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Europeana enables people to explore the digital resources of Europes museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. It promotes discovery and networking opportunities in a multilingual space where users can engage, share in and be inspired by the rich diversity of Europes cultural and scientific heritage. On this blog you will find short updates on Europeana content, special events and things we are working on.
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The Past But Not As You Know It

15 April 2014 - 2:00pm

A child riding a hog, doctors trying to locate a bullet using a telephone probe, David Bowie performing with a pirate eye patch, and before and after pictures of nose jobs from the early 20th century. Not strange enough? What about professional rat-catchers from Liverpool at work or people painting the Eiffel Tower by hand?

Our photo exhibition takes you on a journey to the past; the past like you’ve never seen it before. Explore the exhibition.

Images from the Wellcome Library are CC-BY
Images from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France are Public Domain
Image from Sound & Vision is CC-BY-SA
Image from the American Farm School of Thessaloniki Historical Archives is Public Domain


Categories: Europeana

How cultural heritage inspires creative studios to create best-selling games

11 April 2014 - 8:50am

If you’re the happy owner of an iPhone or iPad, you might have heard about ‘Monument Valley’, one of the top 10 best-selling games in the App Store at this moment. The aim of the game is to help a faceless girl called Ida through the ‘impossible architecture’ before her. Players interact with the buildings, rotating and dragging them in order to clear Ida’s path.

Source: ustwo

The game is clearly based on the ‘impossible reality’ lithographs of the Dutch artist M.C. Escher. The developer of the game, the British digital creative studio ustwo, is bringing masterpieces such as Staircase, Tower of Babel and Belvedere to a new audience of gamers that otherwise might not know the work of Escher at all.

The game is truly a work of art in itself; the studio not only brought interactivity and gameplay to Escher’s ‘impossible’ worlds, but also added interactive audio: while manipulating the buildings, the audio reacts to provide an atmospheric and beautiful soundscape.

Of course, this is just one example of how creative developers turned cultural heritage into an addictive game. Do you know other great examples? Please let us know in the comments!

Explore the works of M.C. Escher on the Europeana portal.

Categories: Europeana

Roma in Festa

10 April 2014 - 10:02am

In the seventeenth century, Rome was a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, where you could meet people from all over the world. While the ruins of ancient Rome attracted humanists and learnt visitors, pilgrims came to pray at the shrines of the martyr saints. Ruled by the pope, successor of St Peter and head of the Catholic church, Rome was also a very dynamic city. Nowhere else, power changed hands so rapidly, and nowhere else reputations were made and – even more swiftly- broken. The patronage of magnificent festivals was by far the best way to build up that reputation. With festival patronage, ambitious families and institutions competed for exposure and the opportunity to outshine rivals. In that way, festivals functioned as barometers for political changes. And since baroque Rome was at the heart of global diplomatic and religious networks, news about these festivals travelled quickly to the Italian courts and those abroad.

Learn more about this amazing city during these vibrant times in our latest virtual exhibition!

This virtual exhibition is the result of the Summer school ‘Roma in Festa. Staging and Experiencing Festival Culture in Baroque Rome’ that was held at the Academia Belgica in Rome in July 2012. Nine students from different European MA programs were selected for a one-week immersion in the rich festival culture of 17th-century Rome. Apart from specialised guest lectures by Martine Boîteux, Michela Berti and Annick Delfosse, the students worked in the rich collections of the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica in Rome, the Museo di Roma, the Biblioteca Vallicelliana and the Biblioteca Casanatense.

1. Foundation of S. Maria della Concezione in Rome (1626) – Galleria W. Apolloni s.r.l., Via del Babbuino 132-134 00187 Rome, Italy
2. Ilario Frumenti
3. Christian, Queen of Sweden – Rijksmuseum
4. Relatione delle feste fatte dell’ Excellentiss – French National Library – Bibliothèque Nationale de France
5. Giostra dei Caroselli in Courtyard of Palazzo Barberini – Museo di Roma
6. Stage Sets for La Vita Humana. Libretto by Giulio Rospigliosi – Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome
7. Giostra del Saracino on Piazza Navona – Museo di Roma
8. Paul V Caravaggio – Wikimedia Commons

Categories: Europeana

Dragons were hot long before Game of Thrones

8 April 2014 - 9:55am

Season 4 of Game of Thrones is back with Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons and her fire-breathing babies. Judging by the premiere episode of the season, we will probably be seeing a lot of these mythical, winged creatures. So let’s learn a bit more about dragons from different cultures:

The two most prominent cultural depictions are the European dragon and the Chinese dragon.

The image of the European, winged, fire-breathing reptile developed from folk traditions that may be traced back to Greek and West Asian mythology.
The formula in these tales is one monstrous beast + one heroic person who slays it.

Gilgamesh and Humbaba (Chuwawa)
Humbaba was a ‘fire-breathing dragon-fanged beast’ sometimes described as a dragon in the Mesopotamian poem ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh’, which is among the earliest surviving works of literature. Humbaba was the Guardian of the Cedar Forest where the gods lived, and was slayed by the hero Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu. This clay tablet in Sumerian describes the episode of the Cedar forest.

Biblical beasts of terror
Dragons feature heavily in Christianity. Due to their serpent-like depiction in these stories, there is an allusion to Adam and the serpent. Killing the dragon was therefore symbolic of overcoming sin.
Here we have Saint George who killed a dragon to save the king’s daughter.

The virgin St Margaret from Antioch (Turkey) was swallowed by Satan in the form of a dragon when she refused to renounce Christianity. But she escaped when the cross she carried irritated its belly.

