WMBE strategy 2019-2020

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Logo Wikimedia Belgium
Logo Wikimedia Belgium

This article frames and describes the strategy of Wikimedia Belgium for the period 2019-2020.

Wikimedia Belgium[edit]

Headquarters Wikimedia Belgium

Purpose of the association[edit]

The purpose of the association Wikimedia Belgium vzw (WMBE) is set out in the Statutes. (8 October 2014[1] and 19 September 2020[2]) as described below - extract from the official articles of association:

Specific goals[edit]

  1. Promoting free access to and sharing of all knowledge, especially at regional, federal and European level;
  2. Contribute to the social, cultural and legal issues related to free data and free knowledge, e.g. by cooperating with other organisations with similar objectives and values;
  3. Encourage consultation and responsible contribution to Wikimedia projects through presentations, books, videos, or other media;
  4. Contribute to the organization of events, e.g. conferences, seminars and workshops, in which our values are disseminated;
  5. Collaborate with cultural organizations, such as museums, archives, libraries or collections; and encourage them to share content with the general public under appropriate licenses, to allow everyone to participate in the cultural richness of our collective heritage;
  6. Taking care of national requirements in the field of public relations;
  7. Helping to raise awareness of Wikimedia projects (outreach).

General goals[edit]

The association "Wikimedia Belgium" shares similar goals with the Wikimedia Foundation and other Wikimedia organizations.

The association supports all Wikimedia communities in all languages, in particular for Dutch, English, French and German, as well as the projects dedicated to the Luxembourgish, West Flemish, Limburgish and Walloon languages.

The association may carry out any act that directly or indirectly contributes to the achievement of its objectives; in particular and not limited to Internet facilities and Wikimedia projects for the creation, distribution and use of free educational and encyclopedic content and its sharing, the organisation of private or public activities and events, meetings, congresses and seminars, scholarships and training moments or the provision of information through various channels etc... In particular, it may support any activity similar or complementary to its purpose.


WMF: Imagine a world where every person has free access to all knowledge. That's what we're working on.

WMBE: Engaging people in free knowledge.


As part of the global movement, Wikimedia Belgium provides an environment where volunteers and organizations can work together to gather, organize, and make available free knowledge worldwide.

This is in line with the Worldwide strategy of the Wikimedia Foundation. (WMF).


Wikimedia Belgium is geographical and includes a number of entities that each have their own tasks and responsibilities:

  • Effective members: are members of the General Assembly, responsible for approving the annual plans, the annual accounts, the amendments to the articles of association and the election of the board. The General Meeting is the highest decision-making body.
  • The Board: is elected for a period of 2 years. The chairman is elected every year. The Members of the administrative body divide the functions within the administrative body.
  • Project leaders: organise and coordinate activities and seek cooperation with like-minded associations and organisations.
  • Associate members: may participate in the activities. Associate members pay an annual membership, or can enjoy a free membership if they actively contribute to the Wikimedia projects.

Wikimedia Belgium has no paid employees yet. Members or the public can make a free donation to WMBE to support our activities. WMBE can issue tax certificates through the Koning Boudewijnstichting. WMBE can provide (limited) financial support to individuals and third parties who support our objectives.

Wikimedia Belgium uses all official languages in Belgium: Dutch, French, German and also English as an international language.

The Wikimedia community[edit]

The Wikimedia community does not have a formal legal role in the association, but it is an important pillar for the activities of the association. WMBE supports the entire Wikimedia community, not just the members of the association.

Active volunteers can be on-wiki active, or also 'off-wiki/in-person' active, especially in organizing activities. Users remain the owner of their own contributions and are also responsible for them.

Staff working on Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects have their own organisational and decision-making structure and arbitration. WMBE has no control over this. Wikimedia Belgium is not legally liable for the content of the Wikimedia projects and edits made by the volunteers. The association offers financial, practical and advisory assistance to editors.

The Wikimedia community is language-based, not geographic. Wikimedia Belgium works closely with the international communities and its chapters, primarily the Dutch, French, German and English ones. It callaborates with other (mainly European) chapers.

The Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) is legally responsible for the Wikimedia projects, owns the brand names and logos, and owns/administers the servers on which these projects run. WMF also provides technical and organizational support to the volunteers and chapters.

