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China practice: legal support in the Netherlands

When Chinese companies want to start their business venture in the Netherlands, the different rules and regulations can be a daunting part of the operation. In this article, we talk with lawyer and Manager China Practice Victor Zheng about how Kneppelhout can assist and guide you on your journey.

Kneppelhout supports a vast number of Dutch companies with their investments in the rapidly developing Chinese market, about which you can read more in this article. However, the Netherlands is an essential gateway to the European market for Chinese parties. The port of Rotterdam, for example, connects Chinese parties directly to Europe’s mainland. To operate well in this expanding territory, you need a legal partner that can support you with the local laws and regulations from the start of your enterprise in the Netherlands.

What is the role of Kneppelhout when Chinese companies want to enter the Dutch market?

“That is quite a difficult question to answer. It is not one legal expertise we offer when working together with Chinese companies. Since the organization is new in the Netherlands, the services we offer Chinese companies cover a broad range of legal areas. The organization’s journey starts by setting up a Dutch legal entity involving corporate law and notary support. When the company is a legal entity, our property law experts can support with the lease agreement for the office or warehouse. If the organization needs to hire employees, employment law gets involved, and our Customs, sanctions, and export control lawyers support parties in the fields of international trade to and from the EU. As a foreign company, you really benefit from the full-service approach of our firm.”

What is your role as lawyer and manager for the China Practice?

“What I find quite interesting is that we work for various businesses and sectors. Even though these are vastly different, the legal challenges are not. The most interesting part is ensuring everyone understands legal matters from various perspectives and environments. I often act as a bridge between the Chinese investors and the Dutch lawyers, ensuring everyone works better. I remember we were working for a large Chinese medical device company where not only my legal knowledge was put to the test, but also my experience in the business.”

How does Kneppelhout support companies when they have settled?

“As mentioned, when the company is settled we can still aid with almost all legal matters a company might come across. However, we also support the organization with other challenges. While language isn’t an issue anymore, there are some dissimilarities between the different legal environments. We also assist the company with other cultural differences. For example, Dutch employees are managed differently than Chinese employees. This is something we take into account when we advise our clients about employment law.”

Could you give us an example of how Kneppelhout has contributed to a company’s growth?

“Since we are involved in almost every step a company takes, the partnership grows with the client. What makes the job really challenging and quite rewarding is that there is no single plan or strategy. Every cooperation is a custom. I remember one logistics company we helped when they wanted to enter the Dutch market. We assisted with their growth plans, and then the pandemic hit. After the first shock, the company and we picked up the pace. We supported them with the legal challenges regarding working locations, warehouses, and people; so they could grow rapidly.”

What is your specific expertise, and how does that help the practice?

“No lawyer can claim that they can do everything, the same counts for me. But for Dutch clients, I focus more on corporate legal work. When I work for English or Chinese clients, I have a more coordinating role. In these assignments, the expertise I gained while working for the Dutch consul in China really comes into play. There I learned to operate on the highest corporate and government level. It gave me a ton of experience and a vast international network.

We want to be the best at what we are doing and I want to make sure both the Chinese investors and the Dutch lawyers understand each other’s perspectives and environments, so the cooperation works and succeeds.”

About Kneppelhout & China practice

Lawyers who think both from a business perspective and from the law book. That’s our trademark. With over 15 years of experience assisting Chinese companies to enter the Dutch markets, we offer more than just legal advice.

Multidisciplinary. Even if your issue concerns a knowledge clause, directors’ and officers’ liability or international challenge, we represent your interests. To that end, we work together with our fellow-lawyers from employment law, corporate law, property law and environmental law, customs, sanctions and export control and trade, industry and logistics. As small as possible, as large as necessary: as a full-service office, we have all the knowledge right here.

Want to know more about entering the Dutch market?

Would you like to learn more about entering the Dutch markets and how our lawyers can help you? Please contact Victor Zheng (, lawyer China practice at Kneppelhout and expert in China-related investments and trade in the Netherlands.

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