3 minutes reading time (610 words)

Meet a Joomla User Group: Maastricht, the Netherlands


This is the first interview in the new series, Meet a Joomla User Group. And we start in Maastricht, the Netherlands. In this town in the south of the Netherlands Johan and his co-organisers have been organizing a JUG meeting for years now. 

Where is your User Group located?

JUG043 Maastricht organised the meetings at Maastricht University and after the Corona Pandemic we moved to our new location in Beek, Limburg, The Netherlands.
For how long has this User Group been organizing events?

JUG043 Maastricht was started in July 2016 by Leon Kolenburg and Johan van der Velde. And for several years now, Pierre Veelen has also been helping to organise our JUG meetings.

How many people are involved in organising and how many visitors are joining your meetings?

We organise the meetings with 3 organisers, Leon Kolenburg, Pierre Veelen and Johan van der Velde. The number of participants varies and depends on the theme being discussed. Sometimes we are with 7 participants and the maximum we achieved during the Corona pandemic where the first JUG organised virtual meetings via Zoom.

Are your meetings in person, online or hybrid?

We started with physical meetings and during Corona we started to organise virtual meetings. Every now and then we organise a hybrid meeting where participants can choose between being physically present or virtual. This works well and offers people from the rest of the Netherlands and Belgium to hook up without traveling.

How did your JUG evolve during the years?

JUG043 started immediately with a fairly consisted group that has grown to about 15 active members including the organisers. We looked for different ways to keep attracting members to the meetings. This is sometimes a challenge with active members who have busy schedules. But despite this, we only have to cancel occasionally. Many members sign up to participate right before the meeting. We regularly invite guest speakers to give presentations and we organise fun workshops. In this way we can still be successful.

We do not have high costs for organising, thanks to some regular sponsors, for example, rooms, drinks, the website etc. are reimbursed and members usually pay a fixed amount per participation or a yearly fee to attend any number of meetings

What topics are usually/mostly being presented at your meetings?

Various topics are offered, we also organise workshops or Pizza, JUG & Fun meetings where participants can also get started with Joomla themselves. The topics covered are, templates, upgrading Joomla, installing and configuring extensions, SEO, security, backup and restore, website reviews etc.

Upgrading to Joomla 4, modifications to Cassiopeia template and template builders (Yootheme) are popular topics now.

What difficulties do you face organizing your JUG?

The difficulties we are running into is late registration of participants and continiously growing the number of participants, we are having trouble finding new visitors. Getting business Joomlers to join is also proving difficult. They hardly ever respond to our emails to come to a meeting without obligation. Better marketing or promotional videos might help.

What is your most precious meeting?

Our first Pizza Jug and Fun at the end of the Corona period to meet our fellow Joomlers live again after a long period of Zoom meetings.

Do you need extra volunteers, or help?

For now, we don't need any additional help and can manage just fine with the three of us organizing meetings.

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