Time Travelling in Europe

The Time Machine Flagships has been launched as it re-creates digitally Europe's rich cultural heritage.

Time Machine


Ambitious scientists from Lausanne and Venice began digitising the state archives of the city of Venice in 2013 with the virtual ‘Venice Time Machine’, making it possible for the first time to immerse themselves digitally in the history of the city. As one of the most ambitious research projects in Europe, the Time Machine today brings together the key initiatives to digitise the cultural and historical heritage of Europe.


The ambitious Time Machine project creates the digital version of Europe’s cultural heritage. Since the beginning of the 21st century, European scientists have been working to advance the extremely complex digitisation process. For the Time Machine to be usable, huge amounts of archive material have to be scanned and processed at tremendous speed, relying on artificial intelligence.


The destruction of historic sites and cultural treasures, whether through natural disasters or war, is an irrevocable intervention in the collective memory of humanity. As a result, Time Machine project teams are not exclusively concerned with digitising the cultural heritage in Europe, but sometimes use their ground-breaking techniques to preserve high-risk cultural assets in the virtual world.


The digitisation of cartographic collections accounts for a large proportion of the time machine project archival work, because they are able to reveal the geographic and sociological history of Europe. Through the digital comparison of old and current maps and aerial images, the development of a place can be investigated comparatively. Even today’s GPS technology is transferred to historical material.


The Europe Time Machine will unite a huge amount of information to make the past virtually tangible. This requires a new way of storing data and must be future-oriented, which means that it is also extremely durable and energy-efficient.

Photo by Jack Hunter on Unsplash