Annual Report 2019 Wikimedia CH

Bagawathram Maheswaran, Wikimedia CH Board President. (#3 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

A Word from the President

For Wikimedia CH, 2019 was defined by both continuity and change.

At an organizational level, we saw continuity in our governance. One new board member – Mr. Jon Becker – was elected while I was reelected as president. With minimal changes at the board level, we were able to maintain more stability throughout our organization.

We also helped ensure continuity by beginning strategic planning even before the year started with an extraordinary General Assembly on December 10, 2018. The online nature of the event allowed more members to participate. Wikimedia CH used the event as an opportunity to present its 2019 budget, giving members a better understanding of the year to come. The budget was adopted unanimously.

The chapter also saw significant change, as it ramped up its fundraising and outreach efforts and aimed to streamline its databases. The team worked hard to put in place the resources and systems that will allow them to operate more effectively and better manage relationships with members, donors and partners. By creating a strong foundation for outreach, Wikimedia CH will be better prepared to implement the 2030 strategy recommendations when they are ready. Already in 2019, these efforts resulted in several new partnerships with high-level international organizations.

I’m very pleased with the progress Wikimedia CH made in 2019, and I look forward to building on these efforts in the coming year!

Bagawathram Maheswaran

Wikimedia CH Board President

Jenny Ebermann, Wikimedia CH Executive Director. (#5 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

A Word from the Executive Director

Seen globally, 2019 was a year of significant changes on multiple fronts for Wikimedia CH. While we took a major step forward to streamline and professionalize our fundraising systems and database management — all the more critical in light of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — we also had to adapt to important personnel changes.

The changes in staff presented an opportunity to reevaluate our resources and ways of working. We found a creative solution that sees a mix of in-house and outsourced team members, which has helped us improve our communication and outreach efforts.

Further supporting this work has been our focus on professionalizing our fundraising endeavors and streamlining our internal systems. In 2019, we put in place tools such as an efficient content management system that will help us link our databases, protect donor and member data, work more efficiently and better communicate with our stakeholders. As a result, we were able to make great strides in being more visible to both existing donors and members, as well as potential partners, who are becoming more aware of the association behind Wikipedia and its sister projects. While these efforts required significant time and resources on the front end, they support our long-term goals of becoming more financially sustainable and standing on our own legs as a chapter.

We also saw significant achievements at the program level. The team worked hard to create several new partnerships and initiatives in GLAM, Education and Community. Program GLAM expanded its reach through new partnerships with the Swiss National Sound Archives and the archives of the Montreux Jazz Festival, which have engaged us for Wikidata projects on audio and audiovisual content. Program Education also cultivated important relationships with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where one contact led to several others, creating cooperation at multiple levels. Last but certainly not least, Program Community successfully fostered a new partnership with a large international organization, as well as other chapters. The Wiki Human Rights project, for example, involves collaboration with Wikimedia Argentina, WikiFranca, the Wikimedia Foundation and the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. The project exemplifies how to break down high-level discussions into concrete initiatives that have brought the project to the French-speaking world.

I am exceedingly proud of our team’s hard work in 2019 and the progress made at every level. We have built a strong foundation that will serve us well in 2020. Thank you very much to all of our volunteers, members, partners, supporters, donors and stakeholders; without you, none of this would be possible!

Jenny Ebermann

Wikimedia CH Executive Director

Facts & Figures

1.9 million+ people reached in Switzerland.

298 newly registered users among 1,845 total participants.

70,000+ content pages created or improved across all Wikimedia projects.

6,300+ items of content reused by other Wikimedia projects, showing we focused on quality impacts over mass uploading.

Strategic Direction at a Glance

The image of a house represents Wikimedia CH’s impact directions for the 2017-2020 strategic period. The house itself is made up of our three impact directions – Education, GLAM and Community – and the roof symbolizes our mission of curating and disseminating free knowledge.

Communication, Diversity and Technology/Know-how are enablers that support the impact directions. They equip us to evaluate whether a project or activity should be integrated into our annual plan or not.

The walls of the house represent Wikimedia CH’s tools, processes (policies, financial, guidelines, ICT, etc.) and soft skills (human resources, people development). The house’s windows are transparent, indicating good governance. There are no hidden closets or pitfalls.

Finally, the foundation is a solid legal background that allows the house to rest securely and sustainably within our community. Outside of the house, our neighbors are like-minded organizations, other chapters, the Wikiverse and, of course, the Wikimedia Foundation.


(Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums)

Introduction & Strategy

Wikimedia CH can look back upon a successful year of achieving more stability, continuity and diversity for the GLAM program. We consistently followed the GLAM strategy, and the results are showing.

We moved forward in establishing valuable partnerships with important institutions. These included, among others, the Swiss National Sound Archives and the archives of the Montreux Jazz Festival, which have engaged us for Wikidata projects on audio and audiovisual content.

At the international level, Wikimedia CH fostered collaboration with Wikimedia Germany and Wikimedia Austria to spread the vision, mission and essence of one strong Wikimedia Movement, instead of single-country activities. Moreover, we took a big step forward with technology. We extensively improved the GLAM Statistical Tool and the WMCH Map Service. Our technical developments have received positive feedback from our partners, from every audience where the tools have been presented and from GLAM community members, who became active in analyzing the free, accessible statistics and presenting the tools to their GLAM contacts and networks.

