Europeana and EuroClio Continue Partnership to Unlock Digital Heritage for Education

In October, EuroClio Programme Director Steven Stegers and Network Coordinator Jaco Stoop attended the kick-off of the Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure phase 3. The Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure (DSI) showcases and provides online access to Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage. EuroClio – Inspiring History and Citizenship Educators is part of a large consortium consisting of the Europeana Foundation as coordinator as well as 27 other partners from ten different countries. The consortium that operates the Europeana DSI creates access, interoperability, visibility and use of European cultural heritage in our target markets. The Europeana DSI manages data for use in education, research and creative industries as well as engaging European citizens by providing access to Europeana Collections and Europeana thematic collections.

The main objectives of the consortium are:

  • Discovery, use and engagement for users in our target markets by operating Europeana as pan-European web-based digital cultural platform
  • Foster content supply by optimising our data and aggregation infrastructure
  • Improving (meta-)data and content quality
  • Foster reuse of digital cultural heritage resources by improving content distribution mechanisms
  • Maintain an international interoperable licensing framework
  • Studying the impact of digital cultural heritage

Historiana: history educators’ portal to the Europeana Collections
Within Europeana DSI-3, EuroClio is focusing on encouraging reuse of Europeana’s digital heritage resources. As part of Europeana DSI and DSI-2, EuroClio created and shared curated sets of sources from the Europeana Collections. In addition, the Historiana eLearning Environment was developed to enable educators to create eLearning Activities using Europeana sources. In the coming year, EuroClio and Europeana will continue the development of the Historiana eLearning Environment, develop additional exemplar learning resources, create a teacher training package, and organise a series of (online) workshops on how to use the Historiana eLearning Environment.

Help Europeana develop new teaching resources

EuroClio Partners

Europeana is currently in the process of developing a new online resource entitled Europeana Migration. This resource will showcase cultural treasures and everyday items relating to migrant heritage, exploring the impact of migration on European arts, science and history.

In order to make sure the most interesting and relevant content for educative purposes is included within the collection, Europeana are asking for the input of the teaching community through a short survey. It should take approximately 10 minutes and it should be filled out before Friday, 20 October 2017. 

You can find the survey at: 

Online Seminar: How to Promote Historical Thinking Skills Online through Historiana?


History educators from around Europe are invited to take part in an online seminar demonstrating an exciting new online learning environment – the Historiana eLearning environment.

EuroClio – Inspiring History and Citizenship Educators, and professional web developers from Webtic, have been working on the development of the new online learning environment, which is aimed at enabling educators to create learning activities in their own language, using and rearranging building blocks specifically designed for history education practice.

The building blocks are designed to help students learn aspects of historical and critical thinking, such as comparing and contrasting sources, making judgements, prioritising, and organising information. This is much needed, as most educational tools focus only on acquiring or testing knowledge (usually in the form of quizzes), or helping students use different media to present information in new ways.

The online seminar will focus specifically on introducing educators to the learning environment. Specifically, it will focus on the building blocks and how they can be used in practice to enhance student’s history thinking skills. The sources used as examples are taken from the Europeana collection.

The online seminar lasts 1hr 30min and is repeated on the following three occasions:

  • Wednesday 23 August 2017, 4:00PM
  • Thursday 24 August 2017, 4:00PM
  • Friday 25 August 2017, 4:00PM

Registration is open now through this link. Places are limited to 25 people per seminar so make sure you register soon to secure your place!

This event is made possible due to support from Europeana.

European History Has a House! It’s a Free and Nuanced Museum in Brussels

On 5th of May, EuroClio Director Jonathan Even-Zohar, together with EuroClio Founder and Special Advisor Joke van der Leeuw-Roord and Honorary Board Member Prof. Dr. Maria Grever (Centre for Historical Culture, Erasmus University Rotterdam), had the pleasure to join a group of about 120 stakeholders, including representatives of the European Commission, Education and Heritage institutes from all over Europe, to visit the new House of European History one day before its opening to the public. After the visit, the EuroClio delegation was able to meet and reflect with colleagues and partners, including Mr Daniel Gaede (Memorial Site Buchenwald), Ms Elma Hasimbegovic (Museum of Bosnia-Herzegovina), Mr Sirok Kaja (Museum of Contemporary History, Slovenia) and also provide some feedback on the visit directly to the House's Director Ms Taja Vovk-van Gaal, and key educational staff Blandine Smilansky and Marti Grau Segu.

