Pioneering IT in Belgium: heritage that urgently needs safeguarding! Born a little over 60 years ago, information technology (IT) now pervades every aspect of our lives, but what trace have we kept of the amazing developments that we have witnessed? Many things considered as part of the past (and everything becomes history incredibly quickly in this field) have disappeared for ever.
It was with this in mind that a fund for Pioneering IT in Belgium was set up under the King Baudouin Foundation in April 2013, encouraged by a group dedicated to safeguarding pioneering IT collections in Belgium including: • the Belgian Unisys Computer Museum of Brussels, • the Bull Museum in Grimbergen, • the computing systems company J. Lemaire in Wezembeek-Oppem • and Informatique & Bible in Maredsous. All of these organizations are members of the Réseau de Préservation des Patrimoines Informatiques (Network for the Preservation of Information Technology Heritage), set up in 2009 on the initiative of the Maison de la Métallurgie et de l’Industrie de Liège.
The Fund aims to safeguard and promote Belgian IT collections which were at risk of disappearing. Herewith the Fund helps perpetuate the memory of the beginnings of IT in Belgium with the aim of educating and training young people, and of pushing some of them towards IT professions.