By Sarah Allen | March 11, 2020 | Mozilla Festival
In March 2021, I hope to see you in Amsterdam.
That’s because starting then and for the next three years, MozFest — our annual gathering of global activists, technologists, policy makers and artists building a more humane digital world — will call Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, home.
When MozFest started 11 years ago in Barcelona, Spain, 300 people gathered in tents in a local square under the broad themes of Open Source and Web Literacy. People flew in from around the world, and built the program in a hotel lobby the morning of the event! It was a hackers delight, hands on, with no schedule. People loved it.
Over the last 10 years the festival has called London home and has evolved according to the needs of the community, and the wider internet health movement. Today, Wranglers who curate our program start to prepare five months before we open the festival week. MozFest 2019 hosted 3000 people, in two venues, over seven days, under the narrower theme of Trustworthy AI.
But the core of MozFest, its ability to harness the power of unexpected partnerships to reimagine our online world, has stayed the same. We code. We host debates. We create art. And all in service of building a healthier online world.
The decision to move locations after 9 years in London wasn’t taken lightly. London opened its arms to us in 2011, and we loved its multicultural diversity and entrepreneurial spirit. But it was expensive, and harder to get visas for our guests each year.
During many conversations with the community in Amsterdam, we were consistently impressed with the alignment in values between Amsterdam and Mozilla, as well as the enthusiasm they brought to the proposal process. Amsterdam has publicly-stated principles around protecting data transparency, privacy, and internet access for citizens. And, it is home to a robust and eclectic community of creative thinkers. Our common goals for progressive, radical change in areas of AI, digital rights and literacy, with community inclusion at the fore, will make us great partners in executing a festival that will be a convening force for supporting a more open and healthy internet for all.
Moving to Amsterdam is not our only news. We have also decided to wait until March of 2021 to host our next MozFest. The extra time allows us to critically assess our design to ensure that what we build is robust and accessible and it allows us to embed ourselves in Amsterdam to get to know the local open advocates and activists. As we search for a venue, we have had immense support from new friends such as the The Knowledge Mile, and so many other communities are eager to help us get settled.
Of course, Mozilla’s community is active year-round — at like-minded events around the world, and online. So we hope to see you in Amsterdam — but know we’ll run into you a lot sooner, too. As we face challenging times both in our online and offline communities to stay safe and well, we are eager to stay connected.
Have questions? You’re invited to join a MozFest AMA on Wednesday, 18 March in the #general channel.
Whether we meet next in Amsterdam or online, I can’t wait to see what we make, create, and collaborate on together.