The Wikimedia Foundation has a board, the Board of Trustees. There are some important advisory committees such as the Funds Dissemination Committee and Affiliations Committee. The Wikimedia Foundation is based in San Francisco. The legal department is in Los Angeles. The paid employees are involved in community support, follow-up of international conferences, technology and international fundraising.

The relationship between WMBE and WMF is threefold:

  • There is a contractual (but not legal) relationship between WMBE and WMF. WMBE has signed a chapters-agreement with the WMF. This means that, as a national chapter, WMBE can use the Foundation's logos and has to organise activities within the objectives of WMF. WMF cannot interfere in the internal affairs of WMBE. WMBE has (only indirectly) a say in WMF matters through official representation.
  • A financial relationship. The main source of income of WMBE is the annual grant granted by WMF. There is a semi-annual and annual operational and financial report from WMBE to WMF.
  • And there is an operational relationship, mainly focused on the exchange of knowledge and activities. WMBE can participate in international conferences organized by WMF.

The Wikimedia movement[edit]

Wikimedia Belgium has been recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation as an official part (Chapter) of the worldwide Wikimedia movement. In addition to the Wikimedia Foundation, this also includes other national or regional chapters, user groups and thematic organisations. Wikimedia Belgium is an active partner in this international movement by sharing knowledge and developing joint activities.

Looking back[edit]

The early years of Wikimedia Belgium[edit]

Wikimedia Belgium was founded on 8 October 2014 as a recognized chapter of the WMF. The final establishment of WMBE started in 2010, after a previously unsuccessful attempt. It took so long because of the legal, linguistic and organizational complexity of Belgium.

In the period since 2014, WMBE functions as a purely voluntary organisation. A number of activities are organised every year, including the very successful Wiki Loves Monuments/Art//Public space/Heritage. The number of active Flemish editors of Wikimedia projects is estimated at 350-400. The core of active volunteers who are also active 'off-wiki' consists of only a handful of people. Because we don't have any employees yet, our strength remains limited.

All administrative tasks are carried out by volunteers (members of the governing body). We also have to duplicate our efforts over the different language groups in Belgium. This makes us vulnerable as a small organisation.

WMBE has about 100 members. There are a number of initiatives for wikithons, organizing Wikipedia training courses, or collaboration with like-minded organizations or institutions.

The period 2019-2020[edit]

The mission of Wikimedia Belgium is access to free knowledge for everyone. The Wikimedia community is an essential partner. We want to focus on editors, cultural institutions and readers. By cultural institutions we mean any organisation that is prepared to share knowledge, data or collections via the Wikimedia projects.

The community consists of volunteers; they cannot be obliged to actively add knowledge that they do not find interesting, but that is objectively encyclopaedically relevant and would be appreciated by readers. So we cannot assume that a Wikimedia community is composed at any given time in such a way that it is able to cover the entire spectrum of knowledge and to meet the knowledge needs of all (potential) readers. The fact that on various language versions of Wikipedia there is relatively little information about issues concerning the Third World and biographical information about women is associated worldwide with an insufficiently versatile composition of the editorial community.

If Wikimedia Belgium were to be guided entirely by the wishes of the processing community when setting priorities, there is a risk that this effect would be reinforced rather than reduced.

The weighing of the activities and the spending of the resources of Wikimedia Belgium depends on the expected result for the Wikimedia projects, the interests of processors, partner institutions and (future) readers.

  • Primary focus is making free knowledge available in Belgium.
  • Because we use 4 languages there is a high risk of fragmentation (distribution of budgets over many small projects).

Exploration of the environment[edit]

Description of organisations and partners[edit]

In order to achieve its mission, Wikimedia Belgium collaborates with various partners. These partners influence the extent to which WMBE will be able to achieve its mission and objectives.


or Group


and Relevance

Possible actions of

WMBE to the organization or group

Cultural institutions Owners of knowledge/collections that may be released under a free license.
  • Information
  • Assistance with opening up collections and content donations
  • Encouraging the processing of donations by the community
Wikimedia editors Responsible for the content of the Wikimedia projects that provide access to knowledge.
  • Practical support
  • Give training
  • Mediation in the release of content
  • Providing a platform for discussion and exchange
  • Providing infrastructure, both physical and social
  • Make documentation available
  • Neutrality with respect to the content
Readers/users of Wikimedia projects End User - determine relevance of Wikimedia projects.


