Live and Work in the Netherlands as a Start-Up Entrepreneur

A city of commerce and entrepreneurism, Amsterdam has long been a melting pot and meeting point for people to come together and ferment world-changing ideas. Recent changes to Dutch law allow innovative entrepreneurs to receive start-up visas in the Netherlands. All they need to qualify is an innovative business idea and an experienced facilitator/mentor.

“Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands has stressed that the country has huge potential to be the next European startup hub, saying it is suitable for talented foreign entrepreneurs to start, build and internationalize their businesses…. “The most important thing is that the government does not get in the way of entrepreneurs,” the prince said, highlighting that the government policy does not only serve the interests of big companies.” (

THNK, a School for Creative Leadership, is pleased to join a small group of organisations given ‘facilitator status for start-up visas’ by the Immigration Department to help changemakers live, work and develop their ideas in the Netherlands. Entrepreneurs who participate in the THNK Creative Leadership Program will now automatically meet the majority of eligibility conditions for a Dutch ‘start-up visa’ that would allow them to incubate their project in the vibrant entrepreneur-friendly city of Amsterdam. Backed by an experienced mentor (facilitator), like THNK, the ‘scheme for startups’ gives ambitious entrepreneurs a year to launch an innovative business anywhere in the Netherlands.

The ‘scheme for startups’ gives ambitious entrepreneurs a year to launch an innovative business anywhere in the Netherlands.

Unlike other programs, THNK focusses on a combination of leadership development and enterprise development. No lectures. No classrooms. No tests. THNK’S program is built on a learning-by-doing approach allowing participants to create immediate, measurable and lasting impact on their enterprise, their team and the world.

Amir Esmaeil Bozorgzadeh is the first THNK Creative Leadership Program participant to receive a start-up visa. Amir and his co-founder Mohamed Hamdy met for the first time as participants in the 9th Amsterdam Creative Leadership Program in 2016. As Amir observes:

“At THNK I met my co-founder and we developed our company Virtuleap as part of the program, using the THNK tools and support. The StartUp Visum that I obtained through THNK gives us the opportunity to start our company in the inspiring and innovative environment of Amsterdam. We are committed to make Amsterdam the European hotspot for Virtual Reality”.

With limited spaces left, THNK is accepting applications to join the 11th Amsterdam Creative Leadership Program class. Between March and September 2017, Class 11 will gather at the THNK Home in the center of Amsterdam for four week-long intensive modules. Class curators ensure that each group of 30-40 aspiring creative leaders consists of the highest caliber executives from a wide range of sectors and nationalities.

If you want to know more about how THNK can help you to gain a start-up visa, please get in touch.

  • Brendan DUNPHY

    This is another example of increasing State competition for entrepreneurs within Europe and elsewhere. Can it work, and is it a good thing?