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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday October 13, 2023

Updated on Thursday January 18, 2024

Common European data space for cultural heritage - annual report 2022 - 2023

The common European data space for cultural heritage accelerates the digital transformation of Europe’s cultural sector and fosters the creation and reuse of content in the cultural and creative sectors. Explore what we have done during 2022 - 2023.


The common European data space for cultural heritage is the flagship initiative of the European Commission to accelerate the digital transformation of Europe’s cultural sector. The data space builds on the Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure and the Europeana Strategy 2020-2025.

2022 - 2023 marks the first year of deployment of the common European data space for cultural heritage, which offers exciting opportunities to support advances in technology and innovate in areas like 3D and AI; to aggregate, enrich, promote and communicate high-quality digital data; to reach diverse audiences and provide them with ways and incentives to reuse this data; and to create digital environments that are inclusive, collaborative and jointly owned.

It has been an exciting year as we have started to deliver on these opportunities for the sector. Our evolution from a digital service infrastructure to a thriving data space is well and truly underway, and we can look back on the achievements of the first year with pride.


These achievements are made possible through collaboration and cooperation. Work to deploy the data space is led by the Europeana Foundation (EF) with the support of the Europeana Network Association (ENA) and Europeana Aggregators’ Forum (EAF), and together with a consortium of 18 partners from nine EU countries. We collaborate closely with our colleagues at the European Commission and with the Member States of the European Union (in the framework of the Expert Group on a common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage), to support the cultural heritage sector in its digital transformation.

A changing landscape

While the first year of the deployment of the data space has seen positive progress, we also acknowledge the shifting sociopolitical landscape and the challenges that our colleagues across Europe face. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and are seeking to support cultural heritage professionals in the country through initiatives such as Laptops for Ukraine and a dedicated Working Group. We also acknowledge our responsibility towards the climate emergency, and, in line with our Climate Action Manifesto, are working to ensure that the data space is environmentally conscious. And we aim to ensure that our processes, services and products are inclusive of, and accessible to, our audiences, and reflect the diversity and beauty - and languages - of Europe.


We want everyone who uses and benefits from the data space - our audiences, stakeholders and partners - to have a good experience of its products and its underlying infrastructure. In the last year, we worked hard to develop the data space infrastructure to meet these expectations, fostering innovation, interoperability and compliance with other data spaces.

Highlights this year

Upgrades for reliability: We maintained and upgraded our infrastructure, the technologies that underpin it, and the services it makes available. We researched how our systems could be made more reliable through persistent identifiers, gathering feedback from across the sector. We migrated our cloud-based applications to a new environment, improving their performance and stability. And we renewed and optimised our APIs with new designs that make them easier to use.

Improved aggregation systems: The Metis Sandbox, which allows data providers to evaluate the quality of data before it is published on the Europeana website, has been in focus this year. Improvements have included a new API which allows aggregators to integrate the Sandbox into their own infrastructure. Exploring the broader aggregation landscape, a Task Force explored how decentralised aggregation could make it easier to share data and update it at source.

Innovation in interoperability: Dedicated EuropeanaTech Community Task Forces and collaborations with the IIIF community led to innovation and improved interoperability of data within the data space infrastructure, for example increased support for IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) in aggregation. The EuropeanaTech community has organised webinars on IIIF, and other events which explored heritage acoustics and the automatic generation of subtitles.

Data space annual report 2022/2023 priority 1
Projekt für ein: Haus der Kunst MCM-MM
Otto Wagner (Künstler/in)
Österreichische Galerie Belvedere


In the last year, together with the data space consortium, we increased the amount of high-quality, usable and accessible data in the data space, with exciting work happening in the area of 3D. We extended mechanisms to govern data in the data space, and explored new technologies that can help to improve its quality.

Highlights this year

Governance, frameworks and standards: The last year saw us develop and publish a data governance strategy and enrichments policy, contributing towards the harmonised tools, principles, processes and standards needed to govern data in the data space. We reviewed Europeana's existing frameworks to better represent enrichment and to explore how to meet the needs of data partners and users working with 3D content.

