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Enthusiasm for free knowledge

Strategy for 2017-2020

Vereniging Wikimedia Nederland

Adopted by the General Meeting of 24 September 2016

1 Wikimedia Nederland

Goal of the association

The goal of the Wikimedia Nederland association is defined in the articles of association as follows

  • To encourage the collection of, and the establishment of access to, free and/or freely accessible information in any form, particularly – but not limited to – using the Internet in order to preserve this information;
  • The association strives to accomplish this goal by, among other things, supporting the objectives formulated by Wikimedia Foundation Incorporated established in San Francisco, California (USA) using all the legal resources available to it
  • The association has no control over and no responsibility for the information referred to in paragraph 1 either in terms of content or how it is established.
  • The association will not retain more capital than is reasonably necessary for the continuity of the activities planned to fulfil the goal of the association


Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment.


Wikimedia Nederland, as part of a global movement, provides an environment where volunteers and organisations can work together to collect and distribute free knowledge throughout the world.


The structure of Wikimedia Nederland includes three entities, each with their own tasks and responsibilities:

  • Members: General Meeting twice a year, approval of annual plans/financial statements, changes to articles of association, election of board. The General Meeting is the highest decision-making body. Members do enjoy some limited benefits from the activities.
  • The board: currently consists of seven members elected for a term of two years.
  • The office: consists of a director and a small group of employees.

The Wikimedia community

The Wikimedia community has no formal or legal role in the association but it is an important element supporting the activities of the association.

Editors of Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects have their own organisational and decision-making structure, and arbitration arrangements, over which WMNL has no control. Wikimedia Nederland is not legally liable for the content of the Wikimedia projects or interventions by Dutch editors. The association does provide editors with financial and practical assistance, as well as advice.

WMNL supports the entire Wikimedia community, not only the members.

Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation has final legal responsibility for the Wikimedia projects, it is the owner of the brand names and logos, and the owner/administrator of the servers on which those projects run.

The Wikimedia Foundation has a board, the Board of Trustees, and there are a number of important advisory committees such as the Funds Dissemination Committee and Affiliations Committee. The Wikimedia Foundation is housed in San Francisco; the employees provide support for the community, technology and funds.

The relationship between WMF and WMNL consists of three components.

  • There is a legal relationship. WMNL has signed a chapter agreement with WMF.
  • There is a financial relationship. The main source of income for WMNL is the annual grant awarded by WMF.
  • And there is an operational relationship that focuses mainly on exchanging knowledge and activities.

The Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Nederland is recognised by the Wikimedia Foundation as an official chapter of the global Wikimedia movement, which includes, in addition to the Wikimedia Foundation, other national or regional chapters, user groups and thematic organisations. Wikimedia Nederland participates actively in this international movement by sharing knowledge and developing joint activities.


2 History

2.1 Early years of Wikimedia Nederland

Between 2006 and 2011, WMNL was an entirely volunteer organisation that became increasingly active from 2009 onwards. Three or four larger activities were organised annually, including the highly successful Wiki Loves Monuments. The core of active volunteers (people who were also willing to be active 'off wiki', particularly to organise activities) consisted of 15-20 people.

2.2 Expectations when office was established

An office was leased and the first employees were appointed in 2012. The expectations were the following:

  • the appointment of a number of employees who could take over the overheads and logistics from active volunteers where required;
  • the same level of volunteer activity was expected to be more productive and the annual number of activities was expected to increase, resulting in more publicity and more active volunteers;
  • it was also thought that this would benefit fund-raising through Wikipedia so that WMNL would have more resources (N.B. prior to 2012, WMNL itself organised the banner fund-raising through Wikipedia);
  • the number of activities was expected to increase even more because more resources would be available.

These expectations were implicit in the strategy for 2013-2015: the office was expected to work as a sort of booster for the volunteer organisation.

2.3 Experience in 2013-2015

Major advances were made in the period 2013-2015. The number of organised activities increased, as did the number of participants in those activities. New partnerships were established, as well as new forms of cooperation, with the phenomenon of the Wikipedian in Residence having a particularly strong impact.

