It’s almost unbelievable that 2/3 of the year have already passed. It seems as if we’ve just returned from our week in the snow late February, a few days before the pandemic hit the Netherlands which then led to the lockdown on the Ides of March. And now, the summer months have passed already! Not that I’ve been doing nothing in between, on the contrary, I’ve worked a lot and hard. But there is a certain element of waiting, not for the way it was, more for a new normal or rather a new steadiness. There is a possibility that new normal will kick in next week, when school opens after the summer, and we are likely to have steady week rhythm that doesn’t change every other week. That element of waiting till now makes it feel more like the 183rd of March 2020, than the 30th of August 2020.

This week was a good week, one of relief. First, I finished my work for the European High Value Data study which I started in January. I’m satisfied with the outcome, and in the end the enormous struggle I had in May for the intermediate report made these last steps easier, as since that bottle neck in the work I basically breathe the narrative and results I came up with at that difficult stage. Next week we’ll do a presentation of the work, and there will be some edits afterwards, but that should be it. Although one never knows, as it is an EU project and they can bring unexpected surprises right until the end. Now we will have to wait and see in the coming months what from our output will end up in the new European open data law which enters into force next year.

Second, we came to the end of an intensive time at the NGO that I chair. In June the director announced she would be leaving by September, and that same day a senior project lead announced she had accepted a new job per mid August. With the outgoing director our board worked hard to find suitable replacements, and we have found two new senior project leads, and last Wednesday I signed the contract for a new director, who will start next week. This is good news, which we celebrated with an all hands meeting (half online, half in situ), where we could say goodbye properly to Wilma who is leaving to become deputy head of the national broadcaster’s editorial board, and welcome Serv, a former diplomat, elections observer, author and previously director at a similar NGO.

Things I worked on this week:

  • Wrote out the revised potential policy options for the EU high value study
  • Incorporated feedback into the final revisions of other chapters for the EU study
  • Reworked the macro-economic assessment of the thematic areas I lead for the EU study, and took another dive into the micro-economic costs and benefits to build up macro-economic arguments.
  • Negotiated the contract for the new director of the NGO I chair. Signed the contract during an all-hands meet-up. Phoned the candidates that didn’t make the cut to inform them about that.
  • Restarted our work on an open data publising platform for a province, now their team is back from summer holidays.
  • Worked on non-tech digital transformation aspects for another province.
  • Had a brief meeting with my company’s MT to sync after the others were away on vacation, and to agree on the contract we’ll offer one of our team whose contract is up for renewal at the end of September (we let her know before her own holiday already we’d like to renew her contract to prevent undue worries)
  • Friday E, Y and me drove to Leeuwarden in Friesland to take in an exhibit at the Fries museum, go out for lunch, and then drive on to a campground in Drenthe for the yearly family weekend. Although it is a socially distanced edition of the family meet-up it is good to see each other again, even if from further away than in previous years.
  • Today we celebrated E’s birthday (Which makes it two years since our last birthday unconference. It’s hard to imagine an event like that in our home now).

I did not blog this week at all I notice, due to the time I worked on the EU study and the NGO. This ate away the early morning time I usually use for writing.

This week in … 1913*
This week in 1913 the Peace Palace was opened in The Hague by Queen Wilhelmina. It houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the International Court of Justice (which is the principal judicial body of the United Nations, and he only principal UN organ not located in New York City). It was opened in the midst of WWI, which was possible because the Netherlands remained a neutral country in WWI.

Peace Palace, image by Roman Boed, license CC-BY

(* I show an openly licensed image with (almost) each Week Notes posting, to showcase more open cultural material. See here why, and how I choose the images for 2020.)