SoCraTes BE


  10 - 13 October 2024


For software crafters

By software crafters

Learn, share, practice

Join us to learn, practice and discuss Software Engineering together with like-minded passionate software crafters.

The SoCraTes unconference is an event by and for passionate software crafters. It is an unconference where software crafters get together in order to learn, teach and discuss the topics that interest them. While having a very good time!

The goals of the unconference are to learn and share new ideas, techniques, programming languages and frameworks through coding dojos, pair programming, mob programming, group discussions, workshops, presentations and so on. You’ll also get to learn what other people are working on. All of this combined with as many interesting, informal conversations as possible.

This is not a 9 to 5 conference. The learning, connecting and socializing only stops when you want it to stop. During breakfast, lunch and dinner you can freely mingle with all the participants and continue those interesting conversations. Well into the night.

So if you are passionate about software development this is definitely the unconference for you. Talk and socialize freely with many different passionate people who are willing to learn and share their knowledge and experience.

The SoCraTesBE is an unconference. This means it is a participant-driven meeting that tries to avoid hierarchical aspects of a conventional conference. Unlike a regular conference, there is no fixed agenda, no paid speakers, no fixed topics, no specific technology or methodology focus.

It is a self-organizing event, using open space, where the SoCraTesBE participants create the schedule on the fly, every day before the Open Space starts. This guarantees that the participants work around topics that truly interest them. So everyone gets back the value that they put into it.

The self created “schedule” is known as the marketplace. The marketplace is basically a map of timeslots and locations for sessions like in the picture. At the start of the day, when the marketplace is created, every participant that wants to can add a session. They typically give a short intro of the topic they want to discuss, present, work on or experiment with that day. After which it will be added to the marketplace. Once the marketplace is created the day sessions start. Where everyone is free to participate whatever sessions they want.

The marketplace

Who will be there?

The SoCraTes unconference is a non-profit unconference. Everyone is attending and contributing on a voluntary basis. There are no paid speakers, no marketing driven paid sessions and no recruiters. But there will be a lot of highly experienced, passionate people present.

Will it be interesting for me?

Apart from a great atmosphere and connecting with other participants, you will definitely be able to learn a lot. Because it is a self organizing conference, you are able maximize the value you get by adding your own sessions to the marketplace and by being free to walk in and out of any sessions you want at any time. It is your conference. You will get out of it, what you put in.

For example:

You want to learn a new technology or methodology?
You simply add a session to the marketplace where someone can teach it to you.

You have a work related real-life problem
You can set up a session where you can discuss it with experienced people who've been there. This can be technology, organization or people related.

The urge strikes you to just quietly write some code?
You are of course free to not attend any sessions.

Can I try out this open space concept somewhere?

If you have never been to a SoCraTesBE event, a great way to learn what it is all about is to join us at one of our regular meetups where we have an open space for one evening.

What are typical sessions?

We learn and share new ideas, techniques, languages and frameworks through coding dojos, pair programming, mob programming, groups discussions, presentations, informal conversations. Below are a couple of sessions from previous SoCraTes unconferences

  • Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (SICP)
  • Refactoring legacy code workshop.
  • Mob programming: the hard parts
  • Practice TDD Katas in your favourite language.
  • What are the values behind Extreme Programming?
  • Agile estimating and planning workshop
  • Try out story mapping workshop.
  • Help me create a game to practice feature pull.
  • Let's implement Git
  • Let's BDD poker
  • Team Topologies applied
  • Why you should become an IT manager

Why does the conference overlap the weekend?

We always run the conference from thursday evening to sunday morning. This seems like a fair division to us between employer and employee. The friday is the only working day when the participant will not be working for the company. The participant commits part of their weekend, demonstrating their eagerness to participate and learn.

About the event

This year's SoCraTes unconference runs from Thursday 9 November to Sunday 12 November 2023.

We’ll kick off Thursday evening with dinner at 7 PM. After dinner, around 8.30 PM, we will officially open the fourth edition of SoCraTes BE with a warm up session to get all the brains fired up. When the warm up session is finished, the floor is yours to continue the conversation, twist it around and branch it in every direction.

On Friday and Saturday, we’ll run the open space, in which every attendee is welcome and encouraged to propose talks, discussions, workshops or whatever else they choose to further every attendee’s knowledge and understanding of creating and maintaining software.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, attendees are encouraged to run social activities, from pair-programming to board games and everything in between.

The conference is officially over on Sunday the 12th November after breakfast.


The price for attending the unconference 2023 is

  • 760 euro VAT incl for Single room (628.1 euro VAT excl)
  • 665 euro VAT incl for when you share a room (550 euro VAT excl)

This includes stay in the hotel for three days, all the meals, use of all the facilities and the open bar.

The ticket has to be paid in full for a complete registration.

Changes from previous edition

The goal of the Socrates unconference is to learn, to connect and to have fun. Therefore, we have always aimed to keep our ticket prices affordable and accessible to everyone. At the same time we also want to provide a qualitative experience that everyone can enjoy. Therefore, we have made some changes this year that have had some impact on the pricing (apart from the inflation).

  • We changed the venue to Hotel Ter Elst
  • For catering we have partnered with Thyme Antwerp that offers us great service and flexibility
  • We have introduced a fixed price for the entire conference up front. This simplifies matters for all the parties involved in hosting the unconference.
  • This year the drinks are included in the ticket price. No additional surcharge upon checkout. This all-inclusive approach also aims to simplify matters.