Supporting aggregators: As well as improving the infrastructure underpinning the Metis Sandbox, we supported aggregators in using it to share their data. We offered them training on high quality data, introduced new functionalities like quality reports, and offered dedicated support and guidance.

Data quality: In the last year, 11.2 million records were affected by data quality updates. We published new data on the Europeana website from new providing institutions, and we were delighted to see the total number of high-quality 3D items published increase. We piloted automated approaches using AI to address data quality issues and continued to enrich data in support of multilingual access. We supported cultural heritage institutions across Europe with one-to-one support and knowledge-sharing events to ingest data and improve data quality.

‘Metis Sandbox is a breakthrough and a great help as it allows us to know the status of the metadata we add before sending it to Europeana. This way we can inform our providers earlier and send records with the highest possible quality.’

HispanaSpanish national aggregator


We aim to strengthen the capacity of professionals and reuse communities working with digital cultural heritage. In the last year, we have focused on building capacity so that professionals can create high-quality data that can be reused by educators, researchers, academics and developers. The work was achieved through close collaboration of all pillars of the Europeana Initiative and consortium partners.

Highlights this year

Cooperation: We developed methods of cooperation to allow the pillars of the Europeana Initiative and the data space to align and collaborate, whatever the topic in focus. These methods have supported strong connections between the ENA and EAF and with other stakeholders, including the European Students Association for Cultural Heritage and the data space for skills.

Events and training: In the past year, our events and training programmes reached more than 6,300 people. Highlights included our flagship annual event, Europeana 2022, as well as conferences held under the Czech and Swedish Presidencies of the council of the EU. We offered many other ways for professionals to engage and learn, including through training and online cafés with the ENA communities which related to data quality and copyright, interoperability, storytelling and data reuse.

Reuse of high-quality data: From a revamped Digital Education with Cultural Heritage MOOC, to the Low-Code Fest hackathon, to improved API documentation and support for reuse of data with computational methods, our activities this year engaged professionals in the education, academic and research, and developer communities to build their capabilities for increased reuse of cultural data. Efforts to better understand our audiences allowed us to bring activities to these groups in more effective ways.

Data space annual report 2022/2023 priority 3
Orange-Growing Verpackung von 'Sunkist'-Orangen aus Kalifornien 1A
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek


Through the Europeana website, audiences can search for, learn about, research and discover items which tell the stories of Europe’s rich cultural heritage. This year, we developed and improved the website to facilitate these activities, while diverse initiatives and innovative storytelling inspired reuse of, and engagement with, Europe’s rich cultural heritage.

Highlights this year

New functionalities: This year, our development work gave people new ways to use the Europeana website. A gallery publication feature allows audiences to have their work highlighted on the official Galleries page, while the development of advanced and elaborated search functions make it easier for people to find what they are looking for and discover new and editorial items. And improved user guidance and feedback mechanisms make it simpler for people to navigate and use the website and to share their thoughts about the website with us.

A multilingual experience: We improved multilingual access to the website, by ingesting more multilingual (meta) data and expanding the infrastructure by piloting multilingual and real-time translation of search queries in Spanish, contributing to more multilingual search options on the website. We simplified the terms we use which improved translations of static text on the website, and we increased the number of languages in which our editorial content is made available.

Engaging audiences: We provided opportunities for the public to engage with digital cultural heritage through innovative storytelling and editorial on pan-European themes and perspectives. Initiatives like GIF IT UP encouraged people to remix digital cultural heritage, while the Digital Storytelling Festival boosted participants’ storytelling skills, including through our first ever creative residency programme.

Data space annual report 2022/2023 priority 4
The Goldfinch
Carel Fabritius
The Netherlands


The Europeana Foundation participates in projects that aim to provide value for the data space and integrates project results into the data space. In the last year, the results from eight Generic Services projects were integrated into the data space, bringing new technologies, high-quality data, capacity-building activities and new digital services.