How to get access to the Belgian and Dutch market?

All you heard is true. Holland is one big red light district. If we are not on a bike we all walk around on wooden shoes and we are stoned. Always. After all drugs are legalized.

It is like the ages of free love and sit ins still continue in The Netherlands. Really, the Dutchies are the worst. We are rude, scrimpy giants who marry their own sex. No wonder the European Union choose Brussels as their capital.

Since you are here you probably know better

If one should believe the gossip, satan opened up an office on earth and picked The Netherlands for his headquarters. Fortunately you belong to that part of the Americans that does not take gossip for granted and decided to your own home work. That is why you are here.

At ComBron we decided to help you find your way not only to the Dutch but also to the Belgian official websites for foreign entrepreneurs.

Get access to the Belgian and Dutch market!

The most important tip we can give you is not to see the Dutch and Belgian market as one. The Flemish speak Dutch but they are not Dutch. If they were Dutch the Flemish would live in The Netherlands instead of Belgium.

Other tips follow after the links.

Photo of the railway station in Antwerp. Is public transport for you a way to access the Belgian and Dutch market?
The beautiful railway station of Antwerp.

Completely different business climates

Companies that want to settle in Europe should investigate carefully which country is better suited to them. Belgium or the Netherlands. Both countries have their own unique characteristics.

The Dutch strong points are:

  • Location. The Netherlands are right in the middle between England, Germany, Scandinavia and France. So is Belgium, but…
  • …the Dutch infrastructure is way better. It is first class. With world-class airport Schiphol, Europe’s largest seaport Rotterdam and the high-speed road, rail and broadband networks the Netherlands are unbeatable.
  • The Dutch are fluent in English. Over 90% of the Dutch speak English and many people are multilingual. They also speak German and/or French.
  • Trading is part of the Dutch culture. It all started in the Dutch Golden Age (15th century). Five hundred years later many multinationals are based in the Netherlands. Companies like Astellas Pharma, Cisco, Danone Group, Dow-Dupont, Fujifilm Tilburg Research Laboratorium, The Kraft Heinz Company, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), Siemens and literally hundreds of other multinationals.

The Belgian strong points are:

  • Location. Belgium houses the EU. One cannot be nearer to the EU.
  • The Belgians are fluent in French. Belgium is officially bi-lingual. Belgians in the North speak Flemish (Dutch) and Belgians in the South speak French. Since most French only want to speak French…
  • Affordable real estate. Prices of housing in Belgium are at least 25% lower compared to the prices of Dutch real estate.
  • Joie de vivre. Belgians know how to celebrate live. Business lunches in the Netherlands often mean a cheese sandwich, most of the times eaten at the employees desk. Belgians know better.
  • Healthcare standards are equal to The Netherlands, but unlike in Holland doctors, dentists and surgeons are customer friendly.