About the Open Belgium conference

What is the Open Belgium conference?


The Open Belgium conference is a community driven conference about open knowledge and open data, hosted in Namur.

It is packed with interesting talks and discussions. We have governmental representatives from all layers of society coming to discuss the openness of Belgium, from a local point of view to a European perspective. We have national and international keynotes and cases bringing attendees up to speed on new evolutions and best practices. We have a series of bottom up workshops by volunteering ambassadors, open data experts and likeminded organisations. All this will round-up in a network moment to network amongst attendees and speakers alike.

The Open Belgium conference started out as a part of the three day conference DataDays in Ghent. Today this is a yearly conference alternating between the three Belgian regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, keeping the voice of the open community in Belgium alive.

For who is this conference?

This conference is intended for everyone interested in open data and open knowledge. It is an event where IT-experts, local authorities, open data hackers, researchers and private companies have the chance to catch up on what is new in the field of open knowledge in Belgium and beyond. It is a day where data publishers sit next to the users, citizen developers and communities to network and to openly discuss the next steps in open knowledge and open data.

Who are the organisers?

Open Belgium is a conference hosted by Open Knowledge Belgium and co-organised by Hackathon E-Gov Wallonia and Global Enterprise. But as this is a community driven conference we work with numerous other organisations, volunteers and working groups. Sessions are fully organised by the Open Knowledge Belgium working groups, the Open Belgium Ambassadors or supportive organisations such as Packed vzw. Volunteers from all corners of Belgium are helping with the design (thanks YungPanda and Anastasia), website and logistical tasks (thanks AWT) on the day itself. And above all that you have our wonderful partners OpenCube and Apps for Europe helping us in making this conference happen. So believe us when we say: You can’t pin one party to this conference. It is all made possible by the Belgian community coming together.

Why Open Data and Open Knowledge?

What is Open data?

Open Data is the idea that public data should be something that anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose. This is based on the open definition. Opening Up Data has become a global phenomena and a crossroad between citizens and customers on the one hand and governments and organisations on the other. By opening up data and knowledge we can stimulate innovation, create economic value and strive for an open and transparent society that benefits all.

What’s the difference with Open Knowledge?

Openness is not something that only matters in the data world. We want to show Belgium that you can open more than just data. Open Belgium brings forwards initiatives such as Open Access who endeavour to open up scientific data and information. Open Culture, who work together with libraries and museums to open up content, imagery and information. And we also want to show community based projects such as Open Street Map which are not just about data but also about people mapping the world together. In other words, we try to show that openness affects all layer of society and numerous organisations are already trying to be open.

Situation in Belgium

Concerning open data,Belgium ranks 53d on the 97 countries on the Global Open Data Index in 2014. Which a big change since the years before, but we still need a lot more open efforts in order to catch up with our neighbouring countries. By joining forces with governments, public utility companies, private companies, citizens and non-profit organisations and through co-creation and have a physical meeting spot we hope to speed up this process of opening up valuable data and knowledge.

That is in fact, what this conference is all about. So join us and register.