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With its physical and economic positioning as a ‘Gateway to Europe’, the Netherlands has many
environmental interdependencies. This necessitates an international approach to environmental
issues, which translates into favorable conditions for foreign companies seeking to obtain permits.
Fast and fair processing of permit applications according to a recent study published by the World
Bank’s Development Research Group, the Netherlands is the only European mainland country to
process permit applications from foreign enterprises with the same speed and consideration as
domestic businesses, without any additional procedures.
This, combined with transparency of environmental legislation and favorable consultation and
negotiation possibilities, makes the Netherlands the most cooperative country in Europe for foreign
firms to establish local subsidiaries.
One Size Fits All In 2010, the Netherlands introduced the All-in- one Permit for Physical Aspects
(omgevingsvergunning) to replace a large number of different permits and dispensations applied in
European countries. It covers a range of issues such as construction, zoning and environment.
Environmental & economic interdependencies
• Regional environmental: transfrontier air and water pollution, North Sea pollution;
• Global environmental: vulnerability to climate change and sea level rise, importance of trade and environmental aid;
• Economic: open economy and role as a ‘Gateway to Europe’.
Permit issuing authorities
• Local authority: small industrial activities
• Provincial Executive: activities with high potential environmental impact
• Federal-level Ministry: exceptional cases
The Northern Netherlands advantage
Many companies find the authorities in the Northern Netherlands region to be cooperative and happy
to assist or advise when needed. In addition, NOM has easy access to all the relevant authorities and
can help smooth your company’s permit application process if needed.