Monday, April 25, 2016

BPN 1723: Dutch country suffix .nl 30 years

Today it is 30 years since the country suffix .nl was inaugurated. Furthermore, the first land suffix was in use. The designation of countries was coined in the Netherlands.

Dutch internet pioneers Jaap Akkerhuis, Daniel Karrenberg, Teus Hagen en Piet Beertema (right) at the pensioning event of  Piet Beertema on 16 September 2004. Source: CWI.

In the Netherlands, the Mathematical Centre (MC) in Amsterdam in 1982 was in contact with Arpanet and played a role  an important role in the UUCP network of European universities. MC became the network gateway between the US and Europe. Domain names were released by Arpanet, but in 1986 a shortage of the domain names threatened for the 25,000 computers connected to the UUCP network of universities and the Arpanet. Piet Beertema, employee at MC (but from 1983 onwards CWI, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica) came up with the solution of a country suffix in the domain name. John Postel from the Stanford Research Institute, responsible for the domain names, approved the country suffix dot country code as a proper instrument.

And on April 25, 1986 the suffix .nl was allocated to the Netherlands. The Netherlands was the first country with its own country code. On May 1, 1986 the first Dutch domain name was registered. The next domains were: (association of professional Open Systems and Open Standards users in the Netherlands); (The National Institute for Nuclear Physics and High Energy Physics); (university of Groningen) and  (Collaborating academic computing centers). Piet Beertema was the registrar and recorded the domain names. In the first two years he was not very busy, as he only registered 60 domains in his notebook. In 1989 there was only one registered domain name. Apart from academic computer centers companies could also register a domain name, but they had to show their Chamber of Commerce registration paper.

The slow growth was due to the transformation that internet underwent. Arpanet decided to continue as the military internet branch and the National Science Foundation became responsible in 1988 for academic and commercial NSFnet. On November 17, 1988, at 14:30 pm Piet Beertema linked The Netherlands as one of the first countries outside the US to the academic network NSFnet. The Netherlands brought the first, non-military, transatlantic connection to the Web.

This connection did give a boost to internet use in the academic world. But the registration of domain names only really took off from 1993, when the Dutch ISP XS4ALL on May 1 launched its Internet services to consumers on May 1, ending the first day with 500 subscriptions. And the Internet began in earnest, when the Digital City opened its gates and businesses did not know how fast they had to register a domain name in order to have an internet profile. Over the following years registration of domain names increased. In order to keep pace the Foundation for Internet Domain Registration in the Netherlands (SIDN) was founded. On January 31, 1996 the tasks of the CWI were transferred to SIDN.

End of March 2016, more than 5.6 million domain names were registered with SIDN (see SIDN statistics). The Netherlands is the fourth in the ranking of number of domain names with a country code (country code Top Level Domain - ccTLD).The Netherlands is preceded by .cn, .de and .uk.

Friday, April 22, 2016

BPN 1723: Dutch e-books: sales down slightly, continue to increase lending

Press release CB (in Dutch) 
April 21, 2016

For the second consecutive quarter, a decline is reflected in the e-book sales (-7% compared to the same quarter in 2015, in the previous quarter, this was -1%). E-books on loan from the library increased by 110% compared to Q1 2015.

CB sees a slight decrease in the average retail price of an e-book compared to those of the physical book. Now 54.6%. Now 92% of the titles from the Bestseller 60 list (top 60 sales over 12 months) are also available as e-books. This is 4% more than last quarter.

The e-book barometer has added two new types of facts and figures: Lifecycle of a best-seller relationship and loan/sales. In the lifecycle CB demonstrate the average trend of e-book sales of the TOP25 titles after publication. Analyzing sales/loan shows a trend which shows loans in addition to sales.

You can download here the English language infographic (pdf) here

Friday, April 08, 2016

BPN 1727: A video floor for physiotherapy

In January my bionic system went for a hip revision into the medical garage. Next day you are out of the hospital bed ready for rehabilitation walkies with crutches or behind a rollator. And after another night, you are out of the hospital. At that point your rehabilitation exercises for improving walking starts. At first it might be painful, awkward and boring, but walking will improve over the weeks. However rehabilitation might become more entertaining with a higtech led floor.

