Ton Zijlstra


Independent change management consultant, with a preference for complex change issues provoked by new technology. With 15+ years experience in how digitisation changes the ways we work, learn, connect, live, and how it shapes the networked society, he has a thorough understanding of the social impact of digital technology. Working from his hometown in the Netherlands across Europe and beyond, he is a key connector and enabler for open data.

Since 2008 he has been active in open (government) data which he sees as a next wave of digital disruption creating new opportunities and challenges for public sector bodies, citizens and corporations alike. He did the first exploration of open data for the Dutch government, and in 2010 created the plans for the Dutch national data portal. A 2 year stint as project lead of the ePSIplatform for the European Commission, further strengthened his connections to most open data initiatives in the EU. Since 2011 he has worked with the World Bank, most recently as senior expert on open data in Kazachstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Serbia. In 2011, together with three colleagues he founded the open data consultancy company The Green Land.

In his spare time he works on digital manufacturing and FabLabs. He was the chairman of the FabLab Foundation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, a network of 25 FabLabs, and still advises FabLabs on a regular basis. He was 2010-2015 also a voluntary board member of the 10.000+ Dutch community “Civil Servant 2.0” which focusses on the changing work routines of the public sector under influence of social media, co-creation and open data. He is a regular speaker and guest lecturer across Europe. Every few years he organizes a conference in his home on these topics, for clients, friends, family and peers as a birthday party.

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