Calls: Send in your ideas. Deadline June 1st, 2021.

Welcome to NLnet Foundation

When it comes to important ideas that can help improve our society, there really are no boundaries. The challenge is to turn those opportunities into reality. Great ideas just come, but they are gone in a breeze as well. Lets make good use of them.

Since 1997 NLnet foundation (after its historical contribution to the early internet in Europe) has been financially supporting organizations and people that contribute to an open information society. It funds those with ideas to fix the internet. The procedure is fast, competitive and open to anyone.

NLnet has contributed funding to many important and very visible projects around fundamental standards from securing the core routing protocols and the domain name system of the internet to safer email, vendor-independent videoconferencing, more reliable wireless networks and private instant messaging - all based on open standards and verifiable open source software and/or hardware. It spawned the world-renowned NLnet Labs, and supported great open source projects like Jitsi, ARPA2, WireGuard, NoScript, Tor Hidden Services, GPLv3, GNUnet, and webODF. And many more ....

Do you have a great idea?
Find out what NLnet can do for you.

What is perhaps most amazing about this all is the size of NLnet. NLnet does not have huge budgets compared to the awesome work that it facilitates. The foundation's current funding comes from donations, legacies, collaborative funding and subgranting mechanisms, after having been kickstarted by a substantial capital established by pioneers of the European internet. NLnet itself at the time was the very first Dutch Internet Service Provider, and transitioned into a recognised public benefit organisation in 1997. The articles of association for the NLnet foundation state: "to promote the exchange of electronic information and all that is related or beneficial to that purpose".


NGI Zero Discovery is a grant programme that funds R&D that allows people, objects, content, data, applications and services to be found online - by improving search, discovery and discoverability through free and open source tools (like Searx, Yacy and and open standards like ActivityPub, microformats and linked data.

More about NGI Zero Discovery
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NGI Assure funds free and open source technological building blocks that can provides strong assurances to internet users on what they interact with online - from cryptography, public key infrastructure, distributed hash tables, CRDT's, symbolic and formal proofs, reputation and key exchange mechanisms.

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If you are interested in learning about new technology that respects your privacy and helps to make you and everyone else more secure on the internet - take some time to browse through the many awesome projects we are currently supporting. There is an entire parallel world to discover that ranges from videoconferencing applications, collaborative editors, alternative search engines, social networks, reproducible software tooling, vpn technologies, and secure messaging - all the way up to open hardware laptops, smartphones and dumbphones, fully transparent computer chips, new internet routing mechanisms, alternative web browsers, operating systems and even entire mobile networks and satellites.

Check out our current projects...


NGI Zero PET is aimed at efforts that enhance privacy characteristics and trustworthiness of the technology we depend on. From the internet protocols that run underneath every packet sent, the operating system and browser that we run our applications on, the chips we use in every device, to even the design and manufacturing of silicon - projects within NGI Zero PET are breaking down barriers and working towards a technology commons.

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No new proposals


The Internet Hardening Fund supports free and open source cryptography - from implementing new protocols in free and open source cryptographic libraries, designing unique open hardware devices, standardisation efforts of quantum-computer proof cryptography, secure VPN technology or work on the linux kernel to make IPSEC more reliable - we believe that hardening the internet is a future we should be working on today.

More about Internet Hardening Fund
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