So, what did we see?

As we enter the beautiful building, a former dentistry practice in the park right behind the European Parliament, we are helped to get a special tablet. This device forms the core of the visit as all information on the rooms, objects and exhibits are available on this device, in all official EU languages. We are in the first place introduced to Europe. What is it? A continent? An idea? A civilization? These broad debates are left open, while the potential of glorifying it as a successful culture is soon challenges by several objects that illustrate essential experiences in European history, including slavery and genocide.

The detailed exhibition starts with the French and Industrial Revolutions, setting the scene for a world where nationalism, imperialism, globalisation and power in Europe are illustrative of a wider development. The First and Second World War are treated in a very sophisticated fashion, but not overwhelming the visitor with complex military history. Instead surprising collections of items from different countries (the first constitutions, flags of fascistic movements) are complemented with striking objects (the gun which young Gavrilo Princip used, the map used in the Paris Peace Conference to find where the borders between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey should lie), and inspiring spaces for reflection on the trauma's of the past (such as the Holocaust room where darkness is only interrupted by careful lighting of every-day life objects of victims). The entangled history of imperialism of European nations, racist ideologies, financial crises and various shifts in world-order in the first half of the 20th century are exhibit in thought-provoking way, providing ample opportunity for nuance and discussion on various perspectives.

The era of "Europe" in the space for the world after the wars is accompanied by pillars which are key moments in the history of European cooperation, so-called Milestones, ranging from the The Hague Congress (Congress of Europe) to the Lisbon Treaty. But it is not at all set up as a propagandistic exercise in "EU is good for you"-way. Instead, it is presented as rather modest pillars amidst the whirlpool of contemporary history, including the cold war, decolonisations, the war in the former Yugoslavia, (economic and cultural) globalisation and the rising role of technology in everyday life.

At the end, there is a place that actively asks us to connect this past with the present. The Brexit-referendum voting paper is there. The ten meter long printed out corpus of EU legislation. The stories of refugees seeking to enter the EU. The place of history and memory itself in the building of the idea of a common European space. And more. So much more.

We have had only 2.5 hours time to take this all in. At best we got to really see a quarter of the exhibit.

So, it is perfect?

It cannot be underestimated just how much of an achievement it is that this (political) initiative actually made it. Of course it cost a lot of money, but the result is nothing short but monumental to the efforts of the professional level to demonstrate the complicated nature of Europe and its relation to the difficult past. The initiative’s leadership and staff have been able to navigate the minefield of doing transnational political and social history to such an extent that there seem to be (so far) no overtly negative responses on the content.

However, in our experience there are several points of attentions that could be addressed to improve the experience.

  • The tablet which visitors receive is a smart and intuitive way to offer the museums contents in all EU languages, but without any texts on the walls, or next to the objects, the actual act of visiting becomes rather individual (everybody just listens to their device and plays with their tablets), and difficult to actually ‘roam freely’, because one always needs to get more information through the tablet. Whereas it was a very nice experience to just walk into another room and have the audio adjust to my location, it was more difficult to stop and open specific objects in the exhibit on my tablet when I simply wanted to know two sentences about it. Perhaps there can be an agreement in the future that an English line or two here and there would decrease dependency on the tablet.
  • Connected to this, and in view of the richness of the exhibition (composed of over 3000 items), the tablet is challenging as well because by browsing to one object, one can discover suddenly an incredible 12 minute video, which would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Not many visitors are likely to go through the exhibition with the catalogue at hand, so these type of ‘hidden gems’ could perhaps in another way be brought forward  by hinting at their existence on the walls.
  • In terms of content, with the obvious reservation that in the short time of our visit we were not able to see it all, there does seem to be a focus on the political and military history. But, this does seem to be compensated well by temporary exhibits which highlight other (social, cultural) history.

The exhibition is available also in digital form here and the House of European History is open to the public free-of-charge.

Previous cooperation between EuroClio and the House of European History

Soon after the calling of the European Parliament in 2009 to work to establish a museum of Europe's History in Brussels, EuroClio was among several key organisations, including Council of Europe, Europa Nostra, European Cultural Foundation, Europeana, ICOM and Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO), to be invited for partner consultation meetings.

It was at that stage already clear that the project had managed to get excellent professionals together, lead by Ms Taja Vovk-van Gaal, and since 2014, the educational work former EuroClio Senior Project Manager Blandine Smilansky was there, adapting gained insights from the EuroClio methodology to the House's educational materials.