The led floor is already a common facility in entertainment studios and are used in shows like the Euro songfestival or Victoria’s Secret presentations. But now a led floor of 3 meters by 3 meters has been installed in the Design Lab of the University Twente. Yet to this floor sensors have been added to generate data about the walking habits and to measure the progress of the rehabilitation process. The floor has become one big interactive touchscreen. It has been developed by the company ledGo, which so far sells the floors to the entertainment market.

The led floor is not just meant for boring training walkies. With the video floor lights and colours can be interactively generated. So it can be used creatively for serious/social games and experience. The floor can be used by one person, but can also be used in a game for two. In this way patients can start moving, while their data are generated , compared and analysed. The play feature had already been researched in cooperation with the Rehabilitation Center De Hoogstraat in Utrecht, be it on a led path. But with the square floor games and especially multi-person games become more interesting, while movements will become more varied.

The led floor facility for so called gait rehabilitation is now under development  and being researched for use in the e-health sector. For the time being it will be used by rehabilitation centers with patients who rehabilitate from accidents and strokes. But the market is wider. Fitness centers and private practices of physiotherapists  will be candidates for the vertical interactive touch screen.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

BPN 1726: Almost all Dutch online

Almost all Dutch people were online in 2015, according to the annually held Media Standard Survey 2015.  The Media Standard Survey looks at new trends in media use. The results are representative of all households in the Netherlands and all individuals of 13 years and older. In 2015, 6,144 households and 5,255 individuals aged 13 and older were surveyed.

Online time 
The Media Standard Survey 2015 shows that nearly 95 percent of the Dutch population has Internet access at home and in the workplace almost half. Dutch are on average more than two hours online every day. That's an increase of 34 percent compared to 2011. Although surfing time increased in all age categories, there are big differences. The browsing time of teenagers is more than three hours per day, an increase of 59 percent compared to 2011. People aged over 65 are daily on average one hour online. 

Growth using mobile devices
In 2015, the use of smartphones and tablets grew strongly. More than two-thirds use the smartphone for internet, using this device alongside the laptop. The rise of the tablet is spectacular. It has become more popular for surfing with this device to the PC. More than half of the Dutch population aged 13 years and older are surfing on a tablet. However, the role of the conventional PC has not yet been played out. The use of this device increased again slightly to 54 percent after years of decline. 

Newspapers on digital platforms 
Digital publishing became increasingly important for publishers in recent years. Therefore publishers provide daily digital content, for example through websites, digital editions and apps. Consumers read newspapers on various digital platforms. Almost half of the Dutch (48 percent) read a digital newspaper in 2015. The PC used by 27 percent of  the Dutch is favourite. Smartphones and tablets grew as platforms for reading newspapers. Nearly a quarter of smartphone users and more than one fifth of the tablet owners read a Dutch digital newspaper in 2015; this was 22 per cent and 20 per cent respectively in 2014. 

The Media Standard Survey is carried out annually since 2011 by TNS NIPO on behalf of the Dutch Radio, Print and Television Research (NLO, NOM and SKO).

Source:  MSS_2015_rapportage_160223.pdf (in Dutch; no English version available online)

Monday, February 15, 2016

BPN 1725: Early Dutch videogames in RTV Sound and Vision archive

On Monday 15 February the Dutch RTV Institute for Sound and Vision will receive an important collection of early video games, including popular titles like Hopeless and Endless from the Dutch game developer Radarsoft. These games have been released in the 80s for the Commodore 64 and MSX computers. The collection also includes several well-known educational games, such as Topography Netherlands and Tempo Typing, which were used in the Dutch NCRV television program It's All in the Game. 

Media consumption in the Netherlands is no longer limited to the traditional channels of radio and television. Therefore, Sound and Vision, the RTV media archive in Hilversum, decided to expand its archive with new collection areas, such as video games and Internet culture. 

"Our audience wants to experience how video games have become an integral part of the daily media consumption. Preserving and keeping the  Dutch game productions playable is therefore essential to our archive."
Jan Müller, Managing Director of Image and Sound 

"From the point of nostalgia we feel it is important that young audiences have knowledge of them. For many people, these old games are a moment of remembrance. Games often were the first introduction to the computer."
Edwin Neuteboom, co-founder of Radarsoft 

National agenda
The transfer of the Radarsoft collection of Sound coincides with the first expert meeting as part of a national agenda for sustainable archiving of video games. Universities, colleges, cultural institutions and representatives of the gaming industry come together on Monday, February 15th at Sound and Vision to determine what is needed to secure the game's heritage for the future. Especially the interactive nature of games and the shift from offline to online make saving games a complex task. 

