How do you digitise 133.000 years of history?
133,000 years ago, the first humans settled in the territory we call Flanders today. What those people and their descendants did, thought, believed, and crafted still has a great impact on Flemish society. Commissioned by the Flemish Government, the Canon van Vlaanderen was developed to make Flemish culture tangible for present-day Flemish people. We took care of the Canon's digital presence.
Digital overview of Flemish culture over the years
50,000 visitors in the first week
Website development, branding, video, and logo
Web design with 3D timelines
Broad, intense collaboration
Canon van Vlaanderen
The Canon van Vlaanderen opens windows to the past, to discover what has shaped our culture and history.
It's an endeavour of the Flemish Government, Department of Education & Training.
The history of Flanders was too little known to the Flemish people.
An interactive website featuring sixty historical and cultural Flemish anchor points.
About the Flemish Government, Department of Education & Training
The Department of Education & Training supports the Flemish Minister of Education and Training in education policy. To this end, the department formulates advice, prepares new policy, and develops projects. It consists of a team of some 300 staff members who work on the Flemish education policy of today and tomorrow.
The collaboration in figures
The challenge: providing an appropriate (digital) stage for Flemish identity
Anyone living in Flanders has undoubtedly heard of the Canon van Vlaanderen. There has been extensive discussion in the media and politics about the Canon, its social value, and what its content would be.
The Flemish Government's Department of Education & Training first launched the initiative in the summer of 2019. It put together an independent committee of nine experts including historians, journalists, philosophers, and art historians.
And now it's here: the Canon van Vlaanderen is real. As a concept, as a physical book, and as an interactive website.
The interactive Canon van Vlaanderen
The expert committee deliberated on the content of the Canon van Vlaanderen for two years - irrespective of political, social, and other ideologies or preferences.
It has become a massive compilation of people, events, objects, and phenomena that together have shaped contemporary Flanders. This collection had to be easily consultable online, and that's exactly what the experts at iO have done.
We crafted a clean, crisp web platform that did full justice to the 60 historical windows. With timelines with a touch of 3D and interactive historical maps, we gave the story more depth. Added VRT archive footage, books, websites, podcasts and museums gave visitors the chance to dig even deeper.
The Flemish topics and stories are clustered into seven main lines:
Economy & technology;
Borders, language & territory;
Arts & sciences;
Landscape, environment & mobility;
Power & resistance;
Meaning & worldview.
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The result: an enthused audience
The website canonvanvlaanderen.be, together with the Canon book, was first launched publicly in May 2023.
In the first week following the launch, more than 50,000 visitors found their way to the website. With an engagement rate of 72%, those visitors clicked through an average of 18 times - accounting for a total of 350,000 page views.
In other words, the Canon van Vlaanderen is clearly an intriguing topic we haven't heard the last of.
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