A good year for .nl

2017 was a year when the economy picked up and internet activity in the Netherlands reached a new peak. The .nl zone continued to grow and, for the first time since 2010, more .nl domain names were registered than the year before.

Registrations up on 2016

This year, for the first time in years, the number of registrations was up on the year before. In the eleven months to 1 December, more than 780,000 new .nl domain names were registered. That's twenty thousand up on the same period in 2016. Because a lot of domain names were also cancelled, the .nl zone grew by about 100,000 to a little over 5.8 million names. Meaning that the Netherlands has the highest domain name density in the world. With a population of just seventeen million, the country has nine million domain names!

Jeffrey van Draanen registered kingscake.nl

Kingscake is a platform where you can buy exclusive cakes and desserts. Something special for an event, a corporate gathering or a big celebration. My business partner and I set up the site after spotting a gap in the market. When coming up with a name, of course we thought about the URL. Lots of domain names were already taken, especially names with the Dutch word 'taart'. In the end, we settled on Kingscake, because it stands out and has an international, exclusive ring to it. We're now working to build up the brand. Once we're better known, hopefully we'll be less dependent on the domain name for a high position in the search results."

Hein van Woensel registered citiusadvocaten.nl

Citius is a new legal practice. Obviously we needed a website, but citius.nl had already been registered by someone else. We offered to buy it, but the owner didn't want to sell. The idea of using another extension instead of .nl was a non-starter for us. It has to be obvious that we are a Dutch law firm. So we opted for citiusadvocaten.nl, because the meaning is clear to a Dutch reader and it makes us easy to find. We hired a firm to run an SEA campaign for us. As a result, lots of people find us when looking for a lawyer and we get plenty of calls from potential clients."

Up and running fast

It only takes moments to register a domain name. Setting up a website is a different matter. But it's much easier than it used to be. Thanks to open-source packages such as WordPress, the average interval between registering a name and getting a website on line has fallen steadily over the last three years, from five months to two. Prices have also fallen. Getting a sophisticated webshop built may still be expensive, but a simple website can be yours for a little loose change, plus some time and attention.

Lisa Knapen registered lisaknapen.nl

I'm a recent graduate and I'm looking for work in advertising. So I registered lisaknapen.nl to get my portfolio out there. I felt confident about building my own website, because I did a course in web design a while ago. To get myself known, I've been sending out postcards featuring a sort of infographic of my CV and the address of my website. In other words, the website is a career development tool. I haven't yet found the right job, but I've had a lot of positive feedback and the strategy has won me a lot of introductions. I never really thought about using any extension other than .nl, because this is where I am and where I want to find work. But maybe someday I'll fancy working elsewhere. In that case, I'll probably go for .com."

Dennis Brouwer registered drpproducts.nl

"I already owned winkelstickers.nl (meaning 'shop stickers'). But I'm looking to broaden my activities, so I've registered drpproducts.nl as well. On the website that goes with the new name I sell a wider range of things, including posters and price tags. It's not generating much turnover yet, but the margins make the venture attractive. DRP stands for 'Dutch Retail Products'. It comes across as corporate and sounds good on the phone. A .nl domain name was the only option for me. If I see a company car with a .biz name on the side, I immediately assume it's a small firm. It's like putting your mobile number on your website: it lets everyone know that the business is just you."

Business registrations are up

An upturn in the Dutch economy is bound to be one of the reasons for the growth in .nl business registrations seen this year. More than 40 per cent of 'private' .nl registrations by young people are actually business-related. All the signs are that the economy is flourishing, and so is .nl.

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