Arrival of iconic Electrologica X8 computer celebrated with symposium

On 24 March Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, UvA, CWI and TU/e organize a public symposium around the Electrologica X8 computer from the sixties. The iconic X8 computer was developed and built entirely in the Netherlands by CWI's first spin-off Electrologica.

Publication date: 12-03-2018

On Saturday 24 March Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, UvA, CWI and TU/e will be organizing a public symposium around the Electrologica X8 computer from the sixties, to celebrate the incorporation of the last remaining complete copy of this illustrious machine in the new presentation of the museum. The iconic X8 computer was developed and built entirely in the Netherlands.

In 1965, the Dutch computer manufacturer Electrologica, the first spin-off from the Mathematisch Centrum  (the current Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, CWI) in Amsterdam and an insurance company in The Hague, launched the X8. The core memory of 450,000 magnetizable rings,' 0' or' 1', at the time quite a lot, is ‘peanuts’ compared to current smartphones.

A complete X8 consisted of a dozen cabinets of 58 cm wide and two metres high, filled a spacious room and weighed thousands of kilos. It was the machine that every scientist wanted to work with. Not only universities, but also Fokker, KNMI, Philips and the PTT readily paid a total of 2.5 million guilders for this machine. It was not a commercial success, though: only twenty copies of the X8 were sold.

The X8 has an enormous status because of the innovations offered by the design, which are still commonplace. At the X8 symposium on 24 March, eyewitnesses, users from the very beginning and computer historians will discuss the meaning of this computer. The day ends with the story of how the last X8 came to Rijksmuseum Boerhaave.

The symposium takes place on 24 March 2018 in Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, Lange Sint Agnietenstraat 10, 2312 WC Leiden from ca. 10.15-17.00h. Participation after registration on the Museum Boerhaave website, at the bottom of this page: . Costs: 15 euro, including coffee, tea, lunch and access to the museum. To be paid in the museum.

Note: the event is now sold out.

Below the program in Dutch. (The talks will also be in Dutch.)


Programma van het X8-symposium op 24 maart in Rijksmuseum Boerhaave

10:00  Ontvangst

10:30  Ton van Helvoort (Acta Biomedica) , Een fluwelen revolutie: De computerisering van de wetenschappen.

11:00  Gerard Alberts (UvA), Computerbouw in Nederland van academie naar onderneming.

11:30  Paul Klint (CWI), Software zonder geheugen.

12:00  Lunch

13:00  Frans Kruseman Aretz, Het Mathematisch Centrum, ALGOL 60 en de Electrologica X8.

13:30  Willem van der Poel, De commissie Z8.

14:00  Lambert Meertens en Dick Grune, Electrologica-gebruikers op het Mathematisch Centrum. Interview door Gerard Alberts

14:30 Theepauze

15:00  Dirk Dekker, Dekkers algoritme voor wederzijdse uitsluiting.

15:30  Gauthier Van Den Hove, The birth of semaphores in the Electrologica X8.

16:00  Ernst-Günter Hoffmann, The adventure of developing a FORTRAN Compiler in the 1960s.

16:30  Dirk van Delft (Rijksmuseum Boerhaave), De reis van de X8 naar Rijksmuseum Boerhaave.

16:40  Einde symposium


Deelname aan het X8-symposium in Rijksmuseum Boerhaave kost 15 euro, inclusief koffie, thee, lunch en toegang tot het museum. Te voldoen in het museum.

Aanmelden (verplicht) via

Het evenement is inmiddels uitverkocht.