‘Travelling booklet’ (Wanderbuch) of Jakab Modern, tool smith journeyman

European Digital Treasures project partner Hungary has opened its second exhibition titled ‘Exiles, Migratory Flows and Solidarity” on May 5th, 2022 at the beautiful Castle Garden in Budapest.  The exhibition explores the issues such as the cultural results of transnational migrations, on what ground solidarity stands when it comes to inclusion of the hopeless and how the host communities react after different migration flows. The exhibition looks at these issues from a historical perspective and presents a series of related events through 47 key documents.

© Várkert Bazár.

Besides the digital panels the exhibition includes a few original documents that are originally kept by the National Archives of Hungary. These documents are exhibited carefully supervised by conservators continuously. Regarding the summer heatwaves in Hungary the Hungarian conservators team has to be beware of critically high humidity levels. These documents because of their uniqueness are central of interest of school groups, travellers and historians from all around Europe.

In this blogpost we would like to introduce one of the original pieces exhibited at the Castle Garden. This archival document is the ‘Travelling booklet’ (Wanderbuch) of Jakab Modern, tool smith journeyman. Jakab Modern was the Magistrate of the Royal Free City of Pozsony (today: Bratislava, Slovakia), a famous tool smith master throughout Europe.

Reference Number: HU MNL OL P 975 II. 59. № 2. Kept by the National Archives of Hungary
© Zsuzsanna Lantos.

Undergirding the development of modern Europe between the 1780s and 1849 was an unprecedented economic transformation that embraced the first stages of the great Industrial Revolution and a still more general expansion of commercial activity.

From this ‘Wanderbuch’ we can walk down on history lane and learn that its owner, Jakab Modern has been wandering in German speaking regions for several years: Potsdam, Leipzig, Hamburg, Bremen, Hameln, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Ulm, München, Landshut, Regensburg, Linz were his destinations. According to this travelling document, after returning home, he also travelled through Switzerland and France. Among other cities he visited Zurich, Basel, Bern, Mühlhausen (a city in the north-west of Thuringia, Germany) and Paris. The booklet contains about 35 written folios.

Jakab after being employed by a master for several years, and producing a qualifying piece of work, the guild apprentice became a journeyman (German: Geselle, Hungarian: vándorlegény). He had his certifications from his master of the guild, which proved that he successfully completed his apprenticeship. It also meant that he is entitled to travel to other towns and countries, learning the art from other masters (these journeys lead sometimes to quite distant parts of Europe and became an unofficial way of communicating new methods and techniques). However, only a few journeymen made such long travels as the tool smith Jakab Modern did.

It would be wrong to think, however, that the Industrial Revolution eradicated artisanship entirely. The Wanderbuch (travelling booklet) of Jakab Modern is a testament to that. It records the journeys of a tool smith in Central Europe during the years 1823–1829. Just by browsing through it one can get a good impression of what Modern’s working life was like.

The exhibition can be visited until the 5th of August, 2022 at the wonderful location of the Castle Garden of Budapest, Hungary.

Written by:
Dorottya Szabó, Archivist of the National Archives of Hungary
Anna Palcsó, Public Education Officer of the National Archives of Hungary

Photograph: Zsuzsanna Lantos, National Archives of Hungary

Exhibition II: Opening in St. Pölten – Austria

On July 1st, 2022, the opening of the 2nd part of the exhibition series of the EU project “European Digital Treasures” took place at the Museum am Dom in St. Pölten. After the questioning of the “Becoming of Europe” in the first part, the second part is now dedicated to the complex of questions “migration flows – exile – solidarity” – Europe in turmoil.

Opening ceremony at the air-raid shelter of the diocese.

The air-raid shelter of the diocese was deliberately chosen as the venue for the event, in order to convey an authentic sense of what war, flight and persecution have always meant in concrete terms for the people concerned during the opening ceremony.

The interested audience of about 50 people was first introduced to the compilation by the museum director Barbara Taubinger in her welcoming speech, followed by ICARUS president Thomas Aigner, the representative of the province Florian Krumböck and the mayor of St. Pölten Matthias Stadler, who formulated their thoughts on the frighteningly topical subject. Finally, the exhibition was ceremoniously opened by Diocesan Bishop Alois Schwarz.

left to right: Matthias Stadler, Alois Schwarz, Barbara Taubinger, Thomas Aigner & Florian Krumböck after the opening ceremony.

The show will be on display for two months until the 28th of August and uses primary sources from nine major European archives to convey the various aspects of the topic. In addition to labour- and war-related migration, a third section is devoted to expulsion as a result of uprisings and state intolerance.

Written by Karl Heinz, International Centre for Archival Research.

