Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on business in the Netherlands

3 July 2020

Currently our daily lives and doing business are affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus raises questions among entrepreneurs and companies about the long- and short-term consequences. The Dutch government has taken measures to support companies affected by the coronavirus.

We hope that you are able to keep relative business continuity in the midst of these circumstances but recognize that this unprecedented situation raises many questions for your business and its employees - whether you are already serving the European market from the Netherlands/Brabant, or contemplating doing so in the future.

Please find below an overview of key websites that provide up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19 related matters. Additionally, the BOM Foreign Investments team is available to you if you have any questions.

Economic Measures extended to 1 October 2020

On 28 May, the Dutch government announced that all economic and tax measures will be extended until 1 October 2020. Two regulations have been amended: the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment and the Reimbursement Fixed Costs for SMEs. You can find the details below.

General public health & safety information on COVID-19

Latest information on the public health situation, relevant advice and COVID-19 safety measures are available on the website of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

Information about the effect of COVID-19 on schools, childcare facilities, employees, employers, travel and public transport can be found on the official Government website of the Netherlands.

General business information on COVID-19

The Dutch government has launched a roadmap with up-to-date information on support measures for companies in the Netherlands. The roadmap also guides you to Dutch national organisations which you can turn to for more information and advice. Most common business questions are covered on an FAQ page.

On these pages you find more information for example on what to do when your business in the Netherlands faces financial difficulties due to COVID-19. You also find more information on the measures that have been announced by the Dutch government to help entrepreneurs and businesses in the Netherlands, and the possibilities for reducing working hours when you have less work for your employees.

If you have other business questions, for instance concerning staff, events, transport of goods or inventory, call the KVK Advice Team at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce on workdays between 8:30 and 20:00 hours (CET).

  • Calls from the Netherlands: 0800 2117 (menu in Dutch)
  • Calls from abroad: +31 88 585 2222 (menu in English, press 9)

Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment

On 31 March, the Dutch government announced the NOW-arrangement (Noodfonds Overbrugging Werkgelegenheid), providing financial help for employers to pay their employees’ wages in regard to the COVID-19 crisis. The NOW-scheme replaces the unemployment benefit during short-time working (wtv).

On 28 May 2020, the NOW-arrangement has been extended to October 2020 and new conditions have been added when applying for the measures. From 6 June 2020, you can apply for the NOW 2.0, covering the months of July, August and September 2020.

Key workers and vital processes in light of COVID-19

Primary schools and childcare facilities in the Netherlands have reopened from 11 May onwards, but will adhere to social distancing. Secondary schools and specialized education have opened from 2 June 2020 and will also adhere to social distancing measures. Social distancing measures can mean that some schools can only accommodated children part-time. Execution of the social distancing measures will be decided by schools themselves.

However, schools and childcare centers will be open for children of key workers to enable these parents to continue to work. Key workers are people who work in healthcare, public transport, the police and fire services and other crucial sectors. This childcare will be provided at no extra cost. To find out who is classified as a key worker, consult the list of professions in crucial sectors.

Note that families with only one parent working in a crucial sector are being asked to look after their children themselves. If this is not possible, these families can send their children to school and/or their childcare provider (day nursery, out-of-school care or childminder). It is not a hard requirement that both parents work in a crucial sector. For the Dutch government, it is more important that childcare is available for people working in crucial sectors so they can continue to work.

COVID-19 impact on European logistics

The Netherlands plays a vital role in European supply chains, therefore, the Dutch government has identified air and sea freight chains, road transport, as well as food and medical supply chains as vital processes in view of COVID-19. Employees vital to the operation of these chains can go to work and are, at this stage, still entitled to day-care if needed. Our Invest in Holland partner Holland International Distribution Council (HIDC) provides brief updates on the current situation (18 May 2020), providing insights how COVID-19 may change the European distribution system. HIDC remains available for questions about the continued operations of Dutch ports, borders and logistics operations.

Tax options for business affected by COVID-19

Measures initiated by the Dutch government are, amongst others:

  • You can apply for a payment extension for income tax, corporate tax, payroll tax, and turnover tax (VAT). The Dutch Tax Administration will put on hold any measures in place to collect payment immediately upon reception of your request.
  • You will not have to pay any fines for late payment. Also, it is not necessary to send in any proof straightaway. You will have more time for this.
  • The normal collection interest rate for paying after the payment term has passed will be decreased from 4% to nearly 0% temporarily. This applies to all tax debts. The tax interest rate will also temporarily be set to the lowest possible percentage for all entrepreneurs.

For more information, we would advise to contact the Dutch Tax Information Line by phone:

  • Calls from the Netherlands: 0800 0543
  • Calls from abroad: +31 55 538 53 85

Alternatively, you can find an overview of the different measures online (in Dutch only).

Corona Startups Support Portal

Techleap, a non-profit publicly funded organisation helping to quantify and accelerate the tech ecosystem of the Netherlands, has launched a COVID-19 portal aimed at providing startups with help.

The portal consists of a Guide for Covid-19 issues, expert consultations, overview of online events, international support hours, a COVID-19 NL VC index with VC that are open for providing funding and an overview of offers and support services from corporate partners of Techleap. Techleap regularly updates the content of the portal.

As of the 29th of April 2020 companies can apply for a special bridging loan, the so-called Corona-Oververbruggingslening (COL), via an online portal built by Techleap.nl, the Regional development organizations (ROMs) and Invest-NL. This bridging loan program was announced by the government earlier in April to the amount of EUR 200 million for all non-bank funded companies: startups, scaleups and innovative SMEs by the government. The COL was developed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, in close cooperation with Techleap.nl, the ROMs and Invest-NL. The scheme is executed by the ROMs at the request of the government.

Reimbursement Fixed Costs SMEs

Owners of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with a maximum of 250 employees, that have suffered a turnover loss of more than 30% due to the corona crisis can be eligible for the Reimbursement Fixed Costs SMEs (Tegemoetkoming Vaste Lasten mkb, TVL).

This reimbursement is meant for SME’s to help them pay their fixed costs. Fixed costs are for instance rent, insurances, leases, maintenance and subscriptions. Please note: wage costs are not included. These are compensated through the NOW: Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment.

Updates on immigration matters

On the page of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) you can find the latest information about the regulations around staying in the Netherlands and renewing and applying for different versions of residence and work permits. Please note that this page is regularly updated. You also find the latest information if and how employees from outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland can enter the Netherlands.

Updates on international travel

For the latest news on international from an to the Netherlands, please follow the travel advice from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and your local authorities. More information on visas to the Netherlands in regards to COVID-19 can be found here.

If you need more information or require urgent assistance, please contact your travel insurer or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

  • By telephone: +31 247 247 247 (please note these phone lines are extremely busy and you may have to wait for some time before your call is answered)
  • Via Twitter at @24/7BZ

Corona portal internationals

During this Corona-crisis, it is important to help each other out as much as possible.

Finding information on initiatives that lighten up the day, having the possibility to get in (virtual) touch with others, get informed by the latest Dutch news, translated into English. These are just some examples that can be found on the designated Corona-portal by Holland Expat Center South, which has been set up for and with the International community here in Brabant.

Have a look at https://www.hollandexpatcenter.com/corona-portal/

This website is a joint initiative of Municipality Eindhoven (Holland Expat Center South), Brainport Eindhoven, TU/e, Fontys and High Tech Campus Eindhoven in collaboration with Expat Spouse Initiative and Eindhoven365.