cultural heritage

Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical science artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. Cultural heritage includes tangible culture (such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artifacts), intangible culture (such as folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge), and natural heritage (including culturally significant landscapes, and biodiversity).


'Rembrandt Reality' lets you experience the painting 'The anatomical lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp', but in a historically incorrect location.


At the BigPicnic Festival in Madrid the final results were presented from the project, in the form of a series of recommendations.


Together with the Oude Kerk, Waag developed, tested and researched a number of mixed reality concepts.


Waag together with the Drenthe Archive built the interactive installation Sigismund in 2006, now in use as an educational escape room.


Pam de Sterke and Dick van Dijk of Waag collaborated in a new publication of the European Theatre Lab: Digital Theatre. A Casebook.


We interviewed Marianna van der Zwaag, project leader at the Oude Kerk ('Old Church') in Amsterdam and involved in the project Mixed Reality @ Oude Kerk.


This month the first public demo of the Mixed Reality experiment at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam took place, where visitors put on a Hololens.


In the past weeks, we researched how to place virtual objects in real environents by using open-source software.


We visited the St. Nicolaikirche in Kalkar as inspiration for the Mixed Reality experiment with the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam.


Waag and the Old Church (Oude Kerk) in Amsterdam are experimenting with adding visual layers to the visitors' experience in the building.


Finding ways to preserve born-digital heritage has become a matter of urgency and growing concern. This manifesto lays out the actions they need to take today to safeguard born-digital heritage.


A team from Waag has realised the installation 'Garden as Lab' that will travel trough the country with a selection of DIY tests.


In today’s society it’s not obvious anymore that we share the same cultural background with the people that hold the same passport as we do. The project "Emotion networks" aims to visualise how people with different backgrounds, experiences, genders and ethnic groups might connect emotionally to certain heritage items. Despite of our passport we might think the same way about numerous topics and vice versa.


In 2017, the 25 botanical gardens in The Netherlands present the results of a joint transformation process. As an outcome of this, the data of all plant collections are now connected and shared with the public in innovative ways during the 'Year of the Botanical Gardens'. Waag developed the app Hortus Chat, in which visitors of the gardens can start a conversation with some of the remarkable plants.


Based on the experience with organizing six hackathons in the Europeana Space project and the pre-existing experience with project partners, we created a how to guide, exploring the use of hackathons in the cultural sector and helping you to get started with organising one yourself. This publication intends to share the lessons we learnt for the realization of a successful event, and to support the replication of best practices experimented in the E-Space hackathon experiences.


In times of aggressive nationalism, economic protectionism and mass migrant movements, third year Graphic Design student teams researched contemporary connections between societies and individuals and proposed alternative ways of looking at borders and real time connectivity.


2017 will be the year of the botanic gardens in The Netherlands. On 22 April, an exhibition will start in all 24 gardens in The Netherlands about the most special plants in the collections of these gardens. Their stories will be published on the website, and visitors can use the newly developed app starting in April - Hortus Chat, made in collaboration with Waag - to start a conversation with the plants.


Recently, Waag co-organized the first ever MuseumCamp Amsterdam. Over 70 participants worked really hard for three days to build 17 interactive installations, for 17 selected objects.


How do museum professionals approach a weekend long of prototyping exhibitions? At the Allard Pierson Museum, 17 teams worked with digital technology in the MuseumCamp Amsterdam, to develop concepts and to test their ideas in practice. They had access to tools like a mobile Fablab, the meSch toolkit for museum objects and camped at the site.


Museums and the Web (MW) is one of the bigger international heritage conferences, and this year in its 20th edition. The 2016 edition was held in April in Los Angeles. The name obviously stems from the days when the web was the new ‘new thing’, but it covers the much broader field of digital technology and arts. In its opening reception at The Broad, artist Tiffany Trenda wore her 3D printed dress, later on she showed a dress with QR codes to link to websites containing information about related body parts.


The Identity Matters conference (RICHES) was about change. About renewal and innovation. About trying to understand the way in which we construct our lives and our identities throughout cultural artefacts, media and heritage. Although we might feel we are going through difficult times as a society, we took an optimistic stance.


Waag and the University of Stuttgart, two of the partners in the meSch project, have conducted a workshop at the OEB (the Online Educa Berlin) conference on December 2nd, 2015.


The process of co-creation is a bit of a black box.


On Monday, October 5th, almost 60 heritage professionals gathered in the Waag’s Anatomical Theatre. Together, we discussed how co-creation can be applied in the heritage sector to create new stories or new connections with audiences.


How can heritage institutions share their information and develop new services based on their data to reach a new audience?


Heritage can be found everywhere. Not just in museum collections, presented at a nice location, or locked up in storage. Heritage is “old” (from the past), but it can also tell us a lot about the “new”—our current view of the world, our identity. Technology frequently plays a roll in the availability and presentation of our heritage both inside and outside the museum. By connecting it to our environment and our lives (and not isolating it), we can get a different (better?) perspective of our surroundings and of modern society.


Szandra Iván recently graduated at University Twente (Creative Technology) with an exploration of new prototypes that would fit the context of the meSch project (Material EncounterS with digital Cultural Heritage). Dick van Dijk discusses the project with Szandra.


The website ErfGeo is still in development, but has the ambition to contain every place, street and even address or building that ever existed in The Netherlands. A database of Dutch topography through the ages. It is one of the results or our Heritage and Location project.


Waag hosted the Hacking Culture Talks, the public kick-off of our exciting weekend hackathon, Hacking Culture Bootcamp.


