MonetDB Foundation launched

In January 2024 the MonetDB Foundation was established for the preservation, maintenance and further development of the MonetDB project – a trailblazer in the world of database management systems.

Publication date
31 Jan 2024

A new chapter in the history of the pioneering database technology MonetDB has begun with the establishment of the MonetDB Foundation. This foundation is dedicated to the preservation, maintenance and further development of the MonetDB project, a trailblazer in the world of database management systems. Originally developed at CWI, it has been in continuous development for several decades.

Since its transition to open source in 2004, MonetDB has demonstrated the power of collaboration and transparency in database technology. The MonetDB Foundation is committed to upholding this legacy, focusing on preserving MonetDB's heritage, advancing the project through a clear roadmap, and establishing transparent structures for donations and funding. These efforts are essential to sustaining MonetDB's development and impact into the future.

At the same time the business and project support for MonetDB will continue under MonetDB Solutions. This will ensure that the robust and innovative solutions using MonetDB technology remain accessible and continue to evolve to meet the changing demands of the industry.

The foundation’s board, established on 11 January 2024, is composed of chairman Arjen de Vries, a professor at Radboud University in Nijmegen, Niels Nes, Ying Zhang, Sjoerd Mullender, (respectively CEO, COO and CTO of MonetDB Solutions), and CWI’s institute manager Dick Broekhuis.

History of MonetDB

The database management system MonetDB began its journey in 1993. It was created by the late Martin Kersten from the Database group of the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science. Two years later, the first spin-off was created: Data Distilleries, based on MonetDB technology. This was an important milestone, demonstrating the practical applications and commercial viability of the technology. Data Distilleries continued to evolve until its acquisition in 2003, illustrating the early success and impact of the MonetDB project.

Open source

2004 was another landmark year as MonetDB became open-source. This opened the doors to a wider community of developers and researchers, facilitating greater innovation and collaboration in the development of the system.

Spin-off company

MonetDB B.V. was founded in 2008 as a strategic spin-off company from CWI. It was established to support the market take-up of MonetDB, to provide a basis for quality assurance, and to support development activities requested by users.

In 2013, MonetDB Solutions was established to promote commercial use of the system. It was founded with the aim of facilitating the use of MonetDB in third party products and services, thereby extending its reach and impact in the commercial sector.

Additionally, MonetDB's influence extended through other spin-offs such as Vectorwise (now part of Actian), Spinque, and DataSpex. Each of these ventures took inspiration from MonetDB's core technology, and applied it to distinct challenges and markets. These spin-offs not only demonstrate the adaptability and potential of MonetDB's technology but also its significant contribution to different areas of the data management landscape.

Legacy of Martin Kersten

In order to better protect the intellectual property of the database management technology, the MonetDB Foundation is established. The Foundation is inspired by the innovative spirit and dedication of Martin Kersten, who not only established MonetDB as a leading system but also profoundly influenced the global field of database technology. MonetDB Foundation will continue this spirit in its future endeavors.