Twenty five years ago this week the first .NL domain name was registered. In the 25 years since over 4,412,300 million .NL domains have been registered and SIDN, the .NL registry, has organised various events in celebration of this milestone, and is looking back on how it all started.
In 1986, the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI or Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science) was tasked with the management of the .NL domain. As a result, .NL became the first country domain outside of the United States. During its first years of existence, the .NL Internet domain was not used intensively, main focus was the development of technical systems, regulation and procedures. When the number of Internet users strongly increased in the Netherlands, the registration of domain names had to be organised in a more professional way. This need resulted in the foundation of SIDN in 1996.
The .NL domain has developed into the third largest country domain in the world, ranking behind .DE (Germany) and .UK (United Kingdom). Research by McAfee shows that it is also one of the safest domains. In addition, The Netherlands has the second highest domain name density per capita: 35 domains per 100 inhabitants for all top-level domains combined. The average length of .NL domains is also somewhat longer than that of other countries. The reason for this is that the Dutch often include a slogan or payoff in their domain names.
“In 1986, the Dutch Internet pioneers had no idea that 25 years later, 94% of the Dutch population would be connected to the web and that we would be online over 39 hours per month on average,” said Roelof Meijer, the General Manager of SIDN.
“We can no longer imagine a life without the Internet. We do business on the web. We maintain friendships, find new jobs, arrange our holidays and do our shopping there. Not so long ago, only universities owned an Internet connection for data exchange purposes. It is good to realise how enormously fast this development has been — it tells us something about what still lies in store for us.”
The 25th anniversary of the .NL domain marks an important milestone in the development of the Netherlands as a knowledge and innovation country. SIDN deems it important to inform the younger generation (who are already unable to imagine that an offline society ever existed and able to function without the Internet) about the development of the Internet and to acquaint them with its underlying infrastructure.
For this reason, SIDN in collaboration with NEMO, is organising an interesting exhibition on Internet developments as part of ‘Scientific 2011’. Earlier this year the website 25jaarvan.nl was launched, where all Dutch internet users can share their personal Internet experiences and participate in a story contest. SIDN will also publish a special NL-magazine for its relations. This magazine provides readers with an overview of the current Internet era. More specifically, it outlines what the .nl domain currently signifies for the Dutch. The magazine also provides an overview of the history of the Dutch Internet domain. The year of the domain’s anniversary will end with an event aimed at the broader public, which will touch upon various topical Internet themes, among other things.
SIDN have also compiled the following statistics on .NL:
- Currently over 4.4 million .nl domains are active. Each day, 2,700 domains are added. Taking into account the cancellation of existing domains, this entails an annual growth of approximately half a million domains.
- 38% of the .nl domains are owned by private individuals; this percentage is on the rise.
- The .nl domain names are registered through approximately 1,900 registrars that provide additional web hosting and e-mail services.
- The longest .nl domain names contain 63 characters, such as the decimals for the number pi (π): 141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592.nl.
- By now, all two-character.nl domain names have been registered (a total of 1,296). Approximately half of the 3-character .nl domain names have been registered (25,151 out of a total of 47,952 domain names).
- The total number of possible domain names is 260,575,434,512,486,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (based on 99 characters). Only 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000002% of these domain names have been registered.
- The average length of a .nl domain name is 13 characters.
- The average length increases with 1 character approximately every 5 years.
- The average lifecycle of a .nl domain spans 4 years.
- 96.4% of the .nl domain names have been registered by Dutch individuals or companies. The rest of the domain names have been registered by individuals or entities in 174 other countries.
To register your .NL domain name, check out Europe Registry here.