Amsterdam Time Machine

“High time for time travel!”

Between all the data on historical Amsterdam that is digitally available and the expertise of researchers, computer and information scientists, and heritage professionals, it must be possible to develop a time machine with which we can walk the streets of historical Amsterdam and meet her inhabitants.

The Amsterdam Time Machine (ATM) is a hub for linked historical data on Amsterdam. The web of information on people, places, relationships, events, and objects will unfold in time and space through geographical and 3D representations. In this Google Earth of the past, users can go back and forth between the city as a whole, neighborhoods, streets, houses, and even zoom in on the pictures that adorned the walls of for instance merchants and regents. The systematic linkage of datasets from heterogeneous sources allows users to ask new questions on, for instance, cultural events, everyday life, social relations, or the use of public space in the city of Amsterdam.

The ATM is inspired by Venice Time Machine and a core member of the Time Machine FET Flagship consortium. Time Machine is a program that brings together research teams from all over Europe and the participation of about 200 institutions. The goal of this consortium is to develop new technologies for the scanning, analyzing, accessing, preserving and communicating of cultural heritage at a massive scale. Data extracted from this digital patrimony are the basis for the reconstruction of the historical evolution of European cities and the manifold relationships between these cultural nodes. The ATM uses state-of-the-art computational methods and techniques, and it will be carefully annotated with regards to issues of uncertainty and fuzziness that are inherent to historical data.

The ATM is being developed since March 2017 by a collective of historical researchers and information and data specialists from different universities, heritage institutions, and the creative industries. It is coordinated by the research program Creative Amsterdam: An E-Humanities Perspective (CREATE).

Do you have questions, ideas, or suggestions? Please contact our project coordinator Claartje Rasterhoff –

Inspired by Venice Time Machine, the Time Machine Flagship Proposal, and many other linked data, geo and 3D programs.


Research projects

Virtual Interiors as Interfaces for Big Historical Data Research. Spatially enhanced publications of the creative industries of the Dutch Golden Age. Huygens ING; UvA; Beeld & Geluid; Brill, PI Charles van den Heuvel, co-applicants Julia Noordegraaf and Gabri van Tussenbroek

Access to City Councils using Exploratory Search Systems (ACCESS). UvA, Open State Foundation, Stamkracht BV, en Notubiz BV, PI’s Jaap Kamps en Maarten Marx

Amsterdam Time Machine: HisGIS meets CLARIAH, Fryske Akademy, Huygens ING, Meertens Instituut, UvA. Applicants: Marieke van Erp; Gertjan Filarski; Hans Mol, Julia Noordegraaf; Claartje Rasterhoff, Nicoline van der Sijs, Henk Wals; Ivo Zandhuis; Richard Zijdeman

Diaspora and identity: an integrated archaeological and historical investigation into material life, ethnicity, and diet in the district of Vlooienburg, Amsterdam (AD 1600-1800), PI James Symonds

Freedom of the Streets, Gender and Urban Space in Eurasia 1600-1850. PI Danielle van den Heuvel


Heritage projects

‘Het Verhaal van Amsterdam’, Linked Open Data voor erfgoedcollecties Amsterdam. Stichting Adamnet, projectleider Ivo Zandhuis