  • Information about Wikipedia and related projects.
  • Poll and survey
  • Answers to questions
  • Indications of the way of working and responsibilities
Other settings that strive for

towards the promotion of free knowledge

Influence on debate, regulation, etc.
  • Exchange of knowledge, giving advice
  • Joint lobbying activities
  • Send letters to Ministers and representatives
  • Public relations
  • Attend meetings
  • Give recommendations
Companies that are commercially active

in the field of knowledge sharing

e.g. media companies

The aim of this project is to develop a new approach to the problem of the lack of knowledge and skills in the field of knowledge management.

Influence on debate and regulation.

In addition, potential counterparty in the release of relevant material.

  • Proactively informing
  • Lobby: give arguments
  • Information
Foundation (WMF) Financial contribution (subsidy).

Owner of Wikimedia platforms.

Technical knowledge and support.

  • Applications for funding
  • Technology cooperation
  • Reusing projects, tools and methods
  • Proposals of projects
  • Report, inform
Wikimedia affiliates The aim of this study is to develop a new method of analysis for the analysis of the impact of the different types of data on the environment.
  • Exchange of ideas
  • Joint lobby
  • Cross-border cooperation and projects
  • Chapter meetings via the Chair
  • Giving and attending training
Government / EU Regulation, legislation, control.

Knowledge holder.

  • Lobby
  • Collaboration
  • Legal rules
  • Proactive information (2 directions)

Strength - weakness of analyses[edit]

The following strength - weakness analysis of WMBE has been drawn up to describe the developments in the environment and to map out the possibilities for WMBE to respond to these developments.

Strength - weakness analysis Wikimedia Belgium[edit]

Strengths Weaknesses
  • We're an official association. We have a structure.
  • The ambition to develop interesting activities.
  • Good cooperation with active and expert volunteers.
  • Some very motivated volunteers.
  • Growing insight into the composition and motivation of processors.
  • Social appreciation for the Wikimedia projects.
  • As a starting chapter, we need to gain trust in, and build good relationships with, WMF.
  • We need to be able to complete a number of good projects within budget.
  • Very narrow base of active volunteers.
  • Fragmentation of efforts across all languages in Belgium.
  • Cultural differences between Flanders and Wallonia.
  • Wallonia is very difficult to reach.
  • Regional fragmentation in Belgium (subsidies, cooperation).
  • Translating all documents.
  • The impossibility to guarantee results on Wikipedia to partners/funders.
  • High financial dependence on WMF.
  • Large-scale public fundraising not possible without tax exemption.
  • The measurable impact of activities on Wikimedia projects remains limited.
  • Not everyone is familiar with (and trusts) the methodology of Open content.
Opportunities Threats
  • The positive image of the Wikipedia project helps to open doors and set up new activities for the benefit of free knowledge.
  • The attention for free knowledge is increasing.
  • Possible willingness of institutions/organisations to (financially) support projects for Wikipedia.
  • Creating goodwill with small sponsoring of institutions (catering, reception).
  • Lots of institutions.
  • A rich international culture.
  • The media want to go along with our message.
  • (Very) Small budgets.
  • The financial contribution (subsidy) from WMF may be limited or reduced.
  • No structural own fundraising.
  • We cannot yet offer tax-exempt donations.
  • Difficult to motivate people to move around.
  • Some active editors of Wikimedia projects are negative about both WMF and WMBE.
  • Increasing administrative and legal complexity.
  • Difficult to (continue to) attract good administrators.
  • Very cumbersome bureaucracy (from the government).
  • The media remain critical.

