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In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in the Netherlands | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information


FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD's 2022 World Investment Report, FDI flows to the Netherlands were negative by USD 81 billion in 2021, a trend that continued from the previous year, when net divestment stood at USD 105.3 billion due to large equity divestments following the economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, the total stock of FDIs reached USD 2.5 trillion. In the same year outflows from the Netherlands - usually among the largest investing countries in Europe – resumed and reached USD 28 billion. According to data by the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), the number of companies investing in the country went back to 2019 levels: overall, 423 new projects were registered, with an estimated total investment value of EUR 2.3 billion in the first three years. These projects are expected to create nearly 13,400 direct jobs. Around 65% of direct investment is in Special Purpose Entities (SPEs) and holdings. In 2021 most investment in the Netherlands was made by U.S. enterprises (around 20%), followed by the UK, Germany, Luxembourg and France (CBS). Shell’s relocation from the Netherlands to the UK on 31 December 2021 prompted a rise in inward investment in the country, as the elements of the multinational that are still registered in the Netherlands are now under foreign ownership. The majority of the multinationals in Netherlands are active in the wholesale and retail trade sector (around 37.8%), followed by specialised business services (16.2%), manufacturing (13.9%), and information and communication (12.3% - CBS). According to the latest figures from OECD, FDI inflows to the Netherlands reached a record high of USD 40.8 billion in the first semester of 2022, compared to a negative inflow of USD 16 billion recorded in the same period one year earlier.

The Dutch investment policy is characterized by a strong international orientation and a liberal policy towards foreign investment. Many Dutch companies are multinational by nature and some of these are listed on foreign stock markets. The Netherlands offer a competitive fiscal climate, advanced infrastructures, and a strategic location. On the other hand, the country has a small internal market and is heavily dependent on the economic performance of its partners (especially in the EU). Sector-specific screening regimes are in place for the telecommunication sector, electricity and gas. In 2022, a new FDI screening mechanism has been adopted for investments in undertakings active in vital processes or sensitive technology (including dual-use items and military goods). The country is ranked 4th out of 82 economies in the Business Environment ranking published by The Economist and 6th out of 63 in the Global Competitiveness Ranking.

Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) -86,507-77,453-67,340
FDI Stock (million USD) 2,721,3292,744,4502,683,600
Number of Greenfield Investments* 293319322
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 6,8418,4828,980

Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.



Main Investing Countries 2019, in %
USA 22.6
Luxembourg 12.4
United Kingdom 9.2
Germany 7.0
Switzerland 5.9
Ireland 4.8
Belgium 4.0
France 3.9
Main Invested Sectors 2019, in %
Financial and insurance activities 84.9
Manufacturing 9.3
Wholesale and retail trade 2.2
Real estate 1.4
Transportation and storage 0.7

Source: OECD Statistics, Latest data available.

Form of Company Preferred By Foreign Investors
N. V. (Public Limited Liability Company)
Form of Establishment Preferred By Foreign Investors
Main Foreign Companies
National Foreign Investment Agency has stories and names on their website.
Sources of Statistics
Dutch Statistics Agency
Dutch National Bank

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What to consider if you invest in the Netherlands

Strong Points

The main assets of the country's economy are :

  • An overall stable political and macroeconomic environment above the European average, healthy public finances and a highly developed financial sector; 
  • Highly developed communication and transport infrastructures
  • A qualified, productive and multilingual workforce that makes it suitable for export trade
  • A strategic geographical location, which makes it a gateway to the main European markets
  • Exports are diversified and external accounts are in surplus thanks to export-friendly structures and infrastructure.  
Weak Points

The main weaknesses of the country for FDI are:

  • High costs of the workforce
  • The small size of the internal market
  • A great dependence on the world economic situation and, in particular, the EU
  • Banks dependent on wholesale financing and real estate
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
The Dutch government offers several types of financial support: grants, tax incentives, guarantees, credits, participations, subordinated loans stimulating innovation and sustainable foreign investment and entrepreneurship.

  • The WBSO (Research and Development Act). This is an R&D tax credit from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. It aims to offer entrepreneurs an incentive to invest in R&D, allowing companies to decrease costs for R&D.
  • Energy Investment Allowance (EIA): allows companies to deduct 45% of the investment cost of energy-saving equipment from the taxable profit in addition to the deduction of the customary depreciation.
  • Environmental Investment Deduction (MIA): allows companies to deduct up to 36% of the investment costs for an environmentally friendly investment on top of the regular investment tax deductions
  • Arbitrary depreciation of environmental investments (Vamil): allows companies to amortize 75% of the investment costs of a qualifying environmentally friendly investment at once.
  • Innovation box: Income that is a result from R&D is taxed at an effective rate of 7% (the normal tax rate is 25%).
  • Dutch Good Growth Fund supports SMEs that are prepared to invest in developing countries and emerging markets.
  • Export Credit Insurance is focused on promoting Dutch exports.

