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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday September 11, 2012

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Europeana opens up full dataset for re-use

Opportunities for digital innovation and creativity across Europe will be boosted today as Europeana releases the descriptive metadata for more than 20 million cultural objects under the terms of the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication (CC0).

Fruit and flowers
Garland of Fruit and Flowers
Jan Davidsz de Heem
1650 - 1660

The news was announced today at the European Commission Member States Expert Group (MSEG) meeting in Luxembourg. A full press release has also been issued.

A CC0 waiver means that anyone can use Europeana metadata for any purpose - creative, educational or commercial - with no restrictions. It provides developers, designers and programmers with opportunities to develop innovative applications for tablets and smartphones and to create new web services and portals.

The Europeana dataset is the largest to be dedicated to the public domain to date. The move changes the landscape of open data access in Europe - it is the first time that access to and free re-use of descriptive data for cultural and scientific objects has been made possible on this scale.

In line with this change, the legal policies and guidelines for providing and re-using Europeana metadata have been rewritten. For more information, go to ‘Terms of Use’, ‘API terms of use’, ‘Usage Guidelines for Metadata’, ‘Terms for User Contributions’, ‘Data Sources’, and our new ‘Legal Requirements’ pages.

Releasing Europeana’s metadata under a CC0 waiver means that it can now be used in Linked Open Data developments. This holds the potential to bring together data from Europe’s great libraries, museums and archives and data from other sectors such as tourism and broadcasting. The result could be a powerful knowledge-generating engine for the 21st century.

Jill Cousins, Chief Executive of Europeana said:

“This move is a significant step forward for open data and a huge cultural shift for Europeana’s data providers. The decision to open up data for re-use is bold and forward looking – it recognises the important potential for creativity and innovation that access to digital data provides. Their contribution to this development means that Europe now sets the worldwide standard for the sector.”

Europeana has worked closely with its partners across Europe to make the descriptive data it holds available under CC0. We’d like to thank all those partners whose hard work, commitment and drive have made this possible.


API – Application Programming Interface. For more on Europeana’s API, download our leaflet.

CC0 – Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. By licensing data under ‘CC0’, all copyright and other rights are waived. This means anyone can use the information under CC0 however they choose, for commercial or non-commercial purposes. They can be asked to appropriately credit the work they produce using this data and to license the resulting work under the same terms.