The bombshell recently burst: JavaLand 2024 cannot take place in February at the usual location as planned. Instead, it will be moving to a new location for the first time since its inception. In April next year, the Java community will no longer meet in the theme park, but at the Nürburgring. We’re sure this news raises questions for many community members, most notably: Why are you leaving this cool location? We would like to use this blog post to present our personal perspective, even if the official press release already answers some questions. The community is important to us and we can be a little more specific here. Above all, we want to prevent rumors.
Hendrik Ebbers is Java Champion, JCP Expert Group Member and has been recognized several times as a Rockstar Speaker at JavaOne. With his own company Open Elements, Hendrik is currently helping to design the Hedera Hashgraph and make its services available to the public. As a software architect, consultant and trainer at embarc Software Consulting GmbH, Falk Sippach is always looking for the spark of passion that he can ignite in his participants, customers and colleagues. He has been supporting mostly agile software development projects in the Java environment for over 15 years.
Like many in the community, we found Phantasialand a ray of hope as a location in the uniform gray of hotel lobbies, congress centers and cinemas (although those are cool too). But the location wasn’t the only point, because thanks to all of us (speakers, visitors, Java user groups, exhibitors…) JavaLand has a lot more to offer and stands out positively from the conference landscape. We still consider this very own spirit to be unique today and, as members of the conference management, we want to secure and further expand it in the future.
But the hurdles to holding JavaLand in Phantasialand had recently become too high. It has already become clear in recent years that Phantasialand’s event management is not able to hold a JavaLand according to the wishes of our community. Unfortunately, the many efforts have not been enough to clarify the problematic points. The Phantasialand management did not act more flexibly. Rather, the situation became more difficult for us every year when it came to planning and holding the conference. During the last event, we ourselves experienced a way of dealing with speakers and volunteers that, in our opinion, was no longer acceptable. Next year these points would have directly affected all visitors for the first time. We would have had a JavaLand in the chilly February without using the rides. In addition, the conference management was no longer able to meaningfully absorb the price increases (including hotel prices), so that the decline in Spirit would have been offset by a significant increase in costs per visitor. We don’t want to get any more specific here and also avoid bashing Phantasialand. However, we believe that this open justification is necessary to avoid rumors or misinformation. In the end, our Java community is fortunately fundamentally different from the clientele that Phantasialand Event Management obviously wants as customers.
The whole thing now leads us to the current situation and the announcement of the big changes for JavaLand 2024. And that too on the 10th anniversary. Will it be the same conference as before? Definitely not. But we as agile developers in particular know that changes are part of our everyday lives. They also always bring progress and completely new possibilities. There are currently many discussions in the conference management about how we can take the core of the JavaLand spirit with us to the new location and meaningfully complement it with other aspects. The advantage is that the Nürburgring already has a lot of attractions to offer. Races in e-karts are conceivable (a certain degree of sustainability is also important to us) and there is also a 3D cinema, for example. Ideas are also already bubbling up about how we can create a festival with stands, food trucks, great evening events with live music and many other attractions and also bring the theme park feeling to the ring.
In addition, the location offers significantly more opportunities for community activities. We would therefore like to once again call on you to submit ideas for one of the highlights of JavaLand, the community program. The community activities range from direct exchange in discussion groups to small hands-on sessions, networking, the implementation of JavaLand4Kids and sporting activities. Jogging will definitely be back, but maybe this time we’ll also do a few quick bike laps around the Nürburgring. If you like, you can join the JavaLand bicycle star ride when you arrive, albeit this time with a few more meters of altitude. The unconference, which was offered for the first time last year, will also take place the day before. And in the normal lecture program there will be deep dive sessions lasting almost two hours for the first time. None of this will be able to replace the Black Mamba, the Taron and the other cool rides, but you definitely won’t get bored. And now it might be easier to sell your boss a visit to JavaLand.
We are very happy about the innovations and very excited about the opportunities that will open up to us. Planning the JavaLand conference, the tough months with the difficult negotiations (and the still very limited options in Phantasialand) as well as the difficult search for alternatives weren’t really fun for us the first time around. But this new location now offers interesting options to make this very special conference even better. And of course we also ask you, the Java community, to get creative. Make JavaLand 2024 a very special experience again with your suggestions for community activities. We would rather hold the tenth JavaLand in an alternative location with new activities and ideas than under the unfortunately ever-increasing restrictions in Phantasialand.
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