Foreign Direct Investment in the Netherlands

Overview by

FDI in Figures

The Netherlands is one of the European countries that attracts most of direct foreign investment (FDI).  A strong international orientation and a liberal policy towards foreign investment are the characteristics of the Netherlands' policies in this field.  Many Dutch companies are multinational by nature and a large number of these are listed on the foreign stock markets.  There are no regulatory restrictions on foreign direct investment. 
The Netherlands had shown an increase of its FDI stock until 2007; however, due to the financial international crisis, the FDI flows declined in 2008.  They have begun to increase again, a trend that should remain. 

The global investment report of the UNCTAD classifies the Netherlands as a front runner in what concerns countries with a high potential and a good performance for FDI.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Netherlands OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 4.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 4.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 6.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 4.7 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

Foreign Direct Investment 2007 2008 2009
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 115,365 -7,621 26,949
FDI Stock (million USD) 728,212 638,801 596,669
Performance Index*, Ranking on 141 Economies 13 140 54
Potential Index**, Ranking on 141 Economies 15 13 -
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 131 173 155
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****) 74.2 -4.3 12.0
FDI Stock (in % of GDP) 93.6 73.2 75.3

Source: UNCTAD

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field 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. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in the Netherlands

Strong Points
The Kingdom's strong points are highly developed communication and transport infrastructures, a skilled, productive  and multilingual labor force, a strategic geographical location which is a gateway towards major European markets, a stable political and macro-economic environment and a very developped financial sector.
Weak Points
The country's weak points are the high cost of labor, the limited domestic market, relatively complicated legislation, a cumbersome administrative system and a structurally faulty road infrastructure.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
The Dutch economy is amongst the most open in the world. Since January 2007, the Dutch taxation environment for international companies has become even more attractive. The company taxation rate has dropped by 25.5%, which is well below the European Union average. The whole of the government measures can be referred to on the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency website. 
Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By the Netherlands
The Netherlands has signed IBOs with a large number of countries. You can consult the list on the UNCTAD's website. 

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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. Certain sectors such as telecommunications, banking and insurance require the granting of an authorization.
Obligation to Declare
No specific text of law regulates foreign direct investments. Their regime is adjusted the refine applied for national investments.
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Dutch Ministry of Finance
Requests For Specific Authorizations
Not needed.
Find Investment Service Providers in the Netherlands on

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency
Netherlands Foreign Trade Agency
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
Other Useful Resources
Dutch Ministry of Economy

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