Coalition agreement (2021-2025), what does it mean for your business?

international business - new government

After the March 2021 national elections, the Netherlands had to wait a long time until a new government was formed. Finally, negotiations in early 2022 resulted in a four-party coalition led by (again) Mark Rutte. What plans have the ruling parties made together? And what do they entail for you as a cross-border business operating in the Netherlands? Below we will explain some of the developments of Dutch government policy.

From sustainability measures to poverty reduction

The new government will focus on the following general issues in the coming years:

  • combating climate change by taking additional sustainability measures in society
  • improving the housing market (building affordable new homes)
  • investing in health care and improving its accessibility
  • investing in safety and security
  • enhancing equal opportunities
  • investing in poverty reduction

In the context of making the Netherlands more sustainable, a nitrogen fund and a climate and transition fund are being set up, holding a budget of € 20 billion and € 35 billion respectively until 2030.

As the coalition parties themselves indicate, these plans cannot be executed within one term of office (4 years) and require broad support in society. Collaboration between local and/or national partners is therefore necessary, as is a European or even global approach. The Netherlands wants to take the lead on various issues within the European Union.

SMEs as a key pillar of the economy

Notably, as regards the more economy-focused plans, the new government stresses the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a key pillar of the economy. Encouraging entrepreneurship and strengthening SMEs’ growth and innovation capabilities are on the agenda. On this point, the government coalition mentions a lowering of the regulatory burden, lower taxes (proposing an easing of the tax burden for middle incomes by € 3 billion per year), fewer obstacles to obtain financing, and support in digitisation and sustainability measures. For your cross-border business in the Netherlands, this can be an additional incentive to develop your activities.

Investing in training and education

Good employees are indispensable for SMEs. More investments will therefore go to training and education, which should reduce shortages of staff with a technical and practice-oriented background. To this end, around € 2.5 to € 4 billion will be invested annually in training and education, culture and science.

In addition, the government indicates that it wants to steer a course towards a knowledge-based economy, with investments in research and development. Start-ups and scale-ups that focus on (1) climate and energy, (2) digitisation and key technologies or (3) the circular economy are given additional incentives.

Business opportunities in the Netherlands

Doing business in the Netherlands and setting up or expanding your business activities certainly offer opportunities for cross-border businesses. There was no question of war yet when the coalition drafted its plans. Europe has changed very quickly. This will undoubtedly also affect international business.

If you want to know more about doing business in the Netherlands, just get in touch with one of our international advisers. What does it involve and what are the things to look out for? What differences will you encounter? And what statutory rules will apply to you? Please send an email to and one of our international experts will get back to you.

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