In particular, EuroClio offered educational staff of the House of European History to run several piloting activities of educational materials at its professional development events, including a seminar in 2014 in San Sebastian, in 2015 in Tallinn and in 2016 in Belfast.

Future cooperation 

In the coming period it should become more clear what our two organisations can exactly do together, but it is evident that we will seek to organise learning opportunities for our members to come and visit the House of European History, reflect on the contents and seek to construct new and meaningful ways to support the House in taking into account transnational perspectives as well as the wider European dimension into the teaching and learning of history at schools.

Historiana Blog: A View from the Field of Education

The benefits of having one central access point to cultural heritage online

Part 4 in a series on new Europeana source collections on Historiana

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The featured source collections can be found on Historiana and therefore can be used to create online learning activities. This blog is the final in a series of four releases of source collections. Through the blogs EuroClio hopes to shed light on the possibilities that Europeana sources can offer.

When I first heard about Europeana in 2008, I could immediately see what potential having one common reference point for European cultural content could have on education. Having one central access point to explore the diverse collections of archives, museums and libraries would, for example, enable students across Europe to compare and contrast how historical events were reported, to do archival research from any place with an internet connection, and to find sources that challenge preconceptions with much less time and effort.

Of course, this vision had yet to be turned in to a reality, and realising this vision is easier said than done. There were, and still are, many obstacles that stand in the way of providing full access to the collections, but important steps have been made, and Europeana is now much closer to achieving its original vision than when it started. It is now possible to filter on the size of an image, making it possible to leave out those sources that are too small to be of use. More sources are available in high quality (stimulated by the availability of higher quality scanners and improved digitisation techniques). There has been a significant increase in the amount of sources that are licensed in a way that they allow for educational (re)-use and it is possible to search for similar items in the Europeana collections (so that you can find a set of sources, rather than just an individual source). Finally, it is now possible to have direct access to the source (which offers more opportunities for the use of Europeana by third parties).

Since Europeana has started with the support of the European Commission and several member states, cultural institutes from Europe and beyond have worked together to provide access to cultural heritage on themes or topics of common interest via this platform. As a result of these efforts, it is now possible to search, for example, historical newspapers by date and see differences and similarities on the reporting of the same event in different newspapers. It is possible to see how news travelled in a time when communication was not so quick, to see what significance was given to the event (by looking at the place and length of the coverage) and compare what images have been used to illustrate the events.

Efforts have been made to provide access to sources of a certain type (such as photography through EuropeanaPhotography and EuroPhoto or moving images through EUScreenEuropean Digital Film Gateway and EUScreenXL), to sources related to a field of interest (such as Jewish History though Judaica or social and labour history through HOPE – History of People’s Europe), or historical events (such as the First World One through Europeana1914-1918 or EuropeanaCollections1914-1918 and the Social Political Changes in 1989 through Europeana1989). The fact that these efforts have been made by cultural institutes from multiple countries makes it possible for educators to access a much wider range of sources (compared to searching only one institute) and the streamlining of metadata makes it increasingly easier to find matching sources from the collections of different cultural institutes.
Europeana portal

From the perspective of providers of educational resources, having one central point to access the collections of multiple archives, museums and libraries is beneficial because it enables them to directly make use of those sources that are licensed for educational use (as long as direct links are available). EuroClio – Inspiring History and Citizenship Educators, is a provider of educational resources, and is currently building online tools that educators can use to create their own online learning activities together with Webtic (an innovative internet company) and educators from its network to be integrated in Historiana (an online educational resource designed for history learning). In this context, EuroClio, Webtic and Europeana worked together with Europeana in the Europeana DSI1 project to create a Search and Select tool that enables educators to directly search the Europeana Collections and select sources that they want to use in their educational practice. If Europeana would not provide one central access point to the collections of various archives, museums and archives, it would have been very costly and labour-intensive to help educators access the same sources.

What can still be improved, in terms of stimulating the use of the collections in education, is that educators should need less time to find what they are looking for. It can be difficult for someone who is not familiar with Europeana to get a sense of what the collections are about (within the Search and Select tool, we tried to help educators with this by providing brief overviews of selected content providers to help educators decide why they might be interested to search the collection of a specific archive). What can also help is to ensure that the Europeana Collections have enough relevant source materials on at least those areas of learning that are (most) common in curricula across Europe. For example, whereas a search on “First World War” leads to 90,094 results that are allowed to be used with attribution or restriction, a search on “Industrial Revolution” leads to only 73 results. This does not mean that there are no relevant sources, but it does mean that it takes time for educators to find what they need. In an ideal scenario the most relevant sources would be highlighted or presented as a set with a manageable amount of selected sources (as EuroClio had done for several sets of sources). This can be done by actively engaging communities of educators (to help set priorities for digitisation), and further investment in digitisation and improving metadata to ensure that usable content for key areas of the curriculum can be found in the Europeana Collections.

