Meet the Ambassadors: Lieke Boon, Netherlands

Publication date: September 11, 2014

Over 70 EU Code Week Ambassadors from 34 countries are helping us spread the word about #codeEU throughout Europe. Who are they and why did they get involved in Code Week? We’ll be running a series of interviews and get to know them better. Our previous interviewee, Alja Isakovic from Slovenia, interviewed Lieke Boon, fellow Rails Girls organizer from the Netherlands.



Lieke, who are you?

Amateur developer, professional event organiser. I’m working at VHTO, I’m involved in some great projects which aim to empower and encourage girls and young women to consider careers in the growing ICT sector.  In my free time, I’m coding in Ruby (on Rails) and I’m following university courses in Computer Science. I’m also in love with music, cats and running!

How does your country deal with this idea of code learning?

In the Netherlands, software development isn’t a mandatory subject in primary or high school, students often only get into contact with software development based on their personal interest, or when they have the good fortune of attending a school which does focus on coding.

Fortunately, learning how to code seems to be a steadily increasing area of interest and more and more people are diving into it. This effort is greatly supported by a diversity of initiatives all around the Netherlands. For example, female-focused events like Rails Girls or PyLadies attract a lot of women who are developers or new to coding, while also the (often monthly) meetup groups attract huge crowds, with subjects ranging from Big Data to Frontend Development, or from (No)SQL to a diversity of programming languages.

What I really like is the fact that there are so many great developers and teachers who are spending their time organizing great workshops and providing awesome tools to young people and children for free. For example, the number of CoderDojo’s in the Netherlands is rapidly growing! What I really like is the fact that they are collaborating together in CoderDojo Nederland.

Why are you involved as an EU Code Week ambassador? What do you expect from it?

I have a background in History, and only after finishing my Master Thesis, I discovered the joy of coding. Inspired by websites like, Codecademy or Coursera, and people around me, I started reading on the subject and doing more and more development. This enthusiasm led to being involved with PyLadies and Rails Girls.

I found out how important it is to raise awareness among young people, especially those who still have to pick their career path and to educate them of the possibilities a career in programming can give them. I’ve encountered many preconceptions about programming, and I noticed there’s a clear knowledge gap in what programming means, what you can do with it, and how interesting the challenges are you can find in your professional career!

What I expect from the code week, and being an Ambassador in this, is to continue the path I’ve taken, and use the platform as an even better way in promoting the art of software development, to enthuse future programmers, and have a great week of coding in the whole of Europe!

Do you have a hero or someone that inspires you (can be a hacker or not)?

Alessandro answered this question with: ‘I have many and no one in particular (..) my Code Week heroes are all the young talented people who are continuously sharpening their coding skills to be prepared to face new challenges and amaze all of us.’  I totally agree with him on that.

And I’d like to add all the organizers and participants of all the amazing events this year. It’s great to see so many people trying to increase coding and digital literacy!  We all share this same passion and I think it’s great and inspiring. Like Steve Jobs once said: people with passion can change the world for the better. Let’s do that together 🙂