Setting up in the Netherlands Part 2: How to find the best office space for your business

This is the second article of a series that was written to help foreign businesses in the Netherlands set up. Last month, we published the first article in the series, which explained how to register your business with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and Tax Authority. You can read that article here.

In this article, we will go in-depth into how to find the right office space for your business. We’ll start by covering the cities in the Netherlands and where the top industries are located. Additionally, we’ll outline the different types of office spaces available for corporate companies.

Where to look for a suitable office

The Netherlands was built for business and trade – and most industries can be found in a specific region of the Netherlands.

To determine the location of the company’s business premises, you need to consider factors such as geographic location, industrial divisions, infrastructure networks, urban planning policies, and so on.

The most common region of choice by foreign businesses is the “Randstad” region. The Randstad region consists of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and surrounding cities, focuses on a large number of commercial office buildings, has developed transportation and diversified industries.

If staying in the major cities isn’t a priority – consider selecting a region based on the industry. When international companies settle in the Netherlands, they will also consider the location of the major industrial clusters in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam: City for multinational headquarters and FinTech

The city synonymously known for the Netherlands – Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, home to the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange, and the “city of choice” for multinational headquarters. Stationed in Amsterdam is the European/EMEA regional headquarters for international companies from a wide range of industries — such as Booking.com, Philips, Heineken, the ING Group, the NN Group and Tesla.

Multinationals aren’t the only company type you’ll find in this city – The number of financial technology (also known as FinTech) and start-up companies is also growing in Amsterdam. Following the footsteps of Amsterdam’s first unicorn company, Adyen Payment Services (who relocated from California to Amsterdam in 2017), these companies work in Amsterdam in the hopes of becoming the European Union’s next most valuable innovation.

Rotterdam: The Port of Europe

The second-largest city in the Netherlands has the largest port in Europe. It is known as the “gateway to Europe” among the rest of the world. It is known as the “gateway to Europe” among the rest of the world. Rotterdam is built for logistics – both in infrastructure and spirit – the city is well connected to Belgium and Germany by land, rail, water, air, and pipelines. Rotterdam is a rapidly developing urban area and ideal for logistic companies and businesses who rely on easy access to the port. That’s why companies like Boskalis, and Carrier Transicold have set up a presence in the area.

The Hague: Energy and Gas Hotspot

The Hague is known worldwide thanks to the presence of the International Court of Justice and the United Nations. As a result, plenty of international organizations, embassies, and peripheral service providers have set up shop here. On the commercial side, The Hague is also a hotspot for Energy and Gas corporations – Total, Siemens Gamesa, Shell, and Aramco Overseas all have their headquarters here.

Businesses can find plenty of highly skilled people in and around The Hague – thanks to the proximity to the globally-recognized TU Delft University. Dutch Universities, such as TU Delft and Eindhoven University are recognized for the major achievements they put forth in clean energy research. Both Delft and Eindhoven University are regular participants of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – and have won 8 out of the last 10 challenges hosted in Australia.

Utrecht: ICT and Healthcare research

Utrecht is one of the lesser-known cities in the Randstad region and the hotspot for health and technology companies due to the Utrecht Science Park. The Science Park is home to a variety of incubators and start-ups, as well as more than 100 businesses in the field of healthcare or life sciences.

Eindhoven – Dutch ‘Silicon Valley’

The “Silicon Valley” of the Netherlands works as a gathering place for many technological innovation companies while also being the fastest growing industrial area in Holland through the presence of the VDL Groep. In addition, research and development facilities and fledging start-ups can find a home in Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus – a business centre and incubator for research and development businesses.

Eindhoven is also the birthplace of the Dutch multinational Royal Philips and the home base of ASML. At the same time, Eindhoven has a well-known Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), which offers strong programs in the fields of energy, biology, life science and smart mobility.

