Insights European Commission proposes a common European data space for cultural heritage

The European Commission has published a Recommendation on creating a common European data space for cultural heritage. The aim is to accelerate the digitisation of cultural heritage assets and to seize the opportunities created by the digital transformation.

The Recommendation covers all types of cultural heritage: tangible, intangible, natural, “born digital” (defined as “assets created in a digital form, such as digital art or animation, virtual museums, without an analogue equivalent, or cultural content created outside cultural heritage institutions, such as on social media or the gaming industry”), and all categories of cultural heritage at risk.

The Commission recommends Member States accelerate the digitisation 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.

The Commission encourages Member States to digitise all monuments and sites that are at risk of degradation, and half of those highly frequented by tourists, by 2030. The idea is to create a secure and sustainable digital infrastructure, expand digital skills and encourage uptake of technologies by businesses, in particular SMEs.

The European digital cultural platform, Europeana, will be the basis on which the common data space for cultural heritage will be built. It will allow museums, galleries, libraries, archives across Europe to share and reuse digitised cultural heritage images, such as 3D models of historical sites, which may also increase opportunities for cultural heritage institutions to reach wider audiences with more immersive experiences that include virtual access to places, and high-quality scans of paintings.

Member States must inform the Commission of actions taken in response to the Recommendation in two years’ time and every two years thereafter. A newly formed Commission Expert Group on the common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage will monitor the progress of the implementation of the Recommendation. Its members are appointed representatives from all Member States. To read the Commission’s news release and to access the Recommendation text, click here.