Renewal Business Register improves privacy and security for entrepreneurs

The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK, together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK), is continuously working on improving the handling of data from the Business Register.

On 8 May, Minister Adriaansens (EZK) informed the House of Representatives via a parliamentary letter about the changes in the laws and regulations. These strike a better balance between privacy protection for entrepreneurs and, at the same time, more transparency and opportunities to prevent fraud.

More privacy protection and (non-)public data

With the possibility of shielding certain public data such as a visiting address, more privacy can already be offered. From 1 July 2024 (target date), telephone numbers in the Business Register will also be shielded by default. In addition there will be a clearer distinction in who does and does not have access to what data. For example, stricter rules will apply to the use of public data from the Business Register, such as the name of the managing director or an address.

In case of abuse, new laws and regulations will soon allow KVK to block access to the Business Register. This will reduce nuisances for entrepreneurs, such as unsolicited phone calls for sales purposes. Organisations designated by the government to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, including banks, civil-law notaries or government organisations, will be able to access non-public data in the Business Register (for example, telephone numbers).

Preventing fraud

Within the renewal of the laws and regulations for the Business Register, laws are also designed to help KVK prevent fraud, such as stricter controls on registrations and amendments. KVK and EZK are exploring the possibilities of refusing registrations in the future in case of suspected fraud. To make trade more transparent and provide better protection, the KVK will be allowed to publish a list of management bans. This will make visible which persons have been convicted by courts for criminal activities and are not allowed to perform any management function in a business or other organisation for 5 years.

Request abstracts free of charge

To increase the certainty of doing business safely and to stimulate economic traffic within the EU, it will soon be possible to request extracts from the KVK Business Register free of charge. Data that can be accessed will be limited to the information that is strictly necessary (such as the name of the company, legal person and KVK number).

Requesting extracts from the Business Register free of charge means that the financing of the KVK's tasks - maintaining, managing, making data available and its information and advisory task - have been reviewed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Change. In order to continue these tasks, the contribution for parties that make extensive use of data from the Business Register, such as banks and governments, is being reviewed. An annual contribution for other parties entered in the Business Register may also be part of the new funding model. The annual contribution will take effect from 1 January 2025 (target date). The exact form of the KVK's financing and the annual contribution for each legal entity is currently still being examined by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

With these legislative and regulatory changes, KVK contributes, in cooperation with EZK, to better protection of entrepreneurs and more certainty and transparency in economic transactions between entrepreneurs. The updated Commercial Register Act 2007 (Handelsregisterwet) has been made public for consultation so that everyone can give their views on it.