From 10 to 21 December 2018 we organised the writing weeks about the German-speaking Community of Belgium. The concept is simple, you create a project page and ask as many people as possible to write an article about an area on Earth. Almost everywhere around the world there is a rich cultural society, as well as sports, politics, science, nature, history and much more. By focussing on a certain area, editors can still work on their fields of interest, only then focussed on that field of interest from that particular area. In essence a writing week is an online activity, but during the writing weeks period also local edit-a-thons and workshops can be organised on site.
In earlier years we have organised multiple writing weeks before. This year we were thinking in our community what would be a nice as area to focus on to get it better described on Wikipedia. In the months before we imported the protected monuments from the German-speaking Community to Wikidata, as they have their own monuments system with 194 monuments, but still missing on Wikidata or wrongly tagged. During the import it was noticed that many of these historical sites had no Wikipedia article yet, so this area seemed a great subject to organise the writing weeks about. This area is located at the eastern border of Belgium, with the Netherlands to the north and Luxembourg to the south, as well as on the edge of German, Dutch and French, so a nice area to work together throughout the various language communities of Belgium (and beyond). To coordinate the project, we created a general project page on Meta, but for the local language communities a page in Dutch, German and French. Soon after this was followed by enthousiasts from the Italian and Lombard Wikipedia.
During the writing weeks we organised on Saturday 15 December 2018 an edit-a-thon in Eupen, the capital city of the area. For this event we found the great location of the youth hostel (Jugendherberge) in Eupen, situated on a high hill on the edge of the upper part of the city, looking down on the lower part of the city and the edge of the High Fens, tentative World Heritage Site. Some enthusiasts came earlier and visited the area and made photos.
A second edit-a-thon was organised by the enthusiasts from Trento in Italy on 20 December 2018.
In total over 400 content pages have been created or improved, both on Wikipedia and Wikidata.
View from the youth hostel
View from the youth hostel
Edit-a-thon in Trento
End of year drink
Since around the start of Wikimedia Belgium years ago, we work and have worked with many content partners. But in all these years we have especially intensively worked together with PACKED vzw, the expertise centre for digital heritage. They help institutions in the heritage and cultural sector in the current digital age, including sharing knowledge, images and data on the Wikimedia platforms. Over the years they have built a vast network of partners and have an important role in both support and communication. Because of their excellent position in the cultural heritage sector (GLAM), we did many projects together and hosted many events together to reach out to the many cultural institutions of Belgium and share with them the mission we have as Wikimedia.
As PACKED vzw gets funded by the regional government of Belgium, it was the decided that having multiple organisations in the cultural sector is not a good idea, and thus that three existing organisations will be shut down on 1 January 2019, and a new organisation is set-up which incorporates also the work of the expertise centre and the two other organisations.
To celebrate the many projects and events we organised to create more awareness about the Wikimedia platforms and to get more content on the platforms, as well as the long time collaboration together, we organised on 18 December 2018 an end of year drink in one event together with the award ceremony of our annual photo contest Wiki Loves Heritage.
The first part of the event was focussed on the many cultural partners we have worked together with over the years. During this part it was summarised what we had achieved over the years, including the thousands of images on Wikimedia Commons and the thousands of data records imported to Wikidata.
Wiki Loves Heritage
In Europe 2018 was the European Year of Cultural Heritage. In line with this international thematic year we organised together with multiple partners a Belgian photo contest to make our heritage more visible for the public. This photo contest is called Wiki Loves Heritage and in this photo contest are all four types of heritage eligible.
Immovable heritage are archaeological sites, monuments, cultural-historical landscapes, war relics and city and villagescapes.
Movable heritage are the collections of art objects, utensils, decorative objects, archival documents, visual material, historic tools and vehicles, etc., which are stored in museums, archives and heritage libraries.
Immaterial heritage are the non-tangible habits or customs of the past that one cherishes and still practices today. For example, parties, stories, songs, traditions, social customs, rituals, crafts ...
Maritime heritage is the nautical heritage that can sail or float. This concerns both seagoing vessels and vessels for inland waters with various propulsion types, or without their own propulsion, which were used for pleasure or for professional purposes.
The photo contest started on 15 June 2018 and ran until halfway November 2018 and resulted in over 4300 images of heritage in Belgium. (contest page | images category)
The Belgian winners of Wiki Loves Heritage 2018 in Belgium are:
To celebrate the great result, we organised for everyone in Brussels an award ceremony on 18 December 2018 in Brussels, following on the end of year drink that focussed on the partners of the cultural sector. There the photographers of the winning photos received their prize and were thanked for the great photos. See also the Belgian jury report. After the award ceremony we had a drink to celebrate.
Besides there was a Belgian jury that judged all the photos for the whole of Belgium, there was also a regional jury in Flanders and the award ceremony of the Flanders jury will be on 23 February 2019 in Antwerp.