For more info: Sound and Vision

Monday, February 08, 2016

BPN 1724: Dutch uni's and Open Access

Press release 
February 3, 2016

Combined open access and subscription agreement between Wiley and Dutch universities

The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and John Wiley and Sons, Inc., today announced an agreement of unlimited open access publication of Dutch academic articles combined with expanded subscription access to high-quality research.

'The Netherlands is living up to its pioneering reputation now that a second major publisher has opted for 100% open access. It's a huge step forward', says Koen Becking, who has been negotiating on behalf of the Dutch universities. 

The negotiations between VSNU and Wiley resulted in an unprecedented agreement covering 2016 – 2019.  It provides students and researchers at Dutch universities with access to all Wiley subscription journal content and enables authors at Dutch universities to enjoy unlimited open access publication in Wiley's hybrid journals (c.1400), with no publishing charge levied at the article level. This arrangement will contribute to significant growth in open access articles published from the Netherlands. 

’This agreement accelerates the transition to open access in the Netherlands. Wiley has Open Science at the forefront of its strategic agenda. In this new landscape, we support the ambitions of all community stakeholders, including researchers, funders and institutions – by facilitating greater openness and ultimately increased reproducibility.’  Philip Carpenter, EVP Research, Wiley.

Open access contributes to academic knowledge 
The Dutch universities and the Dutch government are very much in favour of open access to academic publications. Open access is also a priority during the Dutch presidency of the EU. VSNU believes open access publications are easier to find, and have the potential to be more frequently cited and reach a larger audience. This benefits not just the academic community, but society and the economy at large.
Click here for more information.

Pres release
December 10, 2015

Dutch Universities and Elsevier reach agreement in principle on Open Access and subscription

The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and scientific information provider Elsevier have reached an agreement in principle that marks a milestone in the Netherlands’ transition to Open Access scholarly publishing and provides Dutch researchers with continued subscription access to high-quality research.

Details of this 3-year agreement, which is to start in 2016, will be finalized in the near future.
“We are pleased about this agreement as it facilitates a sustainable transition to Open Access,” said Prof. Gerard Meijer, chief negotiator for the VSNU and Chairman of Radboud University Nijmegen. “It gives academics at Dutch universities subscription access to Elsevier journals and allows them to publish Open Access in a selection of these journals. The Dutch universities aim to make 30% of their researchers’ publications Open Access by 2018 this the agreement makes it possible to get there. It’s genuinely good news and a big deal for Open Access in the Netherlands."
Philippe Terheggen, Elsevier Managing Director Journals, said: “We welcome the agreement as the continued subscription access to a substantial part of the world’s highest-quality, peer-reviewed research is essential to the Netherlands maintaining its position as one of the world’s most impactful research nations. In addition, increased Open Access publishing options will be available to Dutch researchers to globally share their work.”
The agreement is in line with the objective of Sander Dekker, State Secretary at the Ministry for Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands, to transition Dutch scientific output towards an Open Access publishing model.

Click here for more information.

Press release
July 2, 2015

Dutch Universities and SAGE reach agreement on open access

The Hague, 29 June. The Dutch universities and SAGE have established  an agreement on the much-needed transition to open access (OA). This unique agreement supports researchers by enabling them to publish OA in all SAGE-owned academic journals, ensuring high-quality peer-reviewed OA publishing is a more accessible option for researchers within the Netherlands. The costs of publishing in OA format for researchers is partly at a discounted rate and partly a prepaid service by universities without any extra costs for researchers. The agreement with SAGE has been made on a budget neutral basis for universities.
The Dutch universities jointly negotiate subscription fees with individual academic journal publishers, as part of the so-called 'Big Deal' negotiations. The universities are only prepared to renew the agreements on subscriptions if the publishers take steps towards open access. The negotiations with SAGE prove that these steps can be taken. SAGE, a leading global independent academic publisher of journals, books and products, has been an active publisher supporting OA for many years. It has done so with a growing suite of OA journals across a broad range of research fields encompassing business, humanities, social sciences, technology, and medicine.

