How to enter the Dutch market?

L. Giopp
by L. Giopp - 3 min read - Sun 23 Oct, 2022
How to enter the Dutch market?

The Netherlands, known as the gateway to Europe, is a major hub of foreign-owned logistics and distribution centres, reaching over 160 million consumers within 24 hours from the country's two largest cities. If you are looking for a good point to enter the European market, you should consider this country.

Expanding your business in the Netherlands

When planning to expand your business abroad, it is essential to consider the current situation in your target market.

The Netherlands is a major hub for foreign-owned logistics and distribution centres. Known as the gateway to Europe, the country is home to around 900 distribution centres of American and Asian companies.

The Dutch logistics infrastructure owes its success to world-class seaports, centrally located airports and a modern network of roads and motorways. The country's infrastructure and excellent logistics service providers are ideal solutions for many companies seeking distribution and logistics in Europe. In less than 24 hours from Amsterdam and Rotterdam, it is possible to reach more than 160 million consumers, making the Netherlands an ideal springboard to the European market.

Last but not least, The Netherlands has an advantageous corporate tax structure, a multilingual and highly educated workforce, and a strong supply chain and supplier network. This has convinced some of the largest multinational companies, such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Huawei and Tommy Hilfiger, to choose the Netherlands as their entry point into the European market.

Invest in the Netherlands

In 2016, the Netherlands was ranked fourth in the World Bank's International Logistics Performance Index. The index is based on customs efficiency and effectiveness, transport quality, IT infrastructure, and shipments' ease and affordability.

Shipments from the hinterland of the Netherlands account for 54% of all commercial shipments in Western Europe. The Dutch fleet has over 7000 vessels and is the largest and most modern in Europe.

More than 1000 American and Asian companies have centralised their European distribution in the Netherlands. The distribution centres occupy more than 20 million square metres of the country's surface area.

Customer trends

When deciding to expand into new markets, it is essential to consider customer behaviour. How do your target customers typically purchase products? What is their preferred method of delivery? The following data will help you think through how customer trends will affect how you do business in the Netherlands.

Here are some interesting stats you should keep in mind:

  • If you offer a one-day delivery option online, you can increase your sales in Europe by up to 25%. Sunday, same-day and evening deliveries help reduce the cart abandonment rate by online shoppers by up to 15%.
  • Home delivery is the preferred shipping method.
  • According to studies, approximately 25% of online purchases in the Netherlands fall into the consumer products category.
  • 86% of the population use the Internet and GDP per capita is €40,900. More than 90% of internet users made an online purchase in 2016.
  • The Dutches prefer to buy on sites or apps in their own language and through local payment methods.
  • iDeal is a highly recommended payment method, with 56% of users preferring it to others.
  • Transparency regarding options and delivery times is crucial.
  • Popular online product categories include clothing, consumer electronics and books.
  • The most popular mobile device for shopping is the tablet, followed by the smartphone.

Distribution models

Cross-border shipping in the Netherlands The Netherlands is home to the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Europe's busiest and one of the largest. And, following the Brexit result, could replace the UK as the most popular port of entry to the EU for US e-commerce companies.

Distribution within the EU The Netherlands is bordered by the three most economically powerful countries in Europe - Germany, the UK and France - and is approximately 650 km from half of Europe's most important markets. With a robust road and rail infrastructure and a network of canals and rivers, the Netherlands offers many opportunities for businesses to meet consumer expectations of delivery times and shipping costs.

Domestic distribution in the Netherlands The geographic area of Waalwijk/Tilburg is easily accessible and is an ideal area in which to set up a distribution centre. It offers easy access to motorways and is only two and a half hours away from the rest of the country. In addition, the Netherlands is close to Belgium and Germany, which makes it easy to reach the population of these two large European countries.

How to open a business in the Netherlands

When considering whether to enter the Dutch market, think about the pros and cons of setting up a business and the type of company structure that might suit you. You need to find out where your tax office is, register with the tax and customs administration and check whether you have to pay VAT in the Netherlands. Finally, check that your goods can be imported into the country, and look for a distribution centre and couriers that cover your target geographic areas or operate across Europe if you use a cross-border location.

When entering a new market like the Netherland, it is good to be aware of the administrative, regulatory and logistical difficulties that may arise that aren't the purpose of this article. Still, if you are already entering the Dutch market, you can find more information online at the official Dutch Foreign Ministry website.


Entering a new market like the Netherland is a process that will take you some time. It will not be easy, but it will be a lot easier with the right partners at your side. We at Hero Translate can be your winning partner for what it concerns being recognised as Dutch, with a perfect localisation of everything related to this beautiful country.

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