The Open Root Server Network (ORSN) is a set of additional DNS servers for use in Europe and is funded privately. ORSN is operated in support of ICANN's politics for TLDs, thus no additional alternative TLDs are present (e.g. New.NET, etc).
The traditional ICANN operated DNS network consists of 13 Root-servers distributed among almost the entire world. However, the locations of these root servers are very dependent on the U.S.A as a result of the development history of the Internet.
Anyone living in Europe wanting Internet access depends on the connections to the root servers being available and reachable for the name resolution. While a complete blackout is unlikely, dependence on one country and it's foreign policy may not be all that wise.
You can get the root hints for ORSN from:
Current status of ORSN is at:
As of this morning, from Europe, 11 of the 13 ORSN servers are alive and are fairly well connected. One server (i.orsn-servers.net) appears not yet up. And another one (l.orsn-servers.net) has poor performance for European access. But as it's in the US it's not too surprising. Interestingly, l.orsn-servers.net is run by Paul Vixie!