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© Alberto Favaro

EC Representation in Malta

From football boots to spaceships, from mediaeval comics to Caravaggio. EU Ministers pick their top treasures in Europeana
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08/05/2012 15:02:42

Digitised versions of the very best of Europe's sporting, literary, artistic and cultural heritage will be in the spotlight in Brussels – and online - on Wednesday 9th May, Europe Day. EU Culture Ministers have chosen their top treasures to add to the 23 million books, artworks, photographs and other items on Europeana, Europe's digital library, archive and museum ( Their choices are as wide and varied as Europe's rich history.

    Malta chose Les Gavroches, one of Anto­nio Sciortino’s most famous sculptures. Finland's choice of Nokia football boot studs celebrates how this sport became part of a global culture and a springboard for a global business giant. Both Lithuania and Slovenia have their eyes to the skies: Lithuania selected Artis Magnae Artilleriae by Kazimieras Simonavičius, a 1650 discussion of rocketry and pyrotechnics. Slovenia's choice "The problem of Space Travel" from 1929 proposed a wheel-shaped space station design which inspired the designs in 2001 - A Space Odyssey. Austria's selection; Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath was part of the collections from Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum which took Europeana past the milestone of more than 20 million milestone.

    Ministers from all EU countries have selected their top treasures to be unveiled in Brussels on 9th May. Many ministers have also given the story behind their choices in blog posts being published on the Europeana website over the coming days. First up was Alena Hanáková, Czech Minster of Culture, who chose the 14th century Velislav Bible. This 200-page book with hundreds of vivid drawings tells stories from the Old and New Testaments and the Legend of Saint Wenceslas in a graphic style that prefigures the Czech comic book tradition.

    These items and the theme of cultural heritage as a driver of innovation are on the agenda at the high-level Brussels event. It will also launch Hack4Europe 2012 which challenges Europe's digital designers, programmers and developers to come up with innovative applications based on the open data and wealth of cultural objects in Europeana.

    Neelie Kroes said "Europeana celebrates what Europe does best: culture. I want to thank the Ministers for creating these new connections between different national cultures. And I am proud that Europeana is becoming the Wikipedia of culture."
    The Commission has proposed a sustainable funding solution for Europeana and related activities for 2014-2020 as part of the digital services infrastructures to be supported by the Connecting Europe Facility (see IP/11/1200 and MEMO/11/709).

    Today, Europeana ( gives people access to over 23 million books, paintings, films, recordings, photographs and archival records from over 2,200 partner organisations, in 29 languages. In October 2011, the European Commission challenged Member States to develop solid plans and build partnerships to place 30 million objects in Europeana by 2015. (see IP/11/1292 and MEMO/11/745)

    Digitisation is the transformation into digital format of text and photos from paper, films from reels, music from vinyl or videos from tape, so it can be accessed from a computer and consulted online. For text and photos, this involves scanning. Digitisation is essential for the better dissemination of cultural content on the Internet. rolls multimedia library, museum and archive into one website. It gives direct access to items including digitised books, audio and film material, photos, paintings, maps, manuscripts, newspapers and archival documents that constitute an important part of Europe’s cultural heritage. Visitors can explore different collections from Europe’s cultural institutions in their own language, without having to visit multiple sites or countries.

    On 9 May Commissioner Neelie Kroes will also launch Hack4Europe! 2012. Hack4Europe! 2012 consists of events in five different countries – Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Latvia and Poland - organised by Europeana and partners between 9 May and 21 June. Each hackathon will bring together up to 30 developers, designers and programmers who will compete to develop their ideas for the creative re-use of Europeana data and to build applications showcasing the social and business value of open cultural data. Developers can work as they choose on mobile apps, mash-ups, social curation, and user annotations.

    Each hackathon will identify winners in four categories: best commercial viability; greatest social impact; most innovative app; and developers' pick. One overall winner per category will be selected and presented with a prize at the Digital Agenda Assembly on 21-22 June in Brussels.

    Useful links:
    Photos of digitised masterpieces;
    Hack for Europe2012;
    Europeana, Europe's digital library, archive and museum;
    Recommendation on the digitalisation of cultural material and its preservation on line ;
    Digital Agenda website;
    Neelie Kroes' website;
    Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter



    Last update: 10/05/2012  |Top