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Exceptional times call for new and open solutions: #osoc20 will be fully remote

- May 5, 2020 in Featured, Open Data, Open Innovation, Open Knowledge, Open Source, open Summer of code, osoc20, projects, remote

A virus is throwing a spanner in the works for businesses and organisations around the globe. At the same time, we are witnessing a surge in innovation, creativity and flexibility from all parts of society. Open Knowledge Belgium wants to take on the challenge and be part of the solution. How? With Open Summer of Code, we provide both private and public organisations with the opportunity to tap into the creativity of digital natives and build a prototype for digital projects in only 4 weeks time. Changing times call for thinking out of the box Open Summer of Code will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer. This unique summer program – where student teams devise and develop innovative digital solutions for societal and other challenges – has become an institution. Throughout the years, we have managed to make Open Summer of Code grow with more students, partners and impact. As a result of the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, we’re ready to take on a new challenge: organising #osoc20 as a fully remote edition. Thanks to our experience and solid supporting network of coaches and partners, we are confident and excited to turn this fully remote aspect into an opportunity for more and faster digital transformation. We are currently adapting our program in such a way that we make it work remotely. Here are a few changes that you can expect for this remote edition:
  • Set-up of the infrastructure for effective remote collaboration
  • Review of our code of conduct so it works remotely
  • Documentation will take precedence over explanation
  • Supporting coaches with tutorials & an online skill board
  • Demo day: live-streaming all project presentations to a broad audience.
Does this imply that we’ll never meet each other face-to-face? Not necessarily! We want to keep the door open for small physical meetings. If governmental measures allow, we might organise smaller team gatherings, but remote work will be the norm. In case it’s difficult for students to work from home, we will provide them with a desk. Open is the key to innovation The pandemic has forced many of us to isolate but this hasn’t stopped the world from coming together to fight the corona virus. Traditional silos are being demolished while new ways of collaboration are popping up everywhere. From researchers to makers, from app developers to citizens with a sewing machine, … Magic happens when all noses point in the same direction. As an umbrella organisation for the open community in Belgium, we are proud that Open Knowledge, Open Data and Open Source have played a significant part in these developments. We strongly believe in the power of open as a motor for innovation. All applications and solutions that are developed during Open Summer of Code are Open Source, and often based on Open Data. This way we can introduce the projects and partners to the (Belgian) open community while training a next generation of open advocates. Of course we ourselves try to practice what we preach by using as many open alternatives when organising Open Summer of Code. Even more so now that we are preparing for a fully remote edition. Together with you, we want to develop the world of tomorrow This year’s edition of Open Summer of Code provides a unique opportunity: it combines the societal need for more digital transformation and the strong motivation of talented students in a remote setting. 171 students have already submitted their application to be part of #osoc20. Today, we’re still looking for more partners who want to build a prototype for their digital project and give a team of students the chance to put their skills into practice. In previous editions of Open Summer of Code, teams of students have built prototypes for many different kind of projects – to highlight a few: In short, what can you as a project partner expect to get out of Open Summer of Code?
  • The opportunity to turn your project idea into a prototype in only 1 month thanks to the digital creativity and dedication of a talented team of students and coaches.
  • Joining a network of organisations, coaches and nearly graduated students who are eager to make a difference.
  • Social impact, as thanks to you students get the chance to work on an impactful digital project.
  • Becoming a digital pioneer and gain visibility before, during and after the program with your next digital project.
  • Being a part of a larger innovative hub where synergies arise spontaneously.
Do you recognize yourself or your organization in the description above? Then osoc is what you’re looking for! You can become a partner by contacting us directly via For more info, take a look at:

Open Summer of Code is growing beyond the Belgian borders!

- August 2, 2018 in belgium, Events, network, OK Belgium, open Summer of code

Authors: Dries van Ransbeek and David Chaves To some of you, Open Summer of Code – also known as osoc – is a name that rings a bell, to others this is a new concept. So, for the latter group: osoc is an originally Belgian summer programme organised by Open Knowledge Belgium which has been around since 2011. Ever since that first summer, osoc has been breathing life into 62 open innovation projects.