Apart from the Christian association of dragons with evil, they were also seen as symbols of ferocity.
Abu Mansur Sabuktigin was a 10th century ruler of Afghanistan. After his death, his two sons Mahmud and Ismail fought fiercely for the throne. The picture below shows the dust in the form of dragons to depict the ferociousness of the battle.

In the Chinese tradition, dragons are mostly depicted as snake-like with 4 legs. Unlike the Western tradition, Chinese dragons are auspicious and symbols of power, strength and good fortune for those who deserve it. So much so that there are numerous phrases and idioms in the language that refer to the beasts.

For more dragon stories, dive in here.

Image credits

1. A Sumerian clay tablet inscribed with the Epic of Gilgamesh.  CC0
2.St George slays a dragon.  CC BY
3. Margaret rises from the dragon’s belly. PD
4. Mahmud and Ismail at war, kicking up clouds of dust in dragon-form.  CC BY
5. Chinese vase CC BY

Categories: Europeana

Documenting the Great War: behind the scenes at a ’14-’18 community collection day

2 April 2014 - 2:10pm

On Europeana1914-1918 you can find thousands of stories and digitied photos, diaries and objects from the time of the Great War. These stories are gathered during the so-called community collection days, which are organised throughout Europe. During these days, citizens are invited to have their stories written down and objects digitised by professional archivists. This blog gives you a behind-the-scenes look at one such roadshow.

Memories of the Great War are still to be found in many households. Thousands of families have photos, diaries or objects related to the war lying in the attic, and some people even can tell intriguing stories related to the memorabilia. But as time passes on, the collective memory of one of the most impactful wars in humankind will inevitably fade. Therefore Europeana decided to start the Europeana1914-1918 project, which aims to bring together both institutional material and stories and WW1-related material coming from ordinary citizens.

The scope of this project is huge: in order to bring together stories from people all over Europe, even if they don’t have internet access, Europeana and its partners organise collection days Days in libraries, museums and other public places, where archivists and photographers digitise both objects and stories. The material is then made available publicly via As of March 2014, this website gives access to more than 100,000 objects and nearly 9,000 stories from the public, covering many aspects of the war, from propaganda to trench life, aerial and naval warfare, and postcards and letters to and from the home front.

Collection day in Huis Doorn, the Netherlands

On March 28-29, collection days were held in Huis Doorn, where German Emperor Wilhelm II lived in exile from 1920 until his death in 1941. Since it’s a fantastic venue with great historical value, many people came to Huis Doorn with (sometimes suitcases full of) memorabilia, ranging from photo albums, helmets, trench art and other objects. It certainly helped that the Dutch media covered the collection days. The project was even featured on the national news, adding to the buzz around the project.


At the entrance, people are requested to register first. They fill in their names and addresses, and – very important – accept the terms of use, which state that the material is not copyright protected and that the owner of the material authorises other people to re-use the material, under a creative commons share-alike license. Each submission form is accompanied by a ticket number, which is used throughout the process to make sure that stories and objects are tied together.


After the registration procedure, the next step is to describe the items at one of the interview desks and have the related story written down. During this process, relevant information is added to the story, such as the language for postcards, inscriptions etc, what the story is about, which persons were involved, when and where the story took place, and what keywords apply to the story. This so-called metadata is not only very important for cataloguing purposes, but also to make the stories meaningful once it is published on the website.


In order to digitise the objects, trained staff operates professional flatbed scanners and cameras. Collection day visitors are asked to check-in at the digitisation desk. The desk staff check the match the objects with their numbers on a list  to make sure that all the relevant objects will be digitised. In some cases, stories and items are uploaded right away, but since not all venues offer an internet connection, sometimes material from the collection days is uploaded later.

Exhibition, media and re-enactment

A Europeana Collection Day is not only a great way of capturing memories of the Great War, it is also a very social event, during which people from all over the country get the opportunity to meet with other people and WW1-experts. In addition, many journalists come to the collection days as well,  to record an item for TV or radio or to write a newspaper article.

During the collection day in Huis Doorn, there was a small exhibition:

It took one back in time to see actors dressed in military uniforms from a hundred years ago.

Final step: making the material available via Europeana1914-1918

Once all the stories are collected and objects have been digitised and described, the material becomes available via Europeana1914-1918, where the stories and objects can be viewed by anyone in the world.

Most of the material is also available for download for re-use in books, articles, documentaries, research papers and on other WWI Centenary websites.

(photos: CC-BY-SA Wiebe de Jager, 2014)

Categories: Europeana

Re-use of fashion heritage and new digital perspectives

31 March 2014 - 3:39pm

2006 Caleidoscopio Gorizia . Archivio Missoni © Missoni S.p.A.

Just think of a designer delving into a brand archive to inspire a new collection or a director researching a fashion film. Using fashion heritage is not just looking at the past but discovering how the past can become relevant in a contemporary context.

While previously kept in archives and only seen by researchers and fashion industry insiders, the internet and digitisation have changed the game of fashion heritage. Museum and brand archives now make digital copies of their collections and put them online for use in online exhibitions, marketing campaigns and more.

A recent example is the house of Lanvin, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary on social media with  ‘Lanvin History’. For the occasion, the house opens its archives and shows its heritage through photos, videos and original artwork by Jeanne Lanvin on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and its own website.

Europeana Fashion wants to explore these new opportunities for fashion heritage during its series of three annual conferences around fashion and digital technology. The second conference will take place on 9 April 2014 at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.

In the light of the V&A’s latest exhibition ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’, the conference approaches the theme ‘Made in Italy: re-use of fashion heritage and new digital perspectives’ from the view of Italian fashion houses, museums and archives.

These institutions do not just guard fashion’s cultures and histories, they support the creation of new fashion.
For example, this Chanel skirt and jacket from 1965…



…was reinterpreted for the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2011 collection.