From 8-10 May, 2015, Waag and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision hosted the first of six Europeana Space hackathons. This was the main objective: come up with appealing ideas and applications to bring the rich archive of digitized European cultural heritage to the public.


On behalf of Waag, I visited Museums and the Web 2015 in Chicago, Illinois in April. At this conference, I presented the meSch project and I had the opportunity to follow the use of technology in the world of heritage.


Six museums, 95 photographs, three months, and four interviews with professionals: all this comes together in the research, “New Technologies in Museums and the notion of Alternate Reality Games,” that Konstantinos Dranganas conducted as an intern at the Future Heritage Lab at Waag.


A new year has started, a fitting moment for predictions. Which themes will change the image of 2015?


Digital Spaces Living Lab (DSLL) tested our loupe prototype with school children at the National Museum of History (NMH) in Sofia.


The international conference called 'Cultural Heritage: Recalibrating Relationships' was attended by more than 150 people from all over Europe, from China and Australia.


How can a museum or cultural organisation deal with a rapidly changing global society in which each culture has its own wishes, expectations, and needs? Waag’s Urban Reality Lab researches this question within the scope of the RICHES project. In collaboration with local young people and the employees of the Museum of World Cultures, we are mapping current challenges for museums and researching possible solutions to such issues during several co-creation sessions.


In the RICHES project we explore the use of new technologies for cultural heritage experiences as one of the important aspects for change.


On Thursday, September 25, more than two hundred employees from various botanical gardens in the Netherlands travelled to the National day of the Botanical Gardens in Utrecht. Together with Waag, these employees are investigating new strategic ideas for the gardens of tomorrow. What will botanical gardens mean for the generations of the future? What can they do for our future society? How can they reach new audiences or broaden existing ones? Which stories do visitors want to hear? And which format is most suitable to tell those stories?


In 2010 I stumbled upon a nice topic for a documentary film, or so I thought. Now, four years later, the original plan has developed into a research project using digital technology and design thinking. Together with Dutch-based partners Waag and Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde it became embedded in a larger consortium under the acronym RICHES. Let’s go back to where it all began.


On 14 March 2014, I was present at a presentation of the Dutch report on heritage called ‘Karakterschetsen; Nationale Onderzoeksagenda Erfgoed en Ruimte’ that describes the current state of Dutch heritage in the public space. How is our heritage preserved, researched and made accessible? And what are the trends here?


Thursday March 28th, The Dutch Council of Botanical Gardens and Waag organized a public session in the Hortus of Amsterdam, one of the oldest botanical gardens of the world. The focus of this event was to discover, collect and develop innovative concepts and tools for the public program of the botanical gardens in Holland.


After a short stop during the Winter months, this Spring we will continue our ‘Plants for the Future’ project with the Dutch Botanical gardens (NVBT). In this project we are connecting the botanical collections and search for innovative ways to share these (and possibly enrich them) with the public.


Per 1 December 2013 the project RICHES has started. This research focuses on the power of our heritage in a changing society.



Plant stories

On Thursday 29 August, a second laboratory day took place in our project 'Plants for the future' with the botanical gardens of The Netherlands. Again, employees of several gardens gathered at the Von Gimborn Arboretum in Doorn.


Finally, we have officially started the first ‘laboratory garden’ with the botanical gardens in The Netherlands. In this project we are organizing co-creation labs to find new inventive ways to connect the available knowledge about plants and biodiversity to the needs of modern-age visitors. Target of the labs is to create an actively involved audience.


The consortium partners of the meSch project came together in June for three days of sharing insights, building scenarios, and setting future goals. Within the project, we want to create a toolkit that facilitates curators and educators in creating adaptive and smart exhibits for their museum visitors.


On 24 april 2013 we started a nice project with the The Dutch Botanical Gardens Association (NVBT). We will connect the data of their botanical collections and think of ways to share the contents with the public in innovative ways.




In the book 'Sharing', Philippe Aigrain explains why - contrary to what is generally stated - non-commercial sharing of cultural works by individuals is a widely beneficial practice.


Waag held a ‘Dynamic heritage and design thinking’ workshop at the kick-off meeting of the project meSch in Sheffield (UK). We applied a design thinking approach to share all the knowledge and ideas we already have and to create common ground for new ideas.


The jury of the Children’s Museum Award 2013 has awarded the project Operation Sigismund of the Drents Archive with a special recommendation. The jury recommended the project as an experimental learning environment that clearly expresses the importance of an archive to young people.


Thrilling plant stories - the Dutch Botanical Gardens Foundation receives a subsidy of 2 million euro from the National Postcode Lottery for their collaborative project 'Plants for the future'. In this project, together with Waag, Dutch botanical gardens will link the data from their plant collections and share these with the public in innovative ways.


The Wikimedia Foundation has launched its 12th official project: Wikivoyage (, a free, worldwide, online travel guide. Like Wikipedia and its sister projects, Wikivoyage is free to edit, free of ads, and built collaboratively by volunteers from around the globe.


Recently a film crew visited the Waag for a documentary series about the Golden Age, in which the viewers will be taken through the history. The part of the series that features our building will be broadcasted on Dutch television on 19 February 2013 at NTR/VPRO.


In the week of 23 April 2012 Madrid coloured orange for the annual Semana Naranja. In this week the Dutch Ambassy organized a number of activities to make 'The Netherlands' visible in Madrid: a bicycle tour through the city, a market with Dutch products and Dutch designers and architects joined a public debate. I was asked as one of the guest speakers on behalve of Waag.