Short history of the project
In 1996, as he was planning to visit Italy, a Dutchman was looking for a free Italian-Dutch dictionary on the Web. As he could not find any, Frits van Zanten decided he would create it. His friend Tom van der Meijden wrote a small and handy (yet very clever) program to manage the word list, and they started to integrate other vocabulary lists. The DDP, Dutch Dictionary Project, was born. Versions of the dictionary were created in different languages and a team of volunteers around the world started to build web sites to distribute the program and some word lists based on their own language (Italian, Swedish, Russian, French, Esperanto...).
From 1998 to 2000, Frits and Tom progressively stepped out of the project. The French version and English version were hosted together, under the name of "Freelang". The Translation Help Service was created, offering free translations thanks to a growing team of voluntary translators.