Wiki Loves Monuments: cultural heritage upgraded

Wiki Loves Monuments is a International photo contest focused on monuments.

Cultural heritage is all around us, and this contest gives everyone the opportunity to discover the heritage nearby us! In every participating country, participants can win nice awards, and the best 10 photos in each continues to a international jury – which will select the best monument photos from all over the world.

Cultural heritage is an important part of the knowledge Wikipedia collects and disseminates. Everybody can contribute images as well as write articles. An image is worth a thousand words, in every language at once and local enthusiasts can (re)discover the cultural, historical, or scientific significance of their neighbourhood.


The contest is inspired by the successful 2010 pilot in the Netherlands, which resulted in 12,500 freely licensed images of monuments that can now be used in Wikipedia and by anybody for any purpose. In 2011, over 15 European countries participated, collecting over 167’000 images.

In 2012, Wikipedia volunteer communities in over 20 countries have joined this initiative Wiki Loves Monuments is organized and coordinated by Wikimedian chapters, no profit associations which promote free culture and free knowledge: Wikimedia chapters are above the main promoters of projects as Wikipedia and Commons.


In each country a national contest will be organized with their national monuments, partners, rules, events and winners.

To participate in the contest, pictures must be uploaded during the month of September, by the author of the picture himself.

Every national contest will result in 10 nominees for the international contest. These nominated pictures will be judged by the international jury, which will then award extra prizes to the best images from all participating countries.

Every photo will be released with a free license (the Creative Commons - Attribution - Share Alike license, friendly called CC-BY-SA). This license allows everyone to see, use, reuse the photo, and above all allows the use of the picture in all the Wikipedia in the world.


Wiki Loves Monuments is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to discover their cultural heritage (both national and international) and discover the “power of commons”.

Imagine how beautiful would be to give the world a picture of your favourite monument, and see it in all the Wikipedias of the world.

This way, every tourist or passionate citizen can contribute spreading the beauty of cities and cultures all around us.

With a small effort, everyone can have a major impact in value our cultural heritage, make it visible, increasing awareness and helping preserve it.


In 2012, Italy will participate to Wiki Loves Monuments. It is a major challenge, but it is worth trying.

Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to date (47), which represents the 5% of the whole world (

Italy’s number of monuments is estimated to be over 100’000, with over 60’000 national monuments (

Cities as Rome, Florence and Venice (to name just the most famous) are known all over the world for their historical and artistic value, and are visited every year by million of tourists.

In 2012, Wikimedia Italia, the Italian chapter of Wikimedia, will lead the organization of the contest within the national boundaries, asking other associations and institutions to join the project. Moreover, it will ask the patronage directly to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and to all the institutions in charge.

Of course, not only Italian citizens are invited to join, but every tourist could participate and upload pictures shot in Italy.


Any support is welcome: from uploading a single image, spreading the word about the contest, to becoming a partner or sponsor. This September, cultural heritage will be in the spotlight on Wikipedia – from US to Russia. You can contact the local chapter of your nation, or just the local Wikipedia, and see if they are organizing Wiki Loves Monuments in your country. Our cultural heritage needy you too.

The stuff of dreams

Hello Aubrey, and thanks for sharing this. I had read about the Dutch project and found it really exciting. Museums, of all human artifacts, are among those that sit worst with the idea of intellectual property rights: they are machines for sharing culture.

I love Wikipedia (I occasionally make some small edits myself:  you can find me at my Wikipedia user page), and I hope to continue to support it. But I have to say I have sometimes been disappointeed with the lack of good quality images. In fact, I use FLickr to find photos licensed in CC, for example for my presentations. So I think your initiative is spot on.

I was happy to notice that the Council of Europe is a partner in WIki Loves Monuments :slight_smile:

I have been missing from Italy for a while, but I do hang out on the Italian language part of the Net, and i have not heard much about WLM. How is the community responding?

Flickr, Commons, WLM

Hi Alberto :slight_smile:

Right now, we have few feedback form the italian net community, because we are still working on the infrastructure. I have to say though that we had a good response from few newspapers and blogs, we didn’t expect that. You can see it here:

As for Flickr, we’ll surely try to create groups and exoprt our project there: with some tweakings, even Flickr can be used to upload pictures and directly participate in Wiki Loves Monumetns (for example, someone could decide to re-license his own pictures of monuments in CC-BY-SA, he could add the identifiers of the monuments, and then a bot could automatically transfer the photos within Commons…)

We are working on that, but if you have good contact with the Flickr community, we’d be happy to use them :slight_smile:

Hi Aubrey, thanks for letting the community know about this project, I’ve looked it up and really it sounds great. I’m not so happy to see that my country (Romania) is not yet  participating… but I see that a Romanian won last year:…/

I’m curious though what’s the story behind? how did you personally come to be involved in this? are you a photographer, a culture lover? Looking at your profile I see you’re a project coordinator, is it on behalf of Italy as participating country?

Hi Noemi,

I’m personally a

Hi Noemi,

I’m personally a member of the board of Wikimedia Italia, the italian chapter whose mission is to spread and promote free culture and Wikimedia projects. I heard of the project last year, from our fellow Wikimedia chapters, and as a member of the booard i tried to involve the association in the contest. Unfortunately, there were legal issues we are trying to overcome this year. As for Romania, I’m not sure it is partecipating as a promoter, surely last year the monastery won as best picture, so this is good :slight_smile:



Romania is on board

Hi Noemi, Romania will now participate to WLM:

You remembered!

Thanks Aubrey, I’m checking that out for sure!