When delivering programming and evaluating metrics, we concentrated on quality more than quantity by continuing programmatic formats that have functioned well in years past. We did our best to strengthen our partner relationships by fulfilling growing requests from GLAM institutions to provide staff training on Wikimedia projects and by supporting our partners in GLAM + Wikidata activities. Also, we learned that it is useful to balance continuity with diversity. The GLAM community likes to explore and research a variety of collections, archives and institutions. Therefore, to keep the volunteer community motivated, it makes more sense to plan activities less frequently if the activities are quite similar to one another.

Our reputation has grown a lot, and Switzerland’s GLAM institutions consider us to be a valued and trusted partner. In 2020 and beyond, we look forward to expanding upon and enhancing those activities that have proven successful, scalable and responsive to our multicultural community.

Continuity & Scalability

We developed scalable projects and solutions in 2019. On the one hand, the continuity helped to build community health and enhance retention. On the other hand, it built trust with GLAM institutions.

Action Day 2212 at the ETH Library in Zurich aimed to improve the quality of Wikipedia articles about 2,212 Swiss municipalities. We used the proven edit-a-thon format to train library staff on working in Wiki projects. They gained valuable skills as they used nearly 1,000 historical photographs to enrich more than 800 Wikipedia articles. The head of the ETH Library Image Archive estimated that, without the event, it would have taken the library approximately three years to achieve the same results.

Article in Arcinfo about historical aerial photos. (#10 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Wikimedia CH’s activities for the International Museum Day and International Archives Week serve as a good example of offering continuity in programming and scaling up a successful format to meet other community needs. For the second year, Wikimedia CH participated in the International Museum Day. We actively involved two other chapters – Wikimedia Austria and Wikimedia Germany – in an online campaign to improve the presence of museums on Wikipedia. We then applied the same format to the International Archives Week. Working with our ongoing partner, the Association of Swiss Archivists, we ran an online campaign to enhance the presence of Swiss archives on Wikipedia.

For both events, we used online geographical maps to quickly identify the information gaps that needed their attention. These maps were the seed that grew into WMCH Map Service (described in the upcoming digital competence and technology section).


Our work with libraries and archives demonstrates how we diversified our portfolio in 2019. Wikimedia CH has partnered with many cultural institutions in Switzerland, but until 2019, we had been less active in the Italian-speaking area. Likewise, our partnerships had not focused as heavily on the country’s audio heritage. In 2019, we reached out to the Swiss National Sound Archives (also known as the Fonoteca), the federal repository for the preservation of Swiss audio and audiovisual heritage. The archive is located in the city of Lugano, in the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland.

We set the cornerstone of our new partnership with a Wikidata project that focuses on two objectives: (1) cleansing data and uploading metadata and (2) delivering the archive a logic for easy metadata synchronization between Wikidata records and the institution’s digital database. We have already begun scaling up this project for 2020 in collaboration with the Montreux Jazz Archives, which preserves and celebrates over 5,000 concerts from the Montreux Jazz Festival stretching back 50 years.

In addition to the Wikidata project, we supported a GLAM on Tour at the Fonoteca, using the proven, scalable GLAM on Tour format. Our GLAM community didn’t fear language barriers. We had a big group of participants from Germany, Wikipedians from Italy and participants from Switzerland’s German- and French-speaking regions. Most attendees were experienced Wikipedians, including some who rarely participate in our in-person events. For the first time in history, a Swiss GLAM on Tour sold out a month before the registration deadline, even though we allowed more attendees than originally planned.

Along with the GLAM on Tour, we set up the GLAM Statistical Tool so that Fonoteca staff members could see statistics on their media files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. They appreciated learning how to access and use the tool.

Knowledge as a Service & Skills Development

Recommendation 7 of the Wikimedia Movement’s 2030 strategy says to invest in skills development, and Wikimedia CH did just that in 2019. Our work aligned not only with the recommendation but also with the express wishes of the Swiss GLAM.

In cooperation with the Association of Swiss Archivists and the Swiss National Library in Bern, we organized GLAMwikiCH Day in March. The event answered the question, “What does Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata offer to galleries, libraries, archives and museums?” Among the more than 60 GLAM professionals from Switzerland and neighboring countries who attended, there arose a clear request for more training so that GLAM staff can participate in Wikipedia projects – special emphasis was placed on how Wikidata can support heritage institutions in the landscape of linked open data.

The next day, we supported a Wikidata workshop in Lausanne. In November, Wikidata Zurich Training 2019 offered GLAM experts the chance to improve their Wikidata proficiency. Our training topics extended beyond Wikidata, too. Hosted by university faculty, WikiNeoComensia involved Wikipedians as guest lecturers in seminar series to train future museum personnel to edit Wikipedia and share the results of their research. Wikimedia CH also supported the Museum of Natural History of Neuchâtel in their project to share their fish fossil collection with the world and, more specifically, with scientists who reach out to them for quality pictures of the fossils. A Wiki template was created to ensure accuracy and consistency when sharing the fossils’ detailed scientific metadata, and our chapter helped the museum to make a mass upload of the images along with this metadata.

Holoptychius flemingi, (an extinct lobe-finned fish) from the Devonian period. (#13 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Digital Competence & Technology

Digital competence and technology is an important pillar for Wikimedia CH. In 2019, we extensively further developed our two software applications – the GLAM Statistical Tool and WMCH Map Service – in response to the needs and requirements of Swiss GLAM partners and the GLAM community.

