What Are Some of the Best Businesses to Start in the Netherlands? 

So you want to start a business in the Netherlands? You’re in luck, because the Netherlands is one of the best countries to consider starting up your own company. Whether you’re Dutch or not, the business opportunities are endless. But what are the best businesses to start in the Netherlands?

Online Sales

Launching an e-commerce platform is now easier than ever! With your great idea for a product or service that you’re passionate about, you hardly need any coding or web-building skills. Just use one of the many templates available online to design your e-commerce website and start selling your products/services. Some of the best e-commerce platforms are Shopify, Squarespace, and WordPress. With a website, you immediately have access to the entire world’s mental space, giving you a competitive advantage in advertising, brand awareness, and engagement.

PRO TIP: Alongside your website, make social media channels for your company and link those to your website and vice versa. This additional touch-point will prove to be beneficial to reaching your target customer!


Handmade Goods

Starting a business in the Netherlands selling handmade goods is an excellent option. Do you have a talent like crafting unique clothes, bags, jewelry, or leather goods? Chances are you’ve been doing this for a while and have the necessary stock to start setting up your business, but if you don’t — the production of handmade goods requires only a small initial investment. You should soon see a positive return on this investment once you launch your business online, do the necessary marketing, and make a name for yourself.

PRO-TIP: Watch for current trends and form your business and marketing around the ones you care about. For example, a huge current trend is circularity and improving the environment. Perhaps if you’re a talented jeweler, you could make bracelets out of local trash you find on the Dutch beaches or plastic from the canals. This way you promote something bigger than just a bracelet, you’re making people feel part of an important change that needs to happen in the world.

The Dutch Food Industry

Your start-up doesn’t always have to be tech-based! If your passion is food, the Netherlands is an excellent place to start a business in the food industry, whether it be a restaurant, a coffee-place, a micro-brewery, a food truck, or a catering business. The Netherlands is quite strict on the rules and regulation surrounding food storage, production and sales, and hygiene. These all require special licenses and permits, but they are not too hard to obtain.

PRO-TIP: Being a culinary entrepreneur, you’ll face high competition from already established restaurants and huge catering businesses. One way to gain a competitive edge is intellectual property: make something that no-one else can copy because they don’t have the skills, knowledge, or access.


Become a Horticultural Architect

The Netherlands LOVES flowers, and Dutch families love to garden. But…not all Dutch families are good at it and need help, yet don’t want to pay an overly expensive architect to design their gardens. This is where you come in. Are you talented in design, gardening, building landscapes, communicating these ideas and turning your vision to life? Becoming a self-employed horticultural architect is a perfect business opportunity in the Netherlands. Promote yourself and your skills on a personal website, business cards and posters in gardening/home-improvement stores, social media, and watch the request emails pile in.

PRO-TIP: As a self-employed, certified entrepreneur, you determine your own price. It is a good idea to first take a competitively low price with respect to the bigger gardening giants, but still enough for your to sustain a living. You can be very creative with your business model!


Kid-Friendly App Business

In the Netherlands, parents often freely let their kids use their own phones for gaming and social media. However, recently there has been an increase in concern around what apps children are exposed to, and whether or not these are good for their development. If you know how to develop apps, you can focus on developing safe and fun apps for children and win the trust of parents. These apps can be educational, or just fun and safe without parents needing to worry about their kids being exposed to extreme violence or their children accidentally purchasing in-app features costing over 1000 euros.

PRO-TIP: If you don’t know how to develop apps, but you’re passionate about this issue and want to start a company in this field, hire a small team of developers! How do you find these? At one of our meetups!


More Great Businesses to Start in Holland

Online sales, handmade goods, the food industry, flowers and kid-friendly apps are certainly not the only best businesses to start in the Netherlands. Other industries that have historically done well here are for instance high technology startups, renewable energy, craft beer, and a lot more.

If you need more inspiration, take a look at this overview of Startups in Utrecht, which covers a wide range of new businesses that are truly from the Netherlands and have found a good niche to work in. Alternatively, come to one of our meetups! Every month we bring starting entrepreneurs in the Netherlands together, so you can easily find business partners or think of new business ideas to start in this small country.

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