Hacking Europe pp 189-217 | Cite as

How Amsterdam Invented the Internet: European Networks of Significance, 1980–1995

  • Caroline Nevejan
  • Alexander BadenochEmail author
Part of the History of Computing book series (HC)


In January of 1994, the Internet became available to the general public in the Netherlands via a new dial-in service and virtual access area called De DigitaleStad (Digital City, called DDS). Hailed as a new form of public sphere, DDS visualized the Internet as a form of a virtual city. Rather than trace how DDS gave shape to an online city, however, this chapter explores how an existing and emerging culture of the city gave rise to this new digital sphere. In particular, it highlights how actors from a range of independent media labs and cultural centers helped to invent the participatory city culture that was visualized within DDS. First, it traces the growth of Amsterdam as a central node and gateway of the Internet in Europe in parallel with the rise of independent media and cultural centers in the 1980—a culture related, among other things, to the squatter’s movement and worldwide activist groups fighting social injustice. The chapter then shows how these sectors came together in the late 1980s with the involvement of a third set of actors, the hacking community, to shape what would become Digital City and Amsterdam’s booming digital culture. Through a series of network events that brought these groups together, a digital culture took shape that eventually gave shape to the city’s digital culture.


Network Event Cultural Center Creative Industry House Owner Digital City 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Université Paris IV SorbonneParisFrance

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