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Fablab: back to the beginning

The above picture shows the first ever prototype made at our Fablab by Fokke de Jong in October 2007, depicted in the memorable 'Fab moment' titled 'How to make a box of acrylic' (pdf).

The very first Fablab in The Netherlands was shown during the 'El Hema' exhibition at Mediamatic, in the (now demolished) 'Post-CS' building. It consisted of a small corridor with a digital lasercutter. About the same time we were creating our Fablab on the third floor of Pakhuis de Zwijger. But for the real beginning we have to go back in time a little further.

In 2004, everyone at Waag Society still worked in the historical Waag building. On the first floor, developers and project managers occupied one space, that was also used to make prototypes for installations in museums, archives and libraries. The cutting, drilling and soldering did of course not contribute to optimal working conditions. As we lacked a real workspace, Bas van Abel and myself arranged two tables where we at least could work on electronics and small objects.

Our larger objects were made at professional workspaces, but there was a strong desire to have our own place to fabricate prototypes. Eventually this led to our Fablab with its open hardware for digital fabrication, public access, the sharing of designs and work processes (open design) and hundreds of fine make projects. After three years, the Fablab moved to the Waag, where it since has conquered almost every space at the upper floors (with the exception of the Theatrum Anatomicum).

With the extension to the fields of biotechnology and textiles, the Fablab transformed to new working areas. An important next aspect in making could become sustainability and a critical attitude towards what we make (and why). Pieter van Boheemen already foresaw a place where we ban all plastics and will research new materials that can replace them. A green lab, where making supports a sustainable future and helps to control climate change. In which there thus will no longer be a place for acrylic.

Recent blog posts

- Wednesday 07 February 2018

An active group of citizens makes great progress with sustainable mobility and connectedness in the area. Intern Hub Coumans about the pilot of the EU project MUV.

- Tuesday 06 February 2018

Waag Society supported the Spaarne Hospital hospital in organizing a hackathon, for an even more senior friendly hospital.

- Thursday 01 February 2018

Healthcare demands and solutions are changing rapidly. Open-source hardware will play an important role in the future.

- Tuesday 30 January 2018

Can we learn about ourselves by studying outer space? In ongoing research Waag Society is exploring human outer space activities.

- Friday 26 January 2018

Together with residents of Buitenveldert, we look for practical solutions to create a greener and healthier neighbourhood. On January 22nd we held the first meeting.