Workshop: New Business & Conceptual Models

The European Digital Treasures partners created a workshop held within the #28 ICARUS Convention on Monday, 23rd of May, 2022! The workshop and the convention took place at the Conference Center of Campus-Condorcet in Paris-Aubervilliers (France) and participants could join remotely or in-person.

Yvan Corbat.

One of the main goals of European Digital Treasures is to generate added value, visibility and economic profitability of European archives, through the identification and implementation of new business models and activities. The creation of this workshop was one step among others to pursue this aim!

Yvan Corbat, senior consultant at Grupo DEX and partner of the EDT project, led and moderated the workshop and gave a general overview of the aims of the project before the individual presentations of the partners.

Although more than 20 actions focused on the development of new business models are being implemented (an average of 4 per archival partner), the workshop presents  5 practical examples of these  new activities:

Miguel Ángel Bermejo Alonso (Subdirección General de los Archivos Estatales – Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte) presented the topic Self-copying service in the researching rooms of the Spanish State Archives followed by José Furtado (Direção-Geral do Livro, dos Arquivos e das Bibliotecas – DGLAB) talking about an E-commerce platform.
Leonard Callus’ (National Archives of Malta) topic was Identification of potential for revenue generation followed by Ole Gausdal (National Archives of Norway) talking about Improve access to digitized archives using artificial intelligence.
The workshop presentations of the European Digital Treasures partners were closed by Dorottya Szabó (National Archives of Hungary) who talked about Crowdsourcing activities carried out by the National Archives of Hungary.

Here you can see the workshop programme:

After those presentations the companies Ancestry and Teklia presented themselves and their ongoing projects, followed by Q&A session about how companies and institutions could include the strategies and activities within their daily business. 

Read the full report about the workshop here!

The sessions will be available on the ICARUS YouTube channel soon – stay tuned! 

See the programme & the short bios of all the speakers for the workshop here

Written by Tatjana Hölzl, ICARUS

MANAGING WATER IN TOLEDO: Artificio Juanelo

“Plan of a machine to raise fresh water from the river to the Alcázar of Toledo and supply the city” is one of the Spanish contributions to the third transmedia exhibition of the Project European Digital Treasures, “European Discoveries – From the New World to New Technologies”, held by the General Archive of the Indies (Seville, Spain) from April 29th 2022 to July 29th 2022.

Water management has a long tradition in Spain. With long, hot, dry summers, and areas where water is scarce, an efficient and rational use of water has always been a serious issue for the various peoples that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula. As a result, complex irrigation schemes and sophisticated water management machines were installed in many parts of the Peninsula throughout the centuries.

This document shows the design of a machine to raise water from the river Tagus (Tajo in Spanish) to the Alcázar of Toledo to supply the city with fresh water. It was designed by Giovanni Turriano (circa 1505-1585), known in Spain as Juanelo Turriano, an engineer and technical advisor to King Charles I.

The drawing was made in 1561, but construction of the invention seems to have been delayed until around 1565. The first engine he built was a success; it was working at full capacity by 1568. Despite some legal disputes, Turriano was commissioned to build a second one, which went into operation in 1581. Both mechanisms, known as Artificio de Juanelo, were considered engineering wonders at the time, and efficiently solved most of Toledo’s water problems.

The machines were in operation until 1639. By then, lack of maintenance and thefts rendered them inoperative. They were disassembled and abandoned.

Having in mind this 16th century invention, the Spanish designer Ángel Merlo created this glass bottle: a merchandising product for domestic or sport use for bringing water or drink easily.

Glass bottle created by Spanish designer Ángel Merlo.


You can find more info about the archival document and the product here:

“Diseño de un ingenio para subir agua del rio Tajo al Alcázar de Toledo y proveer a la ciudad”
ES.47161.AGS//MPD,27,3
General Archive of Simancas http://pares.mcu.es/ParesBusquedas20/catalogo/description/12893808?nm

Check out a 3D recreation of the Artificio de Juanelo:

Written by Spanish State Archives

The Pro-Finlandia Petition (1899)

The exhibition currently on display at the “Museum am Dom” in St. Pölten on the theme of “The Making of Europe – History, Memory and Myth of a 1000-Year Europeanism“, which was developed as part of the “Digital Treasures” project funded by the European Commission, is an excellent example of the timelessness of the subject. Each of the documents, carefully selected by the archives involved in the conception, symbolizes a particular aspect of European identity, the exact definition of which is still being struggled over today. 

