By @SimonCocking

Arjan El Fassed  director of Open State Foundation  an organization that promotes the unlocking of open (government) data and stimulates its re-use.

Your background, how did you get into what you do now?

In my work for various development and humanitarian organizations but also in the two years when I was a member of parliament I noticed that having and gaining access to information and data is crucial in obtaining a say on whatever policies. This in combination with the possibilities internet offers made me what I am doing now.

What’s the goal of the open state foundation?

Open State Foundation promotes digital transparency by unlocking open data and stimulates the development of innovative and creative applications. We do this around the themes of politics and governance, education and jobs, culture and health.

What are you excited by at the moment?

We just received a number of apps that we’re sent for an app competition around open data of the Dutch Public Broadcasting. We’re helping the Dutch Public Broadcasting to open up their data for anyone to re-use. We’ve built an API that includes for example subtitles, program information, geolocation and other data about programmes broadcasted.

Any of these that will help in your day to day work also / what sort innovations are you looking to introduce?

The app competitions and challenges we organise around new open data always bring along new innovations. To get public institutions or governments to open their data, you still need to convince them. Showing the results, albeit prototypes, of these instruments of the re-use of data always leads to unlocking of more data.

How was the last 12 months for you?

We have grown with Open State Foundation. We have moved to a new office in an exciting terrain full of innovation in the center of Amsterdam, the Marineterrein. We also are expanding slowly work that we’ve done in the Netherlands abroad.


What are you most happy about?

I’m most happy about the strategies we’ve developed and that have proven to be successful. When you’re ahead, you do not have some example you can easily follow. Sometimes you guess that it will work this way and to notice it actually does, makes me always happy.

In terms of our work, I’m proud of what we’ve done around openspending. We managed to open up both budgets and expenses of all cities, towns, provinces and water boards, per quarter in a sustainable and automated way.

Anything you would do differently if you could?

Not really, I guess if there would be optiona to do things differently at the time, we would have done it. There are no regrets.

Where do you hope to be in next 1 – 3 years?

I hope that in the next 1-3 years Open State Foundation has expanded in a sustainable way, helping opening up various governments both in Europe as well as elsewhere and creating an ecosystem of developers and others on various topics and matters.



What tech do you wish was already invented and available to make your life easier?

Something to manage my interests.

Life / work, online / offline, what are your strategies for managing it?

It’s all intermixed.

How / where do you create time for yourself to be a dreamer and a thinker?

By allowing yourself to dream outloud.

A little more about Open State

A smart society through open data 
Open State Foundation is a non-profit organisation that promotes digital transparency by unlocking open data and stimulates the development of innovative and creative applications.
We work on the basis of four themes: politics and governance, education, culture and health care.

Encourage re-use
The data that public authorities gather are useful not only for themselves but also for others. By organising app competitions, hackathons and conferences – with and for the developer community Hack de Overheid – Open State ensures that innovative and creative applications are build, which make the data accessible to a broad audience.

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