Open Culture Data API

On the 25th. of May 2014 the Open Culture Data API was launched. This API offers an infrastructure to collect, search and re-use combined open culture datasets of Dutch cultural heritage organisations.


In recent years most of the current ‘Apps‘ that were produced used datasets from the more known cultural heritage organisations. Open Cultuur Data wants to stimulate the re-use of all open culture datasets and would like to see more combinations of diffrent datasets. This will give more way for more innovative and creative new Apps. For re-users of the data an important threshold is removed: they won’t have to look for a specific technical solution per dataset, but can use all the data (around 14 million items) that has been made available through Open Cultuur Data in a universal manner.

How does it work?

The Open Cultuur Data API is based on an Elasticsearch engine. This open source technology is used to centrally store the datasets and to make all the data searchable in a universal manner. An extract, transform, load system is used, through which all the different datasets are harvested (the original data always remains available in the API), adjusted, (to support the universal searchability) and eventually saved.

Open Cultuur Data is harvesting the datasets together with interested developers as an open source project. This has different advantages as we are sharing knowledge about the API with our community. This community is not only helping with harvesting the large and diverse amount of datasets, but the community can also give suggestions for technical improvements and even develop their own enhancements or upgrades.

Want to contribute?

As stated above every developer can add open culture datasets to the API. In this way you contribute to a platform for open culture data in the Netherlands that is as up to date and complete as possible. As a result everyone that is using the API will benefit directly from these additions.

In the (Dutch) manual below you can find a description on how to harvest datasets, based on building a ‘culture scraper’. Check (made by Frank Sträter) to see what is in the API at this moment. You can find English information via the Github platform that is also listed below. To build a scraper knowledge of Python is required. Feel free to ask questions on Github or contact Open Cultuur Data if you have any questions.

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