I write therefore I am

Who is me? Me?!

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The first Dutch writer who put a homepage on the net, as a means of re-publishing my columns, essays, and books which are out of print. The web is indeed an excellent library. I started my homepage at the beginning of 1995. (There is a mailing list through which I distribute my columns (subscribe).

My subjects are varied, but I tend to write about matters of politics, technology, privacy, media, sex, health and bodies, and especially about the areas where these subjects merge or collide. Give me a brainbreaker, a couple of good books or papers on the subject plus three months, and I will come up with an essay that bites or seduces you, and that will give you a few ideas that you never thought of before.

For one of my books, Aan hartstocht geen gebrek («Passionate imperfections»), made together with photographer Gon Buurman and that deals with disabilities and sexuality, I was awarded the Mary Zeldenrust-Noordanus prize in 1993 for the gentle way in which we broached a highly taboo subject. Another book, Het strafbare lichaam («The penal body») sold almost 30,000 copies in one year. In that book, I coined the word «orenmaffia» (in English: «mind mob») for those New Age quack thinkers who believe that all diseases originate in the mind, and can only be «cured» via mental routes. The word became quite common and made it into the Dutch dictionaries.


In the middle of 1995, I got involved with civil rights issues on the net on a rather personal level: Scientology raided my provider, XS4all, over a homepage that one of their other customers had put on-line. That raid brought about a whole cascade of questions: are homepages the responsibilty of their makers, or of those through which systems they are served? Are internet providers to be regarded as publishers, or as common carriers? Is a complaint enough on the net to make a provider pull a page? How does censorship on the net work?

Through these questions, I became involved in freedom of speech issues. Meanwhile, I have learned a lot about the net, won three court cases against Scientology, I write and lecture about the net quite regularly, and have become involved in various organisations that strive to put the net to a political and educational use, to educate people and politicians about the net, to inform patients, and to define and defend civil rights on the net.


From 2002 to mid 2005, I was an external advisor for the Freedom of the Media bureau of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (the OSCE) on the subject of internet and freedom of the media. In that capacity, I have written several articles and did various presentations for them, and have assisted in organising their expert conferences on Freedom of the media and the Internet, the second of which was held in August 2004. The first conference issued the Amsterdam Recommendations (June 2003). The third and final conference will be held June 17-18, in Amsterdam.

Furthermore, I was invited to join a government advisory committee investigating means and methods of giving patients a better position within the complex health care structure, and that seeks to enable them to (co-)define the way that care and cure are organised and implemented. We work under the ZonMW umbrella, and we both initiate and subsidise pilot projects and research.

As a board member (often chair) of a number of organisations, I have developed various managerial qualities, often helping to make non-profit organisations work more smoothly and more effectively, while never forgetting their ideological stance.


In May 2005, I started my own company, Spaink.net.

In April 2005, I became editor in chief of The Next Ten Years, a series of books dealing with developments and uses of the internet after its first booming decade. We will publish two books per year, each edition dealing with a different topic. The first book (published in September 2005), was about electronic patient records. the second book (April 2006) about gaming economics. In September 2006, I received the ISOC award for 'Medische geheimen'.

In May 2005, I embarked on another big project: researching and writing the history of Hack-Tic and XS4ALL. The book will cover the years between 1989, when Hack-Tic was started, and circa 2005. It is scheduled to appear in 2010.

Curriculum vitæ, details

[education] [work] [boards] [juries] [prizes] [other] [columns] [lectures] [books] [anthologies]

Born: 1957 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Education: 1975-1981 Teacher's Training College d'Witte Leli, Amsterdam; main subject: English
1981-1984 Sociology, University of Amsterdam
1986-1987 Computer programming, Volmac/Fokker
oct 2008 SCUBA Open Water Diving certificate

Work: 1981-1982 teacher of English, secondary school (Ashram College, Alphen a/d Rijn)
1982-1987 educational bureau of PSP / GroenLinks, a political party (leftist liberals)
1988-1990 programmer at Fokker Aircraft, Amsterdam
1985- now freelance writer, columnist and lecturer
2005- started my own company: Spaink.net
2005- editor in chief of The Next Ten Years, a new series about internet technology, politics & society; publishing two books per year, each on a different subject

Boards: 1996-2003 president of Contrast.org
1997- now member of the Board of Advisors of De Waag
1999-2006 president of Bits Of Freedom (BOF), a Dutch organisation that promoted digital civil rights
2000-2002 member of the board de Geuzen, an art collective questioning the visual arts and media representation
2000-2007 Chair of Vrolijk, the famous Amsterdam gay and lesbian bookshop
2003-2005 member of the board of Spamvrij.nl, an organisation that exposes Dutch spammers and lobbies for proper anti-spam laws and policies.
2009 member of program committee for HAR, the 20th anniversary of the Dutch out-door hacking conference.

