Getting your new massage practice off to a smooth start

As a massage therapist, your clients rely on you to keep their muscles flexible. But before you start your own practice, there are many issues to consider. For example, choosing a name and location for your business and choosing a legal structure, and taking out insurance. Read here how to start a massage practice.

Register at KVK

Take a training

Apply for a licence

Find a location

Look for clients

Apply for certification

General starter information

Registering with the Chamber of Commerce KVK

If you are going to start a massage practice, register your business with KVK. Check the entrepreneurial criteria for this. The KVK uses these to assess whether you are an entrepreneur. When you register, you also choose a legal structure. Most starters choose a sole proprietorship or a general partnership (vof).

Number of massage practices in the Netherlands (2017-2022)

The number of massage practices in the Netherlands increased up to 2020, after which we began seeing a slight decline.

Year (as at 1 January)Number

(Source: KVK Business Register)

Take a training course

Anyone in the Netherlands can set themselves up as a massage therapist. No specific training or qualifications are required. Do you want to provide quality and expertise? you can enrol in a training course at the NGS (Netherlands Association of Massage Therapists), or a similar programme with an equivalent qualification. For example, look for courses recognised by the Stichting Belangen Associatie Therapeut en Consument (Foundation for Interest Association of Therapists and Consumers, BATC) or Kwaliteit en Toetsing Natuurgerichte Opleidingen (Quality and Testing Nature-oriented Training Courses, KTNO).


If you take your exam at NGS and get your diploma, you will receive an NGS licence. This is proof of your knowledge of the profession. The licence is valid for 5 years. To keep your licence valid beyond those 5 years, education (in Dutch) is compulsory. With another diploma of the same quality, you can also apply for a licence from the NGS.

Finding a business location

Decide on a location where you would like to establish your massage practice. You could, for example, look for a practice space inside a gym or physiotherapy practices. This will keep you physically close to existing clients and put you in contact with new ones.

If you are establishing a home practice, check your mortgage agreement or lease to see of you are allowed to start a business from your home. Contact your bank or landlord to discuss your plans, if necessary. You should also take into account your local council’s zoning plan. A general rule is that your neighbours should not experience any disturbance. And displaying advertising signs outside your home is not permitted. Ask your local council for the options available.

Finding clients

Determine who your clients are based on your specialisation. As an office massage therapist, your clients consist of business owners who want to prevent staff absenteeism due to work stress. As a sports massage therapist, you can focus on a specific sport, such as running. Collaboration with sports clubs, gyms, general practitioners, sports physicians, and physiotherapists can also help you get new clients, for example through referrals.

Applying for certification

Some health insurance providers cover massage treatments by sports masseurs through additional insurance packages. Sports massage and wellness massage are not covered.

In order to meet the requirements of the health insurance companies:

  1. As a sports massage therapist, you can apply for certification (in Dutch) from Stichting Certificering Actoren in de sportgezondheidszorg (Certification Association for Sports Health Care Professionals/SCAS).
  2. Receive your Algemeen GegevensBeheer-code (AGB code, in Dutch) through Vectis.

You must list your SCAS registration number and your AGB code on your invoice. Your client will send this invoice to the health insurance company, and they will subsequently pay you.

General starter information

In addition to the above topics, as a starting photographer you will also have to deal with: