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Commission proposes a common European data space for cultural heritage

The European Commission has published a recommendation on a common European data space for cultural heritage. The aim is to accelerate the digitisation of cultural heritage assets.

Graphic : map of Europe with the Europeana logo

Europeana Foundation

The objectives

The Commission recommends Member States to accelerate the digitisation of all cultural heritage monuments and sites, objects and artefacts for future generations, to protect and preserve those at risk, and boost their reuse in domains such as education, sustainable tourism and cultural creative sectors.

The Commission encourages Member States to digitise by 2030 all monuments and sites that are at risk of degradation and half of those highly frequented by tourists.

This recommendation will contribute to the objectives of the Digital Decade by fostering a secure and sustainable digital infrastructure, digital skills and uptake of technologies by businesses, in particular SMEs.

What will be the data space?

Europeana, the European digital cultural platform, will be at the basis for building the common data space for cultural heritage. It will allow museums, galleries, libraries, archives across Europe to share and reuse the digitised cultural heritage images such as 3D models of historical sites and high quality scans of paintings.

Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, said:

The tragic burning of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris showed the importance of digitally preserving culture and the lockdowns highlighted the need for virtually accessible cultural heritage. A robust data infrastructure coupled to easy data pooling and sharing are the necessary ingredients of a common European data space for cultural heritage.

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said:

We owe the preservation of our European cultural heritage to future generations. This requires building and deploying our own technological capabilities, empowering people and businesses to enjoy and make the most of this heritage. We must take advantage of the opportunities brought by artificial intelligence, data, and extended reality. The European data space for cultural heritage will promote creation and innovation within the cultural heritage sector, and beyond, in education, tourism, and cultural and creative sectors.

How the implementation will be monitored?

Member States should inform the Commission 24 months from the publication of this Recommendation, and every 2 years thereafter, of actions taken in response to the Recommendation. A newly formed Commission Expert Group on the common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage will monitor the progress of the implementation of the recommendation.  Its members are appointed representatives from all Member States.


This recommendation follows the evaluation of the previous recommendation on online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation (2011/711/EU).

As announced in the European strategy for data, the Commission will develop and fund other data spaces in key strategy sectors and areas of public interest, such as health, agriculture or manufacturing.

Cultural heritage factfile

  • Cultural tourism represents up to 40% of all tourism in Europe;
  • Cultural and creative industries contribute 3.95% of total EU value added (€477 billion);
  • More than 8 million people are employed by the cultural and creative industries, through 1.2 million firms - 99.9% of which are SMEs;
  • Europeana currently offers access to 52 million cultural heritage assets, 45% of which can be reused in various sectors;
  • Images and text make up 97.5% of Europeana's assets, with only 2.47% audiovisual content and 0.03% in 3D. The collection of 3D assets in particular should see a massive boost, thanks to this latest initiative.


1 Recommendation - English
1 Recommendation - French
1 Recommendation - German
2 Annex - English
2 Annex - French
2 Annex - German