It looked like a pretty regular week, but then I developed a fever, so had to stay at home some of the days.

  • Had conversations with the Open State Foundation deputy director and the one remaining board member I hand’t met before yet, Noor
  • Discussed with Frank Meeuwsen when and how to organise an IndieWebCamp in Utrecht this spring
  • Worked on open data for a province
  • Caught up with André Golliez who has started a new company with two partners in Switzerland, and we discussed their new propositions and services
  • Started planning a stakeholder mapping exercise for a client
  • Had in-depth conversations with my The Green Land partners about our plans and course for the coming year
  • Spent Saturday in Enschede visiting our old neighbours for the birthday of their sons, and then an informal wedding reception at Henk and Melina’s, meeting many people we hadn’t met for a while. Our little one had a great time, so she didn’t mind we stayed a bit longer to catch up with people.
Replied to Alleen mannen op het podium? Dan kom ik niet. by Elmine Wijnia
Prins Constantijn gaat nooit meer in een panel zitten zonder dat er minstens één vrouw in zit. Volgens hem is dat een goede manier om vooroordelen over vrouwelijke ondernemers weg te nemen, ..... Een mooie uitspraak die hopelijk ook in daad word omgezet...

Sinds twee jaar doe ik iets soortgelijks. Bij ieder spreekverzoek op een conferentie kijk ik naar wie nog meer komt, en of er, als er panels zijn, evenwicht in een panel zit. Als ik zelf niet kan, geef ik vrouwen op als alternatieve sprekers. Bij mijn panel deelname op een conferentie in Servië vorig jaar september, was het panel in evenwicht. Een half jaar eerder in Servië was het ook in orde. Mijn optreden bij State of the Net afgelopen jaar vond ik lastiger, in die zin. Te weinig vrouwen als spreker vond ik (3 van de 11), en telkens drie sprekers werden in een panel gezet, waardoor je dus geheel mannelijke panels kreeg. Wel heb ik, ik zit in het adviescomité van dat congres, zelf alleen vrouwelijke sprekers voorgedragen. Uiteindelijk ben ik wel gegaan, enerzijds omdat ik zelf een geheel nieuw verhaal wilde testen op een relevant publiek, anderzijds om een goede vriend die het organiseert niet teleur te stellen. Maar het betekent wel iets voor hoe ik dit jaar mijn adviserende rol in wil vullen.

Als event-organisator weet ik dat het kan, een gebalanceerde sprekerslijst en dito panels. Je moet wel zorgen dat je netwerk bij voorbaat al gebalanceerder is. Zo probeer ik dat bijvoorbeeld al te doen in mijn feedreader bij de weblogs die ik volg. Er is een overvloed aan vakmensen en denkers, als je die niet vindt ligt het niet aan die mensen. Als ik bijvoorbeeld vrouwelijke sprekers wil kunnen aanraden moet ik ze zelf ook eerst kennen: netwerken is gewoon een continue activiteit. Als event-organiser moet je er ook rekening mee houden dat mannen en vrouwen verschillend op een uitnodiging te spreken reageren. Mannen zijn eerder gevleid en gaan er vanuit dat ze wel een relevant verhaal kunnen houden. Vrouwen reageren eerder met reserve t.a.v. match van hun eigen kwalificaties en wat je zegt te zoeken voor je conferentie (er is altijd wel iemand beter), of planningsproblemen. Bij internationale conferenties die ik organiseerde nodigden we dan ook twee vrouwelijke sprekers t.o.v iedere man uit. In de praktijk kwam je dan op het omgekeerde uit, 1 op de 3 vrouwen als spreker. Het had nog een stuk beter gekund met meer vasthoudendheid (en betere planning) van onze kant. In Zweden op technische conferenties waar ik sprak was het altijd keurig 50-50. Ook in de organisatie zelf, en dat is volgens mij al het halve werk.

Replied to I have been holding my breath for too long - Flashing Palely in the Margins (
I have been holding my breath for too long. I don’t write as much, share as much as I used to, and part of that is because I have been waiting to have something to say before sharing. After twenty years of always having something to say, I have recently forgotten the concept of blogging as exhale, the notion of using this space as a place to breathe ideas and thoughts into existence. I have been holding my breath for so long that I have forgotten how to exhale. The next few months will be an exercise in breathing, for me.

What a beautiful metaphor, Sameer Vasta. Blog to exhale. To think out loud, to learn out in the open. To just add some of my and your ramblings to the mix. Starting somewhere in the middle, following a few threads of thought and intuitions, adding a few links (as ambient humanity), and ending without conclusions. Open ended. Just leaving it here. (from this posting)

A busy week but not hurried.