One of these documents will be presented here as an example. It is a source document that has gone down in history as the “Pro Finlandia Petition”. It takes the viewer to the time of the struggle of the people of Finland for their independence and self-determination at the turn of the 19th century. Finland had been incorporated into the Russian Tsarist Empire since 1809 as a Grand Duchy with a certain degree of internal autonomy. However, it was precisely this autonomy that was opposed to the Russification policy embodied by Tsar Nicholas II in the late 19th century and was to be eliminated by a corresponding imperial manifesto.

Since the petitions and activities on the part of the Finnish population to at least leave the status quo did not find a hearing at the tsar’s court, an unprecedented Europe-wide initiative in the interest of Finnish emancipation was launched in 1899. In just three months, no fewer than 1064 signatures were collected from prominent public figures in the fields of science and art in twelve countries, demanding the inviolability of Finnish autonomy. Among the signatories were prominent names such as Florence Nightingale, Émile Zola, Anatole France, Herbert Spencer, Theodor Mommsen, Emilio Brusa, Vito Volterra, Edvard Grieg, Henrik Ibsen or Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, who were regarded as distinguished and respected opinion leaders both in their countries and on an international level.

© National Archives of Finland.

Particularly noteworthy is the highly individual and in many cases splendidly executed cover pages of the petition in the individual states, which not least also represent the cultural diversity of Europe. In the end, the petition was not handed over because the tsar refused to accept it. Nevertheless, the “Pro Finlandia Petition” is and remains a significant testimony to lived solidarity with the legitimate interests of smaller ethnic and national groups threatened by autocratic and authoritarian systems of rule. Even then, it took courage and idealism to stand up to a major European power of the time, all the more so because the petition was a private initiative. These qualities are still indispensable prerequisites today in order to be able to stand up against state-directed falsification of history and authoritarian, inhuman practices, which are still part of the current reality in Europe. 

The example presented here shows that unremitting efforts can eventually be crowned with success, for strengthened by the awareness of European solidarity, the Finnish National Assembly adopted a Declaration of Independence in 1917, thus making the country a sovereign nation-state.

Written by Karl Heinz, International Centre for Archival Research

Opening of the exhibition “European Discoveries: From the New World to New Technologies” in Norway

The third of the three transmedia exhibitions included in the European Digital Treasures project, European Discoveries: From the New World to New Technologies, was successfully opened at the National Archives of Norway – Regional State Archives in Stavanger at the House of Archives on the 31st of May, 2022.

Exhibition Opening. © Ine Fintland.

The exhibition is open to the public until the beginning of September. It analyses the scientific and technological discoveries that have been vital engines for the material progress and wealth of Europe, through the documentary treasures kept by the European archives.

This exhibition tries to show that discoveries and inventions lie at the heart of Europe’s cultural heritage. Archives in Europe abound with documents and materials that witness the constant desire to explore and to discover, and these documents tell many different stories.
There are three pillars of this exhibition: Medicine, energy and industry, and transport and navigation. They are an attempt to provide a glimpse of the multifarious variety of stories, events and personalities involved in discoveries of many different types, during the long history of Europe. It is thus an exhibition not only about the discoveries themselves, but also about their archival memory, recording one of Europe’s most distinctive cultural traits.

In addition to the documents, the exhibition is completed with transmedia tools to bring its content closer through experimentation and play. Link to the catalogue– have a look!

Written by Ole Gausdal, director in charge of international relations
at the National Archives of Norway.

Opening of the exhibition ‘Exiles, Migratory Flows and Solidarity” in Malta

National Archives exhibition opening 17-05-22.

Yesterday, May 17th 2022, the second of a series of three exhibitions developed within the framework of the European Digital Treasures project was inaugurated in Malta.  On 17th of May, Minister Owen Bonnici opened the exhibition ‘Exiles, Migratory Flows and Solidarity’ at the head office of the National Archives of Malta in Rabat. 

The narratives displayed here combine different technological tools that allow us to get to know our past through multiple channels. We chose 47 documents from 22 archives from 9 countries to tell micro-stories that shaped Europe, hoping that the innovative products will allow visitors to experiment and play, to learn and share, as well as to feel moved by our common past.

Written by Leonard Callus, National Archives of Malta.

ICARUS Lecture: Digitized archival materials from different corners of Europe

On March 23rd, Dorottya Szabó – Senior Archivist and head of department of Digital Services National Archives of Hungary and Anabela Borges Teles Ribeiro, Head of Departments of Digital Contents Conservation and Restoration, at Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, supported by Maria dos Remédios Amaral, gave the ICARUS Online Lecture #5 on the topic: Digitized archival materials from different corners of Europe: birth of transmedia exhibitions of the European Digital Treasures project.