Koen Becking, president of Tilburg University and chief negotiator on behalf of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) commented:

‘Once more this two-year agreement marks a key step towards open access in the Netherlands. It has been reached on a budget neutral basis, at a time when the number of open access publications are expected to rise.’

Speaking from SAGE, David Ross, Executive Publisher Open Access , further remarked:
‘This partnership enables us to better support researchers in the Netherlands and ensure that they are able to publish their research Open Access, while maintaining the very highest standards of peer review, copy editing, typesetting, and electronic dissemination you would expect of SAGE as leading publisher.’

Open access improves access to science
The Dutch universities and the Dutch government are very much in favour of OA. OA publications are easier to find, more frequently quoted and reach a larger audience – benefiting not only science, but society and the economy at large. According to targets set by State Secretary Dekker for Education, Culture and Science, five and ten years from now 60% and 100% of all Dutch academic publications, respectively, should be OA publications. A great deal of academic research is funded by public means. The Dutch universities aim to prevent a situation in which users ultimately have to pay twice for consulting OA publications

Press release
November 20, 2014

Springer and universities take key step towards open access

The Springer publishing group and the Dutch universities have reached a negotiation agreement on the transition to open access. Both parties see open access publishing as the road to the future. 'We're confident that this agreement with Springer marks a key step in the right direction', said Koen Becking, president of Tilburg University and chief negotiator for the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). 'It means scientists in the Netherlands will be able to publish in open access format in existing Springer journals, while retaining reading privileges to these journals as well.'

State Secretary Sander Dekker (Education, Culture and Science) has responded enthusiastically to these developments. ‘I’m happy to hear that Springer has taken its responsibility seriously and that the ambitions of both parties on open access have taken hold in the agreement. It is of tremendous importance that major publishing firms such as Springer recognise that open access represents the future of academic publishing. The agreement between the universities and Springer is therefore an important step in the right direction. Sharing knowledge, a fundamental aspect of open access, is an important driver of innovation in the Netherlands. It’s clearly advantageous for many professions: doctors have access to medical research, school teachers can use the latest insight from the educational sciences in their classes.’

Agreements on subscription fees are made for all the Dutch universities with the individual scientific journal publishers, as part of the so-called 'Big Deal' negotiations. The universities are only prepared to renew the agreements on subscriptions if the publishers take steps towards open access. Several publishers are hesitant to take these steps, given the drastic changes in their revenue model this transition would cause. Yet the negotiations with Springer prove that these steps can be taken.

Open access improves access to science
The Dutch universities and the Dutch government are very much in favour of opening access to academic publications. Open access publications are easier to find, more frequently quoted and reach a larger audience – benefiting not only science, but society and the economy at large. According to targets set by State Secretary Dekker for Education, Culture and Science, five and ten years from now 60% and 100% of all Dutch academic publications, respectively, should be open access publications. A great deal of academic research is funded by public means. The Dutch universities aim to prevent a situation in which users ultimately have to pay twice for consulting open access publications.

Click here for the release of Springer publishing group. 

Saturday, February 06, 2016

BPN 1723: Monitor Dutch Games Industry

The Games Monitor is a collaboration between Dutch Game GardenDutch Games AssociationControl MagazineEconomic Board Utrecht, and research partners TNO and NEO Observatory. 

The Games Monitor 2015 presents an overview of the economic development of the Dutch games industry between 2011 and 2015.A questionnaire was sent to more than 400 companies and returned by 130 companies. Following the presentation of the preliminary results, several industry round table discussions were held to further verify and analyze the findings. 

The games industry includes all companies whose core activities include at least one of the following processes in the value chain: the development, production, publication, facilitation and/or electronic distribution of electronic games. The Games Monitor further discerns two domains in the games industry: entertainment games and applied games. Entertainment games entail all electronic games that have entertainment as their primary goal. Applied games, also referred to as serious games, aim to inform, educate or train end-users. Applied games are developed and distributed across sectors, including education, health, transport, marketing, and defense. 

The findings show a rapid growth in the number of companies, from 320 in 2011 to 455 in 2015, an increase of 42%. The same period also saw a large number of companies close for business (110), which makes the overall growth even more impressive. 


