The homepage of the medieval meme generator website has been visited quite a lot since its launch in November 2020. Image: medievalmemes.org

Meme generator breathes new life into medieval images

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek’s (KB), the national library of the Netherlands, digital tool to create memes has become a big success. Since the launch of “the medieval meme generator”, visitors made around 15.000 memes using medieval images from the KB’s archive. The institute estimates that about 2 million “meme lovers” encountered their medieval memes.

Image: medievalmemes.org

The visitors to medievalmemes.org originate from 129 different countries, according to a KB press release. Apart from offering a creative outlet for users, the website focuses on teaching them something as well. The images are accompanied by explanatory video’s or texts, providing background information. 

Future historians

The KB launched the generator in November 2020, hoping to encourage people to rediscover medieval art and do something with it. “When using the meme generator, people actively create new contexts for these historic images by adding current captions”, the press release read. (Text continues below slideshow)

In medieval Europe, a lot of people could not read. That is why pictures were a popular instrument for spreading political, religious or social messages. Something memes do in modern-day society as well. The KB hopes future historians will learn from popular memes about the visual and online culture in the 21st century, much like we do with medieval images. The KB also organised a contest where mememakers try to make the funniest medieval memes. Check out the tweet below to learn more.

Source: Koninklijke Bibliotheek and medievalmemes.org

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