Meemoo, the Flemish Institute for Archives, was born in 2020. The new name signifies a new vision and mission for us, with a new style and website, but above all it represents a unified organisation striving for a common goal: to support cultural, media and government organisations in their digital archive operations, working together to expand the use of digital archive content.
The decision to merge three separate entities – VIAA, PACKED and Lukas – into a single organisation was taken by the Flemish Government and Minister for Culture in September 2018. Our integration became a reality from an administrative point of view on 1 January 2019, and was decreed by law later that same year on 20 May.
The three organisations go back further than 2018, though, and were already working closely together as separate entities before then. You can read a brief summary of their history below.
VIAA, which stands for Vlaams Instituut voor (Audiovisuele) Archivering [Flemish Institute for (Audiovisual) Archiving], was founded by the Flemish Government in 2012 as a project organisation with temporary funding provided by iMinds (now: imec). It grew into a fully-fledged independent non-profit organisation, financed by the Flemish Government, in 2016. The service provider focussed on digitising, archiving and unlocking image and audio content for over 150 partners.
PACKED vzw was founded in 2005 as a partner organisation by Argos Centre for Art and Media, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA), the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent (S.M.A.K.) and Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens (MDD). It originally focussed on the archiving and conservation of audiovisual arts, but in order to expand its support base, PACKED vzw quickly started to also concentrate on the challenges facing digital cultural heritage in general. Recognised as the national expertise centre for digital cultural heritage since 1 January 2011, PACKED further expanded its operations into the arts sector in 2013.
The Reproduction Fund was set up in 2003 with the objective of building a centralised image database of high-quality digital reproductions of Flemish works of art and cultural heritage. The organisation, which was later renamed Lukas, operated as a service provider for digitising works of art from Flemish collections and making them accessible to a broad international audience.