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The startup scene in the Netherlands is booming, but there is more to do

The European startup scene is booming, with total equity value more than $3 trillion in 2021 – the highest number ever recorded.

Currently, four countries are the main players in the ecosystem: the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and France, which are hosting almost two-thirds of the continent’s top 1,000 startups and scale-ups.

Among them, Amsterdam has experienced explosive growth, with as many as 53% average year-over-year growth since 2011. It is also ranked as that of Europe second best performing startup hub for 2021 — preceded by London and followed by Paris and Berlin.

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Yet, compared to other countries, the Netherlands is less competitive when it comes to attracting foreign talent and business ideas from outside Europe.

Many European governments have launched startup visa programs to attract the best and brightest talent to their respective countries. In return, they provide an alternative path to immigration for non-European citizens.

The Netherlands introduced a start-up visa scheme in 2015 that provides a residence permit to people outside the EU who want to start a business.

Among the criteria to be met, entrepreneurs must demonstrate that their product or service is innovative, that they have a clear business plan, the support of an approved accompanistand sufficient means to live in the Netherlands.

Interested founders have one year to create an innovative product or service in the country.

However, the one-year limit is not only restrictive for a company’s development, but also demotivating for an entrepreneur who is considering moving his life to another country.

After the visa expires, founders of foreign startups have the option to apply for the visa residence permit for a self-employed person – which is valid for a maximum of five years – and then have the option to apply for Dutch citizenship.

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