The exhibitions aim at telling the stories and experiences hold inside European archives across multiple platforms and formats using various digital technologies, working together with cross-platform media and involving new publics.

Anabela Borges Teles Ribeiro

Anabela Ribeiro and Dorottya Szabó described the process of “making the exhibition”: the choice of documents and scientific work of historians, the digitization, the designer’s work, the creation of merchandising products, videos and entertainment apps in the different environments of Hungarian and Portuguese archives.

Dorottya Szabó


They also addressed the topic of managing these activities during a pandemic, which greatly affected the event’s schedule and opening of the exhibitions. Thanks to the efforts of the archival staff’s this process was successful and the exhibitions are currently open. Exhibition catalogues and materials are available at this page & check the Exhibition timeline.

See the session here or on the ICARUS YouTube channel!

For general information about the EDT Project please click here.

Stay tuned for more ICARUS Online lectures!

Written by Stella Montanari, International Centre for Archival Research.

International Nurses Day: 12th of May

The Order of St. John was set up in ca. 1048 to assist pilgrims in the Holy Land. They opened both hostels and hospitals for this purpose and also started protecting these pilgrims hospital gaining a military character.

After settling in Malta, they started building the city of Valletta in 1566; 12 years later they finished the building of the Sacra Infermeria (Sacred Infirmary), a new hospital which was one of the best in Europe at the time.

The Supreme Head of this hospital was the Grand Master himself, one of whose titles was that of ‘Servant of the Sick’. Another high officer was the Grand Hospitaller, the senior among the French Knights who exercised over-all control in hospital matters.

Initially, the Sacred Infirmary was a male institution; female patients were not admitted. This was remedied by Catherina Scappi, a noble lady, who some time before 1625 donated a house in Valletta for the care of sick and destitute women. The Order realized that a hospital for women was an essential service, and the Scappi hospital was developed as a department of the Infirmary.

The nursing of the sick by the Knights of St John at the Sacra Infermeria in Valletta (Malta). An engraving by Philippe Thomassin (1562-1622) in the Statute of the Order of St John, NLM, Statuta Hospitalis Hierusalem, [Rome], 1586).

The Order of Malta was essentially a hospitaller Order.  Indeed, the Grand Chapter of the Order, convened by Grand Master Fra’ Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle in 1584 in the new city of Valletta, confirmed the early Statute and made hospitality mandatory to all Knights.

The new statutes include engravings by Philippe Thomassin (1562-1622), illustrating life in the Order; one of them is the nursing of the sick at the Sacra Infermeria by the Knights. (Ref NLM, Statuta Hospitalis Hierusalem, [Rome], 1586).

Written by Leonard Callus, National Archives of Malta

Digital geospatial data, a tool for interpretation of our past – by Gregor Završnik

How can the benefits of digital geospatial data be leveraged? How can the discoverability and accessibility of geospatial records in a uniform and accessible way can be assured? The workshop “New Digital Exponential Technologies Towards The Generation Of Business Models” discussed these issued in both the technological and also the archival world.

Gregor Završnik.

Bio. Gregor Završnik is an international consultant with more than 20 years of experience in the Geospatial field. His geospatial digital records preservation engagement started on the E-ARK project in 2015 and continues until today with his work on the CEF eArchiving Building Block. As a member of the E-ARK3 team, he is leading the development of specifications and training for the eArchiving Building block in the field of geospatial information. His clients range from archives to mapping agencies and digital preservation solution providers. He is also a member of the Digital Information LifeCycle Interoperability Standards Board (DILCIS) and a short-term consultant for the World Bank.

Abstract. Maps and modern geospatial records are a useful tool to understand better objects and phenomena. With the development of exponential technologies such as social networks, artificial intelligence geospatial data became a fundamental component in the development of the digital economy. However, the benefits of this technology can only be leveraged if the discoverability and accessibility of geospatial records can be assured in a uniform and accessible way. A lot of data is stored in different formats with different levels of documentation and is often only accessible in closed systems. Mr Završnik shows how, using both simple and advanced technologies, geospatial data can be used for visualisation and analysis to understand better and make more use of our past data and present.

He discusses what generally brings value to data and what challenges are being faced in the data-driven economy. He goes on to propose how the Common Information Type Packaging Specifications for geospatial records, developed in the EU eArchiving building block, can support creating an Interoperable and connected information platform that can facilitate innovation and generate new business models. The solution is based on international standards from the geospatial and archival domains. The use of eArchiving specification ensures an open and transparent approach that will be sustainable and will ensure legal compliance.

Watch the session on YouTube here and check the manuscript paper prepared for the workshop here.

Written by Leonard Callus, the European Digital Treasures Team & Gregor Završnik.