Nox.x 2016

Every year in the second weekend of July, Ename becomes the place to be for performing arts (see the video and photos of the 2015 edition), called Museum Night or Nox.x.  For the edition of 2016, the idea emerged to show our latest work on virtual reconstruction and natural interaction with serious games: Eename 1665.  This idea was accepted unanimously by the Nox.x team and planned as the key activity in the museum.  The local television AVS also liked the idea and promoted the event by covering the preparation in their programma “Achter the Schermen“.  Have a look at the beautiful video which also shows how anchor woman Celia Bogaert tries out the prototype of the Eename 1665 game.


Celia Bogaert of AVS investigates an object of the Swan Inn of Eename  in 1665 (phto: Daniel Pletinckx)

So, if you’re around, get your agenda and reserve July 9, 2016, 20:00-00:00 to visit Nox.x and try out Eename 1665, our newest 3D serious game!  Have a look in the Ename 1665 game page for more images or try out our latest Sketchfab resource showing the Swan Inn with links to images and paintings in the online Rijksmuseum collection!  This Sketchfab resource is also featured on a Europeana Labs page.


Heritage in Motion 2016 Award

Visual Dimension is nearly working 20 years now on the virtual reconstruction of Ename and on bringing this 3D content to the general public through a range of innovative techniques and systems (like TimeGate and TimeLine).  In this way, it was an honour that our first educational game Ename 1290 was awarded for the prestigious Heritage in Motion Award in the category “Games and Interactive Experiences”.

Daniel Pletinckx presents Ename1290 at HiM

Daniel Pletinckx presenting the Ename 1290 project at the Heritage in Motion Award Ceremony in Lesbos, Greece (photo: HiM)

Heritage in Motion is an annual multimedia competition on themes related to Europe’s cultural and natural heritage for the creators and users of films, games, apps and websites. It celebrates the best multimedia achievements and products, engaging the public with Europe’s outstanding heritage in all its forms.  This competition is founded by Europa Nostra, the European Museum Academy and supported by Europeana.

HiM participants on stage

All people representing the winning and nominated projects of HiM 2016 on stage in Lesbos (photo: HiM)

At the Award Event, on May 20, 2016 in the Museum of the Industrial Olive-Oil Production at Lesbos, Greece, the Ename 1290 project was evaluated as:

An interesting and user-friendly interpretation of an archaeological site, encouraging individual exploration and linking space and objects in a very engaging way.


Onno Ephraim, director of Heritage in Motion congratulates Daniel Pletinckx, director of Visual Dimension (photo: HiM)

The nomination for this HiM Award stimulates us to continue producing effective and exciting ways to experience cultural heritage and the past. Have a look at Ename 1665, which will become the groundbreaking combination between a book and a game! More news on this soon!  Experience also at the panoramic videos of both Ename  1290 and Ename 1665, if possible with VR glasses!


HiM document

The Heritage in Motion 2016 diploma

History in 360 degrees

The current development of technology allows us to look at video in a panoramic way. By assembling several cameras, or through professional or desktop surround video cameras,  we can film the world around in full surround video.

Noa Neal in 360

Singer Noa Neal performs at CES2016, recorded in 360-degree video (image: Intel)

Also for virtual reality, we can register a virtual walk in a panoramic way, by special plugins that create this surround video for the path that we follow through our virtual scene.  So we have made a surround video along a part of the path of the Ename 1290 virtual tour.


Screenshot of the panoramic video on Ename 1290 (image: Visual Dimension)

Although you can look at this YouTube video on your desktop, the experience becomes much nicer if you see it through a pair of VR glasses.  This sounds expensive but typically, you don’t need more than smartphone and something like Google Cardboard to have fun.

Google Cardboard

The Amazing Google Cardboard VR glasses

Of course, you can use fancier stuff, such as the Samsung Gear VR or the Oculus Rift, but in fact, a simple 15 euro Google Cardboard does the job nicely.  If you live in Flanders and you read De Standaard as newspaper, you should have received such a cardboard viewer for free with that newspaper.


Screenshot of the panoramic video on Ename 1665 (image: Visual Dimension)

If you like it (and I’m sure you will), have also a look at our new Ename 1665 surround video trailer.  We are working hard to create a really nice VR experience  for you, so have a look and enjoy!

History in 4D

We updated recently the TimeLine application in the Ename museum. It shows the evolution of the abbey site from 1065 tot 1730, so it is in fact a 4D application, allowing to move around in 3D and time.


TimeLine in the Ename museum (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

In this TimeLine, the museum objects are linked to the 3D reconstructions of the abbey and the village.  The visitor finds the objects in the period they originate from, on the place they have been excavated, with detailed additional information. In this way, each object is being re-contextualised in its own period and explained in more detail than the small written notice in the glass case can provide.  For objects, that are difficult to understand, we have visualised the way they were used by 3D reconstruction. Rotating the virtual object reveals the use (shown in this video).

Bone skate

Bone skate, made from a bovine leg bone

Bone skate

Bone skate with strapped-on virtual shoe on top

Bone skate info

Additional information for the bone skate

In addition, the description of the abbey buildings, as presented in the onsite TimeScope system at the archaeological site, are also available for each of the periods. In this way, all the information on the archaeological site is available at any moment, as the onsite TimeScope is only opened from April 1 to November 1.

Palm trees in Ename

From 1593 onwards, the monks are rebuilding the destroyed abbey.  In 1599, the archdukes Albrecht and Isabella are paying them an official visit to support their efforts.  Flanders has suffered a lot of damage due to the many years of civil war that has raged over the country since 1566, many protestant people have left for the new Dutch Republic.

On the occasion of this official visit, the abbey receives two European palm trees.  We suspect that some symbolism was linked to the choice of this present: a palm branch is symbol of victory (over Protestantism?) while a palm tree is being mentioned in  Psalm 92,13 that says ‘Ut palma florebit’ (The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree), which could refer to the rebuilding of the abbey.

palm trees

The European palm trees in the garden of the abbot

The palms flourished in the abbey and had their own room in the orangery that was a bit higher. When the abbey was abolished in 1795, the palm trees were transferred to the botanical garden in Ghent.  The Ename museum has made a small exhibition about the abbey gardens and its palm trees, for which we have made an interactive application showing the abbey gardens in 1665 and 1730.

Ename 1665

We started the reconstruction of the 1665 period. In the village, you will be able to visit the pub De Swane, the brewery, the school and a home weaver of tapestries.  In the abbey, the focus will be on the different gardens and orchards.  The reconstruction will contain not only objects from the Ename museum but also from other archaeological museums in East-Flanders.

Ename 1665 - abbey entrance

Ename 1665 – abbey entrance

Archaeology in East-Flanders – conference

This year, the yearly conference about archaeology in East-Flanders takes place in the Ename Heritage Centre on Saturday Dec 5, 2015.  During this conference, the virtual walk Ename 1290 will be demonstrated and more information on the virtual reconstruction will be provided.

Ename 1290 virtual walk

The Ename 1290 virtual walk (photo: pam Ename)

This free conference gives you a unique opportunity to see Ename 1290 in action!  Register at before Dec 2, 2015!