Dutch ‘Internet journalist’ vs. ‘Internet specialist’

Today, the public Dutch televison dedicated some minutes to ‘The approaching downfall of Wikipedia’. The alarmist view was mirrored by the ‘Internet specialist’ they had interviewed, and enriched with more nuances by an ‘Internet journalist’. I’d actually like to know on what these titles are based on, especially with regard to the ‘specialist’ who said that Wikipedia has to stop unless every reader contributes three dollars.

But, well, what to expect from people who cry ‘The end is near!’…

Internet as a ‘volksmedium’

The German national bureau of statistics publishes each year a yearbook about its findings. Statistisches Jahrbuch 2010 (pp. 116/117) tells us that in 2009, 73 % of all Germans above the age of ten did have internet access.

In general, men surf the internet more than women, and the young more than elderly people. 97 % of the people between 10 and 24 are onliners, and up to the age of 45 years, males and females hardly differ in that. The gender gap starts there and becomes more and more obvious. Roughly 40 % of the gentlemen older than 65 years use the internet, less than 20 % of the ladies.

Alas, the Jahrbuch lets us know little about the personal background of the people. A Dutch survey now studied the differences between unschooled and highly educated users.

According to Twente University, the two groups relate to the internet in this way:

  • The unschooled or less schooled spend three hours on the internet a day. They use it mainly to chat, game and watch movies.
  • The more schooled or highly educated spend two and a half hour on the internet a day. They see it especially as a means to gather information and use it for education and career.

93 % of the Dutch have internet access in 2010. 5 % want to have absolutely nothing to do with the internet. The researchers claim that it became a ‘volksmedium’, a medium for the entire people.

Mini conference in Utrecht


Arnoud Engelfriet at Wikiminiconferentie 2010

What are you allowed to do with pictures, how to draw colleagues to Wikipedia, and what tools to use when dealing with windmills – if you have such questions in mind, the Wikiminiconferentie in Utrecht would have been a great opportunity for you.

It replaces a ‘real’ conference as it was hold by Wikimedia Nederland for the last time in 2008. The main event was the presentation of the winners of ‘Wiki loves monuments‘, the photo contest that brought us more than 12,000 pictures.

Some 30 or (late the day) 35 participants came to a city cut from the railway transport system by a fire in an operator building the previous day. On the Wikipedia organization page 50 had registered.

‘I could have asked Arnoud Engelfriet like two hundred questions’, a Wikimedian later said. Engelfriet is an internet lawyer who explained some tricky things about copyright. For example, Dutch law allows you to take a picture of famous Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam ‘as it stands there’. If you photoshop distracting buildings in the background away, or alter the appearance of the bridge, you no longer present the bridge as it stands there, so you would infringe the copyright (or, more exactly, the ”auteursrecht’) of the architect.

Erik Zachte, chief analyst of Wikimedia Foundation, presented figures, facts and flaws around Wikipedia statistics and what some people make of it. Sebastiaan ter Burg is a photographer publishing under a Creative Commons licence, André Kopal wrote a tool for the Wikipedia windmill project, Josq talked about how to talk your colleagues in to Wikipedia, and I presented what Wikimedia Deutschland is doing with schools.

Wiki loves monuments: 40k to go



Kasteel Landfoort, in Oude IJsselstreek municipality
Huis Landfort, in Oude IJsselstreek municipality


In September 2010, Wikimedia Nederland asked photograph enthusiasts to send pictures of rijksmonumenten, national monuments in the Netherlands. Uploading happened via flickr or directly to Wikipedia Commons. (Shortcut there: COM:WLM.)

September was chosen by the Dutch chapter because amidst September the foundation Open Monumentendag organizes a weekend when houses, castles and churches are open to the public.

235 different people uploaded, 207 on Commons, 28 on flickr. The latter is important, thus, but it does not attract such a huge number of (new) contributors as we may wish.


Church organ, from above and behind. Maybe not a price winning photograph. :-)
Church organ, from behind / above.


According to Andre Koopal, 12,227 pictures were uploaded that month to Commons, and 274 to flickr. 7,854 different objects were covered. This means, different objects in the register of the Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed (a national agency) that provided us with the basic data. An object may be an old church, and its church tower another object with a number of its own.

In Dutch Wikipedia, every article about a municipality links to an article ‘Lijst van rijksmonumenten in…’, and often to lists of monuments for parts of a municipality (when there are more than eight).  (Example.) We now have pictures of ca. 20k monuments, but the total number is 60k. So, 40k to go…

The worst coverage we have in the province of Flevoland, with 5 monuments on picture, out of 87 (5,75%). The best we are in Zuid-Holland, nearly 60% of the 8,966 monuments there.

The jury will need some time to find the best photographs…