Whether these new companies will actually succeed in creating a sustainable business, or make the difficult transition from a start-up to a scale-up, remains one of the biggest challenges for the Dutch (and European) games ecosystem. The number of professionals working in the Dutch games industry has grown as well, albeit much slower than the number of companies: from 2730 in 2011 to 3030 in 2015. The annual job growth of 2.6% is above the national average of -0.4% in 2011-2015. Companies are young (more than half are less than 5 years old) and relatively small (average number of employees is 7). 

The positive worldwide trends are, to some extent, reflected in the developments of the Dutch games ecosystem. The analysis reveals that over 60% of Dutch game companies saw a growth in revenues, with an aggregated turnover of €155-225 million. However, most profits are modest (up to €100,000). 

Another striking development is the distribution of growth between entertainment and applied games. Whereas applied games still have a strong foothold in the Dutch games industry, the last couple of years saw a surge in the number of companies focused on entertainment games. 

Applied games 
Applied games remain an important pillar of the Dutch games industry. The total number of companies involved in applied games grew by 28% to 158 companies. During the 2011–2015 period, most applied game studios indicated a sharp decline in clients in 2013 and particularly in 2014. The magnitude of this decline was so severe that the continuity of some dedicated applied games studios was threatened. Some of these companies scaled down, leading to layoffs. In 2015 the number of tender requests began rising sharply. Some companies chose not to increase their workforce but opted instead to consolidate and minimize risks rather than increase profits (and risk).
A striking trend the past years is an increase in partnerships in aspects such as marketing and promotion, strategic alliances and funding. Game companies have joined forces to maintain a sustainable business and scale up internationalization. There is almost no specialization in the type of sectors and clients applied game companies work for. The educational and healthcare sectors are slightly larger than other domains of application. Currently, most of the projects completed by applied game studios are driven by client demands. To scale up the applied games market, a more product- based approach, where companies develop games that are applicable and salable to many clients, is necessary. This provides a need to move away from producing ‘one- o’ solutions for individual clients. Dealing with issues related with operating in an innovative field and validation of applied games remain challenges for all applied game companies. 

Entertainment games 
Comparing the data from the 2012 Games Monitor to 2015, two findings are notable. First, there was a considerable growth in the number of entertainment game development studios, almost doubling from 83 to 160. Second, the increase in game development studios was not mirrored by a similar increase in the number of professionals working in entertainment. The number of jobs remained more or less the same (approx. 860 fte). In order to be successful and keep up with the demands of the users and publishers, larger teams are necessary. Over the past few years, successful studios are relatively large (11 to 25 people) and have more than five years’ experience. Success in not guaranteed in an ever-changing industry with a myriad of business models, increasing numbers of platforms and tech engines and shifting user demands. Competition remains fierce, making it even more difficult for talented, young, small studios to find their niche in the market and continue to grow after their initial launch. Dutch entertainment game studios are moderately successful at the moment. Specifically, new studios lack a dedicated business and/or marketing expertise that can help successfully identify market demands and launch a product in that segment. 

The number of full-time game programs has increased by 25% from 35 in 2012 to 44 in 2015. Next to dedicated programs, many knowledge institutions also offer a range of game minors and single courses to their students. This has resulted in a significant increase of the total number of game-related minors and courses from 9 in 2012 to 22 in 2015. The annual outflow of all game students has grown to approximately 1600 for full time and part time courses combined. A mismatch between industry needs and educational levels has been ascertained. 


Most experts agree that a business-oriented course should be added to game majors/masters. More knowledge on entrepreneurship is needed. 

Similarities between the Dutch and other European game industries are the small size of companies and a growth of new studios. The Dutch games industry has a heavy focus on applied games and a significantly smaller turnover per employee due to the lack of large and successful studios. 

Eight recommendations are provided based on the results of the Games Monitor 2015 and the round table discussions with the industry:
- Foster an entrepreneurial mind-set in the educational setting and in start-ups.
- Manage expectations and create a healthy sense of realism concerning the chances to become a highly successful studio.
- Promote matchmaking between creatives & business.
- Be aware of business models and the shifts in the market.
- Scale up via partnerships, mergers and pooling resources to increase the chance of growth.
- Capitalize on IP to increase the chance of growth.
- Focus on a more product-based approach rather than a single game.
- Increase awareness in the financial sector of the added value of games and vice versa. 

Games Monitor: the full report