The number of active WMNL volunteers rose to about 50, about 28 of whom were also willing to be active 'off wiki', for example at events organised with partners. This does not match the increase that was originally expected.

Another development was the change in the basic financing arrangements. The availability of financial resources could no longer be taken for granted because WMF centralised fund-raising. Funding became dependent in part in the assessment of an annual plan. The result of organised activities in terms of added or improved content on the Wikimedia projects was assessed at the end of the year and taken into account for subsequent years.

The unpredictable participation of the community, for example for the processing of the content donations, and sometimes the opposition of the community to activities organised by WMNL, imposed limits on the tangible impact that WMNL could have on the Wikimedia projects and on what WMNL could offer external partners.

2.4 Course for 2017-2020: focus on editors, knowledge holders and readers

The mission of Wikimedia Nederland is access to all knowledge for everyone. The Wikimedia community is an essential partner here.

The community consists of volunteers; they cannot be obliged to actively add knowledge they don't find interesting, but that may be relevant for the encyclopaedia in objective terms and that may be appreciated by readers. We cannot therefore assume that a Wikimedia community is, at any given time, in a position to cover the entire knowledge spectrum and to meet the knowledge requirements of all actual or potential readers. The fact that there is relatively little information on different language versions of Wikipedia about the third world and biographical information about women is linked worldwide to the make-up of the editor community, which is not sufficiently wide-ranging.

If Wikimedia Nederland were to allow itself to be led entirely by the wishes of the editor community when determining priorities, there is a risk that this effect would be amplified rather than counterbalanced.

To implement its mission in the best possible way, Wikimedia Nederland wishes to follow a course in the years to come that does equal justice to the interests of editors, knowledge holders and readers. By 'knowledge holders', we mean any organisation that is willing to share knowledge, data or collections through the Wikimedia projects.

The setting of priorities relating to the activities and the deployment of resources by Wikimedia Nederland is based on a consideration of the returns generated for the Wikimedia projects and of the interests of editors, partner institutions, and current and future readers.

  • The primary focus is making knowledge present in the Netherlands or knowledge relevant for the Netherlands freely available.
  • One form this takes is support for the Wikimedia community in the Netherlands, which works on sharing and making knowledge available on a volunteer basis.
  • Filling gaps in the knowledge made available by Wikimedia projects and keeping the Wikimedia projects relevant for current and future readers are equally important activities.
  • In addition, the wishes and needs of knowledge holders are essential in terms of setting priorities.

3 Survey of the environment

3.1 Organisations and parties in brief

To achieve its mission, Wikimedia Nederland collaborates with a wide range of parties who all determine the extent to which WMNL will be able to achieve its mission and objectives.

Organisations Reason for relevance WMNL action targeting the group see
Knowledge holders Owners of knowledge/collections that can be released
  • Information,
  • Help with releasing collections and content donations
  • Encourage the processing of donations by community
Section 5
Wikimedia editors Responsible for the content of the Wikimedia projects that provide access to knowledge
  • Practical support
  • Courses
  • Mediation for content release
  • Provide a platform for discussion and exchanges
  • Provide infrastructure, both physical and social
Section  6
Readers/users of Wikimedia projects End user - determine relevance of Wikimedia projects


  • Information about Wikipedia
  • Poll and survey
Section 5
Other institutions that strive to promote free knowledge Influence on debate, regulations etc.
  • Exchange of knowledge
  • Joint lobbying activities
Section 7
Companies that are commercially active in the field of knowledge sharing such as media companies Possible collaboration partners as knowledge holders.

Influence on debate and regulations

Also a potential competitors when relevant material is released

  • Lobbying
  • Education
Section 6
WMF Financial contribution

Owner of Wikimedia platforms

Technical knowledge

  • Funding requests
  • Collaboration on technology
Wikimedia affiliates Work in their areas on similar mission
  • Exchange of ideas
  • Joint lobbying
  • Inter-disciplinary collaboration
Government/EU Regulations

Knowledge holder

  • Lobbying
  • Collaboration
  • Possible requests for information (Government Information (Public Access) Act)
Section 7

3.2 Strength-weakness analysis

The strength-weakness analysis below for WMNL was drafted to describe developments in the field and the options that WMNL has in terms of responding to them.

Strength-weakness analysis for Wikimedia Nederland

  • The positive image of the Wikipedia project helps to open doors and set up new activities to benefit free knowledge.
  • Interest in free knowledge is increasing.
  • Willingness of funding bodies to support projects for Wikipedia.
  • Financial contribution from WMF could be lowered.
  • Some active editors on Wikimedia projects are negative about both WMF and WMNL.
  • The capacity to develop appealing activities.
  • Sound collaboration with active and knowledgeable volunteers.
  • Robust back office and knowledgeable staff.
  • Growing understanding of the make-up and motivation of editors, and of public appreciation for the Wikimedia projects.
  • Trust from and good relations with WMF.
  • Narrow base of active volunteers.
  • Impossible to provide partners/financiers with guaranteed results on Wikipedia.
  • Major financial dependence on WMF.
  • Large-scale public fund-raising activities not possible without CBF certification
  • Measurable impact of activities on Wikimedia projects disappointing.

Strength-weakness analysis for Wikipedia NL

Although WMNL does not have any direct responsibility for, or impact on, the Dutch language Wikipedia, the association is closely associated with that project. The fortunes of Wikipedia NL affect the WMNL activities. A SWOT analysis has therefore been made for Wikipedia NL as well. It should be pointed out here that some threats and weaknesses are not specific to the Dutch Wikipedia. They are related to aspects of the software and technological developments at the international level.

  • Willingness to contribute is potentially high.
  • Institutions willing to share knowledge, contribute content and work together.
  • Acceptance in the academic world is growing.
  • Technological developments in MediaWiki at the international level.
  • Strong reputation among large sections of the population.
  • Technological developments at other online platforms and interactive sources of information result in increasing demands and higher user expectations.
  • Number of editors is stagnating.
  • Group of very loyal and knowledgeable editors.
  • The editors are constantly developing new activities and projects to improve content.
  • Large number of articles.
  • The editors are also active internationally in multiple languages.
  • There are no guarantees that the users are able to manage the entire range of knowledge adequately.
  • The community prefers the existing procedures and implementing innovation is difficult.
  • Approach to/expertise in conflict management require improvement.
  • Technology and appearance outdated.
  • Procedures for recruiting and retaining new editors are not optimal.

3.3. Confrontation matrix for Wikimedia Nederland

The confrontation matrix places strengths and weaknesses alongside opportunities and threats to identify the challenges for Wikimedia Nederland in the years to come. The figures in the columns state the relevance of the strength/weakness and opportunity/threat combinations, with 1 being least relevant and 5 most relevant. The combinations with a 5 will then be elaborated.

Confrontation matrix


Opportunities Threats
Positive image of WP helps in setting up new activities Interest in free knowledge is increasing Willingness of funding bodies to support WP projects Financial contribution from WMF could be lowered Some active editors are negative about WMF and WMNL
Strengths Capacity to develop appealing activities 1 1 5 1
Sound collaboration with active and knowledgeable volunteers 5 1
Growing understanding of the make-up and motivation of the editor group, and of public appreciation for the Wikimedia projects 3 5
Weaknesses Major financial dependence on WMF 3
Impossible to provide partners/financiers with guarantee for results on Wikipedia 3 3 5
Narrow base of active volunteers 5 3 1
Challenges for Wikimedia Nederland based on the confrontation matrix
  1. Funding bodies should be encouraged to support Wikimedia projects by developing appealing activities.
  2. Our capacity to set up new activities should be extended by intensifying collaboration with active and knowledgeable volunteers.
  3. Our growing understanding of the motivation of Wikipedians should be used to exert a positive influence on editors who are negative about WMF and WMNL.
  4. The possible reduction of WMF funding should be prevented by compensating for our limited ability to guarantee results on Wikipedia using other measurable results.
  5. The narrow base of active volunteers should be extended by responding to the growing interest in free knowledge.

