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Culture and Creativity

European digital heritage

Digital technologies provide new opportunities to preserve cultural content and to make cultural heritage more accessible to all audiences. Museums and cultural organisations that embrace technology are able to offer innovative visitor experiences, as well as let the public access exhibitions remotely and see material that is not on display.

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT) is in charge of policy, coordination and funding actions to support Member States’ digitisation and online access to cultural material and digital preservation.

Find out more about digital cultural heritage.

Europeana – Europe’s digital platform to empower cultural heritage

The mission of Europeana is to empower the cultural heritage sector in its digital transformation. It supports thousands of European museums, archives and libraries to offer free access to digitalised versions of artworks, books and music.

Europeana has been funded since 2008 under the Connecting Europe Facility Programme.

Discover the vast collection on Europeana.

Digitisation and digital preservation

The European Commission encourages policy debate among stakeholders on digitisation and digital preservation, as outlined in the 2011 Commission Recommendation [pdf] on the subject.

Find out more about Digitisation and Digital Preservation.

Through the Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020, the Commission invests in the development of digital tools and cutting-edge technologies to support cultural heritage. The next Horizon Europe programme will continue this focus.

Digital technologies will be a cross-cutting issue in topics addressing:

  • the protection and restoration of cultural heritage
  • sustainable financing of museums and cultural institutions
  • revival of traditional crafts
  • strengthening the innovation potential of the cultural and creative sectors

Digital heritage in the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018

The European Year of Cultural Heritage recognised cultural heritage as a broad spectrum of resources inherited in all forms and aspects: tangible, intangible and digital - both 'born digital' or digitised.

During the year, participants addressed the challenges and opportunities presented by digital technologies for the heritage sector. The key objectives were to

  • promote solutions which make cultural heritage accessible to all, including via digital means
  • support the development of specialised skills and to improve knowledge management and knowledge transfer to the cultural heritage sector
  • promote research and innovation in relation to cultural heritage

Several initiatives highlighting the intersection between cultural and digital heritage were implemented during the European Year, such as the ‘Story Map’. This online interactive tool was developed by the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) to provide quick, easy-to-access and user-friendly information about cultural heritage initiatives in Europe.

Other highlighted projects

Connecting Early Medieval European Collections (CEMEC)

This project applied cutting-edge technology through a collaborative network of exhibits from different countries. Funded under the Creative Europe programme, it produced

  • a travelling exhibition on connectivity and exchange during the Early Middle Ages in Europe
  • high-quality 3D models
  • digital applications and animations to enrich the exhibition experience

Find out more about the CEMEC project.


EUdigiTAC is an open platform for artisans to share and show ways of working with crafts. Funded under the Creative Europe programme, it helped weavers and textile handicraft experts use social media to share their knowledge and to inspire young people.

Find out more about EUdigiTAC.


Working with people with disabilities, this project developed innovative technological solutions to increase access to cultural artefacts with funding from the Horizon 2020 programme. These artefacts included

  • sign language video avatars
  • tactile artwork reliefs
  • barrier-free apps for museum visits
  • games for smartphones and tablets

Find out more about Arches.