Bernhard Kau, a WordPress developer, meetup organizer, and four-time organizer of WordCamp Berlin, is the local lead organizer for the next WordCamp Europe. Kau will join Milan Ivanović, the global lead, at the helm of WordCamp Europe in Berlin next June.
Kau submitted an application with his team to host WCEU and won out over a competing application from the WordPress community in Barcelona. The selection team cited Berlin’s accessibility, reasonable prices, and its strong community as the final deciding factors.
Berlin’s monthly WordPress meetups have 1,300 members. The community also holds dedicated meetups for beginners, developers, and women in WordPress. Five WordCamps have been organized in Berlin since 2010.
— Milan Ivanović (@lanche86) June 28, 2018
“Compared to other communities in Europe, we are a community that is very likely to travel to other cities to attend meetups and other WordCamps,” Kau said. “We usually only have one or two WordCamps per year in Germany but then usually all the German community members travel to that city to attend the WordCamp. Whereas in Spain, for example, they had 11 WordCamps this year that are more local and smaller. As a German community we are more used to traveling to a central place and meeting there.”
What to Expect at WCEU in Berlin: A Diverse Community, More Workshops, and a Unique After Party
The Estrel Hotel and Congress Center will host the entire event, including both conference days, the contributor day, and the after party. Although the venue has a max capacity of 12,000 people, Kau said organizers are planning for 2,500 – 3,000 attendees. The local team is excited to introduce the European WordPress community to their home city.
“Berlin is one of the most diverse cities in Europe,” Kau said. “When I prepared the application, I figured out that there are people from 191 countries living in Berlin. It’s a very international, very diverse city, so you can be just as you are and feel quite comfortable and welcome in Berlin.”
Kau said organizers intend to continue with workshops as a part of the event in 2019 but they are planning to make the signup experience more efficient.
“This was the first year we tried workshops,” Kau said. “We had three workshop tracks and workshops of 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and three hours. We are not sure how many workshops we want to have in Berlin. The idea was new but turned out quite well. There were workshops with many people waiting to get in and from what I’ve heard it was quite good.”
Kau said he wants to improve the process for workshops, because there was no easy way for attendees to sign up and managing waiting lists was a lot of manual work for the content team. This is one bottleneck from the most recent WCEU experience that he hopes to rectify.
“There is also something special planned but I don’t want to spoil it,” Kau said. “It’s going to be a very unique after party to say the least.” Although Berlin is renowned for its legendary nightlife, Kau said he doesn’t anticipate the party lasting all night.
“We’re probably not going to make it Berlin-typical until 10 in the morning but it’s going to be a bit longer than maybe here [Belgrade] or in Paris where people were kicked at at 3:30,” he said.
The call for applications for organizers is still open. Within 24 hours of announcing Berlin as the next host city, the team had already received 27 applications. The application window closes July 31, 2018.
Check out the full interview below to learn more about the German WordPress community and what they have planned for WCEU 2019.