|Introduced||April 25, 1986|
|TLD type||Country code top-level domain|
|Intended use||Entities connected with the Netherlands|
|Actual use||Very popular in the Netherlands|
|Structure||Registrations are taken directly at the second level|
|Documents||Regulations for registration of .nl domain names|
.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 5th in the quarterly VeriSign Domain Name Industry Brief of May 2011 for the first quarter of 2011, after .de, .tk, .uk and .cn. According SIDN's The.nlyst magazine (Q4 2012) it is 9th TLD when including the gTLD's (after .com, .de, .net, .tk, .uk, .org, .info and .cn). 
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. SIDN operates as a registry, with around 1500 registrars in June 2014. 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 Research.
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. Owners of such domains will be contacted by SIDN and offered a small fee if they cooperate.
Second level domain codes, such as .co.nl and .net.nl, exist but are hardly used. Organisations selling such domains are not affiliated with SIDN and are in fact companies who registered co.nl and net.nl domain names, selling subdomains to their customars.
- "Welkom! - SIDN". SIDN.nl. 2011-03-03. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "Verisign" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-04-03.
- "The.nlyst 9 EN - SIDN". The.nlyst. SIDN. p. 10. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- (Dutch) De geschiedenis van SIDN (History of SIDN), Official website of SIDN
- "Contact - SIDN". Retrieved 2010-05-08.
- "SIDN". Sidn.nl. 2011-04-22. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- IANA .nl whois information
- .nl Registry website
- List of .nl participants
- 4.4 Million active .nl domains (Dutch)