Registering a new or extra business name: what you need to know

When you first established your business, you came up with a suitable name. But if you have now developed a new product or new service, you may need a new (or an extra) company name. Perhaps the existing name does not fit with your new activity. Or customers do not expect your business to produce the new product. Find out how you can check whether your business name still fits your activities.

All entrepreneurs must choose a name when they launch a business (a trade name). You then register your business in the KVK Business Register under this name.

Business name no longer fits

Many entrepreneurs never stop developing their business. They manufacture new products, provide new services, enter a new market, or establish new sales channels such as an online shop. It may be useful to establish a separate business name for your new product, service, or market. For example, because your name no longer accurately describes your new activity. Or you have a Dutch company name but plan to crack the international market.

These are your options if your business name no longer fits:

Additional business name

You can register additional business names in addition to your existing one. For example, is your business called ‘Jansen Shoes’? Then you can register the additional name ‘Jansen Bags’ in the Business Register for a new line of products. Make sure your business name complies with the rules.

You can register an additional business name with KVK online. You do not have to pay for this.

More generic  business name

You can also change your business name to a more general name. A generic business name gives you a wider range of options. You ensure that the name describes not only your original activities, but also any new products or services you might be providing. You could, for example, change the name ‘Diallo Chairs’ to ‘Diallo Furniture’, so you can also sell couches, tables, and cabinets.

The disadvantage of a generic business name is that it is less clear what you have to offer.

Some important considerations

When you register an additional business name, consider the following issues:

Registration in the Business Register

When registering a new business name, you will keep your current KVK registration number. You will not be issued a different or extra number. You can also add your new activities to your business description. To do this, you use the same form as the form you use to register an additional business name.

Do you have a private limited company(bv), a public limited company (nv), a cooperative (coöperatie) or a mutual insurance association (onderlinge waarborgmaatschappij)? If so, always use the new company name along with the company name listed in the articles of association.

New VAT number

If you are adding new activities to your listing in the Business Register, you may require a separate VAT number. You should contact the Netherlands Tax Administration (Belastingdienst, in Dutch) about this. 

Protecting your name

If you want to prevent someone else from copying your business name, it is not enough just to register the name with the Business Register; you will also need to use the name in practice.

A business name or trade name is not the same thing as a brand name. Your name will only be legally protected if you register it as a trademark with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property. This prevents others from using your business name as a brand name in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Your name tells people something about you and your business, and choosing a name can be hard. Read our tips for finding an original company name