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ODEUROPA: Negotiating Olfactory and Sensory Experiences in Cultural Heritage Practice and Research

Project description

Interweaving smell and memory for enhanced cultural experiences

During the last decades, there has been a general tendency in European museological practices towards multi-sensory presentations and large-scale exploitation of computer science techniques. However, the potential olfactory descriptions, experiences and memories contained in cultural heritage remain an unexplored territory. Applying state-of-the-art AI techniques to text and image data sets that span four centuries of European history, the EU-funded ODEUROPA project aims at identifying the vocabularies, spaces, events, practices and emotions associated with smells and olfaction. The project aspires to curate this multi-modal information and formulate a "European Olfactory Knowledge Graph."


Our senses are gateways to the past. Although museums are slowly discovering the power of multi-sensory presentations, we lack the scientific standards, tools and data to identify, consolidate, and promote the wide-ranging role of scents and smelling in our cultural heritage. In recent years, European cultural heritage institutions have invested heavily in large-scale digitization. A wealth of object, text and image data that can be analysed using computer science techniques now exists. However, the potential olfactory descriptions, experiences, and memories that they contain remain unexplored. We recognize this as both a challenge and an opportunity. Odeuropa will apply state-of-the-art AI techniques to text and image datasets that span four centuries of European history. It will identify the vocabularies, spaces, events, practices, and emotions associated with smells and smelling. The project will curate this multi-modal information, following semantic web standards, and store the enriched data in a ‘European Olfactory Knowledge Graph’ (EOKG). We will use this data to identify ‘storylines’, informed by cultural history and heritage research, and share these with different audiences in different formats: through demonstrators, an online catalogue, toolkits and training documentation describing best-practices in olfactory museology. New, evidence-based methodologies will quantify the impact of multisensory visitor engagement. This data will support the implementation of policy recommendations for recognising, promoting, presenting and digitally preserving olfactory heritage. These activities will realize Odeuropa’s main goal: to show that smells and smelling are important and viable means for consolidating and promoting Europe’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 799 998,75
Kloveniersburgwal 29 het trippenhuis
1011 JV Amsterdam

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West-Nederland Noord-Holland Groot-Amsterdam
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (6)