Using Data Science to Get Black Communities Involved in Dutch Politics

Interview date:

February 23, 2021

Ruud Tevreden

Data Scientist
BIJ1 (Dutch Political Party)
University, Specialized Training, Self-taught

Ruud Tevreden is in love with data science. It's everywhere in his life, from his 9-5 at a global fashion label to his work with BIJ1, a political party fighting racism and discrimination in the Netherlands and his teaching gig at a university. He is particularly proud of the work he does in politics, helping to mobilize Black communities across the Netherlands to fight racism and anti-colonialism and to lobby for equal rights and equal opportunity.

"I'm using historical election data and I'm using social media data to make a profile and find the people, the communities online that we need to target and persuade them or present them with our information. So what I did was first the historical part and then I moved on to the social media part. BIJ1 is a very young party. This is the second time that we are participating in the Second Chamber [national] elections. So we really wanted to know where the areas were where we were successful the first time and how can we find similar areas like that and which areas we should not actually go to. So I used historical data from the last elections, the Senate elections and the municipal elections to get an idea of where the different communities which are supporters or possible swing voters who would lean towards us, where they live. After finding that out, what are their needs? So the slogan of our campaign is "Spreekt je uit. Bekent kleur!" Speak out and show colour! That's a Dutch phrase: 'say it as it is'. Something like 'Racism is very clear. Speak about it.'
Ruud Tevreden as a self-described twin of Steve Urkel (Family Matters TV show)
BIJ1, the Dutch political party for which Ruud leads data science activities


  • Challenge kids to bring order to/make sense of unstructured data.
  • Encourage kids to become tutors. They have to master concepts in order to teach them.
  • See data science skills as a toolkit which can be applied in many different industries.