More open innovation than ever before

Open Summer of Code is an annual summer programme. Several teams of students have four weeks to give shape to real-life open innovation projects. This July, Open Summer of Code welcomed 74 students who got paid to work on 17 open innovation projects as summer job: a record in osoc’s history. To make this happen, Open Summer of Code partners up with external partners: two examples of this edition were, amongst others, Informatie Vlaanderen and Brussels Mobility. This summer, the 8th edition took place. 17 projects were developed, start to finish, in just one month. Every team consisted of driven multi-disciplinary students and coaches who brainstormed, coded and tested out their applications together. The fruits of their labour were presented at the Demo Day on the 26th of July in Brussels with more than 300 attendees. Find an overview of all osoc18’s projects here:

Open innovation with Open Source and Open Data

Open Summer of Code builds open source applications based on open data, which is data that can be freely (re)used and can be distributed by everyone. Open data has many different uses and brings about innovation time and again. Every single one of the 17 projects benefits our society as a whole. Toon Vanagt, chairman of Open Knowledge Belgium explains: “At osoc, we aim to illustrate the advantages of open data with clear applications in addition to giving an enriching learning experience to motivated students. We pass on the result of that effort to society transparently through open source. Our students work on these innovation projects in small teams and with a deadline. The goal of osoc is to deliver as much functionality as possible at the end of the month. To reach this goal, the teams are supported by experienced coaches. This year, we can count on the support of 24 partners from both government and business sector. In return for their contribution, they submit projects themselves that can be further developed after Open Summer of Code”.

Open Summer of Code goes international

For the first time, this year, osoc turned as international with a parallel event in Spain. A collaboration between the Open Knowledge Belgium and the Ontology Engineering Group (from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) made possible that during two weeks in July, 8 international students developed 3 innovation projects in the city of Madrid. The three partners for this 1st edition of osoc in Spain were: the innovation department of the pharmaceutical company Lilly, the astronomical observatory of the UPM and the EU project CEF-OASIS. The whole program was celebrated with the support of the open laboratory for innovation project of the Madrid’s council, Medialab-Prado, and similar to the Belgium edition, the outcomes of the project were presented during the Demo Day on the 20th of July with more than 30 external attendees.

What’s next? osoc19 in multiple countries

With its first international edition, Open Summer of Code has put its first steps towards its goal to pursue more international impact. In 2019, it aims to have students making open innovation projects happen across multiple countries. Therefore, it’s looking for local Open Knowledge chapters or other partner organizations who want to take the lead in their country. As Open Knowledge Belgium has 8 years of experience within its team with organizing Open Summer of Code, feel free to drop an email to to get started and receive more information about setting up your local summer programme. Happy summer of open innovation!

More information about Open Summer of Code and this year’s projects:

Open Knowledge Belgium is preparing for open Summer of code 2017

- May 31, 2017 in belgium, Civic Labs, Events, General, Open Belgium, Open Data, Open Knowledge, open Summer of code, oSoc17

In the last few months, the open community in Belgium has had the chance to gather multiple times. Open Knowledge Belgium organised a couple of events and activities which aimed to bring its passionate community together and facilitate the launch of new projects. Furthermore, as summertime is coming, it’s currently organising the seventh edition of its yearly open Summer of code. Let’s go chronologically through what’s going on at Open Knowledge Belgium.

Open Belgium 2017

As the tradition goes, the first Monday after International Open Data Day, Open Knowledge Belgium organises its Open Belgium conference on open knowledge and open data in Belgium.

Open Belgium was made possible by an incredible group of volunteers

This year’s community-driven gathering of open enthusiasts took place in Brussels for the first time and was a big success. More than 250 people with different backgrounds showed up to talk about the current state of and next steps towards more open knowledge and open data in Belgium.

All presentations, notes and visuals of Open Belgium are available on

Launch of Civic Lab Brussels

It all started during a fruitful discussion with Open Knowledge Germany at Open Belgium. While talking about the 26 OK Labs in Germany, more specifically being intrigued by the air quality project of OK Lab Stuttgart, we got to ask ourselves: why wouldn’t we launch something similar in Brussels/Belgium?

In about the same period of time, some new open initiatives popped up from within our community and several volunteers repeatedly expressed their interest to contribute to Open Knowledge’s mission of building a world in which knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.

Eventually, after a wonderful visit to BeCentral — the new digital hub above Brussels’ central station — all pieces of the puzzle got merged into the idea of a Civic Lab: bringing volunteers and open projects every 2 weeks together in an open space.

The goal of Civic Labs Brussels is two-fold: on the one hand, offering volunteers opportunities to contribute to civic projects they care about. On the other hand, providing initiative-takers of open project with help and advice from fellow citizens.

Open in the case of our Civic Lab means, corresponding to the Open Definition, yet slightly shorter, that anyone can freely contribute to and benefit from the project. No strings attached.

Civic Lab meetups are not only to put open initiatives in the picture and hang out with other civic innovators. They’re also about getting things done and creating impact. Therefore, those gatherings always take place under the same format of short introductory presentations (30 min) — to both new and ongoing projects — followed by action (2 hours), whereby all attendees are totally free to contribute to the project of their choice and can come up with new projects.

Open Summer of code 2017

Last but not least, Open Knowledge Belgium is preparing for the seventh edition of its annual open Summer of code. From 3rd until 27th July, 36 programming, design and communications students will be working under the guidance of experienced coaches on 10 different open innovation projects with real-life impact.

