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2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday June 30, 2016

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

#BigArtRide tour ends with EU presidency handover

Virtual reality bike ride through art connects people across Europe.
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The European tour of #BigArtRide a virtual reality bike ride designed to connect people across Europe through Art and Technology had its final stops in Slovakia and the Netherlands, marking the handover of the EU Presidency between the two countries. After pit stops in Brussels, Wroclaw, Rome, Berlin, Prague, Paris and many locations in The Netherlands, the tour’s last day kicked off in Bratislava and Amsterdam with a bike race that symbolized the EU Presidency handover as the ministries of art from both countries raced against each other in the #BigArtRide.

The #BigArtRide concept is simple: two participants - one in a city on the tour route, the other in Amsterdam - put on virtual reality headsets and race each other through a virtual city populated with some of Europe’s most iconic and unique artworks. The idea is to allow Europeans to (re)discover our common cultural heritage through a fun, interactive and shared experience. And it worked! Across European squares, in parks, at festivals and at the European Parliament the #BigArtRide brought people of all ages and walks of life together: from young kids to seniors, from cyclists to politicians and Ambassadors, and even Dutch Prince Constantijn.

#BigArtRide is part of a broader Europeana campaign, Europeana 280, whose goal is to get Europeans excited about their shared Art heritage. This campaign features some of Europe’s most unique works alongside some of its greatest Masterpieces, from Edvard Munch’s The Scream to Rembrandt’s Night Watch, but also Sălciile de la Chiajna by Ștefan Luchian and Ľudovít Fulla’s Madona s anjelom all provided by more than 150 Cultural Institutions from across Europe. The campaign includes art works from all 28 EU member states and Norway. All of the works can be found on the Europeana Collections website.

The #BigArtRide was also a celebration of the Dutch Presidency of the EU and its wish to build bridges between citizens across Europe. The closing ceremony for #BigArtRide brought together Marjan Hammersma, Director General of Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in The Netherlands and Ivan Secik, State Secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Culture, to reflect that the last stop on #BigArtRide tour coincides with the handover of the Presidency of the Council of the EU between these two countries.

Marjan Hammersma, Director General of the Ministry for Education, Culture and Science in The Netherlands said: “This is a symbolic moment: today the Netherlands hand over the EU Presidency to Slovakia. We are very proud of the results we achieved during our presidency. For example the #BigArtRide was a great way to connect European cities.”

Ivan Sečík, State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Slovak Republic said. “The combination of cycling, virtual reality, and high-quality digital content offers a unique experience. It attracts the younger generations and helps them discover our cultural heritage. Thanks go to Europeana, the National Culture Centre, the Slovak National Gallery and to all those who day by day try to bring our cultural heritage closer to the people."

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana added: “The #BigArtRide has brought Art to our streets and new audiences to Europe’s Art in a fun and innovative way demonstrating the power of digital culture to reach people.”

Jan Muller, CEO, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision said: “Europeana wants to bring European cultural heritage to the people and uses innovative technologies like virtual reality to do this. The #BigArtRide is not just about art and technology, it’s about connecting Europe, its art and its people.”

René van Engelenburg Managing Director at DROPSTUFF MEDIA added: “Dropstuff wants to bring art and culture to a wide audience in an original way. With the #BigArtRide we have connected people and surprised them with beautiful works of art from all of Europe and with the possibilities of virtual reality.”

For photos of Marjan Hammersma Director General of the Ministry for Education, Culture and Science in The Netherlands and Ivan Sečík, State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Slovak Republic racing on #BigArtRide see Flickr.

For more information, check-out this video and visit,, And don’t forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter #BigArtRide!

The #BigArtRide was developed by the Dutch design agency DropStuff, with the support of Europeana, The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Embassies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands across Europe and the Dutch Presidency of the EU, with funding from the European Commission.


Notes for editors

About Europeana280: Europeana 280 is a cross-border campaign running in 2016 to get people excited about Europe’s shared art heritage, finding innovative ways to share and celebrate the diverse and magnificent artworks that are a part of it. Ministries of Culture and cultural heritage institutions from all 28 EU Member States plus Norway were invited to submit 10 works of art held in their country that have contributed to a major European art movement that they wanted to celebrate and share across Europe. More than 300 wonderful works have been submitted by 150+ cultural institutions and can be discovered during the Europeana 280 campaign and at Europeana Art History Collections during 2016.

About the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union: From 1st January to 30th June 2016, the Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It is important for citizens and civil society organisations to feel connected to Europe. As EU Presidency holder, the Netherlands’ guiding principles are a Union that focuses on the essentials, a Union that focuses on growth and jobs through innovation, and a Union that connects with civil society.


Europeana is Europe's digital platform for cultural heritage, collecting and providing online access to tens of millions of digitised items from over 3,500 libraries, archives, audiovisual collections and museums across Europe, ranging from books, photos and paintings to television broadcasts and 3D objects. Europeana encourages and promotes the creative re-use of these vast cultural heritage collections in education, research, tourism and the creative industries.

DROPSTUFF MEDIA is a media design office for digital and interactive experiences. In addition they are the editorial office for art and culture related digital content on public screens in different Dutch cities. started a series of interactive projects in which two cities are connected by new media experiments. #BigArtRide is the newest concept and initiative that has developed related to this series.

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision collects, preserves and opens the Dutch audiovisual heritage for as many users as possible: media professionals, education, science and the general public. In addition, the institute develops and disseminates knowledge in the area of audiovisual archiving, digitisation and media history. Within #BigArtRide, Sound and Vision is partner in research and development for the Virtual Reality application. They are interested in finding out how they can use cultural heritage in VR experiences.

Photo: Marjan Hammersma and Ivan Sečík before their #BigArtRide race.
© Roeltje van de Sande Bakhuijzen

For more information please contact:

Eleanor Kenny:
 [email protected]