Strength - weakness analysis for Wikipedia[edit]

Wikipedia is Wikimedia's first and most important project. Although WMBE has no direct responsibility for, or influence on, the multilingual Wikipedia, the association is closely associated with this project. The ups and downs of Wikipedia have a direct impact on the activities of WMBE. That is why a SWOT has been created for Wikipedia as well. It should be noted that some threats and weaknesses are not unique to Wikipedia. They deal with aspects of the software and technological developments that play an international role.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Multi-cultural and internationally oriented community.
  • Multilingual employees.
  • Processor group constantly develops new activities and projects to improve content.
  • (Very) Large number of lemmas.
  • Processor group is international and multilingual.
  • We can take and connect with international projects.
  • Volunteers are active on several projects.
  • Extremely small group of very loyal and skilled processors.
  • Internationally oriented and dependent/introduced from/by other language communities.
  • As a small and mixed cultural community, we are outvoted by the large international community of NL/FR/DE/EN.
  • No guarantee that the small group of users will be able to handle the whole spectrum of knowledge adequately.
  • The community is attached to existing processes, implementing innovation is difficult.
  • Technological developments are slow.
  • Experience in dealing with conflicts is inadequate.
  • The technology and appearance of Wikipedia is outdated, but clear.
  • Processes for attracting and retaining new processors are not working optimally.
  • Continuing to motivate new (long-term) processors is difficult.
  • Collaboration with like-minded (international or non-Dutch-speaking) organisations does not always run smoothly.
  • Individual persons do not master all the languages used. Communication is difficult.
Opportunities Threats
  • Willingness to contribute has great potential.
  • Willingness of institutions to share knowledge, contribute content and cooperate.
  • Acceptance and interest from the academic world is growing.
  • Technological developments at MediaWiki on an international level.
  • Strong reputation among broad sections of the population.
  • Contacts with press, radio, TV.
  • Increasingly large group +60 with intellectual and cultural interest, and a certain maturity.
  • We can rely on international homologous organisations, tools and procedures.
  • Technological developments at other online platforms and interactive information sources are increasing the demands and expectations of users.
  • The number of processors is stagnating or decreasing slightly.
  • Finding new volunteers remains a constant challenge.
  • The numerical majority of WMNL/WMFR compared to WMBE for Dutch and French.
  • The absolute and relative size of the English-speaking community.
  • Flemish subjects are excluded by NL moderators as NE.
  • Misunderstandings (misunderstanding because of each other) can lead to conflicts.
  • International structures are rigid.

What do we want to achieve by 2020?[edit]

Expanding the Wikimedia movement's free knowledge projects, in an open community that is brimming with positive energy and in collaboration with a wide range of partners.

This is what we want to achieve:

  • Promoting free knowledge. Contributing to Wikimedia projects by releasing or sharing knowledge. In collaboration with knowledge institutions and the editorial community, we ensure that the Wikimedia projects release the knowledge in the broadest and most diverse way possible. We want to work closely with other organisations and, in doing so, we also want to respond to what motivates them to disseminate knowledge and culture through our projects. In particular, we want to focus on areas of knowledge that are still under-represented.
  • Relationship with the readers. Our vision is free access to all knowledge for everyone. Until now, our attention has mainly focused on the supply side: more and better content. But there is also a demand side: what do the Wikipedia readers need? Do the projects meet their demand? In the coming years, we want to invest in gaining more insight into the wishes and experiences of Wikipedia readers. Stimulating opportunities for direct communication with, or feedback from, readers. We take into account the experts among our readers: we want to gain insight into how professionals assess the information offered in their field of expertise. We want to use reader experience for the development of projects and the selection of partners.
  • Supporting the editors. Optimal support for editors remains a priority. We want to help ensure that the Wikimedia projects are a pleasant working environment with low barriers and good manners. The association will continue its efforts to provide the volunteers with logistics and financial support. We are also working with the community to improve weaknesses by offering training, facilitate discussions and actively recruiting new editors.
  • Refreshing the content. We need additonnal forms of knowledge representation such as the use of infographics, video, sound, animations, etc. Wikimedia Belgium will support editors and partners to achieve this. This may also include to facilitate the development of alternative forms of knowledge representation. In addition, we want to promote the use of data in which we mainly contribute to Wikidata or stimulate applications and analyses.
  • Diversity, both in content and people.

In order to achieve this, we have formulated three programmes: Content, community support and communication, stakeholders and support.

  • Intensive collaboration with WMNL, WMFR, WMCH, WMDE.