Now that archives are starting to show their materials on the internet, more and more people can discover and re-use these materials. This opening up of archives to a large audience combined with the power of archives to inspire new forms of fashion culture is the topic of this second conference. We will keep you updated on interesting outcomes from this event.

For more details about the conference, click here.

Categories: Europeana

Turning the spotlight (and your MP3 player!) on to the European audio heritage

26 March 2014 - 3:46pm

By Axelle Bergeret-Cassagne

Fonotipia Odéon, double face . En vente ici, poster, Ferdinand-Léon Ménétrier, 1904-1910. Public domain

What do a Mozart concerto, the cries of a seagull, a lecture on the international rock scene, the voice recording of the Emperor Kaiser Franz Joseph I in 1915, and the Latvian folk song Pūt, vējiņi (Blow, wind, blow) have in common?

These are all part of our European audio heritage.

The year 2014 marks the beginning of a Europe-wide project – Europeana Sounds – aimed at creating easy access to over 1 million high quality audio and audio-related items through a single online access point. Together these items reflect the diverse cultures, histories, languages and creativity of the peoples of Europe over the past 130 years.

Whether you are a jazz fan, a creative professional or playing in your own band, a teacher, or only curious, you will be able to navigate through the future sound library and its thematic channels (contemporary music, soundscapes and natural sounds, dialects samples, etc.). Apart from that, you may re-use some audio material and share your own creative mix!
Europeana Sounds is a three-year project, co-funded by the European Commission under the CIP ICT-Policy Support Programme, aimed at significantly increasing audio and audio-related content accessible through Europeana.

Start following our three-year journey to create the European jukebox!! @EU_Sounds and on Facebook

Sonata in Mi maggiore L 23 – Domenico Scarlatti Europeana CC BY-NC-SA

French version:

Plein feu (et plein volume !) sur le patrimoine audio européen

Quel point commun y a-t-il entre un concerto de Mozart, les cris d’un goéland, un cours magistral sur la scène rock internationale, un enregistrement de l’empereur François-Joseph Ier datant de 1915, et la chanson traditionnelle lettonne Pūt, vējiņi (Souffle, vent, souffle)?

Tous ces enregistrements font partis de notre patrimoine sonore commun !

2014 marque le début d’un vaste projet européen – Europeana Sounds – qui permettra un accès facile à plus d’un million d’enregistrements audio en haute définition via un point d’accès en ligne unique. Ensemble, ces objets sonores reflètent la diversité des cultures, des histoires, des langues, et la créativité des peuples d’Europe depuis plus de 130 ans.

Que vous soyez fan de jazz, professionnel de l’industrie créative ou membre d’un groupe de musique, enseignant, ou juste un internaute curieux, vous serez en mesure de naviguer à travers notre future bibliothèque d’enregistrements sonores et ses chaînes thématiques (musique contemporaine, environnements sonores urbains ou naturels, dialectes, etc.). Mieux encore, vous pourrez réutiliser des enregistrements et partager vos propres remix créatifs !

Europeana Sounds est un projet de trois années financé par l’Union européenne dans le cadre du Programme d’appui stratégique en matière de TIC lié au Programme-cadre pour la compétitivité et l’innovation. Il vise à augmenter de façon significative le contenu audio accessible via Europeana.

Commencez à suivre notre aventure pour la création du jukebox européen !! @EU_Sounds and on Facebook

Categories: Europeana

Brussels Cartoon Postcards

20 March 2014 - 10:05am

« Contre la famine »
« Oui ma chère, comme ça je suis tranquille »
[Against starvation]
[Yes dear, this way I don’t need to worry]

A number of reasons caused a revival of the caricature during the war in Belgium. It’s an interesting medium. Exaggeration or simplification of facts creates a comic effect and it reflects the essence of a situation so it can be comprehended at one glance. At the same time, it can contain deeper meanings that are only accessible through imagination. This turns the cartoon into a complex medium, sometimes hard to interpret as soon as the context changes.

« Le voleur fermier »
« Les rôles inversés »
« (le citadin) Pardon ! votre grâce daignerait-elle s’occuper de moi s.v.p. »
« (le paysan) hum ! ça dépend du prix que vous y mettez janverdouche !!! »
[The thief farmer]
[Reversed roles]
[(the city-dweller) I beg your pardon! Would be so kind to attend to me please?]
[(the peasant) Hum! It depends on the price you will offer, damn it!!!]

The war caused a particular atmosphere in which rumours could thrive. They were often the subject of caricatures and cartoons. This shows us how caricatures can play a double role as a medium: the rumour has been magnified to create a comic effect, while it sustains and spreads it at the same time. Propaganda determined the content of the caricatures and cartoons as well. It was part of daily life. In Belgium there was German propaganda on one side, and anti-German propaganda on the other. Our collection of caricatures and cartoons is situated on the anti-German side, but mainly deals with daily life in Brussels. Cartoons and caricatures are supposed to keep up morale and encourage resistance.

« Les petites recettes de guerre »
- « Wei. Pour avoir du beurre hein, je mets cette boutelle de lait dans ma poche et après deux heures de bicyclette sans arrêtei sur un chemin avec des gros cailloux, j’aie une livre de beurre… »
- « Tiens! Moi ça est du fromage de Bruxelles ! »
[Some war recipes]
- [Yeah. To get butter, I put this bottle of milk in my pocket and after riding my bike for two hours nonstop on a bumpy cobbled road, I have one pound of butter…]
- [Look! In my case I got Brussels cheese!]

The occupation of Belgium influenced individual as well as collective experience: people had to face emotions such as fear, insecurity, indignation and rage on a daily basis as a result of the hunger, cold, illness, poverty, restriction of freedom… Cartoons were an outlet for emotions that everyone knew so well. Caricatures and cartoons evoke a smile and put things into perspective. In addition, they generate a sense of recognition and connection: universal archetypes, mythical events and characters are often incorporated in the images. Those elements position new situations and events in the collective consciousness. Artists frequently represented certain characters as animals, or with typical recurring facial or body features (e.g. the fat profiteer). Like myths, they satisfy the need for reassurance and simple explanations. Negative archetypes that are frequently used in the Brussels cartoons are of course the enemy, but they can also be found within the local population. War profiteers, ‘nouveau riches’ and hoarders were popular targets.

« Quand le prix augmentera du beurre y aura »
« En attendant fouillez-vous !!! »
[When the price rises there will be butter]
[In the meanwhile search on yourself!!!]

Popular themes were of course the enemy and the role of the allies, but most caricatures and cartoons talk of daily life: the changeover to German daylight saving time, the recurring and changing German regulations that constantly made life harder, but especially the scarcity of food and all its consequences.

« La dernière affiche! »
« PERDU, Boulevard du Nord, 1 pomme de terre, grosseur moyenne, rapporter contre forte récompense. »
[The last poster !]
[LOST, North Boulevard, 1 potatoe, middle size, bring back in return for big reward.]

Because of the war, Belgium was stricken by food scarcity. The blocking of imports by Great Britain had severe consequences for a country with an external orientated economy, a country that feeds its people mainly by import. Internal agricultural production was insufficient and the German claims issued to support their participation in the war had worsened the scarcity. Brussels found itself in a very fragile position, with the imports having stopped and a very restricted access to local rural production. Food became a significant concern and worry for the people in Brussels.

« Les progrès de l’alimentation en 1916. »
« Oignons de pieds de facteurs – Oeils de perdrix de camelots – Saucisson de Fox-Terrier – Pâté de mouche à viande – Salami de rats d’égoût – Civet de chat de gouttière – Rognures de pneumatiques en brochettes – Moutarde W.C. – Compote de mannetons – Huile d’asticot naturelle »
« Etalage de charcuterie. »
[The evolution of food in 1916]
[Postman feet onions – Vendors partridge eye– Fox-Terrier sausage – Blowfly pâté - Sewer rat salami - Stray cat stew – Tyre pieces kebab – Toilet mustard - Crankpin marmelade – Natural maggot oil]
[Assorted meats in shop window]

Facing this new situation, the government and private charities organized to meet the needs of the population with the distribution of meals, community department stores, price regulation of basic products, the cultivation of public grounds. These measures helped to supply the population, but they also caused endless queues and unwieldy and limitless administration. These are often topics in the cartoons. Government intervention was nevertheless a useful and much needed measure because prices on the market hit the roof! The grave scarcity of food made it possible for producers and salesmen to impose extravagant prices. Some of them took advantage of the situation to enrich themselves. Those ‘dealers’ and ‘profiteers’ are often put on display in the Brussels caricatures and cartoons. Other consequences of the food scarcity were the all-round emergence of food falsifications, and the development of a black market.

« Sur les Terrains Communaux cultivés »
« Et bien, l’ami, qu’en (quand) pensez-vous qu’on les mangera dis ??? »
[On the Municipal fields]
[So, my friend, when do you think we’ ll eat them ???]

« Chacun son tour d’exploiter la situation! »
« Puisque la viande et les œufs on sait plus en achetei, que les gens n’ont pas de patates et que le pain est rationné, ça est tout naturel hein que nous vendons les légumes très cher… on doit qua même en achetei si on veuie pas mourir de faim ! »
[Everyone his turn to exploit de situation !]
[Now that meat and eggs are no longer for sale, people have no potatoes and bread is rationed, it is completely natural that we charge a lot for vegetables… People need to buy them anyway if they don’ t want to starve to death!]

In addition to the artistic value, these caricatures and cartoons offer us a unique outlook into how people experienced the German occupation in Brussels. Focused on the scarcity of food they show us to what extend daily life got more difficult and the irritation and resentment that grew among townspeople towards the farmers. The cartoons and caricatures illustrate how people tried to deal with these emotions in a humoristic way.

« Les légumes et les fruits sont tarifés au marché matinal. Juin 1918. »
- « Puisque je peux pas les vendre au prix que je veux, je retourne avec et je les donnerai aux bêtes !! »
[Prices for vegetables and fruit are fixed at the morning market. June 1918.]
- [As I am not allowed to sell them at the price I want, I’ll take them back home and give them to the cattle!!]

- « Spèce d’imbécile, vous voyez pas que vous êtes en train de vous lavei avec la soupe du Restaurant… »
- « Mô Mélanie, moi je croyais que ça était une cruche d’eau, sei-vous ! »
« On se plaint de la soupe ! »
- [Idiot, don t you see you are washing yourself with soup from the Restaurant…]
- [But Mélanie, I thought it was a jug of water, you know!]
[People complain about the soup!]

« Avis aux célibataires »
« Riche fermier offre sa fille à marier, donnera comme dot 300 ko pommes de terre, 1 quarteron d’œufs et 10 Ko de beurre […] au besoin un cochon !! Qu’on se le dise. Sotteghem 1916. »
« Potferdom ! moi qui n’ai mangé de patates depuis une éternité, v’la mon affaire se-tu !! »
[Notice for single men]
[Rich farmer offers his daughter, will give as dowry 300 kilos potatoes, 1 quadroon eggs and 10 kilos butter […] if needed one pig!! Spread the news! Sotteghem 1916.]
[Darned! It s been an eternity since I last ate potatoes, now there’ s a bargain for me!!]

Jaumain S., Piette V. (2005). Humor op oorlogspad. Brussel en de karikatuur in 14-18. Brussels: Archief van de Stad Brussel
Jaumain, S., Piette, V., Pluvinage G. (2005). Bruxelles 14-18. Au jour le jour, une ville en guerre. Bruxelles : Archives de la Ville de Bruxelles

Categories: Europeana

Cultural Treasures – Virtual Exhibition Highlights

18 March 2014 - 11:17am

From Art Nouveau to the First World War, and from ancient manuscripts to quirky pictures from the past. Our virtual exhibitions showcase beautifully handpicked cultural treasures. You can browse through stunning  images, extraordinary manuscripts and books, and amazing videos and sounds you may never have seen or heard of. Every exhibition is uniquely curated around an interesting theme. Below we have picked some images from different exhibitions, highlighting some of Europe’s biggest cultural treasures!

Would you like to explore all our 13 exhibitions? Visit our exhibition foyer!

Categories: Europeana

Oh Oh The Hague

5 March 2014 - 2:13pm

There is a famous Dutch song by Harry Jekkers, called ‘Oh Oh Den Haag’, of which the refrain literally translates to “Oh Oh The Hague, beautiful city, behind the dunes”. And indeed, Den Haag, as the Dutch say it (with a ‘g’ that is unpronounceable ‘g’ for many foreigners) is a nice city to live and work in. In this blogpost, we’ll give you a short introduction to the city, which will host the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit.

The Hague is not only well-known as the seat of the Dutch government, it also has a long history and many beautiful museums. The city was home to writers such as Louis Couperus and Spinoza, and painters including Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Vincent van Gogh. As of today, the Parliament convenes near the historical Binnenhof, most of which was built in the 13th century.

‘Stadhouderlijk kwartier’ by Dukker, G.J. Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (CC-BY-SA)

While visiting The Hague, be sure to go to the Panorama Mesdag, which gives you a view of the  seaside (the town of Scheveningen to be exact) as it was in 1881. It is the biggest painting in The Netherlands, measuring 14 metres in height and a circumference of 120 metres.

Panorama Mesdag by Dukker, G.J. Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (CC-BY-SA)

Den Haag is less known for its canals, which is a shame: there is still a canal system in place that allows you to see much of the inner city by boat. An interesting canal is the Bierkade (‘beer quay’) – this is the place where beer was brought into the city from Delft, as beer brewing was forbidden in The Hague during the 17th century.

Bierkade, Zentralbibliothek Zürich (CC-BY-SA)

For those who are interested in architecture, het Vredespaleis (The Peace Palace) is certainly worth a visit. Building of the palace commenced in 1907 after receiving funding from Andrew Carnegie. It is often called the seat of international law because it houses the International Court of Justice.

Vredespaleis by Roderburg, Kris, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, (CC-BY-SA)

Another landmark building in The Hague is that of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. The building was designed by the famous architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage. It was his last big work before he died in 1934. The museum is interesting to a broad audience; you can find modern art, fashion, musical instruments and old prints.

Haags Gemeentemuseum by Dukker, G.J., Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (CC-BY-SA)

Another very nice museum in The Hague is the Mauritshuis. The building itself is already a work of art in itself, and it houses many works of art from the Golden Century, by painters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Steen and Frans Hals.

Het Mauritshuis te Den Haag by Hove, Bartholomeus Johannes van, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (PD)

The city will turn into a stronghold during the 24-25 March Nuclear Security Summit, which will be attended by more than 50 world leaders. The first thing they will probably see when they enter the city is the Malieveld, a big grass-covered terrain well-known for its demonstrations and festivals. In the 19th century, the area was used for horse trading.

Paardenmarkt op de Maliebaan by Schermer, Cornelis Albertus Johannes, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (PD)

Hopefully you liked this short introduction to Den Haag. If you would like to see more of the city, don’t forget to search the Europeana portal.  You’ll find many historical documents, paintings and photos of the city. Oh, and if you do come, Europeana even has a free map of The Hague.  Just keep in mind that it dates from 1570!

Categories: Europeana

Come, write about fashion for Wikipedia

28 February 2014 - 2:35pm

If you know your Gucci from your Pucci, are proficient in French and are looking to make contacts within the fashion world in Paris, this may just be the event for you.

Europeana Fashion is hosting another editathon at Les Arts Décoratifs  in Paris on 22 March 2014. You are invited to come and write about the theme fashion and craftsmanship for Wikipedia.

Collection Rosine Buhler, 1920-1950. The library of Les Arts Décoratifs has great resources you can use during the fashion editathon © Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris

Not only will you learn how to write on Wikipedia, editathons are also a great way to meet like-minded people from all corners of the fashion sector and there will be plenty of networking opportunities during the breakfast, lunch and drinks after.

The edit-a-thon will take place in the beautiful library of Les Arts Décoratifs  © Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris

You can also participate in a tour of the museum’s latest fashion exhibition Dries Van Noten – Inspirations. The exhibition perfectly complements the theme of the day ‘Fashion and Craftsmanship’, as Dries Van Noten is known for his intricate detailing.

Participating in the fashion editathon is entirely free. You can register via

Please note that an introduction to writing on Wikipedia will take place at Les Arts Décoratifs on 13 March from 16:00-18:00. The working language for both days is French. You can find more information on the website of Les Arts Décoratifs.

Programme 22 March (subject to minor changes):

8:30-9:00 welcome with a small French breakfast

9:00-9:30 presentations

9:30-10:00 start writing

12:30-13:15 lunch

13:15-14:00 exhibition visit Dries Van Noten – Inspirations

14:00-17:00 continue writing, snacks and drinks available

17:00-17:30 putting text online, end of session

17:30-… drinks


Categories: Europeana

Fire away!

24 February 2014 - 11:17am

You probably wouldn’t associate cannons with entertaining pictures, but we’ve managed to find some amusing and often adorable pictures with these damaging  pieces of artillery. Cannons were first used in Europe during the 11th and 12th centuries. In the Middle Ages the cannon became standardised, becoming more effective in both the anti-infantry and siege roles. After the Middle Ages most large cannons were abandoned as they were too heavy and too difficult to maneuver with. Cannons weren’t only used on mainland, they became a popular artillery in naval warfare as well.

These vintage pictures below were taken in 1915, during the First World War. They show that even during darker times, entertaining situations still take place. Fire away!

Go to Europeana to discover more vintage photos or First World War related collections.

All images are from the French National Library – Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Public Domain. Aggregated to Europeana through the European Library.

Categories: Europeana

Spotlight on Europeana’s Russian collections

18 February 2014 - 1:33pm

With the Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia, it seems a good time to take a look at Europeana’s Russian collections.

60,000 items come from a range of institutions in Russia: the Rybinsk State Architectural, Historical and Art Museum Preserve,  the Chouvashia State Art Museum, the Russian State Library, the National Library of Russia, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Arkhangelsk Regional Scientific Library, the Saratov State Art Museum after A.N. Radishev, the Museum of History of the Kasan State University, The National Library of Republic of Karelia,  and Museum – Cyclorama “Kursk Battle. Belgorod Direction”.

Geographically, Russia is the largest country in the world at over 17 million square kilometres in size. In terms of population, it’s ninth in the world.

Russia has given us Chekhov, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin), the periodic table of elements, but not, as you might think, vodka – that’s originally from Poland. Its history is rich and diverse. Here is just a small selection of the items you can find in Europeana that give you a flavour of Russia’s cultural heritage…


Categories: Europeana

Use Europeana’s content to create an app, game or website

12 February 2014 - 11:30am

Enter the Europeana Creative Challenge and win a tailor-made support package to bring your product successfully to the market!

Europeana is a database of about 30 million cultural and historical documents, images, sound and video files from Europe’s museums, libraries, galleries and archives. The Europeana API allows you to access to most of the collections and incorporate them into things like apps, games, websites, even creating mash-ups using other APIs. The possibilities are endless.

We’re looking for creative developers and entrepreneurs to use Europeana’s collections to create applications for a range of themes – natural history education, history education, tourism, design and social media.

Photo credit: CC-BY-SA hackNY (source:

We’re running challenges on each topic, and the first two, natural history and history education, are open now! Need some inspiration? We’ve created some pilot apps to show you the kinds of things you could do with Europeana’s content and a bit of imagination.

• First World War Learning Activities (from EUROCLIO/Webtic)
• Night at the museum adventure game (National Museum Prague/Museum for Natural History Berlin/Exozet)
• Natural history memory card game (National Museum Prague/Semantika)

Could you develop our pilots to make them bigger? Or do you have something completely different in mind? If it uses Europeana’s content and fits the history or natural history education theme, then enter the Challenge!

How to Enter
All applications should be submitted here:

March 31st 2014

The winners for each theme will be invited to pitch their ideas on April 29, 2014 at The Egg in Brussels. The overall winners (one per theme) will receive a hands-on “Incubation” Support Package provided by the project consortium to bring his/her product successfully to the market.

This Support Package may include consultation with experts on a wide range of subjects, such as financial management, business models, intellectual property management; access to specialised testing environments; facilitation of access to investments and business partnerships and marketing and promotion support as required to bring the winning product successfully to the market.

More Information
Find out more about Europeana Creative and its challenges at you have any further questions about your application, you can contact us at or just drop us a question via @eCreativeEU on Twitter or on our Europeana Creative Facebook page.

Categories: Europeana

Winter Olympics start today!

7 February 2014 - 2:48pm

The 22nd Winter Olympics start today in Sochi, Russia. It’s the first time Russia has ever hosted the winter games and it’ll be the most expensive games ever (more expensive than all the winter games that have gone before it put together!). Organisers also hope it will be the greenest, most environmentally-aware games ever staged, and with an average February temperature in Sochi of 8.3 Celsius, it’s also the warmest.

6,000 athletes from 85 countries will take part in 98 events covering 15 different sports, almost all of which mean throwing yourself down an icy or snowy incline at breakneck speed, avoiding obstacles or performing tricks in the process.

To get you in the spirit for some winter sporting action, here are just some of the Winter Olympics related items you can find in Europeana.


Categories: Europeana

Learn more about World War One with the British Library

3 February 2014 - 4:36pm

To complement the re-launch of the Europeana 1914-1918 website, which now gives you access to personal stories from the First World War, as well as national library and cinematic collections, the British Library has launched a site to inspire teachers, students and everyone interested in learning more about World War One.

Supported by over 500 historical sources from across Europe, this resource examines key themes in the history of World War One. Explore a wealth of original source material, over 50 newly-commissioned articles written by historians, teachers’ notes and more to discover how war affected people on different sides of the conflict.


‘London Opinion 05/09/1914, front page’, British Library, unknown copyright status 


Taking a pan-European and international approach, the website includes 500 digitised collection items from the archives of 11 European libraries. Expert commentary and interviews, sharing contemporary research, and original documents and images, provide information in engaging and compelling ways. Key themes explored on the site  include: Origins and Outbreak, Recruitment of Conscripts and Volunteers, Daily Life on the Battlefield, The War Machine, Race, Empire and Colonial Troops, Gender Expectations and Roles, Propaganda on a Global Scale and Aftermath – Redrawing Europe’s Map.

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland

So, what do educators themselves think of the site? Here’s what Professor David Stevenson from the London School of Economics and Political Science has to say about it: ‘This brand new website will be an invaluable resource for teachers in secondary and higher education but also for anyone with an interest in the First World War during the centenary of that conflict. Using the latest interactive technology, the website is unique in its international and comparative approach, drawing on a wealth of previously inaccessible source and study material supplied by a consortium of 11 leading European libraries. The texts and pictures in the collection are supplemented by commentaries from an international panel of experts that have been specially commissioned in order to take full account of the most recent developments in historical research.’

‘Austrian poster advertising the ’8th war bonds’, Österreichisher Nationalbibliothek, free from known copyright restrictions

The website is part of a wider pan-European commemoration of WW1, Europeana 1914-1918, (, which received funding from the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.

Categories: Europeana

Europeana – your eBook library

30 January 2014 - 3:33pm

Stuck for something to read? Never fear – Europeana is never more than a couple of clicks away. Thanks to the digitisation efforts of our partners, there are many classic books you can find on Europeana and read online – in a variety of languages – for free and without having to buy an expensive e-reader! In fact, Europeana was recently cited as number 2 in a list of 25 sources of free public domain eBooks. Here are just a few examples of the classics you can find on Europeana…

Image: ‘Titelprent van Don Quichotte’, Rijksmuseum, public domain

Read Don Quixote by Cervantes in English French Spanish Catalan

Image: ‘[Madame Bovary : lot de photographies de spectacle / Roger Pic]‘, French National Library, public domain

Read Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert in French Italian

Image: ‘Anna Karenina’, Mazowiecka Biblioteka Cyfrowa, public domain

Read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy in German French Dutch

Image: ‘Les Miserables’, French National Library, public domain

Read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo in French

Image: ‘Costume from the performance Alice in Wonderland’, Muzeum, Institute of Art Production, Mediation and Publishing, Ljubljana, Slovenia, CC BY-NC-ND

Read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll in English French Hungarian  German Italian Danish Czech Catalan

Categories: Europeana

Europeana 1914-1918 website relaunched!

29 January 2014 - 12:16pm

Europeana 1914-1918 now brings together resources from three major European projects each dealing with different types of First World War material. That means that national collections from libraries now sit alongside personal stories and treasures as well as important film archives. Together, this creates a unique perspective of the First World War, showing it from every side of the battle lines and with insights from every point of view. Over time, even more material will be added to this archive so please keep coming back!

So, what has the site got?

The new-look home page of Europeana 1914-1918!

Stories from the public: We’re still collecting the public’s previously unpublished letters, photographs and keepsakes from the war. So far, a dozen countries have taken part in our family history roadshows, digitising over 90,000 items and adding more than 7,000 stories.

Browse Europeana 19194-1918 by topic

National collections: The Europeana Collections 1914-1918 project has produced a substantial digital collection of over 400,000 pieces of material from national libraries in eight countries that found themselves on different sides of the historic conflict. Check out the video below which provides a glimpse into the content from Europeana Collections 1914-1918.

Europeana Collections 1914-1918 from Europeana Collections on Vimeo.

Film archives: The European Film Gateway 1914 project gives us 660 hours of films and related material on the First World War including newsreels, documentaries, fiction films, propaganda and anti-war films. This material is especially important since only around 20% of the complete silent film production of the era has survived.

Example search results on the new-look Europeana 1914-1918

And there’s even more: You can also find material on this site from other European collections and projects, as well as information from outside Europe – from the Digital Public Library of America, Trove (Australia), and Digital New Zealand.

Film still from La Belgique martyr, BE 1919, Dir: Charles Tutelier, Source : Cinémathèque royale de Belgique

 So start exploring now

Tell us what you think by tweeting us @europeana1914


Willkommen auf Europeana 1914-1918 mit neuem Design!

Willkommen auf Europeana 1914-1918 – mit neuem Design!

Wir haben die Inhalte auf dieser Website deutlich erweitert und verbessert – und hoffen, dass sie Ihnen gefällt.

Ab sofort führt Europeana 1914-1918 führt Material aus drei großen europäischen Projekten zusammen. Neben persönlichen Geschichten von Privatpersonen finden Sie nun auch Bibliotheksbestände sowie Filme aus europäischen Filmarchiven. Zusammen betrachtet ermöglicht dies einen ganz neuartigen Blick auf den Ersten Weltkrieg, der Perspektiven unterschiedlicher Akteure auf das Kriegsgeschehen zusammenführt. Wir ergänzen übrigens ständig neue Materialien – es lohnt sich also, regelmäßig vorbeizuschauen!

Was gibt es auf Europeana 1914-1918 zu entdecken?

Persönliche Geschichten: Wir sammeln fortlaufend private Briefe, Fotos und Erinnerungsstücke aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg. Bislang haben in zwölf Ländern Aktionstage stattgefunden, um Materialien von Privatpersonen zusammenzutragen. Über 80.000 digitale Dateien und mehr als 8.000 persönliche Geschichten, die wir auf diese Weise zusammengetragen haben, können Sie mittlerweile auf Europeana 1914-1918 finden.

Sammlungen von Staatsbibliotheken: Das Projekt Europeana Collections 1914-1918 hat eine umfangreiche Sammlung von mehr als 400.000 digitalisierten Dokumenten beigesteuert, darunter Bücher, Zeitschriften, Landkarten, Fotos, Poster, Medaillen und Münzen. Der Bestand setzt sich aus Materialien aus acht europäischen Ländern zusammen, die sich im Ersten Weltkrieg zum Teil als Feinde gegenüberstanden.

Sammlungen von Filmarchiven: Das Projekt European Film Gateway 1914 stellt rund 660 Stunden digitalisierte Filme und über 5.600 filmbezogene Materialien online. Unter anderem finden Sie Wochenschauen, Dokumentationen, Propaganda- und Spielfilme, aber auch Filmplakate und -zeitschriften. Nur geschätzte 20 Prozent aller Filme aus dieser Zeit sind überliefert, weshalb die hier zugänglichen Filmdokumente einen besonders wichtigen Korpus darstellen.

Darüber hinaus können Sie bei uns Materialien zum Ersten Weltkrieg auch aus weiteren europäischen Projekten recherchieren und auch in manchen außereuropäischen Sammlungen, etwa der Digital Public Library of America (USA), Trove (Australien) und Digital New Zealand (Neuseeland).

Erkunden Sie die Vielfalt von Europeana 1914-1918!

Wie gefällt Ihnen unsere Website? Wir freuen uns auf Ihr Feedback, gerne auch über Twitter @europeana1914

Categories: Europeana

Europeana Open Culture app now bigger and better

21 January 2014 - 1:05pm

We just released an upgrade to the Europeana Open Culture app! The  new version of the app brings enhanced functionality, new content and a more user-friendly layout. The app is available in seven languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Bulgarian, and Swedish) and for all Apple and Android tablets.

The Europeana Open Culture app lets you explore hand-picked and beautiful image collections from some of Europe’s top cultural institutions. You can browse, share and download for free more than 350,000 high-resolution images from four themes: Maps and Plans, Images of the Past, Treasures of Art and Treasures of Nature.

You can search by keyword (now in any language!) or within a theme and narrow down your search by using a range of filters. Results will be shown as an interactive mosaic of image thumbnails which continuously refreshes as you scroll. Pick your favourite image, comment on it, share it on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, or create your own personal virtual museum.

What’s more, you can now download the hi-res image for free and use it however you want to – for your work, study or leisure projects. If you are a developer, you can re-use the app code (Europeana Open Culture is open source) on Github and build your own app.

Feeling curious? Download Europeana Open Culture app from iTunes or Google Play and explore Europe’s culture any time, anywhere.

Categories: Europeana

Map with bullet hole from the remains of Walter Flex

20 January 2014 - 1:54pm

The memory of the First World War, its events and consequences, its victims and victors, remains very much alive today. It has become part of the individual and collective memory of Europe and of countries across the world – the stories of soldiers and their families continue to be told and published from generation to generation. To mark the centenary of its outbreak in 2014, a consortium of national libraries and other partners from eight European countries that found themselves on different sides of the historic conflict will make an unparalleled collection of more than 400,000 digitised items relating to the First World War freely available to the public for the first time through the Europeana online portal.

As part of the Europeana Collections 1914-1918 project, the consortium members will be adding a new blog post every month that looks at some of the stories behind just a few of these 400,000 images. This month, the Berlin State Library shares the story of a map containing a bullet hole and the death of an extraordinary man.

The corners of this handcrafted map are covered with mud. And it has a hole – apparently a bullet hole. This bullet probably brought an end to the life of one of the most outstanding German writers during the First World War, Walter Flex. Flex was a war volunteer and author of the widely-read war novel Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten (The Wanderer between Two Worlds), written after his best friend had been killed in the field.

The place and field names on the map reveal the location: it shows trees, swampland, lakes, villages and cottages on the Baltic island Saaremaa just off the shore of Estonia, which at that time belonged to Russia. Walter Flex and his division had landed on this island in October 1917 to attack the Russians. After three days of struggling, the Russians capitulated and delivered their weapons, but one of the soldiers refused to yield and shot Walter Flex. The bullet tore his right forefinger off, entered his body and got stuck near the stomach. He left a last line: ’Dear parents! I dictate this postcard as I’m slightly wounded at the forefinger of my right hand. Besides this, I am well off. There’s no room for worry whatsoever. Love, Walter.’ The next day he died, at the age of just 30, from his internal injuries.

In his bag there was this map of the island Saaremaa. Today this map is part of the literary remains of Walter Flex kept in the manuscript department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.


The Europeana 1914-18 portal—bringing together the Collections material profiled in this blog digitised material from great film collections of Europe, and personal unpublished documents about the War still held by the families of participants—will launch in Berlin at the end of January at the international ‘Unlocking Sources’ conference. For more information about this conference, including registration details, see the conference site.

An den Ecken einer handgefertigten Landkarte klebt Erde. Und sie hat ein Loch – offenbar das Einschussloch einer Kugel.
Diese Kugel hat wahrscheinlich das Leben eines der bedeutendsten deutschen Schriftsteller des Ersten Weltkrieges beendet: Walter Flex, Kriegsfreiwilliger der Ersten Stunde, schrieb die millionenfach gelesene Erzählung „Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten“, nachdem sein bester Freund gefallen war.
Die Orts- und Flurnamen auf der Landkarte verraten es: sie zeigt Bäume, Sümpfe, Seen, Dörfer und Häuser auf der baltischen Insel Ösel, die Estland vorgelagert ist, aber damals zu Russland gehörte. Walter Flex war im Oktober 1917 mit seiner Division auf der Insel gelandet, um die Russen zu schlagen. Nach drei Tagen waren die Kämpfe beendet, die Russen ergaben sich und sollten ihre Waffen abliefern. Nur einer weigerte sich und schoss auf Walter Flex. Die Kugel riss ihm den rechten Zeigefinger ab und drang dann in seinen Leib ein. Sein letztes Lebenszeichen: „Liebe Eltern! Diese Karte diktiere ich, weil ich am Zeigefinger der rechten Hand leicht verwundet bin. Sonst geht es mir sehr gut. Habt keinerlei Sorge. Viele herzliche Grüße Euer Walter.“ Am nächsten Tag starb er, gerade 30-jährig, an seinen inneren Verwundungen.

In seiner Tasche steckte eine Landkarte der Insel Ösel. Sie ist heute Bestandteil des Nachlasses Walter Flex in der Handschriftenabteilung der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.


Categories: Europeana