Additional Context Around WordCamp Netherlands

We’d like to start by saying we are truly thankful for the hard work WordCamp organizers in the Netherlands have put into their events over the years. They have invested countless hours working on their events and the community, and we value their dedication and contributions.

We have worked hard in the past eight years to move the WordCamp program away from country-named events and toward city-named events for a number of reasons that focus on the health and longevity of the community as a whole. After observing hundreds of WordCamps and WordPress Meetup events over the years, we have seen that hosting city-named events helps to prevent entrenched leadership, makes space for new volunteers and participants, and gives clarity to how the program functions.

There is also a growing trend toward big, expensive conferences — and along with it, the assumption that in order for WordCamps to be a success, they have to bring in 1,000 attendees, 50 speakers, and attract people from across the world. This isn’t a new discussion, of course, but it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of smaller events as we see so many large-scale events on the horizon.

Changing the name of an event series is a hard thing to ask communities to trust, so starting in 2015 we worked with each community to make a transition into city-named events as painless as possible. At the same time, we were working with all communities to transition them to have term limits for organizers, which has served the same purposes as focusing on the city-named events.

In the case of WordCamp The Netherlands, the discussion around moving to a city-named event has been ongoing for five years. We requested the change (via phone calls or in person, with volunteers or with paid staff) and received verbal agreements multiple times. The Netherlands is not the only community we’ve asked to make this change (other examples include the UK, Switzerland, Denmark, and Israel to name a few). We realize it is certainly a hard thing to ask. But we also have seen benefits for the WordPress community as a whole in areas that have taken this chance.

What does this mean for WordCamp The Netherlands? We previously recommended they rename the event WordCamp Utrecht and continue to do the outstanding work they already do. WordCamps in other countries have moved on to new names and have been successful, and we’re hopeful that the same will happen here.

We are sorry that this disagreement has turned into a public back-and-forth, and we’re thankful as always for the tremendous time and energy that organizers, volunteers, and attendees put into making these events great. Our goal is to help people to get involved with the project where they can, whether they are new to it or have been around for a decade, and we believe these choices make space for people to easily get started.

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