Moreover there are the regional incentives offered by the EU:
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The ERDF is mainly focused on strengthening economic and social cohesion in the EU by correcting imbalances between its regions.
The European Territorial Co-operation (INTERREG). This programme, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), finances and supports international co-operation within particular European regions.

All government measures can be consulted on the website of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency.

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Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By the Netherlands
The Netherlands has signed BITs with a large number of countries. You can consult the list on the UNCTAD's website. 
International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
The ISDS Navigator contains information about known international arbitration cases initiated by investors against States pursuant to international investment agreements. The Netherlands is involved in 114 cases as Home State of claimant.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International court of arbitration, International chamber of commerce
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
The Netherlands has been a member of MIGA convention since its creation.
Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Netherlands OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 4.0 6.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 4.0 5.3 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 6.0 7.3 9.0 5.0

Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
A majority holding interest in the capital of a Dutch company is legal. Depending on the sector the target company is operating in, specific regulatory approvals or notifications may be required. This is the case for acquisitions of target companies operating in the financial, healthcare or energy sectors.
Obligation to Declare
No specific text of law regulates foreign direct investments. Their regime is adjusted the refine applied for national investments. The supervision of mergers is shared by Dutch and European authorities.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Dutch Ministry of Finance
Requests For Specific Authorisations
The Netherlands does not have foreign restrictions to investments. However, in some specific strategic sectors, limitations apply for national security purposes. These sectors are: defence and security, energy, public broadcasting, finance, transportation, the media, postal services.

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Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
Companies are ensured a wide selection of prime office space to rent or purchase (such as Instant Offices).

In addition, the Netherlands has fully furnished and equipped business support centers available for rent, enabling new companies to hit the ground running with minimal start-up costs. Office space in these centers may be rented by the hour, day, month, year or longer.

The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
There are no restrictions on the foreign ownership or occupation of real estate.
Risk of Expropriation
Expropriation would only take place in case of public interest and with adequate compensation. Up until now there have been no expropriations recorded.

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Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
The Dutch government offers several types of financial support: grants, tax incentives, guarantees, credits, participations, subordinated loans.
Concerning new businesses and investment incentives, investors can contact the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) and the Netherlands Foreign Trade Agency.
Privileged Domains
The areas for which incentives are available are: technology and research and development, human resources, expanding or establishing businesses, exports, energy and environmentally friendly measures. Other industry sectors that are attractive to invest are the computer software, computer industries, chemicals, security equipment, medical equipment and pollution control (equipment) among others.
Laws and regulations that affect FDI apply equally to foreign and domestic companies.
Privileged Geographical Zones
Randstad area is the most interesting to invest in due to its location (near Schiphol Airport and the Rotterdam Port)
Free-trade zones
The Netherlands has no free trade zones (FTZs) or free ports where commodities can be processed or reprocessed tax-free.  However, FTZs exist for bonded storage, cargo consolidation, and reconfiguration of non-EU goods.
Public aid and funding organisations
The Dutch national bank and the European bank loan at favorable rates.

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Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Agro industries, fishing, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction and microelectronics.
High Potential Sectors
Computer software, computer services, automotive parts and accessories, seaport & airport security equipment and systems, transport and distribution services, aircraft parts and associated equipment, medical equipment and supplies and pollution control equipment.
Privatization Programmes
There are no ongoing privatization programs in the Netherlands.
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
EBP, Tenders and Projects in Netherlands
Tenders Info, Tenders in Netherlands
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide

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Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
The Dutch state monopoly on Holland Casino was to be privatised by 2020, but a surprise political opposition in early 2019 forced the process to stop.
The government has divested its complete ownership of many public utilities, but in a number of strategic sectors, private investment – including foreign investment – may be subject to limitations or conditions.  These include transportation, energy, defense and security, finance, postal services, public broadcasting, and the media.

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Finding Assistance For Further Information

Investment Aid Agency
Invest in Holland (Foreign Investment Agency of the Netherlands)
Holland Trade and Invest (Foreign Trade Agency of the Netherlands)
Other Useful Resources (Dutch Government's information platform for entrepreneurs)
Doing Business Guides
Doing Business in the Netherlands (PwC)
Investment in the Netherlands (KPMG)
Deloitte Tax Guide - Netherlands
Doing business in the Netherlands - UHY

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Latest Update: September 2023