So, today I have some news. I will be resigning as Ambassador for Hack The Box after our in-person meetup in June (2024). This means that I will be stepping down from organizing the monthly virtual and quarterly in-person Hack The Box meetups. Let me explain how I got to this decision.

The beginning

So, in 2019, I started out building a cyber security curriculum for NOVI Hogeschool. I had the ability to greenfield the courses and create something that is of value to students. In this curriculum I started using Hack The Box for exercises and training next to the regular classwork.

As more and more of my students went through the program I thought it would be cool to get together with the community in a meetup. I contacted Hack The Box and after a little work, the Hack The Box NL meetup was born. This was end of February 2020, and we were aiming for our first meetup in April of 2020. As you all know, the world changed in those days and our plans went into the dumpster. Instead we started hosting a monthly online meetup.

Only when our meetup turned 2 were we able to have our first in-person event. For me and my co-hosts it was a great learning experience to understand how to successfully organize an in-person event, from WiFi to the amount of pizza’s that a group of hungry cyber-nerds will consume. For the first event we had our great friends from Hack The Box come over and join us. Check out this after-movie to get a sense of the scale and spot my “psycho”-face somewhere in the video.

The community

Since the early days the community has grown so rapidly. At the time of the blog post we are well past the 1800 members and we are growing to 1900! Of course these are not all people that show up at every meetup, but they come and go. Generally an in-peron meetup will have somewhere between 50 and 100 people attending. Our online meetups will have about 30 to 50 people RSVP-ing to join.

Figure 1: Christmas meetups require a “foute” christmas sweater

Figure 1: Christmas meetups require a “foute” christmas sweater

The community is full of regulars, people that only swing by for the in-person meetups, and people that just try to figure out if cyber security is a fit for them. I loved meeting every single one of you all. It was such an experience to see friendships grow, skill-sets expand and people step up to actually present in front of a crowd.

Making Friends

The very first person to ever log into the meetup was @GevuldCookie. She entered the zoom call when I was anxiously waiting for somebody to actually show up. In the same first meetup @DutchPyro joined and after some chatting and exchanging ideas we have been organizing the discord and meetups together ever since. A few years in and @Salp joined as a co-organizer.

Earlier this year we even had our first meetup-baby being born. How special is that?

As the meetup has been online most of the time I have made friends all over the globe, from Egypt to India, from South Africa to Ottowa. It has been quite extraordinary. Charles, from the Texas meetup, dropped by in Utrecht while on holiday in Europe. I went to Lissabon and met up with Pedro and we became such good friends.

Figure 2: Meeting up with Pedro in Portugal

Figure 2: Meeting up with Pedro in Portugal

The list of people that have meant something to me and the meetup is extremely long, from Hack The Box we have had Soti, Kristi, Stella, Emma, Austin, Shaun, Bran and so many more. We also have had a quite large regular group of people joining every month. I started listing names here, but that entire list would be so long and I would certainly forget specific people. So just know that if you were a regular I loved the time that I spent with you!

The cost of a meetup

As a meetup we were extremely lucky that NOVI flipped the bill for our in-person events. Imagine ordering 40 to 60 pizza’s at your favorite place…. But the cost of organizing is much greater then just that, the amount of personal time that I have spent working on getting the meetups together, chasing down guests and getting things organized is quite something and this is exactly the point where it breaks for me.

After more then 4 years constantly worrying and working on the meetup, even planning my own family life around the meetups (I kid you not, we planned our family holidays so that they did not conflict with the meetups), it has been enough.

Being so involved has taken the joy out of Hack The Box for me, a price I have gladly paid, but a joy which I would like to get back. So for me that means stepping back, letting other people pick up a great meetup and giving it a bright new future.

The end

Every beginning must have an end, and an end makes way to new beginnings. So does this step. Yes, the Hack The Box meetups are over for me after the June meetup, but with NOVI I will continue working for our community. I will continue being involved in the Hack The Box community in various ways, just not organizing monthly meetups.

We (NOVI) already host a weekly hacking session on Friday morning where we tackle Hack The Box machines and other types of challenges. Besides that we organize many different types of workshops and events across the areas of our curriculum (cyber security, development and business).

In the next year we will be hosting a quarterly event dedicated to security in a broader sense, and crossing over to the development realm. These events will line up with our starting moments in the school year. You can stay in the loop by registering on our meetup ( page or follow me on LinkedIn (

As I am stepping back from my work on the Dutch Hack The Box meetup I am looking forward to exploring new events and opportunities to teach people about this wonderful field.