Program content[edit]

Wikimedia Belgium wants to make a concrete contribution to the free knowledge available in Belgium, and in particular to the quality of the Wikimedia projects, which for many people who have access to free knowledge. We do this in collaboration with knowledge and heritage institutions and higher education. Where necessary and desired, we contribute to the political and social debate as an advocate of free knowledge and the use of free licences.

Goals of the association[edit]

  • We want to work even more closely with other organisations and also respond better to what motivates them to disseminate knowledge and culture.
  • The knowledge released by the Wikimedia projects is as broad and diverse as possible. In particular, we want to focus on fields of knowledge that are still under-represented.
  • More insight into the wishes and experiences of Wikipedia readers and insight into how professionals assess the information offered in their field of expertise.
  • Encourage and support the use of other forms of knowledge representation, such as audio, video, animations and infographics.
  • Where necessary, we will work as advocates for free knowledge and provide information and education on how the Wikimedia projects contribute to free knowledge.

Activities of the association[edit]

  • Providing content themes in order to involve institutions and individuals.
  • By setting up Wikipedia, the topics come from the interest of the editors.
  • By choosing themes, we want to fill in gaps in knowledge and attract new groups of editors.
  • Gender - According to the Wikipedia community, the fact that only 12% of the editors are women has a negative impact on the range of topics offered on Wikipedia.
  • Project Belgium - We want to make available knowledge that is available in Belgium but that is particularly relevant to Wikipedians in other parts of the world.
  • Enriching the encyclopaedic nature of Wikipedia with umbrella articles, resources (Wikisource), audio, and video (Wikimedia Commons).
  • Encourage the appointment of Wikipedians in residence as a proven, effective means of realising the collaboration between institutions and Wikimedia. Supporting Wikipedians in residence. Provide training opportunities for people who aspire to such a role.
  • Actively approach institutions with relevant knowledge and involvement in Wikimedia projects to facilitate and support them. Develop online tools and manuals. Act as an intermediary between institutions and the community.
  • Contributing to Wikipedia by broadly integrating higher education institutions into curricula through an education programme. Provide professional support, teaching materials and other tools for instructors.
  • Facilitate the technical processing of content donations, also by commissioning if the community does not show capacity or interest.
  • Encourage research into the quality of (subareas of) Wikipedia and use the results to develop targeted activities.
  • Developing opportunities for readers to express their opinions about Wikipedia. Facilitate dialogue between readers and community about desired content and presentation of knowledge through Wikimedia projects.
  • Encourage donations of animations, moving images, sound and infographics. Facilitate the production of such material where relevant. Support the community in the use of such material. Provide training.
  • Provide information on the theme of free knowledge in general and the Wikimedia projects in particular. To draw attention to the threats and opportunities of free knowledge, where possible in collaboration with other (Wikimedia) organisations.
  • Local support of the EU Free Knowledge Advocacy Group in the implementation of their work programme.

Community support[edit]

More than a thousand people are regularly active on the Dutch Wikipedia, of which about 300 are Flemish. There are also people active on the English Wikipedia, the image database Wikimedia Commons and the database WikiData or other Wikimedia projects. Supporting the users of all the different Wikimedia projects is one of the main tasks of WMBE. This can be practical, logistical or financial support.

Studies conducted among editors have shown that a large number of users find the working environment unpleasant, and that people are dissatisfied with the reception e of newcomers and the handling of conflicts. WMBE wants to support the community better in finding solutions.

Goals of the community[edit]

  • A healthy Wikimedia community, where there is constructive cooperation in a good atmosphere.
  • A steady influx of new editors, a substantial part of whom remain active.
  • The processors have adequate means at their disposal to be able to do their work.

Community activities[edit]

  • Supporting the community in realising and maintaining a pleasant working environment, for example by linking up with existing initiatives and structures (such as a coaching programme, offering training and facilitating initiatives). In particular, we pay attention to guaranteeing a safe environment for women.
  • Organising opportunities for members of the community to meet in person.
  • Providing communication channels for discussion and exchange; actively informing the community about developments and activities.
  • Provide logistical and financial support to workers, both individually and for work and project groups and activities initiated by workers.
  • Offer a programme for the training and guidance of new processors with attention to conventions, rules and manners. Coaching and guidance during the first processing are part of this programme.
  • Offer support in optimizing the software for user-friendliness. This can be support for the development and introduction of the renewal of the software, as well as taking action against the reduction of functionalities without consultation with the community.