Juries: 1993 Hans-Paul Verhoeffprijs, for national aids projects
1995, 1996 Prix Ars Electronica, international electronic art prize (.net jury)
1998-2005 De pen als lotgenoot («the pen as companion»), a national literary jury for stories about illness and disabilities
1999 Shorts International Kriterion, international short film competition
2002- now Big Brother Awards, awards for government agencies / companies / people who violate civil rights
2006 Black Tulip Award jury of the annual Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival (AFF).
2010 Nano Supermarket: selecting ideas / innovative designs involving nanotechnology. The winner and nominees will be presented in an exibition.

Prizes: 1993 Mary Zeldenrust-Noordanusprijs, for «Aan hartstocht geen gebrek» ('Passionate imperfections'), a book that I made with photographer Gon Buurman, for the 'gentle way in which we broke a complicated taboo about sex and disabilities'
2005 ISOC Award 2005, for my book 'Medical secrets' and for hacking two hospitals to show that electrnic patient records aren't half as safe as they need to be
2008 Het roze lieverdje, for my general work, especially where it concerns LGBT issues
2009 De Van Praagprijs, for my general work: highlighting topics that are usually neglected, and for doing so in a very literary fashion.

Other: 2002-2005 External expert for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), advising the Representative for the Freedom of the Media with regards to the internet
  2002-2005 Member of the advisory committee «Vraagsturing in de zorg» («Steering demand in health care») within ZonMW
  2008 Co-mentoring the block «Who is I?» at DasArts, a post-doctorate institute for the visual arts - teaching about identity, politics, ideology and the body

Columns: 1992- now column for the Dutch newspaper Het Parool, by now bi-weekly. Circa 350 columns by now.
1992-2002 bi-monthly column for the (by now defunct) gay and lesbian magazine XL. 65 columns all in all.
1993-1994 column for De Helling, the tri-monthly theoretical magazine for the political party GroenLinks
1998-2000 regular contributor to the weekly magazine de Groene Amsterdammer (33 articles)
2001-2005 regular contributor to the net zine Netkwesties (14 articles)
2006-2008 Monthly column in Medisch Contact, a magazine for the medical profession
2007-now Column in Lover, a journal for feminist studies

Key lectures: 1994, apr Opzij-lezing («Opzij» is the prime Dutch feminist magazine), on disability and independence
1995, aug Opening lecture for a medical convention on the internet
1995, nov Key note for Doors of Perception; on the social, political and narrative structures within the newly developing net culture
1995, dec Bob Angelo lecture (yearly lecture for the Dutch COC, the Society for the integration of homosexuality
1996, sep Ars Electronica (Linz); on the body electric and electronic
1997, mar Annie Romein-Verschoor lecture (a yearly feminist lecture), on feminism, nature vs culture, gender vs sex, and transsexuality
1997, oct Key note for the European Nursing Conference, about chronical illness
2000, mar Opening lecture Film Festival Antwerp / Screening Violence, on film and violence
2002, oct Lecture for the Biotehnologija, filozofija in spol (Biotechnology, philosophy and sex) conference in Ljubljana, on cyborgs, nature and sex
2002, nov Lecture for HGZO on medicine and technology, focusing on electronic patient records (EPRs, or, in Dutch, EPDs)
2003, jul Lecture on spam, Megabit festival
2004, jun Presentation for the OSCE/FOM on the pitfalls of self- or co-regulation at the OSCE conference on Racism, anti-semitism and xenophobia on the internet, Paris
2004, jul Presentation for the OSCE delegates on hate speech and the internet; OSCE seminar on Guaranteeing Media Freedom on the internet, Vienna
2004, oct Presentation for the World Press Photo Exhibition on the internet and freedom of speech, Toronto
2005, jan Lecture for the Vereninging voor Auteursrecht on the Scientology vs XS4all & Spaink case, which is was then assessed by the Dutch Supreme Court.
2006, mar Aletta Jacobs Lecture (a yearly feminist lecture), on public personal stories and their political impact
2008, apr Co-lecture for the annual Globalisation Lecture in Amsterdam, on Web 2.0
2008, nov Key note for FiFi, a technology conference in Amsterdam, on hacking and the development of the public internet in the netherlands.