  • Several conversations with companies involved in narrative inquiry.
  • Spent a day in Groningen for conversations, visiting the local modern art museum on the way back to the rail station
  • Spent an evening in Enschede meeting an old friend from university
  • Our cat was found after three days being lost out in the cold. Because she has a RFID tag, the people who found her could contact us. Spent some time nursing her back to health.
  • Worked on benchmarking provinces on their open data efforts
  • Worked on procurement conditions for open data
  • Worked with Elmine on mutually helping each other to be more effective in our work
  • Helped plan a session for small municipalities on open data, next month

School children are traveling to The Hague in droves today, to demand climate action. The train is overly full, with youth and with energy. Not all fitted on to the train, so some were left on the platform to take the next one. Good to see the spirit of activism.


Met up with an old friend at the Beiaard cafe in Enschede tonight. It’s one of a range of conversations I am having these months with people I know but haven’t spoken to for a long time. Out of curiosity for their work, their experiences, and the things they care about. As a source of inspiration and ideas.

As a student I spent a lot of time at the Beiaard, first at the location opposite their current spot, and when it was still called Brandpunt. It was one of the places we used as meeting point for the cigar smoking club we both helped found at university. (We had our own brand of cigars, sold at selected pubs we frequented)

It was good to catch up, and talk about our lives. We hadn’t met in probably 20 years. And we had a drink at our old watering hole.

Meeting an old friend in Enschede

Today I had some appointments in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands. On my way back to the railway station I walked past the Groninger Museum and noticed an exhibition by the US glass artist Dale Chihuly. I decided to use a bit of time to spare before taking the train back, and visit. Such spur of the moment decisions are made very easy because both E and I have a Museum card, which makes access to all Dutch museums free of charge, or with a small surcharge for special exhibits such as this one. It means only time and appetite determine the decision to visit an exhibition. And if it disappoints to simply walk out after a few minutes.

Chihuly’s work is about the artisanship involved in making large scale glass objects and installations. Forms, textures and riots of color. I find it endlessly fascinating to read the small stories about the difficulties of artisanal processes like these.

It’s why the hallway filled with notes, sketches, doodles and descriptions would have been enough of an attraction to me, although the finished objects often presented in combination with sketched preliminary studies were great too.

Chihuly Groninger Museum Chihuly Groninger Museum


Chihuly Groninger Museum Chihuly Groninger Museum

Chihuly Groninger Museum Chihuly Groninger Museum

Chihuly Groninger Museum

Via Michel Bauwens’ FB profile I heard that Bernard Lietaer has died today. The former Belgian central banker, Euro-architect, hedge fund manager, and very active alternate currencies champion. I have learned a lot from his writings. I’m taking his passing as a trigger to (re)read his books. His arguments on how to create abundance and sustainable growth strike me as more convincing than the singularity style techno-optimists’. He was a very approachable man, and patiently entertaining my layman’s questions to him when I mailed him years ago.

A week that wasn’t busy as such, but intensive judging by how tired I was heading into the weekend.

  • Had a range of deep conversations across the country over 3 days, on running a business, on the household as economic unit, on privacy and data protection, the difference between providing a consultancy or a service versus turning it into a product, on indieweb and internet services as a utility, as well as on the future of The Green Land, my company. More conversations planned for next week. I’ve approached a range of people in my network for extended conversations to hear about their work, theb big issues they are dealing with and the developments they see.
  • Worked on a transparency benchmark for provinces.
  • Played around with the API of the Dutch national open data portal to benchmark provinces on opening data. Found out that the national portal has made some key changes without communicating it in any way. A unadvisable in my perception.
  • Spent Friday evening and time during the weekend searching the neighbourhood for our 15 year old black cat. She left the house and didn’t return. Maybe something happened to her, or she got locked into a shed by accident. Maybe she sought out a quiet spot to die, as she was clearly ageing. Not knowing what happened is more difficult than dealing with whatever did happen.
  • Visited Elmine’s brother and family on Saturday, and her parents today, as the little one clearly indicated she wanted to see them. So we did.

This definitely aligns with what I’ve seen in my network in the past two years. Whether it is just relocating the company to Estonia administratively, to run it online within the single market, or upping sticks and relocating with the company and the family to the EU27. Or getting a EU27 nationality to be able to keep doing what they’re doing within the EU27. While some of the bigger companies moving HQs or starting new subsidiaries is more visible, I already wondered when and how the invisible shift of a few jobs here, a handful there, to the EU27 would become a major news item. As they say here in the Netherlands, SME’s are the motor of the economy, not the juggernauts. Seeing a steady trickle of those SMEs move away from the UK can’t but end up having a big impact economically.

When the supermarket hopes that the winter weather and snow fall not just freezes the roads but also your brain…..

Five kilos of road salt sold at E5,99 or 1,20 per kilo as ‘special offer’. Special indeed, as immediately opposite in the same aisle kitchen salt goes for 0,36 per kilo. Even though the kitchen salt is refined and cleaned, it is still two thirds cheaper than the untreated ‘road salt’. Not surprising then that the staff who tried to remove the ice from sidewalk in front of the supermarket were using the kitchen salt, not the salt from their own ‘special offer’.

road salt, 1,20 per kilo

kitchen salt, 0,36 per kilo

no wonder staff used kitchen salt, and not the high-end priced road salt