PUN: Python Usergroup Nederland: what is it?

Tags: python, pun

Summary: 6-8 free meetings per year with a couple of talks and some drinks afterwards. Find new meetings on the Dutch Django association meetup page.

The Python Usergroup Netherlands (PUN) is “that which I make summaries of :-)”. So I sometimes get the question “what is it?” in my inbox. I got one such question yesterday, so I’ll blog my answer :-)

The evenings

Mostly, the PUN means a meeting every couple of months. The format is two 30-minute talks and 6 5-minute “lightning talks”. In the lightning talks everybody can introduce a project (s)he worked on lately, for instance. The bigger 30-minute talks can be anything from “this is how we use python at company XYZ”, “3D prototyping with Python”, “Plone’s new layout engine”, etc.

The talks are normally in English as not everyone understands Dutch. If we suspect there are only native Dutch speakers around someone might ask whether everyone understands Dutch, in that case we just speak Dutch, naturally :-)

Some separate notes:

  • The evenings are free.

  • You don’t need to be a member and you don’t need to register.

  • Registering (=clicking “I’ll be there” on meetup.com) is appreciated, though, as it gives the organizer an idea of how much refreshments to buy.

  • The evenings start around 19:30 or 20:00 and end around 22:00/22:30, mostly with some drinks afterwards. There’s a break halfway for socializing and grabbing the speakers for some more info.

  • The location varies (see below).


The PUN started something like 8-10 years ago with a meeting once every 3 months. Mostly at somebody’s company’s office, though we’ve also used a cafe.

Coordination happened on the python-nl mailinglist. Someone would send an email “where’s the next time” and someone would organize it. I did this email-sending too for about 1.5 years, effectively making me “the” PUN organizer then :-)

The location would vary a lot. We’ve been to Rotterdam, Den Haag, Amsterdam, Delft, Utrecht, Veenendaal, Arnhem and probably more.

A few years ago a couple of Django companies in Amsterdam started Django-specific meetings. Django was very popular and filling an entire evening with Django-specific content was easy. This also would free the Python meetings from an increasing percentage of Django talks. They arranged a location in Amsterdam (the ABC treehouse) and started organizing it every three months (trying to keep overlap with the generic Python meeting dates to a minimum).

The Django meetings are now organized by the Dutch Django association. That association was set up to organize the Amsterdam Django conference in 2011.

A recent change is that the meeting is now marketed as “Python web meetup” instead of “Django meetup”, so there’s now more overlap than ever between the two kinds of meetings. Note that the Django meetup is always in Amsterdam and that the Python meetings vary their location.

The last historical development was the move from the python.org wiki to the Django meetup meetup.com page. Previously all the PUN meetings were advertised on the python.org wiki. You had to have an account there to put yourself on the list of attendees. But the recent hack/crash of the python wiki left the PUN page pretty much unusable (archives of older PUNs are there if you search for them, but the wiki restore has obliterated a lot of links). We’re now collectively using meetup.com as that was the quickest alternative at the time.

Why go?

Why should you go?

  • It is good for you professionally. You get to meet fellow programmers. You learn a lot. You hear about new techniques. About new projects. And people get to know your face, so if you need a new job that might help, too.

  • It is good for you if Python is your hobby. You broaden your horizon. New techniques, new applications, other projects. Perhaps you can join forces with one of the projects you hear about. You can give a lightning talk about your hobby project and attract attention.

  • You learn about Python. Even attending one evening gives you a good idea of what you can do with Python. And, perhaps more important, it shows you the friendly Python community. You can talk to a few people and that’ll give you a much better feel for the language and the community.

  • It is fun!

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About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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