The right selection of soil model parameters is essential to make good predictions in geo-engineering projects where the Finite Element Method (FEM) is used. In order to support geotechnical engi-neers with soil model parameter selection, empirical formulas have been developed to derive the model para-meters of the Plaxis Hardening Soil model with small-strain stiffness (HSsmall), on the basis of a characteris-tic property (relative density for sands and plasticity index for clays). This paper shows a validation of formulas for sands which have been derived from published soil testing data. The main goal of the empirical formulas is to give a reasonable first order approximation of soil behaviour in FEM calculations, covering a wide range of sands. In a case study it is demonstrated that the empirical formulas work reasonably well to get a first estimate of deformations and stress developments for a real project.