We often say that being in Appsterdam is like being at a conference all the time. That’s really been the intention from the beginning. Appsterdam was born of conferences, after a year of traveling the world and meeting App Makers at conferences.

The inception of Appsterdam was at NSConference 2011, with three conversations.

The first was with a good friend who had been through a rough patch. This was especially upsetting to me, because I had wanted to bring this friend over to the States to work with me, but had been stymied by immigration requirements. This made me feel on an emotional level that there needed to be a place in the world where people like us could work together.

The second was with another good friend who was, like me, planning on moving to a new place. This made me realize that maybe there were others like us, that maybe our restlessness was part of the zeitgeist. It was at that moment I changed both of our destinies by speaking those fateful words: “if we’re all going to move, we should all move to the same place.”

The third conversation is the one that really hammered it shut. At the time I was torn, because I’d wanted to move to Amsterdam for years, not to build a community, but to work for the software company Sofa. My destiny seemed to be building this community, but my desire was still to work at Sofa.

Dirk Stoop, one of the founders of Sofa, had the magic spark of life necessary to bring the movement to life. He said, why not do both? That initial push was what got people meeting at Cafe Bax and planning everything we would build.

When Sofa was unexpectedly acquired by Facebook a month later, we already had so much momentum it was really just a minor bump into becoming an independent organization. The volunteers rose to the occasion, as they have again and again. That’s what has really built this movement.

The only thing we were missing was a great name. That ended up coming from another conference, this one homegrown, the ICE Amsterdam conference in 2011. They had a party called Appsterdam, and people in the community liked the name, and started using it to describe our movement. The rest, as they say, is history.

“APPSTERDAM has its roots in the ‘Appsterdam Mobile Party’ during ‘ICE Amsterdam’, March 2011. Since 2010, Mike Lee has been traveling around the world, looking for the best place to live, work and establish a community of App makers. This great city and the ICE Amsterdam event convinced Mike that Amsterdam was the place to be. iCE Amsterdam and Appsterdam have agreed that this movement from now on should move forward as ‘Appsterdam”.