Limited legal capacity: your own business before you turn 18

As long as the bottles stay closed, Max Keerssemeecker * (17) is allowed to trade alcoholic drinks. He had to go to court to make it happen, but that was a hoop he was willing to jump through. Now, Max and his partner Bart Lubbers (20) are allowed to import gin from Scotland. Without interference from his parents. "I have always dreamed of having my own business and we just wanted to get started as quickly as we could", Max explains. So what did he have to do to make his dream come true?

"Registering our company with KVK was easy," Max begins. "My parents came with me, but banks still refused to open  a business account for me because of my age." The reason? Max, one of the owners of the business, was too young. "Because I was a minor, I was not allowed to sign foreign contracts for Drankendichters." In the end, the only way for Max to proceed was to petition the court for ‘limited legal capacity’.

What is limited legal capacity?

If you have limited legal capacity, you are legally considered an adult. When you petition the court for limited legal capacity, you have to request specific powers. The judge then declares you an adult. This means that you can do the things you would usually only be allowed after you turn 18. "I still do not get to vote", Max adds with a smile. "I only get to do things for the business, like signing contracts and opening a bank account."

Going to court

Max researched how and where he could get limited legal capacity. "There is not much public information available. Even the Legal Aid and Advice Centre told me to search the internet to find an answer", Max explains. "Fortunately, KVK was more helpful. I sent a letter to the court, and the judge scheduled a hearing so I could have my say. My dad came with me. By the way, the courthouse in Zwolle is a very impressive large glass building. It was so nice that I had to wear a nice suit."


The judge wanted to know everything about Max's company. "He was quite surprised to see a young guy my age looking to import hard liquor. It is quite uncommon for a minor to petition for limited legal capacity, so the judge decided to take a closer look at what exactly the law has to say on the matter after the hearing."

"After a few weeks, I received an official letter from the court, with lots of impressive stamps. It stated that I 'was of age'. The next step was to get a newspaper to publish the court’s ruling. I managed that. A reporter from our regional newspaper had found the ruling on the court's official site. When the article was published, more journalists started to call. It took a lot of effort, but our dream is now finally coming true!"

3 tips from Max

1. Dare to dream, but get informed

Let your imagination run wild and chase your dream! At the same time, it is important to get correct and complete information: What is and is not allowed? How much am I allowed to earn? Do I need to register with KVK?

2. Finish school

Starting a business takes a lot of work. And once you have it up and running, you will have to make certain sacrifices. You will not have as much time to go out with your friends or play sports. Above all, make sure you finish school!

3. Get support from your parents

It is important that your parents understand how passionate you are about starting your own business and how much you are willing to give up for it. Your parents can support you can discuss your plans with them. Who knows, they might be able to help!

At the time of this interview in 2019, Max Keerssemeecker was still an entrepreneur. He has since transferred his business.