Photograph: Ronald van der Graaf / CC

Webinar: Atlantikwall Data Library

20 April 2021

Digitalisation and inventarisation of Atlantic Wall heritage: finding common ground for European knowledge exchange.

Should we not consider common efforts for the inventory and sharing of data related to the Atlantic Wall? If we consider the remains of the Atlantic Wall are European shared heritage, this question becomes more relevant. Both national public authorities and the general public possess large amounts of data on Atlantic Wall objects and sites, including inventories, (aerial) photos, films, archive material and testimonies. This data can contribute to more insight regarding this difficult heritage, enhancing its significance for present-day issues of war and peace. The goal of the Atlantikwall Europe webinar, held on 20 April 2021, was to find common ground between all stakeholders, public or private.


Short introduction to the Digital Library webinar
Mathieu de Meyer, project leader Atlantikwall Europe (AWE) & director Atlantikwall Raversyde
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Why European inventarisation? Experience from European partners:

1. The concept of data library and its opportunities
Geert-Jan Mellink, Stichting Europees Erfgoed Atlantikwall, Netherlands (10 min)
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2. The inventarisation of Atlantikwall sites
Cyrille Billard, Ministry of Culture, France
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3. An introduction to WW2 aerial photography for conflict archaeology in Belgium and the potential for a joint European approach
Dr. Birger Stichelbaut, Archaeology department UGent, Belgium
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The MEDEA-project – an example of collaboration between volunteers (metal detectorists) and professionals (archaeologists)
Pieterjan Deckers, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Katelijne Nolet, Histories vzw, Belgium
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3 simultaneous BREAK-OUT sessions 

Breakout session 1:  Added Value of a data library
with Marc Pottier, La Fabrique de Patrimoines de Normandie (French)
Central in this break-out session is the following statement: "European digitalisation and inventarisation is about sites, structures, objects and stories. Inventarisation will improve knowledge and knowledge exchange, better environmental, spatial development and management of Atlantikwall sites and inventories, and collection exchange.”

Breakout session 2: European cooperation in inventarisation
with Marco van Baalen, Stichting Europees Erfgoed Atlantikwall (English)
Central in this break-out session is the following statement: “European cooperation on this shared heritage is the only way forward. A European harmonised structure is not needed, but national partners should agree on common standards.”

Breakout session 3: Connecting professionals and amateur experts
with Mathieu de Meyer, Raversyde Atlantikwall Museum (English)
Central in this break-out session is the following statement: “A large part of collections and objects, of photos and knowledge has been researched by amateur historians and experts. Their work should be valorised so as to make their work consultable for future generations.”

Resumé of break-out rooms
by the coordinator of every individual break-out room and answers to possible questions in the chat, with Mathieu de Meyer and discussion.