Our milestones

SIDN's history is closely linked to that of .nl. And the history of .nl begins in the eighties. Last year .nl celebrates its 30th anniversary. We our proud that .nl still is one of the largest and secure TLD worldwide.

Our history begins in the 80's.

Our backstory begins in the 1980s. The internet was new, and it needed a system for assigning domain names. Because to begin with every internet user had a list of all the others, showing each one's internet address. Those addresses weren't like the ones we use now: they were just numbers. As the number of addresses increased, it became hard for users to keep their lists up to date. The solution was the Domain Name System (DNS), which enables people to reach each other using names instead of numbers. E.g. SIDN.nl instead of

Piet Beertema 1984

Piet Beertema, the man behind .nl

Piet Beertema was system manager at the Centre for Mathematics and Informatics (CWI). He had the great idea of asking for the Netherlands to have its own the top-level domain: .nl. He put the idea to Jon Postel, a US internet pioneer. Jon approved Piet's request and .nl was created. On 30 April 1986, the CWI registered the first .nl domain name: cwi.nl. So .nl was the first active country-code domain outside the US. And to this day, Piet is still the registrant of godfatherof.nl.

The start of SIDN

In the 1990s, the internet grew rapidly, and so did the number of users. Registering all their domain names soon became a big job. Big enough to justify setting up a national foundation to do it: the Foundation for Internet Domain Registration in the Netherlands (SIDN). The people behind the new foundation were Piet Beertema, Ted Lindgreen and Boudewijn Nederkoorn. We took over responsibility for registering .nl domain names on 31 January 1996.

Explosive growth

Since 2003, anyone has been allowed to register a .nl domain name. No matter where you are and whether you're a business or a private individual. Our first CEO, Hans Kraaijenbrink, worked hard to get that reform, finally succeeding in the year of his death. After that, .nl grew enormously, reaching a million names in the same year. Today, there are more than 5.8 million names, making .nl the fifth largest country-code domain in the world.

For more facts and figures, visit our statistics page.




2017 - 12 5.8 million .nl domain names registered
2017 - 02 5.7 million .nl domain names registered
2017 - 01 Majority stake in Connectis
2016 - 04 .nl domain celebrates its 30 year anniversary
2016 - 04 5.6 million .nl domain names registered
2015 - 02 SIDN becomes registry service provider for .amsterdam
2014 - 09 5.5 million .nl domain names registered
2014 - 05 Foundation of SIDN Fund
2014 - 04 SIDN becomes registry service provider for .aw (Aruba)
2013 - 05

1.5 million .nl domain names secured with DNSSEC

2012 - 09 5 million .nl domain names registered
2012 - 08

Protection of .nl domain names using DNSSEC becomes possible

2011 - 11

.nl domain celebrates its silver jubilee

2008 - 06 Covenant with the Dutch government assures .nl's future
2003 - 06

1 million .nl domain names registered

2000 - 11

Registration of the first third-level domain name: jansen.123.nl

1996 - 01

Foundation of SIDN

1986 - 05

Registration of the first .nl domain name: cwi.nl

1986 - 04

.nl the first active ccTLD in the world due to Piet Beertema

SIDN, more than just .nl

What else do we do?

  • We play an important role in international consultative bodies such as ICANN, IETF and Centr.

  • We do research to make the internet more secure.

  • We support initiatives that promote internet security and internet use.

  • We develop new products and services.

  • Tuesday 27 February 2018

    .nl domain name

    Legal Help Desk for registrars now open


    Assistance with questions about the law on privacy and ICT

    Read more
  • Wednesday 25 September 2019

    Internet security

    "Alert Online's strength is its partner network"


    Patricia Zorko: "Alert Online's message is increasingly relevant."

    Read more
  • Thursday 18 April 2019


    Just four weeks until the root KSK rollover: time to check your DNSSEC trust anchors!


    Check your DNSSEC trust anchors!

    Read more


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