Creating value from cultural data in the age of digital transformation

with Harry Verwayen



Europeana is the largest digital repository of cultural data in the world. It aggregates digitised books, paintings, photographs, recordings and films from over 3,700 contributing cultural heritage organisations across Europe - including major national bodies such as the British Library, the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum.

Harry Verwayen has been Executive Director of the Europeana Foundation since May 2018. He is responsible for making sure that Europeana meets its objectives as an organisation, and does that well. "What he likes to do more than anything" (quote) is to design and implement new business models that will change our way of thinking about heritage as an enabler of societal and economic growth. Harry holds a MA in History from Leiden University and a certificate from Nyenrode Business University.

Europeana celebrates its 10th anniversary on November 20, 2018, which is also the European Year of Cultural Heritage. I asked Harry what the objectives of Europeana as an organisation are, and how they have changed during the past decade; who supports Europeana and most importantly what it does for the communities of users across the world. What is its asset, its vision, and what services it offers. Turns out, Harry is very passionate about his job and showed a genuine love for our collective heritage, love that means knowledge and understanding of its meaning and value. However Harry's talents are also grounded in management and practice, and most needed in this sector: I asked him about his ideas on making cultural heritage more 'appealing' from the economic point of view, that is, how to combine culture and economy in a virtuous way.

Europeana portal: https://www.europeana.eu/portal/en

Europeana Supercharging Strategy 2020: http://strategy2020.europeana.eu/update/

Europe and the digital transformation: https://pro.europeana.eu/post/the-economic-relevance-of-digital-transformation-to-the-future-of-europe

Picture captions:
- Above: Europeana DCH impact evidence bank workshop, April 2018, Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY 2.0 (above)
- Slider below, picture #1: The Women of Rome Gathering at the Capitol. Pieter Isaacsz., c. 1600 - c. 1602, Rijksmuseum, public domain
- Slider below, picture #2: Cyclist on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. George Hendrik Breitner, c. 1890 - c. 1910, Rijksmuseum, public domain