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Many Bitcoin mining pools offer merged mining with Namecoin, and there are places where one can buy and sell BTC for NMC and the other way around.
But, why would anyone want to own NMC? As far as I understand, browsing dot-bit domains doesn't require owning NMC.

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    There's also all the same reasons Bitcoins have value. They're scarce, fungible, easily exchangeable, pseudonymous, and so on. Nov 22, 2011 at 21:51

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Namecoins are used to register .bit domains:

https://www.namecoin.org/dot-bit/

They're also bought and sold by speculators, but DNS registration is their original purpose.

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    Thanks for your answer, but I still don't understand. Buying an .bit domain costs bitcoin. You don't pay for the domain with nmc. And browsing .bit is free. Why then would anyone want to own nmc? If the answer is merely speculation, why would anyone in the future maybe want to own nmc? Dec 10, 2011 at 19:48
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    If you're using bitcoins (or dollars, etc.) to buy a .bit domain, you're paying someone to use their namecoins to actually register that domain. Dec 10, 2011 at 20:35

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