that match the profile of your ideal business partner is recommended by PaulSourcing’s foreign office in Rotterdam (ZK Rotterdam) as the first step. This will give you an idea of their number, activities and way of working. Such a summary will provide you with an elementary idea of the nature of business entities from the given field and perhaps even inspiration for how your company can approach their approach.Unfortunately, a complete database of companies in the Netherlands is missing. There are, of course, several paid databases on the market – but from ZK Rotterdam’s experience, they either only contain a few contacts, or the information is outdated (mostly a combination of both) and in the vast majority of cases, the invested funds do not correspond to the information obtained. The list of exhibitors at trade fairs is very useful for finding subjects, but it is necessary to invest a lot of work and time to get to know individual contacts. Also, be prepared that most of the internet pages are in Dutch, without a corresponding language mutation.
- Addressing Despite significant government intervention, the Dutch economy was paralyzed and not everyone managed to manage the situation. For this reason, ZK Rotterdam recommends caution when actively reaching out to local entities and rather start with reaching out by e-mail. The advantage of the still preferred home office is that entrepreneurs have more time for administration and dealing with those too.In the event of an answer, the contact details in your list/longlist will be added beautifully, including the responsible person. If your email remains unanswered, you can refer to its sending in subsequent communications. ZK Rotterdam recommends preparing a cover letter in which you highlight the qualities of your company and your product – what you are good at, what makes the product unique, what is your added value, what references do you have, etc. A few sentences are enough that the reader, i.e. a potential client, they attract attention. It is advisable to start the address with the sentence Allow us to introduce you to our company… Then add your promotional materials to the e-mail attachment – presentation, video, flyer, etc.Of course, it is easiest for any potential partner to communicate in their mother tongue, but in the Netherlands you can also use English.
- Follow-up communication As a rule, it is good to return to the next contact after a few weeks. A combination of a phone call and contacting the given person via the LinkedIn professional network is ideal. In the Netherlands, communication through this platform is common and people communicate through it quite normally.Unfortunately, direct contact with a person from senior management is only minimally available on the website. It is therefore necessary to call the general number and try your luck. Most of the time, the assistant will ask you to send an e-mail – in this case, it is a good idea to mention that you have already sent an e-mail and would like to connect with a competent person (you can find out their name through the LinkedIn platform). Most of the time you will get at least an e-mail, rarely a phone number, for a decision maker type person from the company. It is then necessary to communicate with a specific person via e-mail (sending documents and presentations), LinkedIn (live communication) and telephone (potential reminder).It is important not to push and give the other side room to react. The Dutch are generally not the fastest nation in response time, so 2 weeks to a month is no time at all. It is not unusual for your appeals to go unanswered – but the Dutch side has your contact and it usually happens that the Czech company is contacted only after a few weeks or months.
The Ten Commandments for Trading with the Netherlands
- Be prepared The Dutch greatly appreciate an informed partner. A general overview or deep knowledge can impress them. Find out in advance the information about the partner you are dealing with.
- Work online Your internet presence, Facebook, Twitter and especially LinkedIn are a popular source of information for your potential partners.
- Ask for an accurate opinion The Dutch are very polite and well-mannered, rather than creating an unpleasant atmosphere, they prefer to “mist” instead of giving a clear opinion. Ask for a clear yes or no, but without pressure.
- Flexibility is essential The Dutch have their own pace. It often happens that they don’t respond for a long time, but when they do, they want your response and 100% readiness immediately.
- Business is not done at the table Long-term business partners go to social and cultural events or golf together. Don’t decline the invitation.
- Set your boundaries The Dutch are very open and sometimes it can border on invading your private space. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
- Small talk Prepare for a third of the communication about business and the remaining two thirds for topics of a more personal nature. Don’t be afraid to diplomatically direct the call to where you need to go.
- Trust is important The Dutch are generally distrustful of new things, so they want to get to know you during a more intimate conversation.
- Recommendation opens doors Good references from a local partner are effective in establishing further relationships. A negative reference can be fatal just as a great reference can be positive.
- You can’t do without English Almost everyone in the Netherlands speaks English. In contrast, websites are rarely in English. Of course, it is most comfortable for the Dutch to use their mother tongue.