The Dutch version of Wikipedia will be twenty years old on Sunday.

It is often one of the first sites you consult if you want to know something about famous Dutch people or space travel.

What keeps visitors coming back?

On January 15, 2001, the English-language version of the online encyclopedia saw the light of day.

A few months later - on June 18 - the Dutch version followed.

It is not certain what the first Dutch Wikipedia article is.

After a server move, some files were lost.

The oldest article on it now deals with the word 'definition' and was created in August 2001.

With 1.9 million visitors and 6.5 million page views per day, the Dutch-language Wikipedia is a popular website.

Hundreds of volunteers keep up with Wikipedia

Wikipedia is maintained by volunteers.

There are about fourteen hundred active Wikipedians, who make an average of five changes per month.

Often there are also passers-by who correct a spelling mistake or add something small to an article.

This concerns about sixteen thousand visitors per month.

One of them is Sandra Fauconnier.

She has been writing articles for the online encyclopedia since 2003.

She also writes about art history.

"I actually started with the English version. My first article there was about Magnum Photos, a cooperative of photographers."

Another veteran, Toos Groen, has been active since 2008 and mainly writes biographies.

Groen notices that the biographies are best read when someone has been in the news.

"In 2019 I saw that we did not yet have a biography about Roxane van Iperen, while she is a well-known author. I wrote it then. Now that she is back in the publicity because of her new book, I notice that the page views are increasing," said Green.

"I always get satisfaction when my biographies are well read."

A shortage of women

A number of years ago, a gender gap working group was set up to attract more women.

Has that paid off?

Not quite, says Sandra Rientjes, director of the Wikimedia Netherlands Association.

The percentage fluctuates around 12 percent.

In 2016, that share was 11 percent.

"Although we didn't get that many women, we do have more articles on women and women-related topics, such as fashion. Five years ago, the relevance of such a topic was questioned. Is this something for Wikipedia? Now they are questions are no longer asked," says Rientjes.

"We also notice that there is more interest from society. For example, I spoke to a teacher who wanted to write articles about female mathematicians for us."

'A Wikipedian is not someone who sits in his attic'

Rientjes is happy with the appreciation of the general public, but says that it also has a downside.

For example, Wikipedia was not accessible in Turkey from 2017 to 2020.

"The Turkish court then reversed it and the site is accessible again, but it is confrontational. We try to be neutral and factual. That is not appreciated everywhere."

Although outsiders think it's tough being a Wikipedian, according to the volunteers, that's not the case.

"I'm actually really active in the winter. In the summer I work in the garden. How much I do also differs. Sometimes I'm busy all day and other times for five minutes. Then I process an adjustment that I get through." Green says.

Fauconnier is also relaxed with her role. "I often take pictures for the image bank when I go out or on vacation. Then I look for buildings, such as churches, to photograph. The image you have with a Wikipedian is someone sitting in his attic, But nothing is less true."