Europeana is a project developed by the Commission to incentive member states to digitalise and enhance digital preservation in Europe. The portal provides free access to a wide array of digital content.

Europeana is a simple but powerful tool for finding resources from all over Europe. Books, journals, films, maps, photos, music etc. are available for everyone to consult – and to use, copyright permitting.

On 27 October 2011, the Commission adopted a Recommendation on Digitisation and Digital Preservation. The Recommendation asks the Member States to step up their efforts, pool their resources and involve private actors in digitising cultural material and make it available through Europeana. The vision is to make culture openly accessible in a digital way, to promote the exchange of ideas and information.

The Europeana Foundation's objectives are:

  • to make Europe's cultural and scientific heritage available through the cross-domain portal;
  • to work with museums, archives, audiovisual archives and libraries to deliver the portal and make it sustainable;
  • to import digitised items into the portal;
  • to encourage and support the digitisation of more of Europe's cultural and scientific heritage.

Europeana has developed into a fully operational service, and more content is continuously being added to the library. At the present over 24 million digital items are accessible.

Partners and contributors to Europeana work, alongside national and thematic aggregators, to help providing content to Europeana and the portal.

Support to growth and jobs

Europeana will be a hub for the creative industries and facilitate economic activity based on digitised cultural resources.

Digitised material from cultural institutions can be re-used for developing learning and educational content, documentaries, tourism applications, games, animations and design tools. In addition, Europeana can be an important test-bed for new technologies and innovative ideas that can then make their way to the marketplace.

Europeana Strategy 2015 - 2020: 'We transform the world with culture'

Data Exchange Agreement (DEA)

The Europeana Foundation adopted a Data Exchange Agreement (DEA), which authorises Europeana to release the metadata of the available collections into the public domain through Creative Commons - CC0 public domain license.

New content providers submitting metadata to Europeana shall do so in accordance to the DEA. For more details, please read the 'Europeana Rights Guidelines'.

Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) - Access to digital resources of European heritage

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is one of the key initiatives proposed by the Commission in the context of its package for delivering sustainable growth and jobs, directly related to the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth.

Funding for digital services aims to help building infrastructure needed to roll out e-ID, eProcurement, electronic health care records, Europeana, eJustice and customs-related services. It also wants to ensure interoperability and meet the costs of running the infrastructure at European level, linking up Member States' infrastructures.

  1. CEF will fund the continuous coordination, operation, maintenance, enhancement and promotion of the central services of the Europeana portal and infrastructure and related networks including.
  2. CEF will fund also generic services, like the aggregation of content held by cultural institutions and private content holders in the Member States; crowd-sourcing facilities encouraging interactivity; user-friendly services for the portal as well as cross-language access.

Europeana - timeline of the Digitisation Initiative

Team responsible
26 March 2013
Last update: 
17 October 2017