Full transparency

For any further clarification on our pricing or its breakdown, please feel free to contact us. We are committed to full transparency and are happy to provide any information you need. The current pricing already reflects the same sponsoring budget as last year that is used to lower the prices. Any extra budget that would be obtained this year will be used to reduce the ticket price next year, as any surplus from one year carries over to the next.

Should the ticket price be a barrier for you, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to assist you and address any concerns you may have.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation before 15th September 2023

If you wish to cancel your registration before the 15th of September 2023, you are eligible for a full refund of the registration fee. Please notify us in writing with your registration details.

Cancellation after 15th September 2023

Unfortunately, we will not be able to process any refunds for cancellations made after the 15th of September 2023. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Ticket Transfer Option

In the event that you can no longer attend the conference after the cancellation deadline has passed, we offer assistance in finding a willing party to take over your ticket (reach out to the community). Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss this option. If no party is found, we will not be able to refund.

Force Majeure Events

In case of circumstances beyond our control, such as the hotel going bankrupt or a COVID-like event affecting the conference, our cancellation policy may be subject to change. Under such circumstances, refunds will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the severity and impact of the situation. While we will do our best to accommodate attendees' needs, we cannot guarantee a full refund in these exceptional cases. Please note that all refund requests and inquiries related to ticket transfers should be directed to SoCraTesBe. Our team will respond promptly and assist you with the necessary steps.

Feedback from the unconference 2023

what participants said afterward

As a first-time participant, the unconference surpassed all my expectations and gave me more energy and inspiration than any other learning format I tried so far. The wealth of topics and discussions (team dynamics, personal development, environment, mats and of course a lot of tech), left me wishing I could clone myself to fully absorb it all. And if you wonder is such an open space format without agenda upfron works in practice? The (self-)organisation worked seamlessly, making the entire experience fantastic to be a part of :) Looking forward to socratesbe 2024 already!
This was my first Socrates unconference, so I went in without expectations and with an open mind. What I experienced was mind blowing (knowledge-, inspiration- and togetherness-wise). Thank you all for making this first experience a great one.

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals.”
Best conference yet and I have to confess there will be a little more hesitancy from my side about going to a non open-space conference in the future! Special thanks to all the organizers, it was super smooth and action was taken immediately to make it even better as we went along. Few more kudos that stuck in my mind: to Erik for the respons-a-bility keyword and literature that I can use, session still resonates so much. To Enver and Karel for doing the codespaces session - we laughed so hard and loud I’m sure the whole hotel heard us :) and to Stephane for the session on climate change - you inspired me to activate my network and look for a nonprofit or project I can help with to pay it forward. Love you all :)
Thank you for a fantastic event! I arrived with a mindset that code is just a tool and I have to learn to use it better. I'm leaving with appreciation for how beautiful it can be and a desire to be able to make it so myself. A big shift from "have to" to "wish to" that I didn't expect, but I like it.
Thank you all for a fantastic couple of days, although if I had my way we’d still be in the conference centre arguing over those €55. Hope to see you again next year.
The 2023 edition of SocratesBE marked the culmination of an era, signaling the last occurrence for certain aspects, yet simultaneously heralding great times that promise exciting new beginnings.

Pictures from the 2023 event

SocratesBE 2024 is coming

The 2023 edition was a great event. Hope to see you all for the 2024 edition!


what people say

The Socrates conference is a great way to meet a wide variety of highly motivated software professionals. You can use them to bounce your ideas of, get feedback on your solutions or simply learn from them. Everything software related can be debated. You can create the topics you want to debate, you can join in on a wide variety of other peoples topics. Or you can just code. In pair, mob or alone. You are in charge of your own time, which allows you to get the best experience that fits your needs. It is in a small enough group to allow for a great atmosphere. And a large enough group to guarantee many interesting discussions. From dawn until well into the night.

Did I mention there was a Whiskey bar?
Guido Dechamps
Whiskey tasting, psychological experiments, PowerPoint karaoke, but most of all: amazing and awesome sessions, talks and discussions that give you heaps of inspiration.

Some things that you can use immediately, some things that you have to ponder upon for a year,...
So that you can start the next Socrates Belgium conference with great and improved ideas. I can't wait for the next one!

Thomas Coopman
The best conference of the year! I had absolute no idea what to expect from this conference. I had heard about the open space format, but I was rather sceptical. The first day opened my eyes to the whole concept. Plenty of amazing people with different experiences and different points of view. A lot of interesting sessions about different technologies, old an new techniques and practices. The discussions between sessions were as challenging as the sessions themselves. I tend to prefer this kind of high collaboration conference to the more traditional ones, where the information is mostly unidirectional. You can say I've been spoiled, but in a good way.

Michel Grootjans


these awesome companies support us

Sponsorship opportunities

Standard sponsor package
  • Your logo on our website
  • Your merchandise at the conference
  • A big thank you on social media, all mailings, and at the start and end of conference
  • Your logo on our exclusive merchandise
Contact us
Customised sponsor package
  • Do you have another idea for sponsoring our event and want to discuss more customised options, we are open to have a chat about this.
Contact us

Code of conduct

A conference for everyone

SoCraTes BE follows the Conference Code of Conduct laid out by several conference organisers around the globe. We ask that you read the full version before attending. You are required to cooperate with the code throughout the event to help ensure a safe environment for everybody.

Our conference is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks, workshops, parties, Twitter and other online media. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organisers.

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