The history of The Swedish Internet Foundation

What began as a passion and a curiosity for the internet has resulted in the founding of The Swedish Internet Foundation and a well-used national top-level domain.

kaffemugg med internetstiftelsen-tryck.

Every year we release the report Swedes and the Internet, which is usually talked about on morning shows and radio programs. Our security manager Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder, has been named the Stockholmer who is best known abroad, and we are also behind Bredbandskollen (Broadband Check). But despite this, The Swedish Internet Foundation is a bit of an unknown organization. Over the years we have changed our name several times and it can be difficult to keep up with who we have been since we were founded in 1997. But here is our history:

Sweden one of the first

Sweden is one of the first countries in the world to get a national top-level domain, that is, when the last letters of a domain name (.se, .dk, .uk) are linked to a country. In 1986, Björn Eriksen registers .se, which he then manages registration and administration for, almost completely alone until 1997.

The Swedish top-level domain proves very popular. In the beginning, it costs nothing to register a domain name and the number of registered domains is doubled every year. In 1997 there are 50,000 registered .se domains and it becomes more or less impossible for Eriksen to manage everything himself.

Around 1994, Eriksen begins to explore other solutions for the registration business. Talks are initiated with the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS), which declines on the grounds that a takeover will take several years. However, the situation soon becomes desperate. It becomes impossible for one person to handle the job required and the process of releasing the registration business from Björn Eriksen and KTH, where he works, begins.

The Swedish Internet Foundation is founded

After a few back-and-forths, it is decided that a foundation should take over the management, as it is a stable organizational form that can withstand individual actors. IIS, the Internet Infrastructure Foundation, is formed together with the subsidiary NIC-SE, who will manage the operation of .se.

Despite very complicated rules, in 1998 .se ranks third in the world in registrations under a national domain. But the strict rules also mean that many companies register their domains under .nu or .com instead. In 2000, the tough rules are softened and around 2003 they disappear almost completely.

Porträtt av Björn Eriksen
Björn Eriksen, who made sure that Sweden was one of the first in the world to acquire a national top-level domain.

In 1999, the first edition of our annual conference, The Internet Days, is organized and the following year the report Swedes and the Internet is released for the first time.

In 2006 we get a new law applying to top-level domains in Sweden. The law makes PTS the supervising authority for the Swedish top-level domain that The Swedish Internet Foundation owns and handles. Supervision can be about controlling what protection there is against things that can affect accessibility and integrity.

In connection with the new law, The Swedish Internet Foundation and the operating company NIC-SE are merged into one organization. In the merger, we take the opportunity to change the name to .SE.

Internet initiatives gain momentum

In the years to come, our internet initiatives are given more attention. The initiatives are aimed at promoting the development and knowledge of the internet in Sweden. Popular services such as Bredbandskollen, Webbstjärnan and our Internet guides are launched and received well.

In 2009, we introduce a new business model. Anyone who wants to register their domain name no longer needs to be a customer with us but can go directly to a reseller. This means that we also create our own reseller, .SE Direkt.

In October 2009, Sweden and The Swedish Internet Foundation literally reach a milestone when the millionth .se domain is registered.

We take over the operation of .nu

Parallel to .se, the .nu domain is becoming more and more popular in Sweden. The American company that owns the domain asks The Swedish Internet Foundation to manage the operation of the .nu domain. After careful consideration and with the argument that .nu is used extensively by Swedes and Swedish companies, in 2013 we take over the operation of .nu.

2013 is also the year that more top-level domains are released. However, it is a lot of work to run a top-level domain, which puts tough demands on whoever is going to do it. The Swedish Internet Foundation gains the trust to be the only technical test organization in the world for those who want to run a top-level domain.

Like all revolutionary and groundbreaking things, the internet deserves a place where its history is told. In 2014, we open the gates to Sweden's first digital museum; The Internet Museum which, fittingly, has its entire collection of internet history on the web. In 2016, The Internet Museum becomes part of the Swedish National Museum, but before that we change our name again.

We change our name to IIS

In 2015, we feel that .SE no longer reflects our operations in general. We not only run .se but also .nu, and we do so much more than that. We return to old traditions and switch back to IIS - but this time as an abbreviation of The Internet Foundation in Sweden.

The Internet Days have been going since 1999, but having a meeting place that only exists once a year is not enough. We see a need for a place that is year-round where people can learn more, network, develop their ideas, and push the internet forward together. That is why, in 2016, we open Goto 10, our co-working space in the same building at Hammarby Kaj where we are now located.

Our internet promotion work continues and after many years of the Webbstjärnan school competition, we start the new Digital Lessons initiative in 2017 that helps teachers manage the new curriculum that includes digital skills.

The Swedish Internet Foundation with the entire Swedish people

Despite hard work and efforts to make Swedish internet users more aware, giving them knowledge about internet use in Sweden and the impact of digitalization on society, people don't know much about us. The name IIS is not sticking, which makes us change our name again. From IIS, The Internet Foundation in Sweden, to the somewhat shorter "The Swedish Internet Foundation".

Our work continues and our passion for creating an internet that contributes positively to people and society is stronger than ever. We will continue to make sure that the Swedish internet is strong and we will work even harder so that everyone in Sweden wants to, dares to and is able to use the internet.

Facts about The Swedish Internet Foundation

  • Founded: 1997
  • Our vision: Everybody in Sweden wants to, dares to, and is able to use the internet
  • Names through history: II-Foundation, The Internet Infrastructure Foundation, .SE, IIS, The Internet Foundation in Sweden, The Swedish Internet Foundation