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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday September 23, 2020

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Marco Streefkerk

Marco Streefkerk

Information manager | Cultural Entrepreneur , Anne Frank Museum

portrait of Georgia Evans

Georgia Evans

Senior Editorial Officer , Europeana Foundation

Professionals in Focus: Marco Streefkerk

Europeana Members Councillors have diverse jobs and wide experience across the heritage sector, but are united by their passion for digital cultural heritage. In our ‘Professionals in Focus’ series, we speak to our Councillors about their roles, working lives and plans for their time on the Members Council. This month, Marco Streefkerk discusses digital curation at the Anne Frank House, and facing the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. 

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Marco Streefkerk at Europeana2019 - Connect Communities
Sebastiaan ter Burg
27 - 29 November 2019
Europeana Foundation

How did you enter your profession? 

As a science person that followed his heart to study history, I was happy to see the rise of computers in the humanities and the need for people who could mediate between both disciplines. I started as a heritage expert for a small IT management company. Their ambition to make heritage digital put me to work at various Dutch museums. I then became project manager at the University Library of Amsterdam. When Europeana began, I was a consultant for DEN, the Dutch knowledge Center for Digital Heritage. For them I was a work package leader in Europeana Inside, and program manager of Heritage and Location. Last year I helped the municipal archive of Rotterdam to migrate to a new archival management system. Starting this year, I divide my time between being a cultural entrepreneur and part-time employee at a museum again.  

What are you currently working on?

As an information manager for the Anne Frank House, one of the most popular Dutch museums funded by the father of one of the most admired people in the world, I am working on digital transformation in practice. I am starting at the base. Firstly, I am working with my colleagues in curation to make the collection, including the famous diary and the hiding place, usable and visible online. Secondly, I’m working on organising the infrastructure (information, technology, people) that emerged out of a decade of ICT projects into a basic architecture that is flexible, sustainable (also in terms of costs) and valuable. 

In search of a new digital way to tell young people about Anne Frank’s life story, Every Media and the Anne Frank House recently developed the Anne Frank video diary: an online video series airing on YouTube and based on the diary of Anne Frank. The series made a big impact worldwide, enhanced by the fact that its broadcast coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. One episode got almost one million views, despite the fact that, because of copyright restrictions, it was not accessible in some countries like the United States.

Anne Frank video diary, Luna (Anne) with camera
Photography Ray van der Bas
Copyright 2020 Anne Frank Stichting

What are some of the challenges in your role? 

Six months ago, I would have answered: making the organisation digitally aware- getting colleagues to understand that digital is not just another way of working, but requires a reinvention of their profession. Nowadays, it is COVID-19. Being a self-supporting organisation, our revenues dropped dramatically as a result of the pandemic. For the next two years, we have to cut a substantial number of our full-time employees. In the long run, we have to change the business model. Now that is the element I like, but I am afraid my job might be lost. 

What was your motivation for joining the Members Council? 

When I was elected, I worked as a consultant at the Dutch knowledge center for digital heritage. I stepped forward as a candidate because I believed my broad experience across heritage and my independence would benefit ENA and as such I convinced the voters. I am very glad to say that even though my professional perspective changed completely, Europeana still helps me a lot on the job and I am convinced that my personal experiences from the digital heritage ecosystem are valuable within the council. 

What do you plan to do as a Members Councillor? 

Run for a second term with a special focus on the interest of smaller institutions which, as with the Anne Frank House at the moment, find it a challenge to allow their staff members to focus on ENA activities during their working hours. I want to work on behalf of these institutions within the ENA.