Considering the development of e-commerce platforms and the strong legislation on the protection of intellectual property that includes internet domain names, many Dutch companies are interested in expanding their services in the online environment. This is also one of the strongest marketing tools nowadays. In 2011, the Netherlands has amended its Telecommunications Act in order to extend the protection of communication services that include the online environment. To increase their customer’s confidence and to have a professional image, Dutch companies register websites with the .nl extension, which is why the number of internet providers offering domain name registration services has also flourished.
Our Dutch company formation representatives can assist foreign investors who want to open online shops.
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Legislation related to owning a website in the Netherlands
Both foreign and local individuals and companies are allowed to create websites in the Netherlands, however they must comply with several laws related to electronic communications and protection of sensitive information. Among these laws are:
- – the Civil Law through several articles which refer to electronic contracts and the supply of digital content;
- – the Telecommunications Law;
- – the Personal Data Protection Law.
During the last several years, the Netherlands has amended the last two acts and has integrated various EU directives in order to comply with international regulation related to owning a website.
You can find out more about the creation of websites in the Netherlands from the video below:
Internet Governance in the Netherlands
The Dutch Internet Governance is used to regulate domain names. The management of domain names falls under the regulations of the Stichting Internet Domeinnaamregistratie Nederland (SIDN), a private non-governmental organization. Starting 2001, Dutch internet regulations have started considering allowing foreign companies and citizens to apply for a .nl domain name, which is a top level domain. In 1998, the Dutch Government issued a Memorandum on Legislation for Electronic Highway in order to regulate electronic commerce.
The .nl extension is the Internet country code top-level domain (CCTLD) in the Netherlands as it has acquired by now more than three million users. The .nl domain was firstly enabled in 1986, when it was firstly administered by the Piet Beertema of the Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica. Today, the .nl extension is the third most employed domain name in Europe.
How to register a domain name in the Netherlands
The first step for opening a website in the Netherlands is to purchase the .nl domain name extension. All Dutch domain names are registered with the SIDN and an individual who wants to register a website must firstly verify the availability of the desired name. The registrant of a .nl domain name must also know that the name of a website must be decent and its registration does not infringe another party’s rights. All technical requirements for the registration of a .nl domain are published by the Stichting Internet Domeinnaamregistratie Nederland.
Dutch .nl domains may be registered for one and up to ten years. The registration of a .nl domain name does not take more than a week and must have the following characteristics:
- – at least two and maximum 63 characters,
- – begin with a letter or number and end with a letter or number,
- – use letter, numbers and dashes,
- – it cannot begin or end with a dash,
- – it cannot contain a dash in the third and fourth position,
- – in cannot include a space.
Domain names in the Netherlands must be renewed 60 days before expiration by paying a renewal fee.
The procedure of creating a Dutch website
In our days, most of the websites are created by e-commerce companies which are required to set in place various regulations for those who enter the site, but also to ensure the protection of customers who register their personal information with the Dutch website.
In order to make sure one creates a website which complies with the Dutch legislation, the owner of a domain name will usually request the services of a website designer who must create the platform which must include the rights of ownership over the site and the general terms and conditions related to the use and maintenance of the website, as requested by the Civil Code.
In the case of online stores, the owner of a website must also register a company with the Dutch Trade Register in order to be able to legally run the store.
For details about opening an online shop, please contact our company registration agents in the Netherlands.