The more complete the Europeana Collections are and the easier it gets for educators or providers of educational resources to find what they are looking for, the more valuable Europeana will be become.

Full description of the featured image can be found at Europeana website.

23 Europeana source collections with sources selected for use in history education now available online


In cooperation with Europeana, EuroClio has launched a set of 23 transnational source collections as part of the Europeana DSI project in which EuroClio is a partner. The source collections touch upon a large variety of subjects, such as trench art, everyday life, art and war and the history of portraits, and are selected for their relevance in history education. Each collection has a clear rationale and dozens of sources to pick and choice from. The rationale for the selection of sources is further explained in several blog posts (The power of Images, Shedding new light on known historical figures and Time and Technology). In the next years, EuroClio and Europeana will extend their partnership and work on the creation of online learning activities to show how the source can be used for online learning. For more information, please contact



A new feature of Historiana: Search and select sources from archives, museums and libraries across Europe.

Search and Select

Within the Europeana DSI project, in which EuroClio is partner, EuroClio worked together with Webtic and Europeana to develop a Search and Select tool. This tools makes it possible to directly search the collections of Europeana and selected institutes. You can search sources by using the search bar of Europeana or the search bar that appears when selecting on of the archive. Once you have found a source that you think could be useful, you have the option to select them by clicking “use”. The source will then be added to “my sources”, where they will all be collected in a simple overview which will allow you to reuse them in the tools that are currently being developed in the Innovating History Education for All project.

Imagining the Learning Community of Tomorrow

During the Annual Conference of the Lifelong Learning Platform, taking place from 31 May-1 June in Bratislava, EuroClio was represented by Joke van der Leeuw and Laura Steenbrink, who actively participated to the Annual Conference. The conference was opened by the LLLP President David Lopez and representative of the Slovak Ministry of Education, ms. Ildikó Pathóová. Dr. Eva Gyarmathy, Senior Researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, and Kati Anttila, former State Secretary for Education and Culture in Finland, were the keynote speakers of the Conference. Both of them gave inspirational opening speeches that paved the way for separate discussions in workshops later on.

These workshops focused on five different aspects of educational society and community and were called Diverse, Digital, Knowledgeable, Integrated and Democratic Community. The fifth workshop, “A Democratic Community”, was moderated by Joke van der Leeuw and focused, among other, on how to mainstream citizenship education in everyday life, starting with learning participation and democratic governance in educational institutions. During the second workshop, “A Digital Community”, Laura Steenbrink presented an example of EuroClio’s practical experience with digital education and media literacy to the participants. More specifically, she presented the Europeana-EuroClio cooperation project, where source collections on various topics are created and made available on Historiana. During the workshops, the participants worked together on the creation of a set of policy recommendations regarding the five topics, that were presented to all participants in a plenary session by the moderators, followed by a plenary discussion.

City tour in BratislavaThe day ended with simultaneous cultural activities in the town of Bratislava, followed by a wine tasting in the surroundings of the city with a dinner. The participants had a choice between a guided tour in the old town of Bratislava organized by ESN Slovakia, and a field visit to a Training Centre in Bratislava, organized by AIVD.

The second and final day of the conference was called Project Development Day and focused on funding, project applications and a small networking session. The first part consisted of a plenary session with three speakers that elaborated on their vision on funding. Irene Fodonova, of the SAAIC-Erasmus+ National Agency on Slovakia, presented the ins and outs of Erasmus+. Jirí Sykora, Strategic Coordinator of the Visegrad Fund, discussed the opportunities of the Visegrad Fund. Finally, Dusan Janickovic of Horizon 2020 Support, Slovak Scientific and Technical Information Centre, elaborated on the Horizon 2020 funding opportunities. After the participants were fully informed about a few different, but relevant funding possibilities, Ildiko Mazar, Deputy Secretary General of EDEN, gave a session with tips and tricks for project applications. The last part conference was dedicated to a plenary session where participants could propose interesting ideas for possible partnership or projects to the group. Finally, the participants split up and joined the participant that, for their organisation, was the most relevant topic and shared some networking opportunities, general thought, critical questions and feedback.

