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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday July 31, 2015

Updated on Friday July 13, 2018

Meet the Members Council: Lizzy Jongma

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When I was 12, my parents took us to Paris to visit the Louvre. They had taken us to many museums before, but we were never very interested. It was one of those boring things we had to do on holidays. But then, in the Louvre, I was overwhelmed, astounded. Beautiful art, amazing sculptures, fascinating histories… It was then I knew I wanted to work with art, with history, and in a museum.


Mary Cassatt at the Louvre in the Etruscan gallery, Rijksmuseum, public domain.


Hello! My name is Lizzy Jongma. I was able to fulfil my dreams and I currently work at the Rijksmuseum as their Data Manager. The Rijksmuseum is the Netherlands’ national museum of art and history. It holds a vast collection of over 1 million objects and works of art. Recently, the museum closed for renovations which took more than ten years. We realised that digital media and the Internet would help us keep our collections accessible for our curators, and for our audiences too.

We put a lot of effort into digitizing our collections and working on their metadata. Currently more than 600,000 works of art are described in detail (beyond basic registration) and 300,000 works of arts are digitally photographed. We are experimenting with 3-D photography, digital conservation documentation, colour true digital photography and so on. Over the last decade the Rijksmuseum turned into a center for digital innovation.

We didn’t just want to digitize our collections to make them more accessible for our curators, or even the visitors on our website. It is our ultimate goal to share our works of art with everyone, everywhere.


Bread of the future... Rijksmuseum, public domain.


Open data and Europeana

In 2012 we came into contact with Europeana. We wanted to share our collections with large portal sites and Europeana was one of them. At this time we were developing our API, and started working on open data. We wanted to open up our digital collections as a source for programmers, other developers, techies and artists.

Our collaboration with Europeana came at a great time. Europeana had just switched to its CC0/Public Domain licensing scheme and we needed help to open up our collections as freely as possible. Europeana taught us a lot about Creative Commons, Creative Commons Licenses and open sharing.

Since 2012 we have worked closely with Europeana in our experiments with Open Data. We moved from CC-BY-SA licenses to CC0 Public Domain. We allow users to commercially re-use our collections.

We are experimenting with new techniques and new strategies to become more open. With the help of Europeana we uploaded parts of our collection to Wikimedia, we are experimenting with EDM as metadata format for sharing information, and we are implementing Linked Open Data.

We found out that Open Data doesn't harm us. It actually helps us promote our collections and organisation. As a member of the Europeana Members Council I want to be an Open Data Advocate and help others to open up their collections.


Design for the cover of the leaflet The future of Europe, Mathieu Lauweriks, Rijksmuseum, public domain.


A new digital era

I am very excited about the future. We are only at the beginning of a new digital era for arts and history. I dream of a future where I will have all information at the tip of my finger. Or even at the tip of my toe. I dream of a time when I can touch, smell or even taste heritage.

There are a few organisations that can help us realise our dreams and for me Europeana is one of them. As a Councillor I am happy to help with, learn about and promote the innovative activities of Europeana and help advance our entire heritage in a new digital world. I love getting to know everyone in Europeana’s Network, and learning about your dreams. Thank you for putting your trust in me.

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