Ambassadors

To become an ambassador of Open Belgium, you need to play an active role in opening up Belgium. Next to each ambassador, an explanation is given to why they are a member and how they are contributing.



Noël Van Herreweghe


Noël Van Herreweghe is the Open Data programme coordinator of the Flemish government. We have to thank Noël for many achievements. For instance, thanks to Noël, Flanders is the first of all Belgian Governments to have implemented to revision of the PSI directive and thanks to Noël we have an official Flemish government Open Data portal, which is compliant to European standards. Furthermore he created awareness within Flemish government services that they have to open up datasets, how they can use this to their own benefit, and he created a manual with good practices within the government.




Andy Petrella


Andy Petrella is the owner of NextLab, in which he is helping on projects involving geospatial data management and distribution. He has a strong focus on Big Data and Distributed Computing. The need of Open Data became quickly obvious when working with data on a daily basis, that’s how he turned into an Open Data envagelist throughout a OKFN membership. He also co-founded WAJUG that organises technical talks in order to spread the knowledge across the Wallonia.

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Philippe Duchesne is a software architect with most expertise in the field of data cataloging, standardization and visualization, with a special focus on geospatial and semantic data. Be it on research projects or as part of the OKFN.be team, Philippe works towards discoverability and interoperability of open data, to help bring its full potential at the citizen’s fingertips.

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Raf Buyle is program manager and advisor e-government strategy at The Flemish Organization for ICT in Local Government, Belgium. Raf holds a Masters Degree of Applied Engineering in ICT – Electronics. Since 2002, he was involved in GIS and e-government projects as a project manager or consultant. In addition, Raf is working on ‘OSLO’ a generic data standard for local authorities to implement a more rational, interoptable e-government. OSLO is a local extension of the ISA core vocabularies (European Commission). Raf is active in the in the Open Data community as member of OKFN Belgium.

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Philippe Verstichel holds a Degree in Computer Science (ULB) and, a Master in Social Sciences and IT (Solvay Business School). He is an early entrepreneur (1985), having founded two IT Services companies developing financial software. Following a spell as senior Civil Servant, he moved in 2000 to London and Paris, to lead a consulting career throughout Europe where he managed large projects in Public Sector (eGov and Homeland Security at EU level) as well as for very large companies (Innovative Programmes). Since 2010, he is a Senior Consultant in Innovation Management (Entreprise Globale) and has been involved in the development of Open Data in Wallonia through the Hackathon eGov in 2013.

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Since 2008, Gwen Franck has been working for Ghent University Library on several projects such as Google Books and Europeana. For Ghent University, she serves as project assistant for OpenAIRE, a European funded project supporting the Open Access policies of the European Commission. Within the scope of this project, she co-started Open Access Belgium, aiming to spread the word about Open Access for scientific research in the Belgian research community. Since 2013, she is the regional coordinator for Creative Commons in Europe, and from 2014 on she will start working as Open Access coordinator for eIFL.

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Bart Rosseau studied Political Sciences at Ghent University (1988-1992). Working for the City Council since 1996, he evolved from Communication Strategy to E-strategy. Bart was one of the organizers of the first government Open Data event in Belgium.
AppsforGhent brings together (mobile) app-developers, hacktivists and open government data. The city government established the Ghent Living Lab as a network where ideas can be developed into tools to transform Ghent into a city for smart citizens.

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Peter Van der Perre


Peter Van der Perre is director of ITS.be (Intelligent Transport Systems Belgium, www.its.be), a network of companies and public bodies seeking to optimise transport and mobility by leveraging the power of the Internet. Prior to that he was head of projects at ITS Europe, working on European standards for ITS. Open Data is a key enabler for ITS; Peter’s focus is on European standards for opening up transport and mobility data.

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ErikMannens


Erik Mannens is paving the Open Data path in Flanders since 2008. He stood at the cradle of the first Hackatons and is a founding member of the Open Knowledge Foundation. (Belgian Chapter). Since then, he is frequently invited as Open Data evangelist at national and international events. He currently actively participates in W3C’s eGov and Linked Data Platform working groups. Furthermore his team is owner of the Open Source Linked Open Data Publishing frameworks TheDataTank and R&Wbase.

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Wouter Degadt


Wouter Degadt is the e-strategy and e-government manager at Leiedal for 13 different municipalities in South West Flanders. By being involved in different European projects, he implements all best practices on using information technology in the area. As manager of the project ‘Opening Up’, he is actively involved in the implementation of social media projects and the adoption of open data for local governments. For Wouter, Open Data forms a basis for involved citizens and a true transparent government.

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Stephane Roelandt


Stephane Roelandt is an avid open data enthousiast and board member of the Open Knowledge Foundation in Belgium (OKFN Belgium). He has more than 15 years of ICT experience in small to big sized companies within the pharmaceutical, telecom and banking industry, both on a national as well as international level. He has Co-founded start-ups like schoolKID, ontoforce, where he started as a business analyst and developer of early prototypes.

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Steven Palmaers


Steven Palmaers  holds a degree in Computer Science (Hasselt University). He coordinates research for the IT department at the PXL University College in Hasselt. He has been involved with mobile development on both Android and iOS, and is an expert in OSGi and Java technology. Currently working on a research project involving best practices for the application of open data in different organisations, he is helping to promote open data use, mainly focusing on Limburg and the broader region.

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Katleen Janssen

Dr. Katleen Janssen is a board member of Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium and has over 12 years research experience relating to legal issues of open data and public sector information. In 2012 and 2013, she advised the Flemish government on the development of the Flemish Open Data Licence.

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Thimo Thoeye

Thimo Thoeye studied software engineering at Ghent University and now works for the City of Ghent, which allows him to combine his love for his city with his passion for data and information management. He is a strong Open Data advocate both within the local government and beyond, and his OKFN membership greatly strengthens his case.

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Pieter Colpaert is a researcher in Linked Open Data and member of the board of OKFN Belgium. Back in 2010, he started iRail together with Yeri Tiete, a website which got into trouble for using public data. Ever since, he has been advocating Open data in Belgium as a means to improve data quality, as a means to become a better society, as a means to unlock economic potential, etc.

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Jean-Yves Huwart is the founder and CEO of Global Enterprise, a trends watching consulting firm, focusing on new forms of work ecosystems through various approaches such as open innovation and coworking. Globale Enterprise is the organizer of international annual events, among which the Intrapreneurship Conference as well as the Coworking Europe conference. Jean-Yves Huwart’s specialties cover topics related to the globalization of the economy, new technologies, telecommunications, transport, energy and corporate governance issues. He worked for ten years in the Belgian financial press. Jean-Yves is also the author of a book on the evolution of the economy in the Walloon Region: “The second decline in Wallonia – In out”.

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Pieter-Jan Pauwels is a full-time community manager at Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium. He is the driving force behind Open Belgium and is in charge of open Summer of code. His mission is bringing open knowledge and open data to a level playing field, where people with all sort of backgrounds, technical and non-technical can use, reuse and create knowledge in a sustainable way.

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Mathias Van Compernolle is a researcher in Open Data at Ghent University. He has helped organising Apps for Ghent, Apps for Culture, Apps for Whisky, and many more.

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