4 What do we want to accomplish before 2020?

  • Enthusiasm for the free knowledge projects of the Wikimedia movement in an open community bubbling with positive energy, and in collaboration with a wide range of collaboration partners.

We will achieve this by:

  • Promoting free knowledge. Contributing to the Wikimedia projects by releasing or sharing knowledge will become a natural step for institutions. In collaboration with research institutions we will work on ensuring that the knowledge released by the Wikimedia projects is as wide-ranging and varied as possible. We want to cooperate even more closely with external organisations and also to respond more to their motives for disseminating knowledge and culture through our projects. In particular, we want to focus on fields of knowledge that are still under-represented.
  • Relationship with the readers. Our vision is free access to all knowledge for everyone. So far, we have focused primarily on the supply side: more and better content. However, there is also a demand side: what do the readers of the Dutch language WP want? Do the projects meet their needs? Over the next few years, we want to invest in a better understanding of the wishes and experiences of Wikipedia readers. Encouraging opportunities for direct communication with, or feedback from, readers. We include the experts among the readers: we want to know how professionals rate the information provided in their field. We will be using reader experiences to develop projects and select partners.
  • Support for editors. Optimal support for editors continues to be a priority. We want to ensure that the Wikimedia projects provide a pleasant working environment with low thresholds for participation and good manners. The association will continue with its efforts to provide logistical and financial support for editors. We also be working with the community to improve weaknesses by offering training courses, facilitating discussions and actively recruiting new editors.
  • Renewing content. Other forms of knowledge representation such as the use of infographics, video and sound, animations, etc. Wikimedia Nederland will be providing editors and partners with support to achieve this goal. This may also involve commissioning projects to simplify the development of alternative forms of knowledge representation. We also want to promote the use of data, and particularly to encourage contributions to Wikidata.

We have formulated three programmes to achieve this goal: Content, Support for the community, and Communications, stakeholders and support for the organisation.

5 Programme content

5.1 Introduction

Wikimedia Nederland wants to make a tangible contribution to the available free knowledge in the Netherlands, and in particular to the quality of the Wikimedia projects that provide many people with access to free knowledge. We are doing this in collaboration with research and heritage institutions and higher education. When necessary and desirable, we will also be getting involved in the political and public debate as an advocate for free knowledge and free licences.

5.2 Goals

  • We want to cooperate even more closely with external organisations and also to respond more to their reasons for disseminating knowledge and culture.
  • The knowledge released by the Wikimedia projects should be as wide-ranging and diverse as possible. In particular, we want to focus on fields of knowledge that are still under-represented.
  • A clearer understanding of the needs and experiences of Wikipedia readers and of how professionals rate the information provided in their field.
  • Stimulate and support the use other forms of knowledge representation such as audio, video, animations and infographics.
  • Where necessary, we will be acting as advocates for free knowledge and providing information and education about how the Wikimedia projects contribute to free knowledge.

5.3 Activities

  • Offering substantive themes to further the involvement of institutions and individuals.

The Wikipedia structure means that topics emerge from the interests of the editors.

The aim of choosing themes is to remedy gaps in knowledge and to bind new groups of editors. Themes are maintained for at least two years and will be supported by the WMNL office, sometimes intensively. It is hoped that the themes will be self-supporting thereafter and that new themes can then be addressed. The themes selected for 2017 are: the Gender Gap, Nature, the Netherlands and the world.

