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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: 2 hours 54 min ago

Early 20th Century Water Cyclists

5 hours 3 min ago

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

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

4 July 2014 - 12:27pm

By Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen

Saturday, 28 June this year marked one hundred years since 19-year-old Serbian Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, sparking controversy and anger all across Europe and eventually leading to the outbreak of war in August 1914. So what exactly happened, how did it lead to one of the bloodiest wars in history and what kind of film footage relating to the event is available today?

Archduke Franz Ferdinand was commanded by the Emperor of Austria to go to Sarajevo to make an inspection of the Austro-Hungarian troops stationed there. The presence of Austria-Hungary in Bosnia angered the Serbian freedom fighter group, The Black Hand, who were part of a movement to seek independence of the Slavic people from Austro-Hungarian rule. Having attempted the assassination of other Austro-Hungarian officials, seven members of the group seized this opportunity and conspired to kill the Archduke during his visit to Sarajevo.

On the morning of 28 June 1914, everything was set in place. Assassins had been prepared along the route of the procession. When the cars containing the Archduke and his wife passed the first and second assassin, both failed to act. The third assassin along the route threw a grenade at the car but it missed and exploded under the car following the Archduke, injuring about 20 people. The driver of the Archduke’s car, realising what had happened, decided to drive away from the procession and in doing so, passed the other three assassins, but drove so quickly that they were unable to carry out their plans. It seemed as though they had missed their opportunity.

Assassin Gavrilo Princip made his way out of the crowds and contemplated what to do next. In the meantime, the Archduke decided to abandon the rest of the planned procession to visit those who had been injured in the blast earlier that day. The driver, unsure of the way to the hospital, took a wrong turn down the very road along which Princip was walking. The young Serbian could not believe his luck when his target’s car drove straight down the road towards him. He fired two shots into the car and both the Archduke and his wife, Sofia, were killed almost instantly.

This assassination caused an uproar across Europe and set off an accelerated chain of events. Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the attack and sent them an ultimatum, which was supported by Austria-Hungary’s ally, Germany. While Serbia accepted most of Austria-Hungary’s demands, there were some upon which the two countries could not agree and as a result both the Austro-Hungarian and the Serbian armies mobilised for attack. Russia, in support of Serbia, also prepared for war, while Germany refused Britain’s demand to declare support for Belgian neutrality in case of war and also began to mobilise its army. Less than two weeks after Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum to Serbia was issued, Serbia, Russia, and its allies France, Belgium and Great Britain had declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary, and World War One had begun.

EFG1914’s Virtual Exhibition, CC BY-SA

EFG1914’s Virtual Exhibition gives an indication of how even films covering the same events can be used to tell their own stories. The page titled ´Same images, different stories’ uses the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife as examples of the way that events can be dramatised and exaggerated for a more impressive cinematic experience, with one reenactment of the event having been released as late as 1968 (Sarajevski atentat: Yugoslavia, 1968).

Other remaining newsreel footage from films such as Das Attentat auf den Thronfolger Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand am 28. Juni 1914 in Sarajevo (Austria-Hungary, 1914)

Das Attentat auf den Thronfolger Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand am 28. Juni 1914 in Sarajevo (Austria-Hungary, 1914), CC BY-SA

and Zum Attentat gegen das österreichische Thronfolgerpaar (Germany, 1914)

Zum Attentat gegen das österreichische Thronfolgerpaar (Germany, 1914), CC BY-SA

highlight the paramount significance of the assassination on an international scale, and anticipate the rise of the international newsreel, which would become a dominant mode of European film in the four years to follow.

Categories: Europeana

WW1 Centenary: Historical Photographs

26 June 2014 - 11:44am

Saturday marks the day recognised as the beginning of the First World War. The Great War was a conflict on an unprecedented scale that affected the everyday lives of virtually all Europeans and many people living in other parts of the world. The memory of the war, its events and consequences, its victims and victors, all remain very much alive today. It has become part of the individual and collective memory of Europe.

Below we’re highlighting historical photographs related to World War One, photos that keep our memories alive. Explore Europeana 1914-1918 or Europeana for thousands of items related to the war.

Images: Europeana 1914-1918, National Library of Scotland, National Library of France

Categories: Europeana

Winners of the Europeana video remix competition

23 June 2014 - 5:47pm

Trying to figure out whether you are allowed to use that fantastic photo you found online the other day of a cat eating pasta without stepping on any copyright toes is quite challenging.

In order to help Google-fiend teenagers understand the different licensing agreements, the National Audiovisual Institute of Poland recently ran the Europeana Video Remix competition  for school children in Poland.

Maria Drabczyk from the National Audiovisual Institute, Poland, says, ´In short, Europeana Video Remix was an attempt to bring archival resources closer to the younger generation. Their task was to select one of the four themes of competition, matching them with relevant archives available on the portals associated with Europeana (images, photographs, sounds, videos or other digital objects) and assemble them in a remix.’ They wanted to understand how much (or little) adolescents know about access to online materials with the reality of a teenage user of the archives online.

Results showed that there is still a lot to be learnt about how to re-use stuff you find on the internet. But there were fairly impressive entries. Here are two of the winning videos:

Credit: Bartosz Aziewicz, Kuba Kalcowski, Magdalena Ludwicka – Back to fun! CC BY



Credit: Marcin Nowak, Historyczny euro-mix CC BY NC

To watch the other entries, click here.

Categories: Europeana

Get on board the Freedom Express

16 June 2014 - 3:18pm

Here’s your chance to participate in an epic two-week journey in search of traces of events that were instrumental in changing the face of Europe. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of Communism in Europe, a study trip ‘Freedom Express’ will take 20 exceptionally creative individuals aged 18-28 through Poland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and the Czech Republic.

During the trip, the participants will log sketches of their observations, photos, films and audio footage as well as essays that will form the content of a blog, which will cover the successive stages of the trip as it happens. All of this will also contribute to a documentary, showing a creative interdisciplinary dialogue between the young artists and places of memory.

Applications are open for the contest until 30 June 2014. For the application form, terms and conditions of recruitment and programme details, please see The trip will take place from 29 August-14 September 2014, and will include workshops, lectures, film screenings, meetings with witnesses of the historical events, visits to memorial sites and institutions documenting that era of European history.

Europeana supports the organisers of the event – European Network Remembrance and Solidarity – in their effort to commemorate the fall of the Iron Curtain.


Categories: Europeana