Wikipedia Day in Amsterdam

A few days before January 15th 2011, the list for registration counted 200 participants - the maximum. Here Wikimedians and fans in the Schuttersgalerij of Amsterdam Museum.

The last couple of days I had the pleasure of being in Amsterdam. The Dutch Wikimedia chapter had invited to celebrate 10 years of Wikipedia, and two days before, it already gathered people to make new contacts and collaborate. Here a few lines about fun, fans and a fancy gift.

On Thursday (Jan 13th) some Wikimedians and representants of Dutch cultural heritage institutions met at the Kennisland seat in central Amsterdam. In the splendid Art Nouveau building we saw an introduction into the world of Free Knowledge, by Maarten Zeinstra (Kennisland and Creative Commons Netherlands) and Maarten Brinkerink (Wikimedia Nederland). The WMNL Maarten explained about the possibilities of collaboration and showed some examples, for example from the Tropenmusuem partnership.

The day next cultural managers (often the IT responsables) sat together in a Bootcamp with helpful Wikimedians, among them me. Actually the editing was not that a big problem, but the many rules and conventions. A spokesperson of Amsterdam Museum (previously Amsterdam Historisch Museum) thought of the Wikimedians being very strict with regard to copyright, and Hay Kranen from WMNL seconded: “Yes, we are more Roman than the Pope. Maybe we are the largest group of people who have copyright issues as their hobby.”

Me testing (passively) the new iPhone app

Many of the nearly 20 guests in the Filmzolder of the Amsterdam Museum represented famous Dutch museums, such as the Rijksmuseum and the Museum Boerhaave, but also the city archive of Nijmegen. The two nice guys from the latter, for example, wrote an article about the memorial plate for a local resistant hero and even added their geodata.

That same friday, more technically oriented people had their first Dutch Wikimedia Hackathon (page in Dutch, and TheDJ blog entry). Well known (for example Roan Kattouw, Siebrand Mazeland, Gerard Meijssen) and less known developers created new software tools to make easier to edit, to use or upload photographs, or have a better picture of a collection. There where even guests from England and France.

Wikisnaps” has a good chance to become the most famous result: With this Apple App, you can take a photograph with your iPhone and upload it within a few seconds to Wikimedia Commons. An Android version is about to come. At the presentation, this tool received a long warm applause.

Gusta Reichwein and Hay Kranen from WMNL

On Saturday, the big day, Wikimedians could attend four or more locations:

  • Some hackers and their lesser skilled entourage worked on at the Kennisland place.
  • WMNL had a short and not very populated members convention at a hotel which name I forgot. It was mainly about the budget for 2011: the chapter is going to have one or two employees.
  • At the Schuttersgalerij of Amsterdam Museum, the main event presented the hackers with their results and a panel discussion about cultural heritage collaboration issues. There was a ‘borrel’ (a kind of reception) in the museumcafé later.
  • Nearly 50 participants ate together at a Chinese restaurant, where we sang a Dutch birthday song for Wikipedia. A couple of us later went to Amsterdam pubs.

There was a nice media coverage, especially with WMNL main organizer Lodewijk Gelauff, and at the Schuttersgalerij the Amsterdam Museum surprised the crowd with a special birthday present: a usb stick with the entire pictorial collection of the museum, meaning 50,000 new files for Wikimedia Commons. WMNL helps the museum to pull down walls, to reach the public better, said Gusta Reichwein, head of the collection.

Some fans came, they said, because they wanted to see finally those people who write Wikipedia. And when I entered the restaurant with a Wikipedia ribbon, a waiter welcomed me with a sincere “Thank you, Wikipedia!”


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