With the GLAM Statistical Tool, institutions access a set of statistics about their Wikimedia content and monitor their media files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. For example, the Usage Chart (image #15 below) shows how distinct media files from a given institution are used for different Wikimedia projects and pages. In 2019, we deployed the tool in support of many events, such as GLAM on Tour at the Fonoteca and at the Iron Library. We also developed additional functionalities to make the software a more practical tool for GLAM professionals. The additions include new search features for media files, a statistical drill-down by image category and an algorithm that suggests how unused media files could be added to selected Wikipedia articles. All these new functionalities will be finalized and tested in the first half of 2020. Finally, we performed a stress test of the GLAM Statistical Tool in 2019 to check the feasibility of a broader rollout, with a positive result. The tool is ready to receive significant amounts of data simultaneously from larger GLAM institutions in the world.

Example of a Usage Chart on the GLAM Statistical Tool. (#15 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

The other software that our chapter has released and is further enhancing is WMCH Map Service. Editors and institutions can use its interactive maps to visualize georeferenced institutions or sites and the related digital content that is available on and, importantly, absent from Wikimedia projects. Due to its popularity over the past two years, we worked on enhancements to WMCH Map Service, which will deploy in 2020. Besides a graphical redesign, we envisage improving the response-time performance and offering a way to measure the evolution of the related Wikimedia content over time. The tool is on GitHub for further development and for others to use.


Introduction & Strategy

In 2019, we rethought our Wikimedia CH Education Strategy for three reasons. First, we aligned our chapter’s approach with the Wikimedia Movement’s 2030 strategy. Second, we incorporated the latest thinking among Switzerland’s education experts. Modern educational standards must respond to the demands placed on students and workers by technology, particularly the latest impacts of automation and digitalization. We meet this need with our new strategy.

The third and final reason that we revised our strategy was that we wanted to ensure that our programming builds community among those educators and learners who are primed to become long-term Wikipedians. Therefore, a vital component of our work in 2019 remained the university community, a community that already encourages people to openly share research and advance new ideas and technologies. However, we also focused on the communities concerned with upper secondary education, vocational education and training (VET) and continuing education and training (CET, also known as lifelong learning). Like the university community, these communities are keen to address the impacts of automation and digitalization.

For primary and lower secondary education, we placed greater emphasis on recruiting more teachers and trainers to become long-term users of and contributors to Wikimedia tools. With a train-the-trainer approach – among instructors in formal classroom settings as well as workers in other professions – we aim to build our community and the capacity of teachers to inspire students who have a passion for Wikimedia.

Our strategy has already produced many benefits, making it possible for us to speak credibly with major players in the educational field: teachers, schools, universities, training centers, etc. Wikimedia CH has aligned our activities with strategic objectives, focusing on developing skills, defining topics that have an impact, delivering tools to support teachers and programming for diverse community members.

Even though 2019 was a pivotal year, the evolution of Program Education is still underway. For 2020, we will primarily focus activities on Wikidata and on GLAM training, following the needs of the community. For this reason, we have started to collaborate with Wikimedia Germany and specifically with the Wikidata team to offer our communities the best trainers. In 2020, we will improve these relationships and proceed with certifying competencies.

Skills Development

Our activities for lifelong learners and the university community aligned closely with Recommendation 7 in the 2030 strategy: Invest in Skills Development. In so doing, we also responded to Switzerland’s educational experts, who have said that the education system must prepare students and workers for the technological demands placed on the workforce of today and tomorrow.

Our chapter’s Zurich Wikidata Network is key in helping us define the skills that our community needs and deliver training to develop those skills. The network is three years old now and still growing. Based around the University of Zurich, it includes researchers, students and professionals. In November, Wikimedia CH and the Wikidata Network supported a first-of-its-kind Wikidata Zurich Training 2019 in collaboration with Wikimedia Germany, the University of Zurich, the Statistical Office of the town of Zurich and the canton of Zurich. The maximum, i.e. 60 participants, joined the event and learned to develop tools and to consult, integrate, populate and modify Wikidata. They practiced what they learned with live coding and support. Expert trainers hailed from Germany and Poland as well as Switzerland. Because of the event’s positive feedback and to extend our network into Switzerland’s French-speaking region, we are planning a similar event in Lausanne for 2020.

The successful outcomes and feedback from Wikidata Zurich Training 2019 demonstrate that the demand exists for skills-based events, particularly in specialist areas such as Wikidata. The same level of demand was further illustrated in other 2019 events. One is the Wikidata workshop in Lausanne, which advanced the proficiency of GLAM professionals. Another example is the Wikidata Zurich Hackathon 2019, described in the next section, which uses a format that allows for skills development among professionals and university students alike. We intend to launch new modules in 2020 that conform to this new strategic approach.

Topics for Impact

Among all the levels of education, we have had the longest-running and most robust relationships with faculty and students at the university level. For this community, we offered more specialized programming in 2019, such as activities focused on Wikidata and Open Science. Giving our programming thematic coherence helped to cultivate longer-term relationships with community members whose interests lie in learning life skills. In other words, we prioritized topics for impact per Recommendation 10 of the Movement’s 2030 strategy.

Our main activities were carried out in collaboration with key partners, such as the University of Zurich, University of Neuchâtel and University of Fribourg. Our work with the University of Zurich was described in the previous section. With Neuchâtel and Fribourg, we focused more on digital humanities, achieving a good merger of Program GLAM and Program Education. We integrated didactic activities with professional training, using a combination of theoretical lessons and practical activities to connect classroom lessons to the work responsibilities that students will encounter in their future professions.

