Open Knowledge Belgium


Open Knowledge Belgium is an umbrella organisation (non-profit/vzw/asbl) for numerous Open Knowledge initiatives in Belgium. We make knowledge sharing possible and let different organisations and individuals cross-pollinate. We’re one of the local chapters of the international Open Knowledge network.

Mission and vision

Mission: We want to open up knowledge in Belgium and see it used and useful. We endeavour to achieve this through both a bottom up and community driven way, as well as through working closely together with governments and organisations. We want to connect our four main actors: the community, researchers, governments and industries. Even more, we aspire to let them work together as a whole, instead of separate units.

Vision: A world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few. That’s what we’re going for. We believe that vibrant Open Knowledge commons will empower citizens and enable fair and sustainable societies. We aim to achieve this not only within the Belgian borders but inspire and get inspired by communities all over the world. We keep spreading the power of openness, hoping one day Open Knowledge will be the standard.

Bylaws: Download the Open Knowledge Belgium NPO bylaws, as established on March 5th 2012.

What is Open Knowledge?

While knowledge itself is hard to define, we can define when knowledge is open. The Open Definition states the following: “Knowledge is open if anyone is free to access, use, modify, and share it — subject, at most, to measures that preserve provenance and openness.”. This means anyone can use, modify and share knowledge without any legal, social or technical restrictions. The Open Definition determines in a clear way the principles Open Knowledge needs, and what licenses it must fulfill. The entire Open Definition can be looked up here.

What is Open Data?

Open data are the building blocks of open knowledge. The key features of open data are:

  • Availability and access: Data should be available as a whole, at a  cost no higher than the cost of reproduction, preferably as a free download on the Internet. The work should also be available in an appropriate and modifiable form.
  • Use and re-use: The data must be made available under conditions that allow use, re-use and association with other data sets. The data must be machine-readable.
  • Universal participation: Everyone must be able to use, re-use and re-distribute the data. There must be no discrimination against any persons or groups. The subsequent use may not be limited to individual areas (e.g. only for educational purposes), nor may certain types of use (e.g. for commercial purposes) be excluded.

There are many kinds of open data that have potential uses and applications, such as geodata, scientific data, transport data, cultural data, financial data, statistics.

Detailed, practical advice on how to open data can be found in the Open Data Handbook. The handbook deals with legal, social and technical aspects of opening data.


Open knowledge Belgium VZW / asbl
Witte Patersstraat / Rue des Pères Blancs 4
1040 Etterbeek (Brussels)
BE 0845 419 930

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