The current themes were selected on the basis of relevance for readers and their appeal for editors and partner institutions.
  • Gender - The fact that only 12% of the editors are women has, according to the Wikipedia community, negative consequences for the range of topics covered by Wikipedia.
  • The Netherlands and the World - We want to make knowledge available that is held in the Netherlands but that is particularly relevant to Wikipedians in other parts of the world (such as Indonesia, Brazil or the USA).
  • Nature – Enriching the encyclopaedic nature of Wikipedia by providing overarching articles, sources (Wikisource), audio and video (Wikimedia Commons).
  • Encouraging the appointment of Wikipedians in Residence as a proven and effective way of shaping and anchoring collaboration between institutions and Wikimedia. Support for Wikipedians in Residence. Providing training opportunities for people who aspire to a role of this kind.
  • Actively approaching institutions with relevant knowledge and providing facilities and support for their involvement in Wikimedia projects. Development of online tools and manuals. Acting as an intermediary between institutions and the community.
  • Integrating contributing to Wikipedia in curricula of higher education institutions through an education programme. Providing professional support, training materials and other tools for teachers.
  • Facilitating the technical processing of content donations, among other things by commissioning work if there is a lack of capacity or interest in the community.
  • Encouraging studies of quality in Wikipedia and using the results to develop activities in a targeted way.
  • Developing opportunities for readers to express their opinions about Wikipedia. Facilitating dialogue between readers and the community about the required content and presentation of knowledge through Wikimedia projects.
  • Encouraging donations of animations, moving images, sound and infographics. Where relevant, facilitating the production of materials of this kind. Providing the community with support for the use of materials of this kind. Providing training.
  • Organising education about the topic of free knowledge in general and the Wikimedia projects in particular. Drawing attention to threats and opportunities in the area of free knowledge, where possible in cooperation with other organisations (inside and outside Wikimedia).
  • Participation in the EU Free Knowledge Advocacy Group and support for the group during the implementation of the working programme.

6 Programme Community Support

6.1 Introduction

More than a thousand people are regularly active on the Dutch Wikipedia. People are also active on the English Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Commons image database and the database In addition, users also contribute actively to the other Wikimedia projects and to Wikipedias in other languages, including the Frisian, the Low Saxon and the Limburg Wikipedias. Support for the users of all the different Wikimedia projects is one of the main responsibilities of WMNL. This can be practical, logistical or financial support.

Surveys we have conducted among editors show that the working environment is felt to be unpleasant by a large number of users, that people are dissatisfied with how newcomers are introduced and with conflict management. WMNL wants to help the community in the search for solutions.

6.2 Goals

  • A healthy Wikimedia community where there is constructive collaboration in a pleasant atmosphere.
  • A steady influx of new editors, a substantial proportion of whom will remain active.
  • The editors have access to adequate resources to do their work.

6.3 Activities

  • Supporting the community by establishing and monitoring a pleasant working environment, for example by joining existing initiatives and structures (such as the coaching programme, providing training courses and facilitating initiatives). In particular, this will involve a focus on creating a safe environment for women.
  • Organising opportunities for community members to meet each other in person.
  • Providing communication channels for discussion and exchanges; actively informing the community about developments and activities.
  • Providing editors with logistical and financial support, both individually and for working and project groups and activities initiated by editors.
  • Offering a programme for the training and guidance of new editors that also focuses on conventions, rules and manners. This will also include coaching and guidance during the first edits.
  • Support for the optimisation of the software for user-friendliness. This may be either support for the development and introduction of software updates or action to prevent the phasing out of functionalities without consulting the community.

7 Communications, stakeholders and support

7.1 Introduction

Communications are an integral part of content and community programmes. Each activity in these programmes has its own communications strategy targeting the groups and individuals who are relevant to the successful achievement of the goals. In addition, Wikimedia Nederland is also developing communications activities that are not linked to a specific project or activity but that will be deployed to address organisational problems identified by the SWOT analysis.

7.2 Goals

  • Wikimedia Nederland will be using effective channels of communication that make interaction and exchanges possible with all major stakeholders but particularly with the Wikipedia community.
  • Important target groups will be actively approached in good time to provide them with the information that is relevant for them relating to Wikimedia Nederland, Wikimedia projects and free knowledge in general.
  • A 15% annual increase in the number of followers on the various social media channels.
  • An annual increase of 10% in the number of newsletter recipients.
  • By 2020, the number of recipients of the online newsletter through consultation pages will have increased from 6 to 240.
  • Awareness of the Wikimedia Nederland, Wikimedia Nederland and Wikipedia ‘brands’, and a positive appreciation and understanding of the structure and working methods of Wikipedia will have increased among the general public.
  • An annual increase of 5% in the number of views of the different explanatory videos.