For this reason, edit-a-thons, hackathons or datathons matched well to the needs of universities. Student participants could interact with real-world professionals – students in the humanities could network with museum and library professionals, technology students with software development firms, science students with research laboratories, etc. The Wikidata Zurich Hackathon 2019, for example, continued a popular format for the third year. In November, 40 participants formed teams around shared interests, with students and professionals working side by side on innovations of their choosing, such as a tool for Wikidata editors or a visualization of Wikidata content. We encouraged diversity among the teams so that they could learn from each other’s expertise, inviting collaboration among front-end coders, database masters, geographical data analysts and others.

A team at the Wikidata Zurich Hackathon 2019. (#19 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Tools for Teachers

For the community that serves students in primary and lower secondary education, Wikimedia CH focused on recruiting more teachers and trainers to become long-term users of and contributors to Wikimedia tools. This train-the-trainer strategy adheres to the Wikimedia Movement’s Recommendation 8: Manage Internal Knowledge, which states that the Movement’s knowledge must be “easy to capture, discover, adapt, and consume by all stakeholders to facilitate both individual skill development and growth in an equitable way across all communities.”

Following this direction, Wikimedia CH continued its three-year collaboration with the faculty of pedagogy of Locarno to deliver #theLab, a laboratory where teachers prepare lessons with the lab team (pedagogists and Wikipedians) to introduce students to learning through games. We also supported a similar event called Media in Piazza, which promotes learning in the fields of media and digital technologies. The Swiss Federal Commission for Child and Youth Affairs named Media in Piazza among the most innovative educational projects in Switzerland in its report called Growing Up in the Digital Age.

Students and teachers participating in #theLab. (#21 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Both #theLab and Media in Piazza were held in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region. The plan for 2020 and beyond is to further define and refine these types of educational models and tools, using our 2019 experiences to scale them up in other cantons.


Across all levels of education, both innovation and diversity are necessary to ensure that we share knowledge openly and easily. To support knowledge equity – one of the two main pillars of the Wikimedia Movement’s 2030 strategy – we designed activities with disadvantaged students in mind, aiming to reduce educational gaps. We focused on two main issues confronting Swiss schools: how to educate students with learning differences and how to ensure inclusivity.

First, we continued a project with Albinit that we began two years ago – a project that aims to identify how we can innovate for people with visual impairments. In 2019, four testers checked four Wiki projects: Wikipedia, Commons, Wikivoyage and Wikisource. The testers were students, and they encountered most of their problems when studying, mainly at the university level. We applied the results to improve accessibility for the target audience as well as students who encounter similar issues due to other learning challenges (e.g., dyslexia).

The second diversity issue that the chapter addressed was inclusivity, and for that, we cohosted Wikipedia for Peace Switzerland 2019 with SCI Switzerland. It was the country’s second Wikipedia for Peace event, and we imposed new participant requirements to ensure gender equity and to encourage participation from students, researchers and immigrants in Europe. At the 2019 event, we had 13 editors, taught by three Wikimedians, with a high percentage of women and students and with many coming from Eastern Europe.

Workspace for Wikipedia for Peace Switzerland 2019. (#23 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)


Introduction & Strategy

Wikimedia CH implemented a new strategy for Program Community in 2019. The strategy divides activities into four areas: community building, community health, recruitment and international collaboration. We stressed the first two this year because we were witnessing a decline in volunteers. We wanted to ensure that we retained the institutional knowledge of our experienced members as well as the enthusiasm of both new and longtime members.

To show our appreciation, we honored members with awards ceremonies and networking opportunities, but most of all, we delivered events centered on community needs and interests. Wikimedia CH demonstrated our commitment to partners’ and volunteers’ betterment – as they define it, not as we define it – by listening, collaborating and then producing events that furthered our strategic goals. We explicitly described how events and activities were interconnected so that we imbued a broader purpose that resonated with volunteers. The very act of describing our programmatic purpose also kept our strategy top of mind so that we could deliver a coherent Community Program.

In 2020, we intend to emphasize recruitment after having focused on retention in 2019. Program Community will coordinate with Programs GLAM and Education to ensure success because many new volunteers will emerge from special interests. Few will join Wikimedia CH because of a deep-rooted need to support open knowledge but will, instead, pair their passion for a certain topic, such as fine art, with the desire to share it. So, all three of our chapter’s programmatic pillars must help with recruitment.

Relationships that we fostered in 2019 will continue into 2020 and beyond. It is essential to the health of our chapter and the Wikimedia Movement that we build reputable, long-term partnerships that cultivate institutional knowledge and recognition in national and international arenas. It is the only way that we can speak loudly enough to sustain and expand free, unbiased digital knowledge and inspire change when needed.

Community Building

Through community building, we aim to strengthen the engagement of new volunteers. Noircir Wikipedia exemplifies our 2019 community-building efforts. The group seeks to add more Wikipedia information about people and cultural elements from Africa and of African descent. Throughout 2019, they held 10 workshops in Geneva and Paris. Along with the two founders, a core of three Genevan Wikipedians attended most of the local workshops, and eight new people were trained as contributors. Combined, they created more than 100 articles, edited more than 600 articles and made more than 7,000 edits.

While we had not planned on supporting the group, we quickly realized that the volunteers were passionate, productive and deserving of our support. Their burgeoning interest aligned with our chapter’s strategy and that of the Wikimedia Movement, and we plan to continue supporting the group in 2020.

