Yes, it has happened! As announced yesterday BLUG no longer stands for BeLux (Belgium and Luxembourg) Lotus User Group but now merges with the Dutch user group NLLUG to become the Benelux Lotus User Group!
I think this is great. As most of us who actively visit User Groups know, the one thing that any user group needs is a strong and preferable independent leadership. Someone who will give it their all to make it a success. Sometimes by one person, sometimes by a group of people. Marnix Kemme was that person for the Dutch Lotus user group NLLUG for years. He helped put NLLUG on the map with some really great user group events (who can forget the Keynote in the Amsterdam Arena!) but after he moved to IBM it became silent around NLLUG…. Too silent….
Trying to revive NLLUG a separate track was organized in the IBM Social Business event in Rotterdam last June. Offering user group sessions to customers as part of a larger social business convention. It was great after not having anything since 2010 but it simply couldn’t stand up to the great NLLUG events of 2009 & 2010 and as BLUG was already attracting lots of Dutch visitors it was time to move on. It’s something I’ve personally been feeling very strong about as I really feel that having user groups is important and from experience with Social Connections know first hand how much work it is. I can only be happy that Theo Heselmans and his team are taking on the challenge and I’m sure he will make the Benelux user group just as big a success as the Belgium one is! At the same time I can only thank Marnix who has always tried his utmost best to keep NLLUG alive and even when his role as an IBM employee meant he had to take a step back still ensured it was not forgotten. From personal experience of working with him on the Social Business event I can only say he truly was Mr NLLUG and I also know he has played a big role in making this user group merger possible.
Times change, we change with them. It’s time for the new and in this case the new BLUG. Leuven prepare for the Dutch because we are coming to BLUG 2013!red. BLUG 2013 will be held in Leuven, Belgium on March 21/22. For more information keep an eye on the BLUG site!