Code for NL is an organization that brings innovative people with technical skills to governments to work on concrete solutions to social problems.
Code for NL was spun off from the Waag Society – an institute for art, science and technology based in Amsterdam that also runs several labs to teach people digital skills. These labs include a fabrication lab, an open design lab, future education lab, and more.
One example of these labs is the OpenWet Lab which focuses on the design and ethics of life. The OpenWet Lab runs biohack academies, works with artists to give them access to life science lab (making art with bacteria!)
Here’s Ivonne Jansen-Dings talking about the origins of Code for NL:
Initially, the project as started out as part of the Waag Society’s work with Commons for Europe and Code for Europe. Through Code for Europe, the Amsterdam fellows worked for two years creating apps like Take a Hike that shows residents alternate walking routes to get to different places in Amsterdam to help relieve congestion in the city center. They also worked with local communities to teach them how to code and maintain the apps they created.
As the project ended, there was enough momentum to launch their own independent organization called Code for NL. They currently have one fellow working in Amsterdam and three fellows for Eindhoven starting just this month.
Code for NL is also working on the Smart City Amsterdam project that helps crowdsource data from residents about their city. They work with their fabrication lab to create smart citizen kits that help collect environmental data in their neighborhoods.
The team is also working with the government to help get citizen feedback on the development of an electronic id for the Netherlands.
Code for NL is also working on a project called Transparency Netherlands which is a database of how politicians and business people and how they are related to one another.