YPDP visits the Mundaneum and the European Capital of Culture

The Young Professionals in Digital Policy undertook study trip to Mons, the European Capital of Culture 2015, on 20th November.

The aim of the visit was to discover the Mundaneum, a non-for profit organisation that runs an exhibition space, website and archive which celebrate the legacy of the original Mundaneum established by visionaries Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine a century ago.

Mundaneum Deputy Director, Delphine Jenart, had a arranged a special tour of the museum. We learned about the history of the place that was originally created in 1910, following an initiative begun in 1895 by Belgian lawyers Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, as part of their work on documentation of science. It aimed to gather together all the world’s knowledge and classify it according to a system they developed called the Universal Decimal Classification. The Mundaneum has been identified as a milestone in the history of data collection and management, and as a precursor to the Internet.

After the visit, we had a roundtable discussion about the local community’s many exciting initiatives to turn post-industrial Mons into a smart city. We have had a very interesting debate with Natacha Vandenberghe, Sophie Grulois, and David Picard with the City of Mons and Bruno Shröder, Technology Officer, Microsoft Belgium.

Finally, Jean-Paul Deplus, Mundaneum Chairman and City Alderman, gave us a walking tour of the “2015 European Capital of Culture”.

We finished off our visit with a relaxing and social dinner on the beautiful Mons Grand Place.

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