|Introduced April 25, 1986|
|TLD type Country code top-level domain|
Intended use Entities connected with the Netherlands
.nl is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Netherlands. Registrations are processed via a network of participants. It is one of the more popular ccTLDs, ranked 6th in the quarterly VeriSign Domain Name Industry Brief of September 2016 for the third quarter of 2016, with over 5.6 million registered domain names.
Map of Netherlands
It was one of the first ccTLD to be registered, when the authority for the .nl domain was handed over to Piet Beertema of the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in 1986.
Since January 31, 1996 .nl domains are registered by the Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland (SIDN, in English: Foundation for Internet Domain Registration Netherlands), based in Arnhem. Most registrars are ISPs, IT service bureaus and media service bureaus, but several large enterprises with many brand names have also become a registrar, or participant as SIDN calls them, which is a quite uncommon phenomenon in the domain name industry. Registrars have to pay SIDN a fee for each domain since April 1, 1996, until then registration was free. SIDN does not deal directly with Registrants. In the early days, most of the registrants were universities and research departments of large companies, such as Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium.
Individuals are allowed to register a second-level .nl domain since 2003. As a forerunner, individuals were allowed to register a third-level domain since 2000. Such 'personal domains' had the form of janjansen.123.nl. They never became popular, and registration has been suspended since 2006. Because there are only around 500 of such domains registered, in contrast to about 5 million second-level domains, SIDN announced the discontinuance of personal domains as of 2008 on July 4, 2007.
Official second-level domains do not exist. A number of companies have taken the opportunity to register domains like co.nl and com.nl, using them to sell second-level domains. These are not affiliated with SIDN.