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The Fossiel.net-Paleontica website exists since 2002 and was born from the personal hobby-website about fossils from Herman Zevenberg (webmaster). Back then, there was little online material to be found on this subject in Dutch. The site grew fast and evolved into the current portal and information system in the field of Geology and Paleontology. From early on, the site was also made available in English.
Fossiel.net aims to provide a knowledge base and communication platform for the amateur paleontologist:
Since August 26st 2019 we have founded the non-profit foundation named "Stichting Paleontica"
The goals of the foundation is to create bridges between amateurs, professionals and between beginners and more experienced colletors. The foundation Paleontica is an independent non-profit organisation. The foundation aims to provide information on geology and fossils for the general public; to provide the possibilties to discus and network in the field of paleontology and facilitate contacts amoung amateurs and professional paleontolists.
To achieve these goals the foundations maintains a website with information and a forum and organises events such as international fossil shows. The activities of the foundation, as well as possible partners, must be scientifically and ethically justified. Hereby the foundation must act in the spirit of the Belgian code of ethics for the Belgian code of ethics for earth sciences and the foundation will only collaborate with other parties who also do this.
The site was founded in 2002. At that time, the site included a short bio, some information about the personal research of the webmaster, a small database of locations and pictures, and a guestbook. On the front page a paleontology-related news feed was provided.
Quite early in development, the website was expanded with a forum, which quickly became popular. There was a section for children added, and the website got a search function. The main information was translated into English. Content was initially focused mainly on the development of information pages, locations and an identification system. The new forum soon brought some more work with it, and Frederik Lerouge was appointed as a moderator for our Forum. The Fossiel.net team was born.
The year 2005 marked a new design for the main page. This would eventually be used for over 8 years. In the summer of 2005, a new forum administrator was appointed, Pieter De Schutter. Also in 2005, a first fossiel.net gathering was organized at the Museum of Maastricht, followed by a much appreciated field trip in 2006 to the south of Belgium. The community behind fossiel.net was now firmly established, very diverse and lively. Throughout the years, the site grew at a solid pace.
Fossiel.net in 2006
The tenth anniversary of the website was appropriately celebrated by organizing a self-opinionated fossil show in 2012 in cooperation with Hona. After nearly seven years of loyal service, it was time for Pieter to get involved in other projects. Also at that time, is had been quite clear that both the architecture and the layout of the website was grossly outdated. When in 2012 Richard Lausberg was added to the team, the renewal of the site gained momentum. After more than a year of hard work behind the scenes, a completely overhauled website was launched late October 2013. At the presentation of the new website during our fossil show, Johan Vellekoop was introduced as our fourth team member.
This Fossiel.net v2.0 has not only been given a thorough makeover of the layout, everything under the hood was renewed as well. The core of the site includes various information databases, which are now all linked. In addition, virtually the entire site is now available in English and Dutch.
Fossiel.net in 2014
On April 4th 2018, Ante de Baas joing the team. He will mostly be working on the modernisation of the website.
On August 26st 2019 the Paleontica Foundation was founded. From this moment on Fossiel.net is administated by this foundation. Later that year, on November 10th, at the PaleoTime-BE fossil show in Herselt (Belgium), a complete new version of the forum was presentend. The new verion of the forum does not only look more modern, it also has many new functionalities, such as notifications per topic and forum, private messages and a rich text editor.
A look into the future
We are constantly working on further renewal and professionalization of the website, for example, we are currently working on a drastic modernization of the website and the forum. We are also working on the further development of the communication platform and partnerships.
Do you have additional information for this article? Please contact the Fossiel.net Team.