In a normal summer we would be spoiled for choice here in Europe when it came to our community’s events, with one big camp and a host of smaller ones near and far. Only the most hardcore of travelers manage to make it to all of them, but it’s usually possible to take in at least one or two over the season. But of course, this isn’t a normal summer. Many of us may now be vaccinated against COVID-19, but we remain in the grip of a global pandemic. The massive Dutch MCH camp was postponed until 2022, and most of the smaller camps have fallen by the wayside due to uncertainty. But one hacker camp carried on.

BornHack in Denmark was the world’s only in-person summer hacker event of 2020, and on its return last week made it the only such event in Europe for 2021. Having secured a ticket earlier in the year when they went on sale, I navigated the tricky world of cross-border European travel in a pandemic to make my way to the Hylkedam scout camp on the Danish isle of Fyn for a week in the company of hackers from all over Northern Europe. BornHack had achieved the impossible again, and it was time to enjoy a much-needed week at a hacker camp.

Safely Gathering In A Danish Forest

Hylkedam lies in a dense forest accessed from the main road by roughly half a mile of dirt track, which widens out into the main BornHack field. It’s here that I found the orga and info desk, as well as most of the villages. A short walk away down the site’s tracks and paths are the bar, the noisy and quiet fields, as well as the speaker’s tent and the scouting buildings which house the camp’s many workshops.

First order as always was check-in, worthy of remark this time because of the requirement for proof of vaccination or COVID test. The atmosphere was more relaxed than had been the case last year with extreme social distancing and hygiene, but there was still an emphasis on the camp not becoming a spreader event. With 310 people on site it was more than twice the size of its predecessor, so this was something the orga took very seriously indeed.

As the only opportunity for hackers to spend a while in a field this summer, the event had attracted attendees from across the Scandinavian countries as well as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and even a very…

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