Groningen – Clean Energy and Sustainability

In the north of the Netherlands, the province of Groningen is known for its abundant natural gas reserves, making the area vulnerable to environmental misuse. That’s why the province of Groningen pays more attention to the research and development of clean energy and has become a clean energy research and development base in the Netherlands. In 2020, the Nort H2 project was launched by Royal Dutch Shell, natural gas pipeline network operator Gasunie, German RWE (Rheinland Group), Norway’s Equinor and the Port of Groningen, known as the world’s largest offshore wind power hydrogen production plan.

Gelderland – The “Food Valley”

The central part of the Netherlands, the province of Gelderland in the central part of the Netherlands, attracts many agricultural and dairy industries. Food Valley, centred on Wageningen University, the world’s number one agricultural university, is the highlight. It is the core area for the development and technological development of the European food industry. It is also a world-renowned food industry gathering place. Many multinational food companies have gathered in the central region, including Nestlé, Danone, Unilever, Heinz, Mead Johnson, etc.

Types of offices to rent in NL

Commercial land in the Netherlands is mainly divided into retail shops, catering, and commercial office buildings. Decide on commercial land and its location according to the type of business.

Retail stores

Industries such as retail, hotel, catering and other industries need a physical store in their daily operations. Therefore, while looking for a property, you must ensure that the location you choose meets the needs of the local city hall’s Zoning Plan (bestemming). If you do not meet the distinction plan, you can apply for an “All-in-one permit”. With this permission, you can submit an exception or change the requirements of the distinction plan to the local city hall. At the same time, the integrated construction permit allows you to carry out construction, renovation, demolition and decoration operations.

Co-working/flexible office space (Flexplek)

In the Netherlands, co-working spaces are very popular with start-ups and creative companies. The shared space provides flexible space (size optional), flexible lease period (hours/days/month) and flexible prices. At the same time, sharing the workspace allows you to meet more like-minded professionals and is a way for companies to share entrepreneurship and get advice. Shared space providers: Spaces, Wework, A Lab, Mindspace, etc.

Serviced office space

Thanks to the influx of commercial businesses, it is becoming increasingly popular across the Netherlands to build “serviced office space” with the intention of renting on a temporary basis. These offices fit best for corporate activities – and you usually pay for cleaning/upkeep as a part of your rent. In addition to office space, they also provide basic administrative services, property management, etc.

Virtual office

The rise in virtual work as a result of last year’s pandemic may make a virtual office space the best choice for your business. Virtual offices remove the need for a “brick-and-mortar” location and enable your people to work from home – anywhere in the world. In addition, virtual offices could provide a physical address for the official registration of your business while also forwarding all calls and mail.

Which office space is best for my business?

As a partner for businesses landing in the Netherlands from abroad, we understand the importance of finding your new “work home”. Throughout our experience working with customers, here are a few things worth keeping in mind:

1: The choice of office is not only affected by the location of the address, but also factors such as city hall regional planning, business clusters and commuting convenience will have an impact on the choice of location.

2: Office building structure, ventilation system, fresh air system and other factors affect the decoration of the office building, so the landlord needs to provide corresponding information when selecting the site. Especially for the construction of staff canteens.

3: The lease term of an office in the Netherlands is usually long, and its lease regulations are also very detailed. One point that needs special attention is the lease revocation clause, such as whether the building environment needs to be restored when retiring the lease.

You can learn more about starting a business in the Netherlands by subscribing to our newsletter, or you can contact us via our email to ask your questions and let us find a suitable solution for your business.

Start a business in the Netherlands

Finding the right office space can seem daunting – but it doesn’t have to be complicated. As the partner for businesses landing in the Netherlands from abroad, our team is well-versed in the options available and how they impact a business’ success. Get in touch with us today to find out how our team can help your business start off on the right foot when you plan to relocate.

This is the second article in a series meant to help new landing businesses settle in the Netherlands. Our next article will be about hiring employees and finding the right talent for your business. Sign up for our email newsletter here to be notified of our next article.

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