If you want to stay updated about open Summer of code and all other activities, please follow Open Knowledge Belgium on Twitter or subscribe to its newsletter.

Open Knowledge Belgium is preparing for open Summer of code 2017

- May 31, 2017 in belgium, Civic Labs, Events, General, Open Belgium, Open Data, Open Knowledge, open Summer of code, oSoc17

Crowdsourcing the next open Summer of code speakers.

- April 28, 2015 in Events, Featured, Open Source, open Summer of code

Last saturday we organised ‘SWACKday’, a hackday attended by our #oSoc14 students and a few candidates for #oSoc15 (hell yeah, new blood). The focus of this hackday was on building the new version of the Apps for Ghent website as initiated by team SWAG during the Apps for Ghent hackathon, see presentation. Which ended up in mostly setting up Vagrant boxes. IMG_20150425_105912 But besides coding for team SWAG, we also had this motivated team gathering input and thus co-creating open Summer of code 2015. They did everything from (re)writing our Code of Conduct, creating an ‘open badges‘ achievement system for the students, brainstorming about which tools we should use ( ftw!), what locations and partners would be awesome AND last but not least what speakers we should invite during #oSoc15. Last year we had the honour of having Hans Verscheure, e-Government manager of the City of Kortrijk, Ruben Verborgh, semantic researcher at MultiMedia lab and Phil Archer of W3C coming over to talk and interact with our students. This year will be no exception if one or more of these wonderful proposed speakers wants to join us for a lunchtalk.

So we asked the students who their professional heroes and heroines were…

This is what they came up with:
Tim Berners-Lee
Lea Verou
Douglas Crockford
Paul Irish
Rachel Rayns
Gabe Newell
Massimo Banzi
Zhong Xu
Harry Roberts
Wouter Smet
Alexander De Croo
Jeremyle Van
Arne Bassez
Kristof Houben
Roy Van Dijk
Valentijn Destoop
Stephane Vanhalkman
Addy Osmani
Tim Van Lier
Thomas Joos
Michiel Akkermans
Robin Wauters
Linked Open Data
Raspberry Pi
Half Life 3
Posios Story
Growth Hacking
Innovation in Belgium
Sunrise story
Start up
Product Design
Digital Media
Start-Up BE
Tech in EU

Are you one of the speakers mentioned above and are you enthused to speak to our students during open Summer of code? We have no big budgets, but powerhouse students, fine Belgian beers and innovation flowing through our systems. We will be located somewhere in or near a Belgian city. We open up the talks to people located at our host and stream the whole thing via Google Hangout on Air for those who can’t make it. Because you know, we want to open up our knowledge. Phil Archer live

Sign up for Swackday, a thrilling hackday

- April 9, 2015 in Apps for Ghent, Events, Hackday, open Summer of code, oSoc, oSoc15, Swackday

SWACKDAY Exciting news! The 25th of April, we’ll be organising Swackday. This hackday will focus on two subjects, being oSoc15 and Apps for Ghent. Everyone that could be an asset for the team, can take part. To top this all off, after the hackday, we’ll have a nerdy LAN party. Apps for Ghent and oSoc15 You can choose between two teams. The first team is the Apps for Ghent-team, they will put the finishing touches on the project from the last edition of Apps for Ghent called Project SWAG or Super Website for Apps for Ghent. Team SWAG has made a sweet branding for Apps for Ghent and a even sweeter back-end, working with October, an open-source PHP-based CMS system. These two aspects need to be finished and brought together to be put into production. Ow yes, we want this beauty to go live before Apps for Ghent VI will start. .You can always take a look at our Github repo. The second team is #oSoc15 team. This team will co-create #oSoc15 together with Open Knowledge Belgium. There are all kinds of things to do, ranking from making designs to finishing the website to writing a new code of conduct. All of this to ensure our jubilee edition of #oSoc15 can be even more awesome. If you need some more information, you can check out the Github and our Trello board. Even people who can’t make it to the hackday can contribute to the tasks at hand. How to sign up Just go to the Swackday Eventbrite where you can register. Practical arrangements Where & when
  • Saturday April 25, 2015
  • IMinds Start-up Garage, Gaston Crommenlaan 10, 9000 Ghent [Google maps]
  • Hacking: 10.00 a.m. until 18.00 p.m.
  • The LAN party: 18.00 p.m. until 20.00 p.m.
You’ll need
  • Your laptop
  • Your battery charger
  • All of your computer accessories you want to work with
We’ll provide
  • Food
  • Water & coffee
  • A superfun LAN party
  We’re looking forward to Swackday, and to have you on board. So don’t wait any longer to sign up. After all, you don’t want to miss out on this, now do you?