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Brussels, 8 May 2012

From football boots to spaceships, from mediaeval comics to Caravaggio. EU Ministers pick their top treasures in Europeana.

Digitised versions of the very best of Europe's sporting, literary, artistic and cultural heritage will be in the spotlight in Brussels – and online - on Wednesday 9th May, Europe Day. EU Culture Ministers have chosen their top treasures to add to the 23 million books, artworks, photographs and other items on Europeana, Europe's digital library, archive and museum. ( choices are as wide and varied as Europe's rich history.

Finland's choice of Nokia football boot studs celebrates how this sport became part of a global culture and a springboard for a global business giant. Both Lithuania and Slovenia have their eyes to the skies: Lithuania selected Artis Magnae Artilleriae by Kazimieras Simonavičius, a 1650 discussion of rocketry and pyrotechnics. Slovenia's choice "The problem of Space Travel" from 1929 proposed a wheel-shaped space station design which inspired the designs in 2001 - A Space Odyssey. Austria's selection; Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath was part of the collections from Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum which took Europeana past the milestone of more than 20 million milestone. (See annex for more choices)

Ministers from all EU countries have selected their top treasures to be unveiled in Brussels on 9th May. Many ministers have also given the story behind their choices in blog posts being published on the Europeana website over the coming days. First up was Alena Hanáková, Czech Minster of Culture, who chose the 14th century Velislav Bible. This 200-page book with hundreds of vivid drawings tells stories from the Old and New Testaments and the Legend of Saint Wenceslas in a graphic style that prefigures the Czech comic book tradition.

These items and the theme of cultural heritage as a driver of innovation are on the agenda at the high-level Brussels event. It will also launch Hack4Europe 2012 which challenges Europe's digital designers, programmers and developers to come up with innovative applications based on the open data and wealth of cultural objects in Europeana.

Neelie Kroes said "Europeana celebrates what Europe does best: culture. I want to thank the Ministers for creating these new connections between different national cultures. And I am proud that Europeana is becoming the Wikipedia of culture."

The Commission has proposed a sustainable funding solution for Europeana and related activities for 2014-2020 as part of the digital services infrastructures to be supported by the Connecting Europe Facility (see IP/11/1200 and MEMO/11/709)


Today, Europeana ( gives people access to over 23 million books, paintings, films, recordings, photographs and archival records from over 2,200 partner organisations, in 29 languages. In October 2011, the European Commission challenged Member States to develop solid plans and build partnerships to place 30 million objects in Europeana by 2015. (see IP/11/1292 and MEMO/11/745)

Digitisation is the transformation into digital format of text and photos from paper, films from reels, music from vinyl or videos from tape, so it can be accessed from a computer and consulted online. For text and photos, this involves scanning. Digitisation is essential for the better dissemination of cultural content on the Internet. rolls multimedia library, museum and archive into one website. It gives direct access to items including digitised books, audio and film material, photos, paintings, maps, manuscripts, newspapers and archival documents that constitute an important part of Europe’s cultural heritage. Visitors can explore different collections from Europe’s cultural institutions in their own language, without having to visit multiple sites or countries.

On 9 May Commissioner Neelie Kroes will also launch Hack4Europe! 2012. Hack4Europe! 2012 consists of events in five different countries – Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Latvia and Poland - organised by Europeana and partners between 9 May and 21 June. Each hackathon will bring together up to 30 developers, designers and programmers who will compete to develop their ideas for the creative re-use of Europeana data and to build applications showcasing the social and business value of open cultural data. Developers can work as they choose on mobile apps, mash-ups, social curation, and user annotations.

Each hackathon will identify winners in four categories: best commercial viability; greatest social impact; most innovative app; and developers' pick. One overall winner per category will be selected and presented with a prize at the Digital Agenda Assembly on 21-22 June in Brussels.

Useful links:

Hashtag #europeana

Photos of digitised masterpieces

Hack for Europe2012

Europeana, Europe's digital library, archive and museum

Recommendation on the digitalisation of cultural material and its preservation on line

Digital Agenda website

Neelie Kroes' website

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter


Top Treasures


National masterpiece




David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio

This well-travelled masterpiece was created in Italy, and passed through collections in England and the Netherlands before coming into the possession of Imperial Austria in the 17th Century.

Item on Europeana


Madonna surrounded by Seraphim and Cherubim, by Jean Fouquet

This 1572 work is probably the portrait of Agnes Sorel, the mistress of Charles VII and is housed in the Royal Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts.

Item on Europeana


Enina Apostolos (Енински апостол, Eninski apostol)

10th or 11th-century Old Bulgarian Cyrillic manuscript. It is the oldest Cyrillic manuscript currently part of a Bulgarian collection.

