In parallel with the European Heritage Days taking place all across Europe in September, the photo competition "Wiki loves monuments" is ongoing in 18 European countries ...
... with the aim of encouraging the public to rediscover the cultural, historical and scientific significance of their neighbourhood.
From Russia to Spain and from Romania to the Netherlands, thousands of Europeans have taken their cameras to share the richness of the cultural heritage of their neighbourhood. The competition "Wiki loves monuments" organised by Wikimedia has the ambitious goal to make European cultural heritage more widely accessible to the world through the Internet.
Since the beginning of the month, a great number of volunteers have uploaded on Wikipedia more than 50,000 photos of cultural heritage they have visited. Several prizes are at stake for the participants- national prizes, but also European ones. Europeana, Europe's digital library, is promoting a European Prize for Art Nouveau.
Germany, France and the Netherlands have been the countries with the highest number of uploads so far. Among the most active uploaders is a user called Hippie Bug93, who despite being new to the Wikimedia projects has already contributed almost 130 pictures.
Hippie Bug93, in the real world a 17-year-old named Daniel, became aware of the contest through local press coverage and his hometown's Facebook account. In a partnership with Wikimedia Germany, Bergheim, a small city near Cologne, calls upon its citizens to photograph the monuments in their neighbourhood and upload them to Wikimedia Commons.
As a member of the local cultural heritage club, Daniel has been interested in the region's history and old buildings for a long time. For the contest, Daniel is taking his hometown village by village, with the printed lists from Wikipedia as a guide.
"My interest in heritage was aroused by family members' stories and by my primary school teacher, who told us about the importance of knowing the past" says Daniel. "Young people can only become interested if there is a message, a story. If one knows the story behind an old building, one may see the heritage in a different light."
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Kilian Kluge contributed to the article with Daniel's interview and profile.