Books published

1982, Van Gennep Pornografie, bekijk 't maar (essays); collection of essays about pornography
1986, SUA De Venus van Milo in de betonmolen; large essay on sexuality and eroticsm
1991, Ploegsma Aan hartstocht geen gebrek. Handicap, erotiek en lichaamsbeleving; on sex, body perception and disabilities (with photos by Gon Buurman)
1992, De Balie Het strafbare lichaam. De orenmaffia, kwakdenken en het placebo-effect; on new-age quack-thinking and neuro-immunology)
1993, Van Gennep Stokken en stenen. Verhalen; collection of short stories
1993, Van Gennep Vallende vrouw. Autobiografie van een lichaam; autobiography of a body; the micro- and macrolevels of illness, health, society
1994, De Balie Introduction to Donna Haraway's «A cyborg manifesto»; about science fiction &, medical science, gender and artificial intelligence
1996, Rotterdam Festival Waarom wil iemand de Mona Lisa in het Louvre zien?; booklet on the internet and the unhampered quest for a physical presence
1996, Nijgh & Van Ditmar M/V, doorhalen wat niet van toepassing is; essays about gender, transsexuality, sexuality, sexual violence, the internet, kiddy porn, censorship and other preconceived ideas
1998, Holland Festival De man met de hamer; theatre play about «musical taste» for the closing night of the Holland Festival, performed by Theatergroep Hollandia, June 1998
2001, Nijgh & Van Ditmar De dood in doordrukstrip; essays about death, euthanasia, suicide, methods and means
2005, TNTY / Nijgh & Van Ditmar Medische geheimen; book about the risks of electronic patient records and the endangered medical secret<
2007, Nijgh & Van Ditmar Open en bloot - borstkanker zonder opsmuk. Pamphlet about the various social, medical and gender issues surrounding breast cancer
2008, Elsevier Het borstkankerlegioen. Collection of articles and columns breast cancer and its treatments


1993, Amber «Grimmige vertellingen», in: Zoeter dan honing. Contribution to a collection of revenge stories
1994, Nijgh & Van Ditmar «Grafherrie en seriemoordenaars», in: De duivel in vermomming, Contribution to a collection of essays on music
1996, De Geus «Op eigen wielen», in: Trots en treurnis. Contribution to a collection of essays about disabilities
1997, Contact «Miss Onweer», in: Venus in vlam. Contribution to a collection of lesbian love stories
1997, Elchers «Papier maché», in: Zinnen-Beelden / Cast Images. Essay for an art book about the human body
1997, Bunge «Artsen en patiënten», in: Multiple sclerose. Essay for a scientific book on multiple sclerosis
1999, LJ Veen «Bij het ontwaken», in: De vergulde pil. Contribution to a book on hospital fiction
1999, LJ Veen «De woorden ontraadseld», in: Het wereldraadsel. Contribution to a book with short stories on metaphysical matters and mindsets
2000, Byblos «Miss Onweer», in: Echte vrouwen beminnen anders. Contribution to a book with love stories by women
2000, Boekerij «Grimmige vertellingen», in: Samen op weg. Contribution to a book on behalf of the Nierstichting
2001, Rainbow «Was het te snel?» in: Zin, niet-correcte erotische verhalen door vrouwen. Contribution to a book with steamy and horny sex stories
2002, OSCE yearbook «Freedom of the Internet - Our New Challenge» in: The OSCE Yearbook on Freedom of the Media. Assessment of the current situation with regard to the internet, from the point of view of freedom of the media, for the 2001/2002 Yearbook of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
2002, Maska «Kiborgi: onkraj dihotomij» («Cyborgs: beyond dichotomies», in: Biotehnologija, filozofija in spol (Biotechnology, philosopy and sex). Book for the Ljubjana conference by the same title.
2003, OSCE «From quill to cursor: Freedom of the media in the digital era», in: From quill to cursor, OSCE/FOM conference book.
2003, OSCE (with Felipe Rodriquez) «Rights and regulations», in: Spreading the word on the internet; 18 answers to 4 questions.
2004, Boom «Het recht niet te weten», introduction to Factor XX, a book about biotechnology and gender.
2006, TNTY / Nijgh «Spel en spektakel», in Een wereld te winnen; about gaming as an upcoming professional sport and spectator sport.
art&layout liz turner©2000