Item on Europeana


Church of Panagia Phorbiotissa, better known as Panagia of Asinou,

Situated in the north foothills of the Troodos mountain range, this UNESCO World Heritage listed Byzantine church is built on the east bank of a stream, three kilometers south of the village of Nikitari.

Item on Europeana

Czech Republic

Velislavova bible (Biblia picta Velislai)

14th century illustrated bible

Item on Europeana


Metropolis, by Fritz Lang

This influential German expressionist science-fiction film from 1927 has been included in UNESCO's Memory of the World register

Item on Europeana


Photographs of Russian Prisoners of War, WW1

Three Russian prisoners of war 1914-1918 in Danish care, thanks to Red Cross. From Royal Library of Denmark, Department of Maps, Prints and Photographs

Item on Europeana


6-year-old Khanty girl in traditional dress, by Silvia Anslang

The Khanty - an indigenous Finno-Ugric people of Western Siberia - are struggling to maintain their traditional lifestyle in the face of a large-scale oil and gas industry. This image is part of a large collection of ethnographic drawings from the expeditions of the Finno-Ugric Research Program at the Estonian Academy of Art.

Item on Europeana


Antikythera Mechanism

Constructed in the second half of the second century BC, this is the earliest preserved portable astronomical calculator.

soon to be accessible in Europeana


Commentary on the Apocalypse by Beato de Liébana 

This 1047 manuscript contains comments on the Apocalypse and is illustrated with some 100 Mozarabic miniatures

Item on Europeana


Nokia's rubber football boots

Football has also become a part of Finnish design thanks to Nokia soccer studs.

Item on Europeana


Lascaux cave paintings

The discovery of the monumental Lascaux cave in 1940 heralded a new era in our knowledge of both prehistoric art and human origins.

Lascaux website, soon to be accessible in Europeana


Bronze equestrian statue attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci

Unlike any other equestrian statues attributed to Leonardo, this one was cast in bronze available in the 16th century, with techniques already established at the time.  Should it be a copy, it must have been made shortly after the artist’s death.

Item on Europeana


Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921 signed by the British and Irish delegates at 10 Downing Street, London.

The Treaty established the Irish Free State as a self-governing dominion with independence in virtually all matters of practical government, together with complete control of its resources.

Item on Europeana


Tondo Doni, (Holy Family) by Michelangelo Buonarroti,

Painted in 1504, this is earliest of only three surviving panel paintings by the adult Michelangelo, and the only one to be finished

Item on Europeana


Artis Magnae Artilleriae by Kazimieras Simonavičius

This 1650 discussion of rocketry and pyrotechnics remained a standard work in those fields for two centuries.

Item on Europeana


“Luxemburger Wort" launched in 1848 and the "Escher Tageblatt" launched in 1913.

Both newspapers are still widely read in Luxembourg and they illustrate the priority given by the National Library of Luxembourg to the digitization of the press.

Luxemburger Wort on Europeana

Escher Tageblatt on Europeana


Card from the

Latvian Folk Song Festival

From 1933; celebrating this Baltic cultural miracle

Item on Europeana


Les Gavroches, a sculpture by Antonio Sciortino

Inspired by characters from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, the sculpture stands for both hope and innocence, representative of a young generation aspiring to freedom and progress.

Item on Europeana


The Evangiliary, the Edmond Gospels

Created in the 9th or 10th century in addition to evangelical texts and images it also contains the very first illustrations of Dutch people – count of Holland Dirk II and his wife Hildegard

Item on Europeana


The St. Florian Psalter

This early fifteenth century gem contains the texts of the Psalms in three languages: Latin, German and Polish. It is the oldest Polish translation of the Psalms,

Item on Europeana


Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads) by de Luis de Camões

This epic poem from 1572 is a fantastical interpretation of the Portuguese voyages of discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Item on Europeana


Somnul by

Constantin Brâncuşi, Constantin

1908 sculpture

Item on Europeana


Old Town and the Southern part of Stockholm city.

1900 photograph by Carl Curman

Link on Europeana


The Problem of Space Travel: The Rocket Motor

Pioneering 1928-29 work by Herman Potocnik, writing as " Herman Noordung "

Item on Europeana


Celtic coin from the 1st Century BC

Found in Bratislava 1923 when digging foundations for Tatrabanka

Item on Europeana


Image of John Logie Baird with his first Television

From first inventing television in 1925, by 1927 Scotsman John Logie Baird had succeeded in transmitting television from London to Glasgow and the following year saw the first transatlantic television transmission.

Item on Europeana

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