On February 2nd 2021, Wikimedia Belgium, the Royal Library of Belgium and meemoo - The Flemish Institute for Archives organised Public Domain day Belgium 2021. Like previous editions, it provided an opportunity for the heritage sector to exchange best practices and their efforts related to making public domain works accessible. It was also the launch event for the Public Domain Tool and like every year included the Wiki Loves Heritage photography contest award ceremony.
The Public Domain Tool
On Belgium's sixth edition of Public Domain Day, meemoo launched the Public Domain Tool. Making Public Domain collections available is not only a policy issue, but also a practical one. For many heritage institutions, determining the rights status of their collections is a labor intensive process. By leveraging both data from the heritage institutions as well as data from Wikidata, the Public Domain Tool allows you to semi-automatically determine the rights situation of collections. Furthermore, it allows heritage institutions to give back to the Wikidata community by, through the tool, contributing missing data on Wikidata.
The Jakob Smits Museum is a small museum in the Campine region of Belgium. It had already released reproductions of the works in their collections by the artist Jakob Smits. During 2020 they worked together with meemoo to make available the works of the rest of their collection: work by artists from the 'Mol school' who followed Jakob Smits to come paint in the Campine region: Paula Rompa-Zenke (1869-1942), Pierre-Jacques Dierckx (1855-1947), Richard Fehdmer (1860-1945), Franz Meerts (1836-1896), Ernest Midy (1877-1938), Henri Houben (1858-1931), Frans Courtens (1854-1943), Emiel Walravens (1879-1914), Corneel Van Leemputten (1841-1902), Alfons De Clercq (1868-1945), Albert Sohie (1873-1927), Edgard Farasyn (1858-1938), Emil Oelieden (1875-1934), Charles Claessen (1864-1938), Adolphe Hamesse (1849-1925), Dolf Van Roy (1858-1934) and Joseph Bouuaert (1881-1948). Excepting a few works for which no quality reproduction was available, they have now, as the first heritage institution in Belgium, effectively released their entire public domain collection on Wikimedia platforms.
The Royal Museum for Fine Arts Ghent released images of work by Arie Van de Giessen (1896-1950), Armand Apol (1879-1950), Edmond Van de Vyvere (1880-1950), Jozef De Coene (1875-1950) and Anna De Weert (1867-1950). The Royal Library of Belgium also uploaded work by Armand Apol, as well as the sculptors an medaillists Oscar Berchmans (1869 -1950), Jacques Marin (1877-1950) and Pierre Theunis (1883-1950). The Cluster Culture of the city of Bruges presented their work uploading a collection of archaeological finds from the city's historical center and demonstrated how writing Wikidata queries allows him to achieve visualisations of the data which on the city's own website would require development costs. Mu.ZEE presented how they edited and added Wikidata items and uploaded reproductions of work by the artists James Ensor (1860-1949), Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946), Frits Van den Berghe (1883-1939) and Jules Schmalzigaug (1882-1917). The Flemish Architectural Institute showed how in their project Persistent Architecture, they uploaded images and data from the archive of Engetrim and Jos De Bee. Their project Wiki Women Design helps close the Wikipedia gender gap for Belgian designers and architects. The Photomuseum of Antwerp uploaded images by the work of Ferdinand Buyle (1872-1950) and Charles Gaspar (1871-1950).
Wiki Loves Heritage Belgium 2020
Wikimedia Belgium was able to show some very nice results of their annual Wiki Loves Heritage photography contest. Amongst the submissions where mainly pictures of built heritage but also of moveable and immaterial heritage.