DCAT Application Profile for data portals in Europe

Metadata standard

When is this solution for you? 

You work in the area of government metadata management and want to check up on and possibly reuse semantic assets (metadata and/or reference data), or understand semantic interoperability requirements and tools. You are looking for lessons learnt and case studies. You want to share your own semantic assets.

What can we offer you? 

The DCAT Application Profile for data portals (DCAT-AP) provides a common specification for describing public sector datasets in Europe to enable the exchange of descriptions of datasets among data portals.

The DCAT-AP makes the following possible:

  • Data catalogues can describe their dataset collections using a standardised description, while keeping their own system for documenting and storing them.
  • Content aggregators, such as the pan-European data portal, can aggregate such descriptions into a single point of access.
  • Data consumers can more easily find datasets from a single point of access.

DCAT-AP has an extension GeoDCAT-AP for describing geospatial datasets, dataset series and services. 

Another extension StatDCAT-AP aims to deliver specifications and tools that enhance interoperability between descriptions of statistical data sets within the statistical domain and between statistical data and open data portals.

Our solution at a glance 
Is this solution open source?:
Any questions? 

Contact the semantic interoperability team on Joinup.

​Contact the project officer.

Contact the Interoperability Unit of DG Informatics (please use the subject line ‘semantic standards’).

Who is already using this solution? 


Oystein Asnes

Difi, Norway"DCAT-AP is the core model for describing and exchanging descriptions of public sector datasets in Norway. It ensures interoperability between data portals and a common ground for describing datasets across public sector domains. It’s also a useful tool for information governance purposes within public sector organisations. Norway is building a national common data catalogue based on DCAT-AP including public, restricted and non-public datasets. The project is one of the actions taken to increase government-to-government reuse and to achieve the once only principle. DCAT-AP with its linked data approach, has been vital for this project."

Øystein Åsnes, Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi)


Daniele Rizzi

European Data Portal: "The European Data Portal makes data available and reusable across Europe. This is done by harvesting metadata from the Member States’ data portals and making them available and searchable through the European Data Portal. Unfortunately, the format and structure of metadata differ from portal to portal. This problem can be addressed by making use of a single, harmonised model, the DCAT-AP specification, which has been developed by the European Commission."

Daniele Rizzi, DG Connect


Dietmar Gattwinkel


Christian Horn

German Data Portal: "The German Data Portal had developed its own metadata standard prior to the establishment of DCAT-AP. Faced with necessary improvements to the standard after several years of operation, GOVData's steering committee voted for the implementation of a specification fully-compliant with DCAT-AP in order to enhance interoperability with other national and pan-European open data portals. We also felt that adopting DCAT-AP meant that we could profit from the lessons learned in other implementations and that working jointly with other European partners would make maintaining and improving the standard so much easier."

Dietmar Gattwinkel, Free State of Saxony and Christian Horn, GovData Business Office

European Union Open Data Portal: "The use of an international standard for metadata publishing is crucial for interoperability of data portals and harmonisation of data coming from different sources. DCAT-AP is not overcomplicated, allows sufficient flexibility but at the same time covers the most essential metadata requirements. It also corresponds to the modern technological challenges and is an indispensable element for moving towards trustful linked open data."

Agnieszka Zajac, Publications Office of the EU


Andrea Perego, JRC

JRC Data Catalogue: "Metadata interoperability is an issue also for research data, where different communities use domain-specific standards, not always compatible. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is using DCAT-AP and its extensions in order to address this issue in its corporate data catalogue, which provides a single point of access and discovery for the multidisciplinary data produced at JRC, and feeds the European Union Open Data Portal."  

Andrea Perego, DG JRC

Other users:




Key facts and figures 

Open Data Support has harmonised the descriptions of more than 83 000 datasets from 15 national open data portals (Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia,  Slovenia, Sweden, Spain, UK) and the EU ODP using the DCAT-AP.