Communication, stakeholders and support[edit]


Communication is an integral part of programs, content and community. Each activity within these programs has its own communication strategy aimed at the groups and individuals that are relevant to the successful implementation of the goals. In addition, Wikimedia Belgium develops communication activities that are not linked to a specific project or activity, but will be used to reduce an organizational problem resulting from the swot analysis.


  • Wikimedia Belgium uses effective communication channels that enable interaction and exchange with all major stakeholders, including the Wikipedia community.
  • Important target groups are actively and timely approached with relevant information about {OrganizationName}}, Wikimedia projects and free knowledge in general.
  • Annual increase in the number of followers on the various social media channels.
  • Annual increase in the number of newsletter receivers.
  • Brand awareness of {OrganizationName}}, positive appreciation of {OrganizationName}} and Wikipedia, and insight into the structure and working method of Wikipedia among the general public have increased.

Overview of means of communication and target groups[edit]


  • Develop and implement an annual communication plan in support of the annual plan, based on an evaluation of the impact of previous communication activities.
  • Maintain good contacts with the media and keep the media actively informed about important events and developments on a regular basis.
  • In all organised activities, approach participants with the question of whether they wish to receive the newsletter.
  • Promote the online newsletter that can be posted on consultation pages. By means of messages in the designated places and notification of online activities organized by us such as the writing weeks.
  • Develop and implement a social media strategy.
  • Actively seek out important target groups by being present at events or media that are important to them.
  • Make more intensive use of the possibilities in the field of infographics and animations.
  • Active monitoring of various developments and trends in the field of communication.


Financial overview[edit]

Evolution 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Income € 18,167 € 15,742 € 1,635 € 12,074 € 25,502
Expenses € 14,798 € 17,997 € 9,922 € 9,528 € 14,714


Income 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
WMF grant € 16,500 € 15,002 € 1,203 € 11,380 € 25,460
Membership fees € 190 € 40 € 80 €100 € 10
Gifts € 1,111 € 462 € 285 € 594 € 0
Other € 366 € 238 € 67 € 0 € 32


Income 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Projects € 7,576 € 11,115 € 7,872 € 5,307 € 11,310
Conferences € 3,940 € 4,567 € 0 € 1,041 € 1,940
Adminstration € 2,752 € 1,960 € 1,582 € 2,611 € 1,299
Telecom €530 € 355 € 468 € 569 € 165

Widening the financial base[edit]

The main source of income of WMBE is the annual grant-awarding by WMF. In order to become less dependent on this source of income, we want to expand the income from other sources in the coming years. We want to further expand the project financing by means of subsidies from funds and government. We acquire donations with tax exemption via the Friends of Wikimedia België Fund. The independence of the Wikimedia projects must always be guaranteed. This is the leading criterion when applying for project financing and when acquiring donations or donations. Nor can the relationship with the financier pose a risk to the reputation of Wikimedia Belgium or the Wikimedia projects.

Investments and reservations[edit]

  • We do not expect investments of any significant size.
  • Financial reserve: this is small or almost non-existent due to the current way of financing.


The basic text of this document is based on wmnl:Strategy/Strategy 2017-2020/Netherlands. (for which I thank you!)

Contact us[edit]

Wikimedia Belgium NPO
Antwerpselaan 40 Boulevard d'Anvers
B-1000 Brussel/Bruxelles
+32 471 82 20 26 (voice/sms/Signal/Telegram/WhatsApp)
Enterprise 0563.775.480 - RPR Brussel - Not liable to VAT
www.wikimedia.be info@wikimedia.be

IBAN: BE63 5230 8084 2808 BIC: TRIOBEBB

WMBE GDPR privacy declaration
Board of directors

Donation with tax certificate
Friends of Wikimedia Belgium Fund

Helpdesk • Google Meet • Facebook • News • Twitter (nl/en) • Twitter (fr) • Telegram • LinkedIn • YouTube

See also[edit]


  1. Statutes of Wikimedia Belgium, Belgian Official Gazette, 8 October 2014
  2. Statutes of Wikimedia Belgium, Belgian Official Gazette, 26 October 2020