Congratulations to the 13 European chapters and three independent Wikimedia volunteer groups on their successful launch of the first-ever pan-European Wiki Loves Monuments photography contest. Since its September 1st launch, more than 15,000 images from 1,000 participants have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Participant Basvb from the Netherlands is in the lead with more than 600 images, with Switzerland’s Odrade123 following close behind with 534 images contributed. A special image upload wizard was also created to help optimize the contribution process and organize donated images by country.
Although it seems like the world is imbued with European culture and heritage, images of most of the monuments and important buildings found throughout Europe aren’t freely available on the Internet. This means access to these cultural riches are limited to the few who live within reach. RTVE recently reported that in Spain alone, many of the 13,500 official cultural sites, monuments, buildings, gardens, parks, archaeological sites, etc… have dedicated Wikipedia articles, but only one in five include images. Additional global coverage can be followed here.
Last year, Wiki Loves Monuments was piloted in the Netherlands, culminating in 12,500 freely-licenced images contributed to the Commons. This is an admirable number of donated images, however there’s still a dearth of monuments in the Netherlands still in need of capturing– about 30,000 of the 60,000 designated cultural sites are still waiting to be shared.
Wiki Loves Monuments runs throughout the entire month of September and is organized in independent national contests. Winning images from regional contests will then be submitted to the pan-European jury. Participating partner countries include: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The contest is supported by international organizations including the Council of Europe, the European Commission, Europeana and Europa Nostra. Prizes, including a full scholarship to Wikimania in Washington, DC, will be awarded to winners mid-December. More information about the contest and how to enter can be found at: http://www.wikilovesmonuments.eu or follow the participant leader-board or follow the Twitter hashtag #wikilovesmonuments
Good luck to all of the participants!
Moka Pantages, Global Communications