Tips and notes from meeting with Dimitri from Hackerspace Bitlair (Holland)

Dimitri came to visit TAMI on Friday.
We talked quite a bit and Dimitri was keen to share information on how things are run at Bitlair, so maybe we can learn a few things from it.
Their site https://bitlair.nl/Hoofdpagina
Their site google-translate link to English http://tiny.cc/7r596y

  1. Founded roughly 8 years ago.
  2. Non-profit eligible for some discounts in NL but not “registered” for tax deduction, not eligible (parallel to clause 46 in IL)
  3. Space is ~330sqm, shared with “young hackers club” incl. rent split 1000: 600 eur/month
    Some collaborations + Graduates of the young club (18+) often stay with Bitlair.
    Talented young hacker club members have been challenged in the past to build something for the place. See lounge
  4. Membership fee 25 Euro / month . ~ 40 members , some paid more until they got to break even.
  5. Regular opening hours twice a week. Members get 24/7 access
  6. You get a key for the door only after 3 months of attending, to build trust.
  7. Key is an ibutton with private public key, also used to unlock the more dangerous / expensive machines, and for billing the owner of the key.
  8. Usage of more expensive machines is billed (e.g. laser cutter).
    Members get a substantial discount.
  9. Snack bar & vending machine operates on trust, with QR codes. No alcohol sold, no liability. Revenue is about 200Euro / month
  10. They have an automatic billing and banking system called “revbank” developed by hackerspace revspace www.revspace.nl with whom they often collaborate and friendly provocations.
  11. Registering for the billing system is required, useful for reeling in new members with a free 1st snack.
  12. Each machine is QR’d leading to a link on their wiki. If it’s empty then you’re encouraged to fill it.
  13. Machines are often donated. There is also an arrangement where someone brings a machine, it belongs to that person and they allow everyone to use it, while the space is responsible for maintaining parts, materials .
  14. All their projects and workshop (e.g. arduino) available online for anyone to use.
  15. Other neat things:
  • Virtual tour on their site.
  • Bitlair dashboard (temp, humidity, occupancy etc) : https://dashboard.bitlair.nl/
  • Bitlair have a camera on-site which anyone can use to document their projects and then the photos are automatically uploaded to their media server
  • Events: lock picking, job-search advice for youth, social engineering, internet safety lessons for kids to teach their parents.
  • Hacker hotel - 95 rooms rented once a year at cost for their big nl event