Company and Corporate law

Corporate Law in the Netherlands, written down in the “Company Act”, is the major source of statutory regulations and rules for company incorporation and management.

The law lists the different types of companies that can be incorporated in the Netherlands and the rules pertinent to the procedure of establishment. It covers the compliance, taxation and management of corporations, and the procedures in cases of bankruptcy, merger and company acquisition. The document also stipulates the allocation of responsibility and power within companies.

Company establishment in the Netherlands

The Dutch Company Act specifies what business forms can be incorporated and what regulations and rulings are applicable to each form. Depending on the particular activities and the preferred manner of managing a business, investors can choose between a private (BV) and public company with limited liability (NV), or a limited and a general partnership. The law does not recognize partnerships as legal persons.

The Company Act also describes the process of formation and the corporate purposes of companies. The procedure for incorporation must follow the steps outlined in the law. The necessary documents, e.g. incorporation deed, must be notarized locally. The company’s managing directors are its representatives and their liability is determined by the specifics of the entity they decide to establish. For the purposes of incorporation, the entity will need a contributed capital; the subsequent share transfer is also covered by the corporate law.

All regulations in the Dutch Civil Code are consistent with the EC Directives, the law on securities trade supervision and the act on listed companies, partially governing the manner in which Dutch companies are managed. Foreign investors planning to form a Dutch company can initiate a process of due diligence.

Dutch company management

Company management, as provided in the Company Act, is a two-layered system, consisting of an executive board of managers and an advisory board of supervisors that oversees the managerial work. The model is valid for both public and private companies with limited liability. These boards are compulsory for large companies.

The company owners appoint the members of the managing board during incorporation. The responsibilities and powers of the managing board are laid out in the association articles. The liabilities and duties of the directors are legally established and may include criminal and civil liability.

Business owners hiring personnel in Holland should also observe the law on employment. It contains important rulings with respect to the employment conditions, the obligations and rights of employees and employers, the dismissal procedure, the wages and the working hours. The Dutch legislation on labour is flexible as regards workforce and has many particularities.

Do you need more information about the Dutch corporate law or would you be interested in starting a business in the Netherlands? Contact the Company and Corporate law specialist at Minerva Advocaten.