Wiki Loves Monuments

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Wiki Loves Monuments
LUSITANA WLM 2011 d.svg
Official logo of Wiki Loves Monuments
Genre Photography
Begins September 1
Ends September 30
Location(s) Worldwide
Years active 5
Inaugurated 2010
Most recent 2013
Participants Photographers
Organised by Wikipedia community members

Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM) is an annual international photographic competition held during the month of September, organised worldwide by the Wikipedia community members with the help of local Wikimedia affiliates across the globe. Participants take pictures of local historical monuments and heritage sites in their region, and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. The aim of event is to highlight the heritage sites of the participating countries with the goal to encourage people to capture pictures of these monuments, and to put them under a free licence which can then be re-used not only in Wikipedia but everywhere by everyone.

The first Wiki Loves Monuments competition was held in 2010 in the Netherlands as pilot project. The next year it spread to other countries in Europe and according to the Guinness Book of Records, the 2011 edition of the Wiki Loves Monuments broke the world record for the largest photography competition.[1] In 2012, the competition was extended beyond Europe, with a total of 35 participating countries.[2] During Wiki Loves Monuments 2012, more than 350,000 photographs of historic monuments were uploaded by more than 15,000 participants. In 2013, the Wiki Loves Monuments competition was held across six continents including Antarctica and had official participation from more than fifty countries around the world.


The 48 participating countries in 2013
Infographic showing the actual behind-the-scenes workflow by volunteers who translate new or changed list data into actualized categories of photographs, and who also collect any newly discovered photographs to be added to existing lists. Though most work is a manual process done by heritage fans, some of this discovery work is semi-automated by a batch process that alerts volunteers.

WLM is the successor to Wiki Loves Art which was held in the Netherlands in 2009. The original WLM contest for "Rijksmonuments" (Dutch for "national monuments") encouraged photographers to seek out Dutch National Heritage Sites. The Rijkmonuments include architecture and objects of general interest recognized for their beauty, scientific, and/or cultural importance. Such locations as the Drenthe archeological sites, the Noordeinde Royal Palace in The Hague, and the houses along the canals of Amsterdam were part of the more than 12,500 photographs submitted during the first event.[3]

This success generated interest in other European countries, and through a collaboration with the European Heritage Days, 18 states with the help of local Wikimedia chapters participated in the 2011 competition,[4][5] uploading nearly 170,000 images by its conclusion. The Guinness Book of Records recognizes the 2011 edition of Wiki Loves Monuments as the largest photography competition in the world with 168,208 pictures uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by more than 5,000 participants.[1] In total, some 171,000 photographs were contributed from 18 participants countries of Europe. Germany, France and Spain contributed highest number of photographs. Photo from Romania won the first international prize, whereas Estonia secured second and Germany third position in WLM 2011.

In 2012, the Wiki Loves Monuments competition had official participation of more than thirty countries and regions around the world: Andorra with Catalonia, Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United States. In total 363,000 photos were contributed from 35 participants countries. Germany, Spain and Poland contributed highest number of photographs. [2] A picture of Tomb of Safdarjung from Delhi, India, won the contest which saw more than 350,000 contributions.[6][7] Spain secured second and Philippines third position in 2012 edition of annual WLM photo contest.

In 2013, the Wiki Loves Monuments competition had official participation of more than fifty countries from all six continents including Antarctica. Among the new participant nations were Algeria, Chine, Azerbaijan, Honk Kong, Jordan, Venezuela, Thailand, Taiwan, Nepal, Tunisia, Egypt, the United Kingdom, war-torned Syria and many others. In total, some 370,000 photos were contributed from more than 52 participants countries. Germany, Ukraine and Poland contributed highest number of photographs. Switzerland won the first international prize, whereas Taiwan secured second and Hungary third position in 2013 edition of WLM.

Contest rules[edit]

The basic rules for participation in Wiki Loves Monuments are quite simple for both the organizing country committees and the photographers. The participating country committees need to submit their list of monuments in such a way using unique identifiers that they can be tracked by the competition, and the participating photographers must upload their photos with unique identifiers in the time period 1 September to 30 September. Participants must upload their photos directly to Wikimedia Commons, which means that if they did not yet have one, they must first create a user account because anonymous submissions cannot win prizes. The images uploaded may have been taken at any time, but in order to be counted for the contest, they must be newly uploaded to Commons in September, and must be freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 (or other compatible licenses such as CC-by or CC-0).[8]


To be part of the competition, images need to be considered "encyclopedic", so they must be of monuments or places listed with the local government. This is taken care of by the submission lists per country. Photographers must upload images accompanied by an official identifier and the geographic coordinates, though they are generally not even aware they are doing this when they upload through their Wiki Loves Monuments website, or through the mobile phone app that attaches this information for them. The government listings which include this information are refined throughout the year and adjusted as monument information changes. The current selection of participating countries are simply those countries where volunteers have taken the time to create such submission lists. There are however, also some countries in which legal restrictions prevent making such lists available or in which photographs of heritage may not be eligible for Wikipedia. The legislation on cultural heritage varies widely per jurisdiction.

