Steampunk Road Trip – Dutch European Steampunk Convention


Hang on everyone, we’re now arriving in the Netherlands!

While we are here, enjoy the canals, tulips fields, and windmills.

So as not to be confused, geographically speaking, we are not in Denmark or Sweden, which are to the north, but we are right above Belgium and to the west of northern Germany.

Paul Woldhek is here to greet us and tell us about Dutch European Steampunk Convention (DESC ).


Groeten, Paul! How would you describe DESC?

Paul Woldhek: Its an annual gathering of friends, in the North of the Netherlands and always an “event within an event”.


Sounds a bit like those Russian nesting dolls. In what ways are your involved with DESC?

Paul Woldhek:I am the original creator of the event, I am the creative “manager” and do the PR, music, entertainment, location management etc….


No rest for you! Where is your convention held?

Paul Woldhek:In Winschoten, together with “Medieval Winschoten” in the city”s main park. The date is originally always the last weekend of August.

How did you come up with the idea for the event, and make it happen?

Paul Woldhek: I started with just an idea to gather steampunks from allover Europe, and as I started talking about it an event organiser of a small event asked me to do this “convention” at his event so I could have “my” convention, and HE would have a large steampunk gathering at his event.

So that’s how we started this. Over time we came to realise that organiser wasn’t capable of doing the event according to the agreements we made so we had to change. A few organisers asked me to have it at their event, and we decided to work together with Medieval Winschoten. This was the best decision we ever made for DESC, and as long as the medieval event exists we will organise DESC with them.

Every year we get more participants, and more visitors.

We started with 40 steampunk (40-ish) and about 500 extra visitors for the event. This year (2018) we will have 200 participants from 11 different countries and last year the main event had 4k extra visitors.

We started as a small location with only a few tents and nothing more because that particular organiser wanted everything to be profitable for him alone, so we couldn’t do anything except having the gathering.

At the new location beside the medieval event, we have our own professional musical stage, foods and drinks vendors, a market with different vendors, different entertainers , etc…..


That sounds like a good and cooperative way to get started, and clearly, to keep growing. What events are in your programming lineup?

Paul Woldhek: Meet and greets with world renowned guests (2017 we had a few special guests like Dave and Jessica Lee, Thomas Dean Willeford).

Readings by authors, different workshops, the European Maker Challenge (I also created this challenge that started as a thought after a few online challenges and decided to make it a visual and live thing at the convention, this Maker Challenge will have an American version soon also after an organiser asked me if they could “borrow” the name and idea for their own event).

The first champion (winner) of the Challenge from 2017 will be the main judge (Andy Fraser) for the next edition.

A market with different vendors, foods and drinks, campfires, a visit from the Dutch Ghostbusters , live musical performances, a field performance from the Alternative dance formation She Beckons, a VIP area, the Vehicle Parade across the entire event ,etc…..


Great variety! Any memorable moments to share?

Paul Woldhek:Dave and Jessica Lee are good personal friends and were guests for 2 editions and signed their books, Thomas Dean Willeford had different meetings (we don’t do the time-to-time panels, my guests are free to experience the convention in their own way).

We had the Italian Steampunk Rock formation “Poison Garden” at our events for 2 editions.

The Dark Design is a repetitive musical performance at DESC and I love having them at DESC for their music and characters.


This sounds like a great line up of performers, and a fun, casual way to enjoy the events. What might a first time attendee notice on their arrival?

Paul Woldhek:A warm gathering of steampunks from a lover Europe (last year we even had one from Bolivia, 2 from Australia, 5 from the US, 9 from the UK, groups from Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands).

For our international guests/participants I have the option to rent a Bell tent for them, including field beds and electricity for a very reduced fee.

We are a warm and welcoming event, and almost everyone attending our event feels right at home and very welcome from the moment they arrive.

Lots of vendors, plenty foods and drinks, a beautiful location in a park with a large lake to name a few.


That all sounds very enticing! How can people stay up to date with convention news?

Paul Woldhek:Our Facebook page of course, everything we are planning is on there or will be posted as soon as possible.

The page has the “register” option, to register for the event and I will do anything in my powers to make the event the one you wanna come back to.


Thanks so much Paul! Travelers, start making your plans for the next event!

In the meantime, follow the whole steampunk road trip on the Master Link List

Published in: on February 11, 2018 at 7:37 pm  Comments (1)  

Steampunk Road Trip


By Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Oh boy, where do I begin?

My very first road trip to a steampunk convention was to Gaslight Gathering back in 2013 long before they split (amicably) into two different conventions. It was held at the Town and Country Hotel in San Diego. I had just launched my comic, Boston Metaphysical Society, online and headed down there to do a little marketing legwork. I was driving down for the day and lucky for me the 5 South was clear all the way down from Los Angeles and I got there in two hours. (That never happened again.)

It was the first time I had attempted to dress steampunk style. I had bought a pair of goggles, a news boy hat, and I had found this cool vest at a local thrift store. When I arrived I saw I was woefully underdressed, so I asked advice from people who clearly knew more than I did. I had a lot of help in those early days, though I have to admit I still use those same goggles and vest as everyone seems to like them.

The day was a bit daunting as all I had were my elevator pitch and some postcards. The first issue of the comic wasn’t completed yet so vending was out of the question. I attended several panels and one of them highlighted steampunk writers. Afterwards, I introduced myself to the panelists. The one who stuck around to talk to me was the writer/astronomer, David Lee Summers. A gentleman of the first order, he was the comic’s first fan from the steampunk community and we later became friends. (Be sure to check out his work when you get a chance.)

Being on a budget, I had brought my own lunch and settled in the pool area to watch a stream of amazing costumes parade by. I was definitely envious of those lovely dresses and the ability of these ladies to breathe in a corset. After lunch, I gathered my courage and began to start conversations with people which eventually lead me to tell them about the comic. You have to understand, I am an introvert at heart so doing this took a lot of effort, but everyone was welcoming and kind. Especially, Anastasia Hunter, one of the organizers, who took me under her wing and became one of my staunchest supporters.

It was a lovely day, but I was exhausted by the end of it. On the way home, I had no idea that this was just the beginning of what was to become my road trip into steampunk.

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Published in: on February 11, 2018 at 6:06 pm  Comments (2)