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Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE, French for "European IP Networks") is a forum open to all parties with an interest in the technical development of the Internet. The RIPE community’s objective is to ensure that the administrative and technical coordination necessary to maintain and develop the Internet continues. It is not a standardisation organisation like the IETF and does not deal with domain names like ICANN.

RIPE is not a legal entity and has no formal membership. This means that anybody who is interested in the work of RIPE can participate through mailing lists and by attending meetings. RIPE has a chairman to keep an eye on work between RIPE Meetings and to be its external liaison. Rob Blokzijl was the spokesperson at the start and later the chairman. The RIPE community interacts via RIPE Mailing Lists,[1] RIPE Working Groups,[2] and RIPE Meetings.[3]

Although similar in name, the RIPE NCC and RIPE are separate entities. The RIPE NCC provides administrative support to RIPE, such as the facilitation of RIPE Meetings[4] and providing administrative support to RIPE Working Groups.[2] It was established in 1992 by the RIPE community to serve as an administrative body.



The first RIPE meeting was held on 22 May 1989 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It brought together 14 representatives of 6 countries and 11 networks[5] At the time European governments, standardisation bodies and telecommunications companies were pushing for the OSI-standard and IP-based networks were seen as the wrong way to go. In the academic community (mostly nuclear and particle physics) there was a strong need to work together with colleagues across Europe and the United States. IP provided a standard to allow interconnection and cooperation, whereas the networks offered by the European telecommunications companies often completely lacked that.

RIPE as an organisation was established by the RIPE terms of reference, which were agreed on 29 November 1989.[6] There were ten organisations intending to participate in the RIPE Coordinating Committee, along the lines defined by the RIPE Terms of Reference, though some still needed make a formal decision. These organisations were: BelWue, CERN, EASInet, EUnet, GARR, HEPnet, NORDUnet, SURFnet, SWITCH and XLINK.[7] At the same time taskforces were established to facilitate the interconnection of European IP-networks in the following weeks and months[8] The four taskforces were:

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