We also fostered our community’s interests with activities that make and share photos of Swiss culture and heritage. In September, Wikimedia CH participated in the Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest. Wikimedia gained 1,799 new photos; go to the finalists’ web page to see examples of the beautiful images the volunteers created. We honored Switzerland’s winners at our chapter’s New Year’s Brunch in January 2020. Moreover, we continued to support photographers with a program whereby we buy and lend out photo equipment to retain existing or acquire new volunteers. This program produced 18,000 new photos during 2019, and currently, it remains our most productive program.

Image by photographer Alessandro Marchetti, who was supported by Wikimedia CH. (#26 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Along with Noircir Wikipedia, we offered other series that allowed community members to coalesce around topics of interest. Another example is the series of edit-a-thons at the City Library in Geneva, which celebrates and builds community for the city and surrounding areas. One edit-a-thon was about Lake Geneva’s boats and navigation. It was such a success that the librarians practically closed the library on our participants. So, a follow-up event in February focused on Lake Leman boats and navigation. These events demonstrate how our structured series can spawn further community engagement.

Community building is about making new volunteers feel welcome. In addition to supporting the topics that interest them, another way we welcome them is by helping to enhance their proficiency. Skills development illustrates how Programs GLAM, Education and Community are all aligned with the Wikimedia Movement’s recommendations. With the GLAMwikiCH DayWikidata workshop in Lausanne, Wikidata Zurich Training 2019 and other activities we have already described, we built our community in 2019.

Community Health

We stressed both community building and community health in 2019. While community building focused on engaging new volunteers, our community health efforts underscored the value of our longtime members. We honored experienced, committed volunteers and their significant contributions with awards and thank-you events.

Also, we used a similar approach to what we used for new members by supporting ongoing series that interested our longtime volunteers, provided thematic coherence and aligned with our strategy. One example is a group from Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region. The longstanding Insubria group held a series of tours and edit-a-thons called In the Steps of Carlo Amoretti, mixing activities on Wikidata, Wikipedia, Wikivoyage and OpenStreetMap. Also, Les sans pagEs held dozens of events in 2019 to increase women’s presence on Wikipedia. They included 26 weekly meetups at the University of Geneva, with approximately 100 articles improved on French Wikipedia. Interest in one activity inspired follow-on activities that built community. For example, a series on improving Wikimedia information about women in fine arts led to another series about women in music.

Our community health also benefited greatly by the addition of Outreach & Communication Manager Kerstin Sonnekalb to our chapter’s roster. In a multilingual country such as Switzerland, good member management is crucial so that we can respect and engage the various linguistic communities and cultural interests that crisscross our country and spread across our borders. Among other things, Kerstin has increased outreach via social media and transformed the press mailing list into an operational tool that can target specific linguistic groups, localities and more. It may be considered basic work, but that is what makes it fundamental to our success.

Community Recruitment

Our emphasis in 2020 will be on community recruitment, but we recruited new members in 2019, as well. Women for Wikipedia is an editing campaign dedicated to expanding the breadth and accuracy of Wikipedia’s information about notable Swiss women. In 2019, it included two edit-a-thons. The later event ended up being one of the largest in Switzerland, resulting in dozens of new biographies on women. It was hosted at the headquarters of Swiss Television and Radio (SRF for Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen) in Zurich but also involved SRF branches in Berlin, London, Washington, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Ontario and Moscow. The events contributed to international collaboration while furthering our objective of recruiting new volunteers; a handful of experienced Wikipedians supported new authors, all of them journalists.

TV interview with Patrizia Laeri, organizer of the Women for Wikipedia edit-a-thons. (#29 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Our recruitment activities often focused on partnering with like-minded groups so that we could cross-pollinate our communities. For example, Castles Dossier is a collaboration with OpenStreetMap, an organization that has many volunteers who are also Wikimedia CH members or involved in other Wiki projects. Our chapter defined a memorandum of understanding with OpenStreetMap to establish a long-term partnership, of which the Castles Dossier project is a part. The project creates better representations of Swiss castles and palaces on Wikipedia by supplementing the Wiki content with geographic information from OpenStreetMap, and vice versa. The groups’ members benefit from networking opportunities, too.

Like-minded groups also collaborated to support Art+Feminism, a nonprofit with a worldwide focus that addresses the inequality of gender in the arts on Wikipedia. Wikimedia CH helped to spread the word about Art+Feminism, and two community groups participated in their 2019 campaign, Who Writes His_tory? and Les sans PagEs.

An Art+Feminism edit-a-thon at the Museum of Art and Archeology in Geneva. (#30 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

International Collaboration

International collaborations are central to how the Swiss people operate, and Wikimedia CH is no exception. Switzerland’s linguistic regions extend into Italy, France, Germany and Austria. Plus, a full 25% of the population are immigrants (2 million out of 8 million people) – 15% hail from Italy, 14% from Germany and 12% from Portugal. We routinely involve the chapters of border countries in our events and, in turn, publicize those chapters’ events and help our members attend them. In 2019, Wikimedia CH supported the WikiCons for the French-, German- and Italian-speaking communities. We publicized and gave grants for our members to attend, several of whom also served as speakers. We also collaborated closely on various events to share costs and make our work more sustainable. For example, we worked with Wikipedia Germany to offer the first-of-its-kind Wikidata Zurich Training 2019.

In addition to conventions outside the country, Wikimedia CH hosted the third-annual Volunteer Supporters Network Meeting in November. Members of the chapters from Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and Serbia joined us in Switzerland. Experts in community support discussed topics such as new editor retention and chapter–community relations.

