Yesterday it was exactly 30 years ago that dutch internet pioneer Piet Beertema founded the .NL top level domain. Piet worked as an administrator at the Center for Mathematics and Computer Science (or CWI in Dutch) and had the brilliant idea to request the .nl top-level domain for the Netherlands. He did so with the help of Jon Postel, the legendary computer scientist and US internet pioneer. The application was swiftly approved and .nl was born. A few days later, on April 30, 1986 Piet registered the very first .nl domain name: cwi.nl. From that moment it was the first country domain name active outside the US.
Since 2003, anyone can register a .nl domain name. It does not matter whether you have a business or are an individual and you do not have to be in the Netherlands to register and own a .nl address. As of 2003 .nl saw explosive growth and the ccTLD hit 1 million registrations that very same year . Now there are more than 5.6 million registered .nl domain names making .nl the fifth largest country code top-level domain in the world. Not bad for a tiny country with just 17 million residents!
There is a sizable community of domain name investors in the Netherlands and a very active aftermarket for .nl domain names. My first domain name sale was in fact a .nl domain name. It was Vacanza.nl, a domain name I had registered as a brandable name for a site promoting flight, hotel and holiday affiliate programs. I never got around to develop that site and was approached years later by a company wanted to sell campers under the Vacanza name and ended up buying the domain name off me for €1,000
Some notable, reported .nl domain name sales include:
- Vakantie.nl (Holiday) – €2.5 M
- Voetbal.nl (Football or Soccer for Americans) – €453,780
- Seks.nl (Sex) – €200,000
- Schoenen.nl (Shoes) – €120,000
- Pizza.nl (Pizza) – €91,718
- Relatiegeschenk.nl (Promotional Gift) – €72,000
- Huren.nl (Rent) – €66,500
- Veiling.nl (Auction) – €59,036
- Spijkerbroeken.nl (Jeans)– €45,000
- Shoppen.nl (Shopping) – €45,000