The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


Within the Demo scene, a demo (short for demonstration) is a computer programme that displays visual effects and music. The computer calculates all of the effects 'live' and thus it cannot be compared to playing a video file. The challenge for a demo can be artificially imposed by making the demo with, for example, a limited amount of software or on specific (old) hardware.

A demo can be made by one person or a demo group. A demo group is a group of people, each with their own specialisation, such as graphic design, music and/or programming. These individuals or groups almost always use a nickname. The practitioner who is actively involved in making demos or such is called a 'scener'. The motivation for making a demo is rooted in their own intrinsic interest and technical challenge, e.g. seeing if something works, learning how to programme specific old hardware or the limited amount of instructions or memory of a computer.

Sceners like to show their created demos to each other, which is generally done at a demo party, a physical gathering that usually takes place during a weekend. To participate, a demo must not have been distributed or shown before, and the demo must fall into one of the categories offered by the demo party organisers. After all submitted demos have been presented on a big screen, visitors award points to all demos. After some time, the organisers will conclude this voting process after which the final results will be announced.

Anyone can submit a demo to participate in a demo party; there are no minimum experience or other requirements. Here, participating is more important than winning. All results of a demo party are collected in a text file and published under the name 'results.txt'.


Among the Demo scene, several groups can be distinguished. All these entities do not represent an official organisational form such as an association, foundation or company. It is usually a group of people working together to create a demo or organise a demo party.

  • The sceners, these are individuals usually known by a nickname. One can join a group and have a specialisation in programming, graphics, music or organising.
  • Demo groups; usually a group involves a collaboration of several sceners. There is often a practical task division between the members of such a group, based on skills and interests.
  • Demo parties are usually organised by a group of people supported by people present during the demo party.

The audience is potentially very large, as the demo scene creates digital products that can be easily distributed worldwide via the internet. The most watched Dutch demo scene livestream had 6500 unique viewers of whom 1200 watched at the same time.

The best-attended demo party in the Netherlands in the past decade had around 400 visitors.


In the early days of the home computer era (from the 1960s to the late 1990s), it was quite normal to copy software from your friends and acquaintances for your own use. Legal protection such as copyright was not then enshrined in law, so this was not illegal either. Software developers then implemented their own technical measures to prevent copying and thus secure their income. From the very first moment, individuals and groups were active to remove this copy protection (cracking software or cracking), which allowed you to duplicate the software in question again.

Throughout the Netherlands in the 1980s-1990s, local clubs were active to exchange software with each other monthly. This is where the first computer enthusiasts were active who wanted to get to know their home computer and learn to make their first cracktro/demo here.

Using a cracktro, someone announced that he had cracked the software. To do this, he put a 'cracktro' with his nickname before the actual programme. A cracktro could be a simple screen with only static text to scrolling text with music and other graphical effects. Over time, cracktro's became more and more sophisticated, at the same time more objections to the illegal nature of cracking software were raised. Eventually, in 1994, legislation was passed in the Netherlands that made unauthorised copying of software illegal.

From this point on, the real-time graphic animations were increasingly shared and distributed independently of the cracked video games, they were expanded and eventually took up the space of entire floppy disks. Among the creators of the demos, the need arose to show what they had made to each other so from 1987 onwards, they organised demo parties, the first of which took place in Venlo.

Since then, several technological milestones have had an impact on the demo scene, which in turn have been the impetus for adapting game rules and competition formats. Other developments within the demo scene are caused by the constant interplay of new styles, design and technology (historical and contemporary) that are intertwined, combined or, on the contrary, compete with each other. The wider acceptance and implementation of live elements in demo scene events is also innovative. There is a team of experienced sceners who check new content that becomes available for legality and strip old content of illegal components.


  • - One wants to make the demo scene better known by organising (online) demo parties because they are accessible worldwide.
  • - One is going to offer livestreams and recorded events more often via popular streaming services, such as YouTube and Twitch.
  • - One will actively seek opportunities to raise awareness of the demo scene by connecting with other communities and hosting live shows, performances, workshops, etc. in collaboration with them.
  • - With the creation of targeted central indexes, one is going to improve the findability of already available information, documentation and tools of demos.
  • - One is going to approach demo parties to offer new participants some kind of course or track in addition to a stage, to enable them to acquire the basic skills needed for successful participation in these competitions.
  • - One continues to work on perpetuating existing cooperation in the area of data distribution and storage as this is currently largely informally arranged.
  • - The search for partnerships with organisations outside the demo scene that could facilitate an even more permanent safeguarding of the accumulated archive will be intensified.


The Art of Coding