Barat Ali Batoor, The Unseen Road to Asylum, 2013.
Photo: Jonas Heide Smith / SMK Foto

SMK Open

From 2016 to 2020 we will be working hard on the SMK Open project: making our collection, which belongs to everyone in Denmark, available to all. With SMK Open everyone will have the opportunity to make their own way into the realm of art while drawing on SMK’s vast stores of knowledge and materials.

In countries such as The Netherlands, the USA and the UK, major museums have long been digitising and sharing their collections freely with everyone. They have done so to accommodate culture users of today and tomorrow; users who are not simply content to be spectators of culture. They want to get actively involved, and they want to use culture in their own lives. The lessons learned from these museums’ activities are clear: far more people use the collections when they can actively select, reuse, remix and share the works – including people who would not otherwise use the museums.

The SMK Open project is based on a vision of making art accessible and relevant to far more people. This is done by making the SMK collections available as an online resource and tool that people can bring into their own lives and use on their own terms.



Head of Digital
Jonas Heide Smith
T 25527198

Digital project manager
Christina Jozefa Jensen

Photo: Ida Tietgen / SMK Foto

Photo: Jonas Heide Smith / SMK Foto

Photo: Jonas Heide Smith / SMK Foto

A democratic digital treasure trove of art

The SMK collection comprises more than 250,000 works of art, but only 0.6 per cent of these are on display in the museum’s exhibition rooms. With SMK Open the collections are made freely and instantly accessible in digital form, like a huge box full of building blocks to be used exactly as you wish.

During the first stage of the project, some 40,000 works will be made accessible. Approximately 15,000 of these will be available as high-resolution files that anyone can use for any purpose – for example for books, teaching materials, online blogs, Wikipedia articles, film and TV productions, to decorate their living rooms, their local area etc. Anything is possible. In the SMK Open project, each digitised work will get its own digital page that not only includes its image, but also supplementary materials such as film clips, articles, audio tracks, X-ray photographs of the work and information on any upcoming events or exhibitions that involve the work.

All copyright-free works can be used by anyone for any purpose. This means that all Danes – indeed everyone in the world – are free to access, download and use this digital treasure trove of art. Users can also add their own comment on works, contribute information or engage the museum staff in conversations about the art.

Download press photos

Follow the project blog

SMK Open is an open project in every sense of the term, and we wish to encourage involvement with all of the museum’s many users and visitors. We want this process to be as transparent as possible, which is also why we document our progress via an English-language blog.



The project is supported by the Nordea foundation.


The digital history of the SMK

February 2001: The first SMK website is launched.

2008: SMK receives a generous donation from the Nordea foundation, supporting the four year SMK Digital project.

2009: SMK takes its first steps towards working with open collections with its "Fri Billeddeling" (Free Image Sharing) project, conducted in co-operation with four other Danish art museums.

2012: SMK releases 160 high-resolution digital images of highlights from its collections and carries out a range of pilot projects focusing on creative uses of the works.

2014: SMK introduces a new Public Domain policy in which the museum relinquishes all rights to reproductions of its copyright-free works.

2015: SMK launches, making 25,000 photographs of works freely available as downloads.

October 2016: Launch of SMK Open.

Other digital SMK projects

Wiki labs
Wiki labs is an SMK workshop setting where art historians, wikipedians and volunteers write and submit articles on artists, artworks and styles that are not yet properly described online.

Follow our work on Facebook

SMK has joined cultural institutions from 28 European countries to create a unique digital art collection, Europeana280, on the digital cultural platform Europeana.

Explore a wealth of art at Europeana Collections

GIFT is a new EU-funded research project at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU). Its objective is to help museums throughout Europe to utilise the potential of technology to create engaging art experiences.

For more, visit the ITU's blog


· 2008: SMK modtager generøs støtte fra Nordea-fonden til det fire-årige projekt SMK Digital.

· 2009: SMK tager for første gang initiativ til at arbejde med åbne samlinger, med projektet Fri Billeddeling i samarbejde med fire andre danske kunstmuseer.

· 2012: SMK frigiver 160 værk-fotos i høj opløsning af mesterværker fra samlingen og gennemfører en række pilotprojekter med fokus på kreativ genbrug af værkerne.

· 2014: SMK indfører en ny Public Domain politik, hvor museet principielt afstår alle rettigheder til reproduktioner af sine ophavsfrie værker.

· 2015: SMK lancerer, hvor 25.000 værk-fotos er til fri download.

· Oktober 2016: SMK Open påbegyndes.

Follow SMK Open

Join the SMK Open group on Facebook to follow the project’s progress.

Press photos

Download high-resolution pictures from SMK Open events.



Concerts, guided tours and SMK Fridays.