The Power of Images

Part 1 in a series on new Europeana source collections on Historiana

historiana_headerThe featured source collections can be found on Historiana and therefore can be used to create online learning activities. This blog is part of a series of four releases of source collections. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

It is often said that young people today prefer visuals over texts in their education. The widespread digitization of images from the collections of museums, archives and libraries offer the chance to educators to meet this demand. For individual educators the offer, however, can be overwhelming, which is why EuroClio, in partnership with Europeana, has created sets of visual sources selected for use in history education.

In the context of history education, students should be able to make a judgment on the usability of sources in order to answer historical questions based on the origins, the purpose and their trustworthiness. A good way of learning about these concepts is by focusing on sources that have been created specifically to influence what people think.

On Historiana, EuroClio and Europeana have made accessible a set of seven featured source collections that allow students to compare different ways in which visuals were used to control or at least try to have an impact on the population. Students can learn about how visuals are being used by looking at different aspects of the visual sources: What aspects are emphasized? What aspects are left out? What does the maker of the source want us to believe?

What featured source collections are made?

Three source collections, World War One Postcards and World War One Photographs deal with the subject of the First World War. In these source collections, it is shown that sources that initially do not seem to have a nature of propaganda, are in fact created with the intention to influence public opinion. These sources consist of official photographs and postcards. Another collection related to the First World War is Kinderbuch; a more one-sided collection of sources from a children’s book glorifying enlistment in the army during the war. Two other source collections are clearly understood as propaganda: Posters from the DDR and Communist China show that it is not just the message of the poster that can influence people’s opinions, but also the painting style. Furthermore, a source collection about the Spanish Civil War illustrates different sides within one conflict. Finally, a source collection about Suffragettes tells the development of the suffragette movement and shows visuals meant to influence public opinion, both in favor and against universal suffrage.

How can these source collections be used to teach history?

The source collections are very useful to make students aware that a large amount of visuals has been made with a specific purpose. There are examples that are very obvious, while others are subtler and not immediately identified as propaganda. With this set of source collections, history teachers can help their students become more critical in real life when they find images, online or offline. The release of these source collection will allow teachers to help students create a habit of reflecting critically on visual sources, by discussing about the motives and purposes of the visuals, and to determine information that is left out of the image.

Take the #BigArtRide with Europeana!

EuroClio Partners ,

Europeana 280 is coming to your country. This cross-border campaign organised by Europeana, the Dutch design studio, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and multiple Embassies of the Kingdom of The Netherlands across Europe. The campaign aims to get people excited about Europe’s shared art heritage by celebrating the diverse and magnificent artworks that are a part of it. Check out this website to see which pieces were chosen by each country.

The #BigArtRide is the first of a series of digital public events. In the Netherlands it will celebrate the Dutch Presidency of the EU. It will bring together two participants in different cities (one in Amsterdam, one elsewhere), invite them to get on their (stationary) bikes, put on virtual reality ‘Oculus Rift’ headsets, and navigate through a virtual city experiencing centuries of Europe’s art along the way. However, the Netherlands is not the only country where people can enjoy this fascinating tour. Other cities are Vienna, Brussels, Rome, Prague, Londen and Paris. For more information on dates and locations, please visit this website.

If you can’t join in real life, have a look at the new virtual exhibition “Faces of Europe“. This exhibition is featuring artworks from all 28 member states and Norway as well. It highlights the art that has contributed to major European art movements, but that are not particularly well-known to the general public.

Europe’s art heritage is vast and varied. But while most art lovers are familiar with artists such as Rembrandt or Munch, how much is known about Danish impressionism or Bohemian Gothic? Or the women who made a living from painting in the 16th and 17th centuries?

In exploring what was happening in Vilnius and Copenhagen, Paris and Bucharest, new faces and new insights are discovered into national cultures and identities. We are reminded of the power of art and how it can transform our lives. Every country got involved which resulted in this diverse and interesting collection.

The entire Europeana 280 collection can further be explored and enjoyed online via Europeana Collections, and via the apps DailyArt and ArtStack and the new Europeana colouring app based on works in the collection CREATE, as well as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest using #Europeana280. Through this campaign everyone is invited to celebrate the great artworks contributed by every EU Member State and Norway. Join us this summer and discover a new and rich shared heritage!