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A Foundation in the Netherlands

Dutch trust explained

A foundation (stichting) in the Netherlands is defined by law as “a legal person created by a legal act which has no members and whose purpose is to realize an objective stated in its statutes using capital allocated to such purpose”. The foundation is used  a lot for non profit organizations like school or hospitals, charities, sports organization and promotion purposes, relief organizations, as well a family foundation, as holding vehicle for shares or certificates of shares. The Dutch foundation is also uses as a vehicle for protection purposes against hostile take-over of public companies at the Dutch Stock Exchange. A Dutch business lawyer can explain the relevant aspects of the Dutch foundation.
Foundation Netherlands

Dutch Foundation

It is possible to pursue a purpose of private benefit. However, the purpose of the Dutch foundation cannot be to distribute the foundation’s profits to the founder or to members of its organs. The founders can be members of the board. Commercial activities are allowed if these are within the objectives of the foundation and are in general taxed. The regular company tax in the Netherlands will then be applicable.

Incorporation Dutch Foundation

Foundations are established by a Dutch Notary through a notarial deed by the containing the bylaws. The foundation will then be a legal entity and has  full legal capacity. The initial board of the foundation has to be specified in the deed. No governmental body is involved in establishing a foundation. Minimum capital is not required for the establishment or operation of a foundation. Regarding the purpose, there are no restrictions. The Dutch foundations can be established for public and private purposes. The only restriction is that the purpose cannot be to distribute the foundation’s profits to the founder or to members of its organs.

Company register in the Netherlands

Foundations are registered with the local Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands. The deed of establishing of the foundation and the bylaws are kept at the register as well as the names and the addresses of the foundation itself, members of the board with powers of representation, representatives of the foundation and its founders. A Dutch attorney can investigate the foundation’s registration, the registered board members and it’s annual accounts.

Board of Dutch Trust

The board members represent the foundation towards third parties. The statutory provisions of the foundation could assign the right of representation to one or several board members and also to other persons who are not  board members. The board has the duty to maintain financial records and keep an administration. Within 6 months from the end of each financial year, the board must prepare a balance sheet and a statement of revenues and expenditures of the foundation. An external audit is only necessary for medium or large entities. That is the case is two of these items apply:; net sales exceeding € 8.8 million; average number of employees is above 50 and/or the assets exceed an amount of € 4.4 million. Each member of the board has an obligation towards the foundation to perform the duties assigned to him properly. For matters within the competence of one or more board members, each board member  is jointly and severally liable with respect to any shortcoming. Only if  the shortcoming is not attributable to a board member and he is able to proof that, then he may not be liable.

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