Volunteer Supporters Network Meeting. (#32 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Partnerships & Outreach

Introduction & Strategy

Wikimedia CH strives to be a trusted resource on issues concerning free, open and unbiased knowledge, nationally as well as internationally. In 2019, we began work on a new communication strategy that will help us promote a more consistent and compelling message to our audiences. The draft strategy was completed in 2019; the final version will be issued in early 2020. The strategy embraces the Wikimedia Movement’s 2030 strategy and will be a tremendous help in our outreach to our main stakeholders, partners and members.

Wikimedia CH worked on some of the strategy’s objectives in 2019. Our chapter improved social media communication, reaching new audiences and increasing engagement on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Also, we improved the way that our chapter shares news by revamping our member newsletter and redesigning our News web page. Information flows from the website into the newsletter that is produced in four languages. Plus, our new database allows us to ask donors and other visitors to sign up for news, a nice way to stay in touch and to reach even more people.

All these activities contributed to our annual plan’s objective of improving people’s top-of-mind awareness. Many people don’t realize that there is an association behind Wikipedia and other Wiki projects. By focusing on improving our brand and outreach materials, we are poised to better explain who we are, what we stand for and why volunteers and partners might want to join our community.

On the political outreach and positioning front, our chapter participated in many exchanges in 2019 with the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU (FKAGEU), which advocates internationally for Europe’s Wikimedia chapters. We also were involved in many events and activities with ParlDigi, which led to our participation at high-level meetings and our input on diverse topics concerning open knowledge in Switzerland. More and more, our chapter is recognized as being an important actor in our very specialized field and is frequently included in panel discussions and think tanks.

International Outreach

Our international activities include collaboration with cross-border Wikimedia chapters to have greater impact and to pool resources and projects.

Wikimedia CH is part of FKAGEU and, through the group, has been engaged in EU-level public policy activities. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union, the country is influenced by the EU’s legislative process. In 2019, we saw the conclusion of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Wikimedia ensured that not-for-profit platforms that host user-generated content, such as Wikipedia, remain exempt from new content filtering rules (as per Article 17) and can largely continue to exist as they currently do. Wikimedia, together with Communia and Europeana, successfully proposed a “public domain safeguard” in the new European law. It will ensure that faithful digital copies of public domain content will remain in the public domain across the bloc.

In addition to the Directive, Wikimedia is following up on the TERREG Regulation, a proposed European law that would require online platforms to quickly identify and remove terrorist content. As Wikipedia is covered by the new provisions, we want to make sure that judicial oversight, transparency and protections against over-deletions are enshrined.

Another significant part of Wikimedia CH's international outreach concerns consistent collaboration with neighboring chapters to implement our programmatic activities. They include the GLAMwikiCH Day and the two DACH GLAM meetings described in the GLAM section, as well as the Wikidata Zurich Training 2019 described in Program Education and the WikiCons mentioned in Program Community. What’s more, our chapter is very active in driving WikiFranca forward. It is a partnership between francophone Wikimedia chapters and affiliated working groups, and we are contributing to its international success. The fact that cross-border collaborations are integrated into the entirety of this report illustrates how deeply rooted they are in the fiber of our chapter.

In 2019, Wikimedia CH also expanded its collaborations to involve a wider Wikiverse by working with Argentina’s chapter, as well as the Wikimedia Foundation and the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. Based upon Argentina’s WikiDerechosHumanos efforts, we joined with WikiFranca under the name Wiki Human Rights to make Wikimedia projects into tools that can help people to understand and champion their human rights.

National Outreach

Our national outreach activities focus on making an impact on Swiss policies that affect open and free knowledge. Parldigi is the Parliamentary Group on Digital Sustainability and promotes the digitally sustainable use of knowledge in Switzerland through parliamentary initiatives, dinner events, open hearings, media releases and blog entries. Parldigi’s members include over 50 national and state councilors. As one of the sponsors of the organization, Wikimedia CH can contribute to the agenda and discussion topics and can attend various high-level meetings and gatherings. Our chapter participated in Parldigi’s 10th anniversary celebration in June 2019, for example. One of our board members even secured a speaking slot at the parliamentarian dinner in December.

Parldigi parliamentary dinner. 20 March 2019. (#36 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Via Parldigi and with Wikimedia CH’s contribution, a second parliamentary advance (parlamentarischer Vorstoss) was submitted to establish a directory that makes federal images free and easily accessible. At this time, only the German version of the advance and the parliament’s reply are available online.

Community Collaboration

Collaborating with like-minded organizations allows all of us to speak with a louder, unified voice and be more effective in achieving our goals. Therefore, we partner with a multitude of organizations that advocate for the same positions we do regarding open access to digital knowledge.

Wikimedia CH’s 2019 work with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) stands as one of our foremost examples of how one new contact can catalyze unforeseen new opportunities. From our contact with EPFL’s Senior Philanthropy Officer, we made four further connections that led to or are likely to lead to exciting new collaborations with the university. Our new partnership with Dr. Alain Dufaux, the expert responsible for digitalizing the archives of the Montreux Jazz Festival, led to a GLAM + Wikidata project that will be implemented in 2020. Our chapter also met EPFL’s Vice President of Education, Pierre Vandergheynst, for the first time, as well as staff with LEARN, EPFL’s new Center for Learning Sciences. Finally, we met the current and future presidents of the EPFL student association. We are exploring ways to facilitate edit-a-thons and a data group for students. We conducted some pilot workshops in 2019 and will be evaluating how to pursue further partnerships with all of these new contacts.