Overview of target groups and extent to which they are reached through the available channels of communication

Direct personal contact Mass mailing/mailing list News


Social media Association wiki Web site Wiki-







Media Monthly and annual reports
Members and active volunteers * * ** ** **
Donors * ** *** ** **


* * ** ***
Readers ** *** * **
WMF * ** *


* ** * ***
Press * * ** ** **
Potential members and donors ** ** * *

7.3 Activities

  • Development and implementation of an annual communications plan in support of the annual plan based on an evaluation of the effect of previous communications activities.
  • Management of good contacts with the media and regular active contacts to inform the media about important events and developments.
  • Use paid Facebook ads to reach the target group when there are major activities.
  • Contact participants at all organised activities to ask them whether they want to receive the newsletter.
  • Promoting the online newsletter that can be posted on consultation pages. Posts in the appropriate places and announcements at online activities we organise, such as the writing weeks.
  • Active promotion of the various explanatory videos.
  • Development and implementation of a social media strategy.
  • Active search for key target groups by being present at events or on the media that are important to them.
  • A more intensive use of the possibilities in the field of infographics and animations.
  • Active monitoring of various developments and trends in the field of communications.

8 Organisation and management

No major structural changes are expected in the structure of the association. Possible changes will be submitted to the General Meeting.

Structure of Wikimedia Nederland

The structure of Wikimedia Nederland includes three entities, each with their own tasks and responsibilities.

Members: General Meeting twice a year, approval of annual plans/financial statements, changes to articles of association, election of board. The General Meeting is the highest decision-making body. Members do enjoy limited benefits from the activities.

The board: seven members elected for a term of two years.

The staff, consisting of a director, two communications officers, two project leaders and one office employee, where necessary with backup from flexible staff.

The constituent documents are the articles of association and the internal rules of procedure, supplemented by various regulations and protocols, and the chapter agreement with WMF. All documents can be found on

Reporting structure

The staff report to the director. The director reports to the board. The contact person for the director is the WMNL President. The board reports to the General Meeting.

Division of roles

  • The board directs, and the director and staff are responsible for implementation.
  • Annual plans and budgets are prepared and drawn up by the director and the staff.
  • The board discusses the plans and budget with the community.
  • The General Meeting adopts the plans and the budget.

9 Resources

9.1 Overview of multi-year budget

Increase in income and expenditure
2011 2013 2015 2020
Income € 70,255 € 318,896 € 404,440 € 540,000
Expenditure € 109,784 € 328,708 € 479,510 € 540,000


2011 2013 2015 2020
WMF Grant € 50,226 € 269,231 € 304,000 € 340,000
Contributions € 3,017 € 4,239 € 4,517 € 5,000
Donations € 5,798 € 10,498 € 34,496 € 45,000
Funds/other income € 11,214 € 34,928 € 61,427 € 150,000


The principles for expenditure in the years to come are:

The ratio of expenditure for staff - content - projects will remain unchanged in broad terms.

The office/staff will not expand. We will be maintaining the current policy in the years to come: a small staff with a flexible pool of employees who can be called in to work on a project basis.

9.2 Widening financial base

The main source of income for WMNL is the annual grant awarded by WMF. To be less dependent on this source of income in the coming years, we want to increase our income from other sources. We want to further extend the role of subsidies from funding bodies in project funding. And we want to increase the number of larger donations. The independence of the Wikimedia projects must always be safeguarded. That is the guiding principle when applying for project financing and attracting donations. In addition, the relationship with the financier may not constitute any risk in terms of the reputation of Wikimedia Nederland or the Wikimedia projects..

9.3 Investments and reservations

  • We do not expect any significant investments.
  • Reservations: Given WMNL's financial obligations to third parties, and in particular staff members, we wish to maintain a financial reserve that roughly corresponds to half of the annual operating expenses.


Discussed at General Meeting on 16 April 2016

Adopted by the General Meeting on 24 September 2016

Vereniging Wikimedia Nederland

(+31) (0)30 3200238

Postal address: Visiting address:

P.O. Box 167 Mariaplaats 3

3500 AD Utrecht Utrecht