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Commission kick-starts a common European data space for cultural heritage

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The Commission has published a recommendation on a common European data space for cultural heritage. The aim is to accelerate the digitization of all cultural heritage monuments and sites, objects and artefacts for future generations, to protect and preserve those at risk, and boost their reuse in domains such as education, sustainable tourism and cultural creative sectors.

A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said: “The tragic burning of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris showed the importance of digitally preserving culture and the lockdowns highlighted the need for virtually accessible cultural heritage. A robust data infrastructure coupled to easy data pooling and sharing are the necessary ingredients of a common European data space for cultural heritage.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “We owe the preservation of our European cultural heritage to future generations. This requires building and deploying our own technological capabilities, empowering people and businesses to enjoy and make the most of this heritage. We must take advantage of the opportunities brought by artificial intelligence, data, and extended reality. The European data space for cultural heritage will promote creation and innovation within the cultural heritage sector, and beyond, in education, tourism, and cultural and creative sectors.”

Europeana, the European digital cultural platform, will be at the core of the common data space for cultural heritage. It will allow museums, galleries, libraries, archives across Europe to share and reuse the digitised cultural heritage images such as 3D models of historical sites and high quality scans of paintings. The Commission encourages member states to digitize by 2030 all monuments and sites that are at risk of degradation and half of those highly frequented by tourists.

This recommendation will contribute to the objectives of the Digital Decade by fostering a secure and sustainable digital infrastructure, digital skills and uptake of technologies by businesses, in particular SMEs. As announced in the European strategy for data, the Commission will develop and fund other data spaces in key strategy sectors and areas of public interest, such as health, agriculture or manufacturing.

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