Trombone Shorty, Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland. (#38 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Besides the EFPL, we interacted with many existing partners in 2019 and had first encounters with new ones. For example, we collaborated with SCI Switzerland to host the Wikipedia for Peace event described previously in the Program Education section. We defined a new working relationship with longtime partner OpenStreetMap and worked on the Castles Dossier project described in the Program Community section. Plus, members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies attended a Wikidata workshop in 2019 and are collaborating with us on new events for 2020.

Lenzburg Castle, view from southeast. The castle was the site of a Castles Dossier event in 2019. (#39 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

Also, at a brainstorming meeting for the Swiss National Library, we met the founder of Foraus, a Swiss think tank on foreign policy, and discussed the potential for collaborative projects. It led to Wikipedia in Science: An Introduction to the Growing Use of Digital Platforms. This meeting allowed participants to discuss how digital platforms, and particularly Wikimedia projects, offer industries opportunities to gain practical insights and give workers new skills for the digital age.

Through all our collaborations and, indeed, all our national and international work, Wikimedia CH advances the Wikimedia Movement. We are committed to preparing all our community members for the digital and technical revolutions that institutes of learning and workplaces are currently facing and must embrace. And we serve as a trusted partner on issues concerning free, open and unbiased knowledge.

Outlook 2020

In 2020, Wikimedia CH plans to both continue the work we started in 2019 while looking ahead strategically to the future.

At the program level, we aim to build on the partnerships we forged this past year to create stronger relationships with like-minded organizations. We also plan to continue expanding upon and enhancing the activities that have proven successful, scalable and responsive to our diverse community and partners. Last, we hope to grow our community through a new recruitment strategy that we will articulate in the coming year.

We also aim to finish our work to link our databases and professionalize our outreach efforts. While we have made enormous progress, there is still work to do to optimize the new tools and systems in place. We also look forward to finalizing and implementing our new communication strategy – which includes creating new materials and training our team – as well as crafting a new outreach strategy.

More globally, 2020 is the last year in our current five-year strategy. We will therefore use the coming year to work on the next strategic period. Our planning process will include a workshop with key decision-makers, community members and partners to not only design our chapter’s strategy but also ensure it fits into the movement’s strategic direction and the 2030 recommendations. As this strategic period comes to a close, we have the opportunity to really think through and define what we want to accomplish going forward.

Finances 2019

Operational Expenses


Membership Fees

Membership fees increased significantly in 2019 when compared to 2018.

Budgetary Distribution in Switzerland, Total: CHF1,297,075.03

Distribution of Total Funds (WMCH & Wikimedia Movement), Total: CHF2,723,093

Support Free Knowledge!

Join us in supporting access to free and unbiased knowledge. Besides being an active member in Wikimedia CH, or a contributor to Wikipedia and its sister projects, you can give tax-deductible financial support. Wikimedia CH is an independent nonprofit. Your donations directly support some of the most popular collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world.

Wikimedia CH would like to thank the staff, community, board, partners and donors for making these projects possible. Together, we are working towards a diverse, open and, above all, knowledgeable society in Switzerland and beyond.

Photo Credits

1. Château de Morges, a medieval castle in the Swiss municipality of Morges in the canton of Vaud. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance. Photo by Ekaterina Polischuk - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82432331.

2. Tourbillon Castle, a castle in Sion in the canton of Valais. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance. Photo by Kateryna Baiduzha - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82490235.

3. Bagawathram Ram Maheswaran, Wikimedia CH Board President. Photo by Wikimedia CH.

4. Werdenberg (Wahlkreis) or Wahlkreis Werdenberg, a constituency in the canton of St. Gallen. Photo by Shesmax - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82395764.

5. Jenny Ebermann, Wikimedia CH Director. Photo by Wikimedia CH.

6. Swiss National Library, Level 1 reading room workplaces. Photo by Simon Schmid / Swiss National Library - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30961487.

7. Federal Palace of Switzerland, North Facade, the building in Bern housing the Swiss Federal Assembly (legislature) and the Federal Council (executive). Photo by "Axel Tschentscher", CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82195756.

8. ETH Library in Zurich at twilight. Photo by ETH-Bibliothek - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45799882.

9. Resources at the Iron Library, site of a GLAM on Tour event in 2019. Georg Fischer Ltd. bought the Klostergut Paradies near Schaffhausen in 1918, and in 1952, the Iron Library was established in the buildings of the old convent. It houses the Georg Fischer archives. Photo by Medea7 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79893167.

10. Article in Arcinfo about historical aerial photos. Action Day 2212 at the ETH Library in Zurich aimed to improve existing Wikipedia articles, particularly by enhancing them with historical photographs by the Swiss aerial pioneer Walter Mittelholzer and his successor Werner Friedli that were added to Wikimedia Commons. Photo by Kerstin Sonnekalb - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88505351.

11. A laser machine at the Swiss National Sound Archives, which safeguards Swiss sound and audiovisual heritage by restoring and digitalizing them for preservation. Photo by Schweizerische Nationalbibliothek, Miriam Bolliger Cavaglieri - Fonoteca Nazionale Svizzera/Phonothèque nationale suisse/Schweizerische Nationalphonothek/Swiss National Sound Archives, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83211249.