Unique identifiers[edit]

To help participants to find monuments in their location and connect them with their unique identifiers, the submission lists are linked from user-friendly Wiki Loves Monuments websites.[9] The Wikimedia Foundation has developed a dedicated Android smartphone app,[10] and MairDumont created an iPhone app for Wiki Loves Monuments.[11]

The logic of the WLM websites and these apps is to simplify the process of attaching the unique identifier to the photograph. Most participants are first-time contributors of Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons and are unable to do this by themselves. The unique identifier and other submission list information gets attached to the participant's photograph at the time of upload using "Wikipedia templates". For example, the unique identifier for "Smedestraat 33, Haarlem" is 19695 and can be found through the Dutch WLM website in a submission list row like this one in the Dutch Wikipedia:[12]

This example already has a photograph in the list uploaded during a WLM competition, but if it didn't, then the lack of a suitable image should cause a "WLM easy upload link" to appear in the list as a placeholder, which looks like this:

Clicking this easy upload link should take the user to the special "WLM campaign" upload page on Commons that accepts as url arguments the submission list information. This "WLM campaign" upload page is always available for heritage fans, but the photographs only count towards the competition if this is used during the competition.


Several spin-offs based on Wiki Loves Monuments are organised within the Wikimedia movement locally and internationally. They generally follow the basics of Wiki Loves Monuments and mostly differentiate in their scope and changes in some of the rules.

  • In spring 2013, a photographic competition called Wiki Loves Earth (Ukrainian: Вікі любить Землю) was organised in Ukraine with a main focus on taking photographs of the natural heritage sites in Ukraine and subsequently uploading them on Wikimedia Commons.[13]
  • A few months later, Wikimedia Sweden and Europeana initiated a photographic competition with the name Wiki Loves Public Art aiming to increase the number of photographs taken from public artworks.[14] The project was organised in five countries and resulted in more than 9,250 photographs uploaded.[15]
  • In autumn 2013, the photographic competition Wiki Loves Cultural Heritage (Macedonian: Вики го сака културното наследство) was organised in Macedonia, broadening the scope of Wiki Loves Monuments to the cultural heritage in any form, both tangible and intangible, including monuments, heritage sites, dishes, outfit, tapestries, crafts, dances and other traditional elements.[16]
  • The global Wiki Loves Pride campaign to expand and improve LGBT-related content hosted by Wikimedia, organized by proposed user group Wikimedia LGBT, was launched in 2014.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Guinness World Records, Largest photography competition, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Eglash, Ruth (28 August 2012). "Hundreds of cultural sites to be visually documented during "Wiki Loves Monuments event."". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  3. ^ (French) Virginie Malbos, Le monumental concours de Wikimédia, dans Libération, 9 September 2011, consulted 22 August 2012. "The operation had taken place last year in the Netherlands, and was concluded by the arrival of 12,500 new royalty-free photos."
  4. ^ (Italian) Bologna su 'Wiki loves monuments' La raccolta delle foto più belle, dans Il Resto del Carlino, 11 août 2012, consulté le 22 août 2012. "In 2011, the competition has also increased, with the participation of 18 European countries that helped with 170,000 images, and now has the support, among others, the Council of Europe and the European Commission."
  5. ^ Chenu, Isabelle (25 September 2011). "Le site Wikipédia aime les monuments" (in French). Radio France Internationale. Retrieved 22 August 2012. "So far, there are 18 European countries participating in the contest." 
  6. ^ Phadnis, Renuka (7 December 2012). "Indians win in Wiki mega photo contest". The Hindu (Bangalore, India). Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Indian photo wins Wiki Loves Monuments online contest". BBC. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "About the contest". Wiki Loves Monuments website. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Each Wiki Loves Monuments website is maintained by a separate country committee and they are all linked from the main Wiki Loves Monuments official website
  10. ^ "Kölner fotografieren Denkmäler für Wikipedia" (in German). Tourism. 25 September 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2012. "(...) also have two free mobile apps for competition: the Android app of the Wikimedia Foundation for direct upload to Wikimedia Commons and the iPhone app 123POI, the hundreds of thousands of sites around the world makes discoverable by geocoding." 
  11. ^ Name * (2012-09-30). "Wiki loves Monuments: MairDumont presents special edition of its 123POI app". Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  12. ^ Dutch WLM Website monuments lookup for Haarlem will take you to this List of Rijksmonuments in Haarlem Centre on the Dutch Wikipedia
  13. ^ Нагороджено переможців конкурсу «Вікі любить Землю», Ukrainian Internet Association.
  14. ^ Wiki Loves Public Art, an international photographic contest, Creative Heritage, 20 June 2013.
  15. ^ International Winners of Wiki Loves Public Art 2013, Europeana, 31 July 2013.
  16. ^ Избор на најдобрите фотографии на натпреварот на Викимедија за Македонија, Utrinski vesnik, 26 December 2013.
  17. ^ "Wikipedia: Wiki Loves Pride 2014". The New York Public Library. Archived from the original on 18 June 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 

External links[edit]