You are determined to become a freelancer or ZZP / ZZP’er in the lovely country of tulips but you have a few doubts about your eligibility: in other words, you are wondering if you meet all the requirements to join the ZZP club, right?

Well, it’s actually pretty simple to know whether you can legally become a freelancer in the Netherlands or not: there are just a few requirements that you need to check.

Just before we begin listing them out, let’s highlight 2 important points:

  • If you actually want to know more about your eligibility for tax benefits, this is another subject. To see whether you could benefit from tax facilities for freelancers and how to apply for it, check out the related article.

Now coming back to the requirements you need to meet to become a freelancer in the Netherlands – your so-called “eligibility” – here is what we recommend you to look at:

  1. Are you legally allowed to stay and work in the Netherlands?
  2. Are you over 18?
  3. Do you own a degree or professional qualification?
  4. Do you need premises to run your business?


  1. Are you legally allowed to stay and work in the Netherlands?

To answer this question you have to consider the following 2 scenarios.

1st situation:  you are a citizen from the EEA – which includes all EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – or you come from Switzerland.

In this case you do not need a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning or TWV) to be allowed to work as a freelancer in the Netherlands.

By the way, if you are coming from Switzerland you probably know that your country is indeed neither an EU nor an EEA member. However, it is still part of the single market. Consequently, as a Swiss citizen you have the same rights to live and work in the Netherlands as other EEA nationals.

1 particular sub case: if you work for 1 single client / company only, the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate (Inspectie SZW) may ask you to demonstrate that you are “truly self-employed”, i.e. you work independently and are not a “disguised employee” so to speak.


2nd situation: you want to be a freelancer in the Netherlands but you come from a country that is outside EEA and are not Swiss either.

No EEA freelancer netherlands

In this case you do require a valid visa, passport/travel document plus a work permit to be allowed to work in the Netherlands. 

You could also move to the Netherlands as a freelancer but you would need a provisional residence permit, then a residence permit, and furthermore prove that you serve an essential interest to the Dutch economy: for the latter you need to score enough points in the scoring system.

And in case you work only for 1 client/company and want to move to the Netherlands for them, you can find more details on the government support for entrepreneurs.


  1. Are you over 18?

teenager freelancer netherlands

Were you born to be a genius-entrepreneur? Maybe you are the next Boyan Slat, who knows?

 Just be aware that in the Netherlands, if you are still a minor, you can own a business but you need permission from your parents to perform legal actions such a contracting a debt or making a purchase.

Now if you do not want to fully depend on your parents to make such things – after all this is your own business, right? J – you can apply for a limited legal capacity at the subdisctrict court. Just be aware that you have to be at least 16 to do so.


  1. Do you own a degree or professional qualification?

For most professions you don’t need a specific separate qualification to become a freelancer in the Netherlands.

freelancer netherlands qualification 

However, there are indeed a few professions and jobs for which you do need to meet certain requirements.

In the EU single market, there are actually regulated professions that are subject to professional qualification and skills requirements: in a word, some professional services demand specific qualifications to be provided.

freelancer qualification EU

If you check the EU regulated professions database, you can search per country and profession and check whether you need any qualification.

The type of regulation as well as the qualification level are specified.

In case you have any doubt you can also get in touch with the competent authorities (click on the second tab in your database result): they are the ones who decide whether or not you are allowed to practice your profession in the Netherlands in case you have a regulated profession.

If you need additional details about the recognition of foreign diplomas or specific sectors and professions, the government support for entrepreneurs provides you a lot of information.


  1. Do you need premises to run your business?

Most ZZP do not need premises to run their freelance business as they provide services only and can technically work at their client or remotely.

Nevertheless, if business premises are a must for you – you could need premises to manufacture a specific product or manage a stock of products you sell – to run your business there are a few exceptions you need to be aware of before officially establishing your company such as:

Consulting the zoning plan of the Gemeente of your city and making sure your business location is in line with it.

freelancer environment netherlands

Considering environmental regulations: if your business can have an impact on the environment, you have to submit a notification of environmental management to the Gemeente of your city and in some cases apply for an All-in-one Permit for Physical Aspects (Omgevingsvergunning). Just beware that getting this permit can take between 8 and 26 weeks, so you better plan ahead J


fire safety requirements

Once you have found the answers to all your questions, check now how to concretely become a freelancer in the Netherlands.

And if you have any doubt or question about the points we mentioned above, you can reach out to the must-know resources that are available for you as a (potential) freelancer.

By then, we wish you all the Best and don’t forget to Have Fun!

freelancer eligibility joy


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