Criticism as Dutch domain registry plans move to Amazon cloud

The interior of a server farm. Photo:

Questions are being asked in parliament about the decision by Dutch domain registration foundation SIDN to transfer the dot nl domain and its “complete ICT services” to Amazon’s cloud services. 

SIDN says the move will make managing the technology easier but some tech entrepreneurs have doubts, and now MPs have asked the government, which supports the idea of keeping .nl on Dutch or European servers, to explain why the move has been sanctioned. 

Tech entrepreneur Bert Hubert told BNR radio he opposes the idea of shifting the domain to cloud operators in the US. “If your servers are on your own continent and under your legal surveillance, then you can also be sure that no one will mess with your data,” he said. 

The added value of keeping .nl domain names under Dutch control also means “we control it ourselves and can innovate with it ourselves… When you outsource, you always lose your knowledge,” he said. 

Simon Besteman, managing director of the Dutch Cloud Community said on social media he was shocked by SIDN’s decision. “We have been inundated with questions from the Dutch internet community and our members… who have questions about the ethical as well as compliance and moral aspects.”

SIDN says that all data will remain on European servers and that users will not notice any difference in practice. It also argues that Amazon has the extremely specialised services it needs, and that these are not available in Europe.  

It was a difficult decision to move the systems to Amazon, SIDN technology chief Loek Bakker said in a reaction to the criticism.

“Although we seek to contribute to the strategic digital autonomy of the Netherlands and Europe in numerous ways, the need to assure the permanent availability of .nl and the protection of our data was decisive in this instance. That is, after all, our primary responsibility as a registry.”

Nevertheless, he said “We will be using generic, open-source technology, so that, as soon as it becomes responsible to migrate the system to a Dutch or European cloud service provider, we can do so relatively easily.”

MPs from GroenLinks, the PvdA and D66 have now asked the government to explain why the move is being made, Hubert said.

SIDN is a foundation that has the right to exploit the .nl domain name, earning some €21 million a year in the process. More than six million .nl domains have been registered. 

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation