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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.
Updated: 4 hours 19 min ago

Freedom Express: Final Leg – Germany

16 September 2014 - 4:37pm

The Freedom Express ended its historic journey in Germany over the weekend, concluding an intensive study trip for a group of 20 young Europeans. The participants travelled through six countries in Eastern and Central Europe to discover traces of the different revolutions that swept across the region in 1989. In Germany, the participants set out to explore their final stop, Berlin, the city that was once divided into East and West. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Germany and Berlin were reunited in dramatic fashion, a historic occasion that is ingrained in the memories of many Europeans today. The face of Berlin has greatly changed since reunification. The city is a architectural frenzy that has reinvented itself countless times in the past 25 years. The cultural vibrancy of the 1920s has returned with a vengeance, transforming Berlin from a political curiosity to a vital presence among European capitals today.

Reflections with Monika Grütters

Monika Grütters, State Minister for Culture and Media, takes the time to sit down with the participants of the Freedom Express in Berlin. Image: European Network Remembrance and Solidarity.

After arriving in the city, the group quickly headed to the Contemporary History Midsummers Night, an annual commemoration at the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship. There the participants listened to a panel debate which featured Gerd Koenen, German journalist and independent historian, together with Karel Schwarzenberg, former Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs. While there, the group also had the opportunity to sit down with Monika Grütters, State Minister for Culture and Media. Minister Grütters was interested to see what the participants had learnt so far and what expectations they have for their visit in Berlin. The minister also listened to the group as they discussed European identity and their reflections on the European Union today.

East Side Gallery & Europeana 1989 Collection Day

Kani Alavi stands near his artwork and talks with the participants of the Freedom Express at the East Side Gallery in Berlin. Images: Europeana (CC-BY-SA)

On their second day in Berlin, the participants had a guided tour of the East Side Gallery, the longest open air gallery in the world with 1,316 meters of the former Berlin Wall painted by artists from around the world. In addition, for over 20 years, the East Side Gallery has been the only authentic monument of the reunification.

The participants met with the director of the gallery, Kani Alavi, an German-Iranian artist who came to Berlin 1980. Alavi lived on the West side of the city near the border at checkpoint Charlie, everyday he saw people attempt to cross the border and used the emotions on their faces as inspiration for ‘It happened in November’, a section of the Berlin Wall that he painted in 1990 and which is now on display at the East Side gallery.

Group from the Freedom Express talk with Philipp Lengsfeld at the Europeana 1989 Collection Day in Berlin. Images: Europeana (CC-BY-SA)

Shortly after visiting the East Side Gallery a number of the participants went to the Deutsche Kinemathek, where Europeana 1989 was hosting a public collection day. The group had the unique opportunity to meet members of the general public who wanted to share their stories from 1989. The participants also had the chance to get involved in the process of digitisation. A lot of unique historical material was contributed: from self-made demonstration banners to the original founding charter of the Social Democrats in East Germany. The collection day was also visited by the first freely elected foreign minister of the GDR, Markus Meckel together with Philipp Lengsfeld, a member of parliament.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

The trip may be over, but you can still follow the outcomes and reflections of the journey from each of the participants via their collaborative blog. Also, the entire journey was filmed by a documentary crew who followed the participants on their quest to discover the traces of 1989. The Freedom Express documentary is due to be premiered in Warsaw in February 2015.

In the meantime, ARTE TV will be screening a short programme on 27 September. This short documentary follows the journey and profiles two of the participants who share their experiences during the trip. As a representative of Europeana, I was also a participant of the study trip and one of those selected for the ARTE TV documentary; so I invite you to tune in on 27 September to hear me share some of my thoughts during the trip.

Keep your eyes peeled!

Categories: Europeana

Freedom Express: Leg 3 – Slovakia & Czech Republic

12 September 2014 - 2:46pm

The Freedom Express is a journey that follows 20 young Europeans as they discover the traces of 1989, an extraordinary year that transformed Europe. Twenty-five years on from the collapse of Communism in Europe, the participants of the study trip are visiting the key places of those revolutions and meeting the people that were involved. On the third leg of the trip, the group was introduced to the Velvet Revolution, which in 1989 quickly swept across Czechoslovakia, overthrowing the isolated and rigid communist regime in an extraordinarily short span of time.

Border Crossings

After spending some time on the Austrian-Hungarian border and meeting the organisers of the Pan-European Picnic, the Freedom Express got back on the road and headed towards Bratislava. Shortly after entering Slovakia, the group was taken into a remote area where they went back in time: Through a specially organised reconstruction, the participants had a taste of what it was like to cross the Czechoslovakia border in the 1980s.

Participants experiencing what it was like to cross the Czechoslovakia border in the 1980s. Images: Europeana (CC-BY-SA)

After crossing the border, the group met with Ján Lőrincz, a freelance photographer who through hundreds of photographs captured the dramatic scenes on the streets of Bratislava during the Velvet Revolution. Europeana recorded his strongest memory for 89 Voices, where he recalls; ´It was the feeling of the freedom, because when you live so close to the border and you go up to the hill, you know that the other world is just a stone’s throw away, and yet it’s so far, you can’t do anything about it…´.

Finishing off their time in Slovakia, the participants sat down with three of Slovakia’s most prominent artists of the 20th century: Rudolf Sikora, Jozef Jankovič and Miroslav Cipár. Together they discussed the impact of the communist regime on their work and how they adapted to their newly found freedom after 1989.

Revolutionary Czech Rock

After Bratislava, the participants arrived in Prague  where they met with Czech rock band, Plastic People of the Universe. In the 1970s and 80s the Plastic People of the Universe were the leading band in Czechoslovakia. This avant-garde group went against the grain of the communist regime, and due to its non-conformism often suffered serious problems, such as arrests. The group continues to perform even after the death of the founder, main composer and bass player, Milan ‘Mejla’ Hlavsa.

The next day the group was invited to the German Embassy to attend an event that commemorated the escape of Germans from the GDR in September 1989. The event centred around a discussion with Czech artist, David Černý, together with Jan Bubenik, who was student involved in the Velvet Revolution, and prominent Czech politician Alexandr Vondra. The palace, where the embassy is situated, became the resort of numerous East German refugees who had reached Prague, climbed over the fence and camped out on the grounds. On the evening of 30 September, Foreign Minister Hans- Dietrich Genscher stepped out on the balcony to announce an agreement about the refugees’ voyage to West Germany.

Next stop, Berlin…

Categories: Europeana

Freedom Express: Leg 2 – Hungary & Romania

8 September 2014 - 5:19pm

A group of 20 young Europeans continue their journey through Eastern and Central Europe to trace the events of 1989, and Europeana has joined them. The Freedom Express study trip most recently stopped in Hungary and Romania, where the participants learnt about the revolutions of each country, and how the events in Hungary sparked the bloody revolutions in neighbouring Romania.

Through this trip, the participants have been lucky enough to meet the protagonists from each revolution and gain first-hand insight on these historical events. The group has also been encouraged via their collaborative blog to discover and share their meaning of freedom, and discuss the impact of the events of 1989 on Europe today, 25 years on.

Hungarian Parliament 

Participants of the Freedom Express engage in discussions with members of the Hungarian Parliament. Images: Paweł Karnowski, European Network of Remembrance and Solidarity.

Hungary was the second satellite state of the Eastern Bloc after Poland to switch to a non- communist government. Participants spent a number of days in Budapest and Sopron. While in Budapest, the group was invited to the Hungarian Parliament to discuss the political changes in Hungary in 1989. The group had many questions for László Kövér, Hungarian politician and the current Speaker of the National Assembly. The meeting quickly turned into a debate regarding current international affairs, and media from around Europe reported on this debate and the reaction of the hosts, forcing László Kövér to publicly apologise to the Freedom Express participants for his response to the questioning.

The Pan-European Picnic

Participants explore the location of the Pan-European Picnic on the border of Austria-Hungary. Images: Europeana (CC-BY-SA)

In Sopron, the group visited the location of the Pan-European Picnic and talked to the organisers of the event. The peaceful demonstration was held on the Austrian-Hungarian border on 19 August 1989, an important event during the Revolutions of 1989 that led to the fall of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of Germany. In the scenic setting, participants stood between Austria and Hungary; only the symbolic barbed-wire fence and monuments serve as a reminder of what was imposed previously.

After Hungary, the group boarded the Freedom Express again and progressed to Romania where they visited the Museum of Revolution and met a number of witnesses to the Romanian revolution in December 1989. The participants also visited the city’s art museum where they were introduced to Romanian art. They explored the impact that the communist regime had on the work of artists during the 20th century

A story from Romania

While in Romania, Europeana was able to record their first story from that country for 89 Voices, an oral history project that aims to preserve 89 first-hand accounts of events in 1989. In the story, Brindusa Armanca describes the memory of how her family got caught up in the Romanian revolution in Timisoara. However, at the end of the recording she shares her most emotional memory, when she bore witness to the death of a woman on the streets during the protests. She recalls; ‘When I worked as a journalist, I researched who she was, and now I know. I went to the cemetery and put a flower on her grave. Even if only one person had died in the revolution, somebody has to be punished for that death.’

Next stop, Bratislava…

Categories: Europeana

The Freedom Express has Departed: Leg 1 – Poland

3 September 2014 - 5:34pm

On the morning of 30 August, the Freedom Express started its journey through Eastern and Central Europe from Gdansk, Poland. The touring study trip is taking twenty young Europeans on a journey to trace the historical events of 1989, a year that transformed Europe. Twenty-five years on from those spectacular events that triggered the collapse of communism in Europe, the organisers of the campaign are raising questions about that watershed. They are showing young people what the world was like on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and they are asking a new generation of Europeans what in their opinion has survived of the spirit of solidarity from 1989.

Participants taking part in the Europeana 1989 workshop in Gdansk. Neil Bates, Europeana (CC-BY-SA)

As you might already know, we have been actively engaged with the preservation of memories from that time period through our Europeana 1989 project, which was launched in Warsaw last year. So far, thousands of stories from people who lived through the time have been added to the website, both via online submissions and through collection days that have been held in a number of cities across Eastern and Central Europe. Now, we are very excited to have boarded the Freedom Express. At Europeana, we love taking new approaches to cultural history, and we understand that our collective history is much more than our books and official records. It is the experiences of real people that help to offer new perspectives and understanding, especially for new generations. So commemorating landmark periods in our history such as 1989 through innovative approaches such as Europeana 1989 and the Freedom Express is very  important, particularly for young people today.

Europeana on the Freedom Express

So far, the bus has passed through Gdansk and Warsaw in Poland. Participants had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the living protagonists of 1989 and talk with them directly. These are the people that not only shaped the time, but had a direct impact on the outcomes. Other highlights have included attending the official opening of the European Solidarity Centre, a speech on solidarity from the President of Poland, a tour of the Gdansk shipyards by a former worker and union activist, a Q&A session with the Culture Minister of Poland, attending Westerplatte at 4:47 to mark the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII, and an engaging re-enactment of life under martial law in Poland.

Video piece of Westerplatte commemorations, by Anna Kasperska, one of the study trip participants.

Europeana hosted its own workshop for participants to learn more about Europeana 1989. The 1-hour workshop introduced the group to the project and highlighted some of the fascinating stories that have been preserved as a result of it. A collection day for Europeana 1989 will be held while the group is in Berlin, where they are all invited to take part. They will get the chance to meet members of the general public that bring along their stories. Participants will also have the opportunity to get involved in the process of digitisation. If you are in Berlin yourself, please do come along with your stories and memorabilia from 1989. More information can be found on the Europeana 1989 website.

Participants get a taste of  life under martial law in Poland. Photograph by Paweł Radzikowski, European Network of Remembrance and Solidarity

You can get on board the Freedom Express virtually by following a collaborative blog that has been set up to document the journey through the eyes of the participants.  As Europeana has a seat on the Freedom Express, you can expect updates here on our own blog and new stories on 89 Voices. The Europeana 1989 Facebook and Twitter accounts will also be posting updates from the journey. So, plenty to watch out for.

 Next Stop, Budapest…

Categories: Europeana

Early 20th Century Water Cyclists

1 September 2014 - 10:33am

Cycling on water, it’s something we have been doing for decades. A water cycle is a bicycle-like watercraft that makes it possible for us move on water using our own legs. In the late 1890s this invention got the name hydrocycle.

To move forward, riders use a crank with pedals just as on a bicycle. The power the rider then puts into the pedals will be shifted to the water or the air via a propeller. For the bike to float on the water, pontoons or surfboards are used.

Below we highlight some vintage hydrocycles that took part in a race over Lake Enghien, France.

All images: French National Library, Public Domain. Explore the whole collection through Europeana.

Categories: Europeana

Dora Gabe, Bulgarian poet and social activist

26 August 2014 - 2:38pm

Dora and her sister Bela. Varna Public Library, CC0.

Today is the 126th birth anniversary of Bulgarian poet, children’s writer and social activist Dora Gabe (26 August 1888 – 16 November 1983). Not much information in English exists about this prolific writer. The child of a Russian immigrant, she was born and raised in Dobrogea, Bulgaria. She wrote poetry for adults and children, short stories, travel pieces and essays.  Her poems are still taught in schools in Bulgaria.

Here are a collection of photos of the life and times of Dora Gabe from the Varna Public Library. All images are CC0. For more photos of Dora Gabe, click here.

Categories: Europeana

Europeana Fashion’s Tumblr page has a new look

25 August 2014 - 5:02pm

By Gabrielle de Pooter, Communication Advisor Online Media Europeana Fashion Project

For over a year, the Europeana Fashion Tumblr blog has been showcasing monthly curations from Europe’s top fashion-and costume collections. Partners in the Europeana Fashion project make a special selection of images and video from their collections, some of which have never been shown before, from historic costumes to contemporary dresses.

So far, there have been 18 distinct curations on the Tumblr blog, representing the diversity of partners and collections in the Europeana Fashion project. Curations revolve around time periods, cultures, rites of passage, materials, accessories, brand identities, designers, exhibitions, etc. The collections come from public institutions, such as Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris or MoMu Fashion Museum in Antwerp, but also from privately owned archives such as Missoni and Pucci.


To celebrate and to reframe these 18 curations, Europeana Fashion and Europeana recently redesigned the look of the Tumblr blog. You can now view each curation separately and see information about the image or video directly under the thumbnails.

Currently, the Tumblr is showcasing images from the exhibition La Camicia Bianca. Seconde Me – Gianfranco Ferré. Gianfranco Ferré was a master in making fantastic variations of the classic white shirt. The x-ray-like photos by Leonardo Salvini show the shirts in haunting detail. In September, the Victoria and Albert Museum will curate a collection.

Go to:


Categories: Europeana

Last chance to enter round 2 of the eCreative Challenges!

21 August 2014 - 12:34pm

On 28 August, applications close for the current Europeana Creative Open Innovation Challenges on Tourism and Social Networks. So if you have an idea for a new app that uses Europeana content relating to these themes, enter now at

Need a creativity boost? Look at the Tourism pilot VanGoYourself or the beautiful visualisation of bird songs by the Australian artist Andy Thomas.

Categories: Europeana

17th Century Creepy Crawlies

20 August 2014 - 3:06pm

Insects have been incorporated in many historical artworks, mainly in the very realistic trompe l’oeil paintings and in the dark memento mori artworks. The little crawlies were included to demonstrate technical virtuosity and as symbols of evil and death, while butterflies represented transformation and resurrection.

Insects in themselves were considered unworthy as subjects for painting. By the 17th century however, the obsession with natural history and with insects as a miraculous part of the natural world took precedence, and symbolism was left behind. Insects became subjects of study and fascination.

Below we highlight a collection from Jan Augustin van der Goes. Explore more related records on Europeana.

All items are from the Rijksmuseum, Public Domain.

Categories: Europeana

17th Century Creepy Crawlies

20 August 2014 - 2:26pm

Insects have been incorporated in many historical artworks, mainly in the very realistic trompe l’oeil paintings and in the dark memento mori artworks. The little crawlies were included to demonstrate technical virtuosity and as symbols of evil and death, while butterflies represented transformation and resurrection.

Insects in themselves were considered unworthy as subjects for painting. By the 17th century however, the obsession with natural history and with insects as a miraculous part of the natural world took precedence, and symbolism was left behind. Insects became subjects of study and fascination.

Below we highlight a collection from Jan Augustin van der Goes. Explore more related records on Europeana.

All items are from the Rijksmuseum, Public Domain.

Categories: Europeana

Summer Snaps from WW1 Soldiers

14 August 2014 - 12:45pm

Even during the First World War soldiers would find some time to enjoy the warm weather. Soldiers weren’t expected to serve entirely in the front line or in the trenches. Fortunately for the troops, they spent a short period in rest. In a year, only about two months would be spent at rest, and not typically on leave. Perhaps two weeks would be spent on leave – if a soldier was lucky.

Visit Europeana 1914-1918 for more World War One materials or explore Europeana.

All images are contributed to Europeana 1914 – 1918 by Walter Naumann. Do you have an untold story of the First World War? Add your story here.

Categories: Europeana

Improving search across languages

13 August 2014 - 11:05am

By David Haskiya, Europeana’s Product Development Manager

At, we have content described in about 30-40 languages – all the languages of Europe and then some! This poses a huge challenge in developing our search function, as the user’s search keywords must match the words in an item’s description to get a ´hit´. If it doesn’t, it ‘misses’. Some examples: A search for Marc Antony would ‘miss’ an item about Marcus Antonius, a search for paintings would miss an item classified as ‘peintures’ (the French word for paintings), a search for Stolthet och fördom (the Swedish title of a well-known book by Jane Austen) would miss an item titled Pride and Prejudice and so on.

So how can we then make it possible to get more relevant search results across languages of description?

We’ve just added a new feature to the portal to help you find content across languages. Basically, the feature allows you to translate the keyword you search with into 6 languages and then the search is made with all of them. Let’s say you’ve defined English, French, Dutch, Polish, German and Swedish as the languages you want to search in. For example you would type in Marcus Antonius in the search box and your search would be translated into Marcus Antonius (German), Mark Antony (English), Marc Antoine (French), Marcus Antonius (Dutch), Marek Antoniusz (Polish), and Marcus Antonius (Swedish) and automatically expanded to use all these variations. The result is that you will now get hits in Europeana you would otherwise miss!


We call this query translation and it works best for when you search for named things: person name, place names, names for subjects and topics and for named historical periods. It doesn’t work well when you type in whole sentences like e.g., ´Please give me all paintings by Rembrandt´.

To activate the feature, you click on My Europeana in the portal menu and then on Language settings on the left-hand of the resulting page. There, you can choose your default language for the Europeana site itself, up to six languages to translate your search keywords to and, if you’re a registered My Europeana user, choose which language you want to automatically have item descriptions translated to. Then click the button ‘Save settings´ and the system will remember next time you visit the portal. After that just start searching!

We hope this feature will help you to better find what you’re looking for in Europeana and we plan to make further improvements to it during the year.


Categories: Europeana

Barbers and deep-fried snacks

9 August 2014 - 10:00am

Rotterdam. With its gorgeous harbour and no-nonsense citizens. Its multiculturalism and quirky architecture.
What you may not know about this Dutch city is its contribution to the world’s fastfood heritage –  ‘kapsalon’ – meaning barbershop. The dish is believed to have been invented by a barber who asked the Turkish lunchroom across the street to make a dish with his favourite things – shavings of meat, fries, melted cheese and salad.
These photos on the city’s snack culture are by Joris den Blaauwen. All images Historisch Museum Rotterdam, CC BY.

Categories: Europeana

Helping cultural heritage institutions get their content on Wikipedia

6 August 2014 - 10:36am

You’re probably quite familiar with Wikipedia, the most popular encyclopaedia in the world, with more than 500 million unique visitors per month and millions of articles in 287 languages. Many articles make use of images that are hosted on Wikimedia Commons, a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language.

In order to help cultural heritage institutions such as museums, archives, libraries and galleries upload their openly licensed content to Wikimedia Commons, Europeana together with four national Wikimedia organisations created a tool that allows these institutions to batch-upload their content to Wikimedia. In other words: For the first time, cultural organisations can use a standardised tool to transfer thousands of items to the world’s largest collection of openly-licensed content.

Screenshot of a GLAMWiki Toolset batch upload

What does this mean for you? Over the coming months, the illustrations in Wikipedia articles will increasingly include images shared by the cultural organisations themselves. Wikipedia volunteers will insert and contextualise this high quality content, massively increasing the global reach of these collections and improving the encyclopaedia at the same time.

Europeana hopes that by providing this tool, we help cultural institutions to open up their collections and make their heritage content available to the millions of people worldwide that use Wikipedia as a valuable source of information.

In case you’re interested: you can find more information about the GLAMwiki toolset on our Pro blog.

Categories: Europeana

Wear your hattitude!

28 July 2014 - 5:09pm

Girl in a Large Hat. Rijksmuseum, Public Domain

Hats are wonderful and tricky at the same time. What started out as a functional piece of clothing to protect the wearer from the sun and the wind, has moved on to a fashion accessory. They are still extremely useful. They feature in numerous idioms in the English language (hats off, I’ll eat my hat, if the cap fits etc), indicating how they were an integral part of a person’s outfit.
The hipster flat hat or sock-on-head look may be scoffed at by many today, but your headgear really tells people who you are. London milliner to royalty and other celebrities Philip Treacy said in an interview last year, ‘Not long ago, a hat was a conformist accessory. Then the 1960s came along and young people didn’t want to wear hats. Today, it’s rebels who wear hats. Hats have remained the same object but the meaning has changed.’
So go on, find your hattitude! Here’s some inspiration from Europeana to get you started.

All the sketches are from Amsterdam Museum, CC BY. The Girl in a Large Hat is from Rijksmuseum, Public Domain.

Categories: Europeana

New Virtual Exhibition: “To My Peoples!”

23 July 2014 - 12:09pm

Together with the Austrian National Library and Google Cultural Institute we created a new virtual exhibition to commemorate the First World War. Based on the physical exhibition curated by renowned historian Univ.-Prof. Dr. Manfried Rauchensteiner, aspects of the First World War’s history are presented in seven chapters and illustrated by material accessible through Europeana.

The exhibition guides you through the Emperor’s manifestos, from announcements for mobilisation, to administering shortages, to dealing with prisoners of war and refugees. It focuses on the role of Emperor Franz Joseph and his successor and grandnephew Karl. The big influence of the First World War on children is presented in remarkable drawings and letters by students in the chapter “My dear Pupils”. The exhibitions ends with a selection of photographs from the front, the hinterland and life in the field.

All items in this virtual exhibition are on Europeana 1914 – 1918, where we collect World War One related materials from Cultural Institutions and stories from the public such as unpublished letters, photographs and keepsakes from the war are being collected and digitised.

Digitisation nowadays plays a vital role in discovering interesting artefacts to illustrate history and to enable transnational perspectives on historic events. Hans Petschar, Historian and Librarian at the Austrian National Library: “Europeana 1914-1918 permits to overcome National stereotypes and nationalist historical views on the First World War dominating the Centenary events 2014. Looking at the fascinating individual memories from all regions and parts of Europe we can imagine the scientific potential of transnational and global views on the Great War.”

For the first time we have created a virtual exhibition together with Google Cultural Institute. Simon Rein, Programme Manager at Google: “We’re very excited about our partnership with Europeana, and especially delighted that through our cooperation, the Austrian National Library was able to create a fascinating online exhibit on First World War memorabilia during this centenary year. This launch is what the Google Cultural Institute is about – providing tools and services that enable our partners to tell important stories and share diverse perspectives on the cultural and historic events that have shaped our world. We look forward to continuing this important work with our partners.”

Visit Google Cultural Institute to explore the exhibition

All items are from the Austrian National Library. Read more on the Austrian National Library’s Research and Development Department blog.


Categories: Europeana

‘Women, beware of bicycle face!’

18 July 2014 - 3:13pm

On 27 July, the last day of Tour de France, women cyclists will compete in a one-day race to cross the famous Champs-Elysees finish line first. The event is significant because it will bring a lot of attention to women in the sport.

It is hard to imagine that a little over a century ago, women were discouraged from riding their bicycles. In the late 19th century, medical professionals  made up a disease called ‘Bicycle Face’ to discourage women from cycling. The increasing availability of cycles brought women mobility and the independence to travel alone. This of course threatened the male hegemony.
The solution was to scare women into believing that riding bicycles would cause their eyes to bulge, and their chins to jut out due to the strain to keep their balance on the bikes. These were considered undesirable female features.

The women in these late 19th century posters found via clearly were not suffering from ‘Bicycle Face’!

All images are in the Public Domain and from the National Library of France. More cycle-themed images here.


Motocycles Comiot, Paris 87 Boulevart Gouvion St Cyr : [affiche]

La Société Decauville ne fait pas courir .. . Cycles Decauville, pneu Michelin ou autres … : [affiche]

Nordisk Cyclefabrik… Copenhagen… : [affiche]

Gladiator cycles : [affiche]

Hurtu Diligeon & Cie… : [affiche]

Cycles Sirius, P. Cusset, constructeur à Lavallois-Perret : [affiche]

Vélodrome d’hiver. Palais des arts libéraux (cycles Humber) à 2h tous les dimanches (machines pneus Dunlop) : [affiche]

Cycles Humber : [affiche]

La Guêpe… bicyclette de haute précision… : [affiche]

Pièces détachées et Cycles Brillant. 1900, Exposition Universelle, Médaille d’argent : [affiche]

Cycles motos Armor : [affiche]


Categories: Europeana

How do you communicate earth’s cultural heritage to aliens?

10 July 2014 - 2:21pm

Imagine a spaceship that is sent on an intergalactic mission. It is unmanned, but there is a little bit of room for an object that represents earth’s shared cultural heritage, in the event that the spaceship is found by an intelligent extra-terrestrial life form. What object would you include?

This question is not actually hypothetical. A golden disc was included on board the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes that were launched in 1977 and 1976 respectively, each containing a carefully selected series of images and sounds that represent human history and culture. In addition, the discs contained instructions on how to play the gold-plated record and a rough indication of earth’s position relative to some notable cosmic objects.

The Sounds of Earth (Public Domain, source: NASA)

The content for the ‘bottle in the cosmic ocean’ was selected by a committee chaired by the late astrophysicist Carl Sagan. The team decided on 116 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, thunder and animals. In addition, musical selections from different cultures and eras were included, as well as spoken greetings in more than fifty ancient and modern languages.

The idea behind the golden record is that intelligent alien life forms that would encounter one of the spaceships carrying the golden record would get an idea about life on our small planet and get a taste of our cultural diversity. In that sense, the mission of the discs is similar to that of institutes such as Europeana – to collect, preserve and disseminate the diversity of culture – on a much smaller, but very intriguing scale.

Voyager 1 (Public Domain, source: NASA)

At the moment, being more than 19,000,000,000 kilometres away from earth, Voyager 1 is currently the most remote human-made object ever. After travelling for nearly 40 years, the spacecraft is now outside our solar system and in interstellar space. However, don’t expect the space probe and its disc to be found by alien life soon: it is estimated that at its current speed, Voyager 1 needs another 40,000 years of flight at its current speed to reach its first star.

Categories: Europeana

The (Army) Lives of WW1

8 July 2014 - 5:45pm

The (Army) Lives of WW1 is a new Pinterest board by Europeana to commemorate the beginning of World War One. All the images are sourced from our Europeana 1914-1918 website. Some of it is from people like you who came to our roadshows to contribute to our collection, and some of it is from the great institutions of Europe.
Through these images, we want to honour the memory of the war and the lives that were wasted during it. We would also like to show you unusual photos that throw new light on what it was like to live through the war.
We collaborated with the European Commission (EC) for this Pinterest Board, as we thought it was important to create awareness about the heartache and loss of war, and pay tribute to the indomitable human spirit. The EC also created their own board where they repined many of the images that we surfaced.

Jörg Große Munkenbeck, CC-BY-SA

Jörg Große Munkenbeck CC-BY-SA

Carola Eugster CC-BY-SA

Field hospital

Categories: Europeana

Vintage Photographs: Tour de France

4 July 2014 - 5:17pm

Today, the most prestigious cycling race, Le Tour de France, kicks off in Leeds, England on 5 July 2014. Every year, it is watched by audiences in 190 countries. This year, Tour de France participants will cycle through 4 countries to end in Paris on 27 July. What makes it extra special is that for the first time, there will be a women’s edition called La Course by Le Tour de France.

Who do you think will win the Yellow Jersey?

Here are some beautiful vintage photographs of Le Tour participants. Explore thousands of Tour de France related items through Europeana.

All images are from the French Nation Library, Public Domain. The European Library

Categories: Europeana