CHI NL becomes a Local ACM SIGCHI Chapter (again!)

Dear members of CHI NL,

Today, we are pleased to inform you that on January 24, 2022, CHI Nederland (CHI NL) has officially become a Local ACM SIGCHI Chapter with the name CHI Nederland!

🎉 🎉 🎉

We will share what becoming an ACM SIGCHI chapter entails for us and our organization in the coming period. But for now, a little fun fact: “Nederland” is a small town in The Netherlands (in Dutch also called “Nederland”), so we are CHI Nederland in Nederland. 🙂

To commemorate this special occasion, we asked esteemed member and CHI Nederland co-founder Steven Pemberton to say a few words on CHI NL’s history and present day:

SIGCHI, and the field of HCI, was founded almost exactly 40 years ago, March 17th 1982, out of the then existing ACM Special Interest Group on Social and Behavioral Computing (SIGSOC) at the successful conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems at Gaithersburg, Virginia, USA, (which turned into the CHI conference).

The Netherlands followed shortly after in 1985 with a Dutch-language, non-SIGCHI affiliated working group “MCI” (Mens-computer Interactie).

In 1993 the CHI conference came to Amsterdam, in the form of InterCHI 93, and the MCI provided the co-chairs of the conference. This sparked discussion in the Netherlands on how to create more involvement from the Netherlands in SIGCHI. These discussion solidified into plans in 1995 for a Dutch local SIGCHI group, which would then merge with MCI.

And so was (later changing its name to CHI Nederland) founded in July 1997, with the first conference following in February, and Jakob Nielsen (himself an ex-chair of SIGCHI) giving the keynote.

Two hundred people turned up at that first conference, and the local SIG grew apace from there, organising a fabulous series of conferences, the bi-annual academic-oriented CHI Sparks, alternating with the more practitioner-oriented Web and Beyond in alternate years, to become the largest Local SIGCHI SIG after Silicon Valley, with over 500 members.

In January 2011 there was a celebration for 12½ years of CHI Nederland (a typically Dutch jubilee number), and the conferences continued to happen for a few years.

Left: a slide from the 12½ years anniversary event

And then something happened. I’m not sure what, but the conferences stopped, and I missed them! So in 2019 I contacted some of the old hands to find out how we could restart the engines. This resulted in June 2020 in a discussion evening on how to move forward, and now thankfully CHI Nederland is back! Just in time for our 25 year jubilee in July 2022!

If you’re interested in more details of the history of SIGCHI, see the special issue of the SIGCHI Bulletin that I still keep around on the web at

Similarly, for details of the original start up of CHI Nederland, see

And welcome back!

Steven Pemberton is a researcher affiliated with the CWI in Amsterdam. He was editor in chief of the SIGCHI Bulletin, and then ACM/interactions from 1994-2004. He was Conference co-chair of CHI in 1997. He was one of the founders of CHI Nederland in 1997.

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