Collections of Ghent

‘Many hands make light work’ is how the saying goes. And the initiators of ‘Collections of Ghent’ have definitely taken this on board. The City of Ghent, Design Museum Gent and Digipolis are joining forces with Ghent residents and a long list of partners from the world of academia and the private sector. Meemoo is also contributing to make this project a success.

In short

Explainer video by Chase (only in Dutch)

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Cities are often blessed with a wealth of cultural heritage. And more and more European cities are digitising this cultural heritage, but the data all too often gets trapped in institutional silos, so the general public can’t access the information or re-use it easily. Sometimes the municipal authorities simply don’t have the right tools to enable this, but it’s often the city residents who have the knowledge needed to add extra context and valuable information to collections.

These issues inspired the idea to create ‘Collections of Ghent’ (CoGhent). Various project partners are combining their strengths to make it happen, but the citizens of Ghent are also being called upon to help create a digital collection of the city’s heritage. The project is being funded by the Urban Innovative Actions – an initiative of the European Commission for sustainable urban development.

Na voltooiing krijgt het project een definitieve stek in de nieuwe vleugel van het Design Museum Gent. © Toekomstbeeld TRANS, Carmody Groarke en RE-ST

Our role

Meemoo doesn’t just do digitisation and archiving; we also help organisations make their content accessible. And that’s why we’re enthusiastically putting our weight behind ‘Collections of Ghent’. Linked (open) data is another important aspect of the project, and another of our areas of expertise, and we’re happy to share our knowledge and expertise where possible.

Eight work packages (WPs) have been defined within the project:

  • WP1 - Project preparation

  • WP2 - Project Management

  • WP3 - Communication

  • WP4 - Innovation, user and business research

  • WP5 - Collection data

  • WP6 - Participation and co-creation

  • WP7 - Technology and visualisations

  • WP8 - Closure and knowledge transfer

Meemoo is involved of three of these, i.e. WP4, WP5 and WP6.

What are we doing, exactly?

WP4: Innovation, user and business research

This work package has the goal of offering a user-friendly solution for visualising the data. Specifically, meemoo is helping to define stakeholder requirements and providing expertise to set up the digital strategy. The project is ultimately aimed at promoting social cohesion and making it quantifiable.

WP5: Collection data

This work package aims to make the data open, exchangeable and linked at the end of the process, in accordance with international objectives. Meemoo will co-author the data governance plan for this – for the technical and legal aspects of data management. We will then train project partners via a ‘train the trainer’ programme. Finally, meemoo is providing advice about IIIF and designing a linked data graph using an integration layer. This integration layer ensures that data from Ghent’s digital heritage collections, which is still stuck in institutional silos, can be looked up and re-used.

WP6: Participation and co-creation

This work package puts residents at the heart of the design, development and testing of a high-tech digital space, where you are fully immersed in Ghent’s cultural heritage and citizens can join in participation and co-creation activities. Crowdsourcing and co-curation activities are being set up in three districts of Ghent, and meemoo is providing advice about crowdsourcing, co-curation and creative re-use, among other things, and helping to set up activities.

As part of the Cultural Data Lab within the Collections of Ghent, a demonstration was given on SPARQL. Using this query language, you can retrieve data from the data cloud of the Collections of Ghent.


The aim of the project is to use linked (open) data to improve cultural participation and social cohesion, which will allow us to demonstrate what connects the people of Ghent. By visualising the results and sharing them in an immersive experience space, viewers can delve into Ghent’s cultural heritage in a very compelling way. Once the project is ready, it will have a permanent place in the new wing of the Design Museum Gent.

The project will:

  • link all the available cultural data across various heritage collections in Ghent;

  • create tools and methods that make it quicker and easier to unlock collection data;

  • visualise the data in a participatory experience space;

  • provide citizens with tools to crowdsource stories and knowledge about our shared cultural heritage;

  • test the participatory experience space in three different districts of Ghent to measure their social impact.


This project is being supported by several City of Ghent departments, study groups, NGOs and private companies to strengthen the existing cultural ecosystem and guarantee high-quality results. Other direct and indirect stakeholders will be further identified and involved where possible.


  • City of Ghent (proposer)

  • AGB Kunsten en Design (Arts and Design - City of Ghent)

  • AGB Erfgoed (Heritage - City of Ghent)

  • Digipolis

  • Ghent University

  • meemoo

  • Studio Dott

  • iDrops

  • Chase

  • Inuits

  • Fisheye

This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) initiative.

Do you have a question?
Contact Sam Donvil
Expertise Officer
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