Record 207,000 new businesses opened in NL last year

A record number of new businesses opened in the Netherlands last year. A total of 207 thousand companies started operating in 2019. That is 23 thousand more than opened in 2018, which was also a record year, according to figures Statistics Netherlands published on Friday.

Like in previous years, the most new businesses opened in the specialist business services sector, followed by trade and construction. New online stores accounted for more than half of the new establishments in trade, with 15 thousand new online stores opening in the Netherlands last year. The number of online stores in the Netherlands nearly doubled in a year.

Over three quarters of businesses that opened in the Netherlands last year are sole-proprietorships - one person is responsible for the business' obligations and burdens. Sole traders have been the largest group of start-up companies since 2007, and their share in the total business population has only been increasing. On January 1st of this year, two thirds of all companies in the Netherlands were one-man businesses, compared to just over half in 2007.

Last year there was also an increase in the number of businesses that closed. Over 115 thousand business closed their doors, 8 percent more than in 2018. But on ballance, the number of companies in the Netherlands grew. As of January 1st, 2020 a total of 1.85 million companies were active in the country.