We went to DrupalCon 2014 in Amsterdam
5 Oct 2014
Every year the Drupal web development community meet at conventions in Europe, the United States, Australia, Asia and South America. This year's European convention took place in the city of Amsterdam. Whilst some of our team have attended previous Drupal Conventions in Munich and London, none of us had ever visited this legendary city and we couldn't wait to get stuck in and see what all the fuss was about!
When we booked our tickets to DrupalCon 2014, hosted in we were unsure as to whether to . The journey by car, through France, Belgium and Holland would have taken around 7 hours from our office to the the hotel including a ferry crossing from Dover to Calais.
In the end we figured it was a quicker and a more feasible option to catch a flight from London Gatwick.
One of our colleagues - Clara - decided to be a little more ambitious and from Basingstoke which took her just over 6 hours! However, despite our flight only taking one hour, the travel to the airport and the waiting around at either end meant that our travel times ended up being pretty similar in length!
Once we'd arrived one thing was certain... we needed to sample some of that proper Dutch Heineken!
The city of Amsterdam is a magical place. You're immediately struck by the distinct lack of motor vehicles on account of the fact that there are and more than half of the residents use their bikes on a daily basis as their main mode of transport. The architecture is instantly memorable and captivating. We later learned on a boat tour that the prominent gables on each house were traditionally a way to demonstrate a family's status or importance. The winding streets that hop over the network of canals are never-ending and a pleasure to get lost in. There is very liberal atmosphere to the place, and there were a lot of rainbow flags draped from people's windows everywhere you looked.
But Amsterdam is most famous for two things: a prolific number of establishments where you can and it's . These two aspects of Amsterdam are what you might expect would give the city a bit of a seedy undertone but in fact it really is quite the opposite. The streets are calm and the energy buzzing but relaxed. There are no loutish shouts or foolish drunken antics. The red light district is filled with people; couples walking the dog, families taking a stroll and of course the occasional "customer" but none of it feels forced or underworldy!
The only thing that really took us by surprise was just how expensive everything was in Amsterdam, but maybe we were just stuck in the touristy areas! A pint of beer was anything between €8 and €12 and a standard meal when we went out was running us up (on average) €30 just for a main course!! That said, if you're looking for a short city break then Amsterdam is certainly a place that you might consider visiting. There's plenty to see and do and you'll probably have never seen anything quite like it before!
The conference was held at the , a gargantuan building which happened to be hosting several other conferences at the same time. The facilities were good although the hospitality apparently wasn't to the standard of Barry, Rob and Damian's previous experience at DrupalCon back in 2012. There were some fantastic talks though and a particular highlight for me was the extremely fun !
The conference was the in terms of attendance and the community was out in force every night to have a good time and converse on the highs and lows of being a citizen of the Drupal world. The other exciting announcement of the conference was the which has been stuck in development hell for quite some time now! We, and many others are very excited to download the beta release and get our teeth in to working with it. I was particularly excited to attend a session hosted by on the new which gives the themer far more control over the HTML output of the Drupal content management system! Be warned if you follow the link to Morten's talk though. He loves his colourful language!!
We all found the sessions on Drupal 8 extremely useful and exciting and Barry also attended many of the business sessions which he said were very insightful. All in all the Con was a fun and helpful experience for all of us and we very much look forward to attending more DrupalCons in the future.
On the last day of a DrupalCon it is traditional to announce location of the following year's conference. This year the organisers were excited to announce that the next European DrupalCon will take place in the city of for the second time since Drupal's inception.
This is particularly exciting for myself and Barry as we have a long history with Spain, visiting regularly as children and adults. We spent entire summers in a small seaside town about 4 hours from Barcelona and grew up immersed in Spanish culture, customs and cuisine.
I'd say it's almost certain that as soon as the tickets are released we'll be booking ourselves in for what will hopefully be another diverse and exciting DrupalCon!
To our fellow Drupal developers and users, we'll see you next year.
To the city of Amsterdam, thank you for having us. It was an absolute pleasure.
Get in touch about your project
Give us a call or send us an email to talk through your project
Real Life Digital: the story so far
12 Mar 2018 Our story so far; how we got started and evolved to where we are now.
Drupal and SEO: A fly-by tour
26 Jan 2017 Drupal is absolutely the best CMS platform when it comes to SEO, but our clients don't seem to be aware of this so we finally decided to break it down.
More recent articles
Digital problem solving made easy
19 Nov 2020 If you manage many websites, you probably know how much effort is required to maintain them. Find out how to get your web portfolio back under control, boost their performance, and save costs in the long run.
Could mismatched web solutions scupper your business growth?
5 Aug 2020 If you’re responsible for the IT or strategic marketing in a medium or large business, ask yourself 'How is your web portfolio looking?'