12. GLAM meeting in Berlin – 02 & 03 February, 2019. English translation of the prompt in the upper left of the board: “Knowledge as a service – Platform, interfaces and tools for working with GLAMs: What challenges do you see?” Photo by Christoph Braun - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76330401.

13. Holoptychius flemingi, (an extinct lobe-finned fish) from the Devonian period. An example from the fish fossil collection, this image is from the collection of the Natural History Museum of Neuchâtel and has been published on Wikimedia Commons as part of a cooperation with Wikimedia CH. Photo by Agassiz, 1844 - MHNN, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76704703.

14. WMCH Map Service homepage. Screenshot prepared for this report.

15. Example of a Usage Chart on the GLAM Statistical Tool (Canton of Zurich). Photo by By Ilario - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88617272.

16. ETH Hönggerberg Campus, one of two campuses for ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich). Photo by GurkanSengun - Own work of author, transferred from the English Wikipedia (original image was en:Image:ETH-Hoenggerberg-2008.jpg)., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4476226.

17. University of Zurich, located in the city of Zurich and the largest university in Switzerland. Photo by Roland zh, upload on 10. Juli 2009 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7274263.

18. University of Fribourg, main building, in the city of Fribourg, Switzerland. Photo by Norbert Aepli, Switzerland, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1297933.

19. A team at the Wikidata Zurich Hackathon 2019. Photo by Ilario - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88630260.

20. Compilation of seeds with elaiosomes. These seeds are dispersed by ants, known as myrmecochory. Starting from top left: Borago officinalis · Chelidonium majus · Corydalis cava · Corydalis sempervirens Cytisus scoparius · Dicentra torulosa · Euphorbia lathyris · Euphorbia cyparissias Jeffersonia diphylla · Pentaglottis sempervirens · Symphytum officinale · Viola elatior. Photo by Hans Stuessi - Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84435326.

21. Students and teachers participating in #theLab, a laboratory where teachers prepare lessons with the lab team (pedagogists and Wikipedians) to introduce students to learning through games. Photo by Ilario - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76134387.

22. Lake Sils, a lake in the Upper Engadine valley, Grisons, Switzerland. Photo by Michael Kuhn - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59904925.

23. Workspace for Wikipedia for Peace Switzerland 2019, Mont Soleil, 26 April to 5 May. Photo by Ilario - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78629233.

24. The beautiful clock tower in the old town of Solothurn, the capital of the canton of Solothurn. Photo by Countdan - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82678818.

25. Grossmünster, a Romanesque-style Protestant church in Zurich and one of the four major churches in the city. Photo by Sandro332 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81871175.

26. Image by photographer Alessandro Marchetti, who was supported by Wikimedia CH. This photo is of a League election rally for the May 2019 municipal and European elections. This rally is in front of the Basilica of Montecatini Terme. Photo by Alexmar983 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78697315.

27. Celebrating New Year's brunch 2019 in Chiasso. Photo by Ilario - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75866890.

28. Hallwyl Castle, one of the most important moated castles in Switzerland. Photo by TarErunamo - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82625678.

29. TV interview with Patrizia Laeri, organizer of the Women for Wikipedia edit-a-thons. Photo by Kerstin Sonnekalb (WMCH) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83828793.

30. An Art+Feminism edit-a-thon at the Museum of Art and Archeology in Geneva, March 2019, with Les sans pagEs and Wikimedia CH. Photo by Nattes à chat - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77640105.

31. Lago di Luzzone, a reservoir in Ticino, as seen from the ridge below the mountain Piz Terri. Photo by Dani Michel - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40545050.

32. Volunteer Supporters Network Meeting. Switzerland hosted this third-annual international gathering of Wikimedians who are experts in community support. Photo by Kerstin Sonnekalb (WMCH) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84104939.

33. Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room of the Palace of Nations, where the meetings of the United Nations Human Rights Council take place. Photo by Ludovic Courtès - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45464991.

34. Morning rainbow in Parc Adula at the Motterascio hut, below Lago di Luzzone. Photo by Martingarten - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40453095.

35. The 22 cantonal coats of arms in the stained-glass dome of the Federal Palace of Switzerland (ca. 1900). Photo by Peter Mosimann, parlament.ch - File:Federalpalace-dome.jpg, Copyrighted free use, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15347342.

36. Parldigi parliamentary dinner. 20 March 2019. Matthias Stürmer from ParlDigi and Edith Graf-Litscher, member of the Swiss National Council. Photo by unknown author, Parldigi Digitaler Wahlkampf 2019 Dinner, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parldigi_Digitaler_Wahlkampf_2019_Dinner.jpg.

37. Aerial view of the EPFL, which forms a large campus with the University of Lausanne (UNIL) at the shores of Lake Geneva. Photo by Mediacom EPFL - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63269742.

38. Trombone Shorty, Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland. Photo by Jeroen Komen from Utrecht, Netherlands - CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37638083.

39. Lenzburg Castle, view from southeast. The castle was the site of a Castles Dossier event in 2019 and is located above the old part of the town of Lenzburg in the canton of Aargau. Photo by Wladyslaw Sojka - Own work, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35929491.

40. Gantrisch Nature Park. Gantrisch is a mountain in the northwestern Bernese Alps. Photo by Heaven 721 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60235491/.

41. Pfäffikersee by night. Pfäffikersee (or Lake Pfäffikon) is a lake in the canton of Zurich. The lake was created in the last ice age when a moraine blocked off the ability for the lake to empty north towards Winterthur. Photo by Lriese 1 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49061475.