See the Domplein as it looked centuries ago, or attend the signing of the Union of Utrecht live and in person; soon you’ll have a chance to do just that with the Utrecht Time Machine app, which researcher Toine Pieters and HKU lecturer Ramon Verberne are developing in collaboration with the Utrecht Archives. The prototype version of the app will be unveiled in the presence of Mayor Jan van Zanen on Thursday evening.
The goal of the Utrecht Time Machine is to make Utrecht’s rich history visible, so that users can experience it personally. Utrecht’s history goes back to the Roman Empire, so what would it be like to be able to travel back in time? The scenario might seem like something from a science fiction story, but new technology has brought it within reach today. The app will allow users to scroll through time at various locations around the city.
Pieters drew inspiration for the app from a wide range of sources. “Several other time machine websites and apps have already been developed, like the one for Venice. But we wanted to be the first to use the app as a citizen science project.” Pieters aims to have groups of students from very different backgrounds work together. “It would be fantastic if archaeologists, historians, geographers, computer scientists, and teaching students could continue developing the app together. And of course, contributions from everyday citizens would be ideal; people with stories to tell, or old photographs or movies of the city sitting in the attic.” The groups of students can gather to work in the Teaching & Learning Lab at Utrecht Science Park or in the Utrecht Archives, which is also a partner in the project.