Skip to main content
Shaping Europe’s digital future

Digital cultural heritage

Cultural heritage is evolving rapidly thanks to digital technologies. The momentum is now to preserve our cultural heritage and bring it to this digital decade.

    Person holding tablet looking at a sculpture in a museum, and tablet identifies it as a kora

Unprecedented opportunities brought by technologies, such as Data, AI, 3D and XR brings cultural heritage sites back to life. Virtual museums offer visitors the possibility to see art works in context and experience objects or sites inaccessible to the public. The transformation of the sector is resulting in easier online access to cultural material for everybody.

The European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology has conducted extensive policy coordination and funding actions to supplement Member States’ cultural policy. These actions cover the areas of digitisation, online access to cultural material and digital preservation.

The role of the European Commission

The European Commission fuels the policy debate and brings stakeholders together to improve the framework conditions for digitisation and digital preservation. It does so through its Recommendation on a common European data space for cultural heritage.

The European Commission's Expert Group on a common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage (CEDCHE) monitors progress towards the implementation of the Commission's Recommendation. The CEDCHE reviews and discusses policies for digital cultural heritage and the upcoming initiative for a common European data space. It also facilitates the exchange of information and good practices working closely with cultural institutions. 

Funding instruments

Please refer to European Commission’s webpage Funding and Tenders Portal for complete information on open calls digital cultural heritage and tourism.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe calls for Cultural Heritage (the list is not exhaustive)

Digital Europe Programme

Preparatory actions for Data Spaces (DIGITAL-2021-PREPACTS-DS-01)

Previous actions

Actions under Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges 6 programmes for 2014-2020 have supported the following topics with an EU funding of around €70 million:

DT-TRANSFORMATIONS-24-2020 - European Museum Collaboration and Innovation Space

DT-TRANSFORMATIONS-20-2020 - European Competence Centre for the preservation and conservation of Monuments and Site

Curation of digital assets and advanced digitisation (2018)

European cultural heritage, access and analysis for a richer interpretation of the past (2017)

Cost-effective technologies for advanced 3D modelling to enhance the understanding of cultural heritage and Innovation Ecosystems of Digital Cultural Assets, Virtual Museums (.pdf) (2014-2016)

Latest News

Commission sets up a Centre for digital preservation of cultural heritage and launches projects supporting digital innovation in schools

The Commission launched this week a European competence centre aiming to preserve and conserve European Cultural Heritage. The centre, which will work for a period of three years, has been granted up to €3 million from the Horizon 2020 programme. It will set up a collaborative digital space for cultural heritage conservation and give access to repositories of data, metadata, standards and guidelines.

Related Content

Big Picture

Media and digital culture

The Commission is defending European media and digital culture with policies that empower citizens and encourage media pluralism.

Dig deeper

The Europeana platform

The Europeana platform is Europe’s digital cultural collection for responsible, accessible, sustainable and innovative tourism.

See Also

Audiovisual and Media Services

These days we can watch our favourite programmes not just on TV, but also online. These shows are subject to the rules of the single market.

Supporting media and digital culture

The Commission is promoting a coherent approach on media policies, covering legislation on media services and the preservation of European cultural heritage.


The European Commission is adapting EU copyright rules to new consumer behaviours in a Europe which values its cultural diversity.

Media freedom and pluralism

The European Union upholds media freedom and pluralism as pillars of modern democracy and enablers of free and open debate.