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Good traditions – using digital signage to bring history to life

Digital Signage at Delft Churches 4

Nestled between Delft’s oldest canals, the Nieuwe Kerk and Oude Kerk are not only historical landmarks but also vibrant centres of cultural and religious life. Dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries, respectively, these iconic churches draw numerous visitors eager to explore their storied past and architectural grandeur. As the churches continue to play a pivotal role in the community, they have embraced modern digital signage to improve visitor engagement and operational efficiency, blending history with cutting-edge technology.

The need for digital signage

Both Nieuwe Kerk and Oude Kerk face the challenge of managing large numbers of visitors, particularly during peak tourist seasons. These churches are not only places of worship but also historical sites housing significant figures such as Johannes Vermeer and William of Orange. The flow of tourists often results in long queues and a high volume of inquiries at the ticket office and information desks. Additionally, Delft’s unpredictable weather can further complicate visitor management and information dissemination.

Recognising the need to enhance visitor experience and streamline communication, the church management sought the expertise of DKLV, a creative agency known for its innovative digital solutions. The goal was to install outdoor digital displays that could operate in varying weather conditions and provide dynamic, real-time information to visitors.

Xtreme™ High Bright Outdoor Displays

In collaboration with DKLV, digital signage specialist Duovizion International BV and the churches’ digital legacy specialist, Wouter van der Toorn, a comprehensive plan was developed to integrate digital signage into these historic sites. The team selected Peerless-AV’s Xtreme™ High Bright Outdoor Displays for their robust performance in challenging environments.

These displays are designed to withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -35° to +60°C and are equipped with features such as optical bonding to reduce glare, a patented thermal exhaust system, and an IP66 rating to guard against dust, moisture, and insects. The durability and high visibility of these displays make them ideal for the outdoor conditions at Nieuwe Kerk and Oude Kerk.

The installation process began in December 2023, with DKLV overseeing the development and delivery of custom-built solutions. At the Oude Kerk, a 55” Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Display was mounted on the outside wall, carefully installed using mortar in between the 15th-century bricks to avoid damaging the historic structure. At the Nieuwe Kerk, a custom digital kiosk on wheels was created to house a similar display. This kiosk, which can be rolled inside for protection at night, was designed to blend seamlessly with the church’s architectural style.

The installation faced several challenges, including working in freezing temperatures and ensuring that the digital displays harmonised with the historic ambience of the churches. The team’s meticulous attention to detail and innovative approach ensured that the installations were completed successfully, with the displays becoming fully operational just in time for the Christmas season.

Increased engagement and reduced workload

Since the installation of the digital signage, both churches have seen a marked improvement in visitor management and engagement. The dynamic displays provide real-time updates on events, weather conditions, and practical information, such as the status of the church tower for climbing. This shift from static signage to dynamic digital content has not only enhanced the visitor experience but also streamlined the flow of information, reducing the workload on staff.

Moreover, the success of this project has piqued the interest of other historical sites and organisations keen to integrate digital solutions into culturally significant environments. The partnership has demonstrated that even the most traditional settings can benefit from modern technology without compromising their historical integrity.

As more institutions start to recognise the value of digital signage, the integration of these technologies into historic and culturally important sites such as Nieuwe Kerk and Oude Kerk serves as a model for how to balance heritage preservation with the needs of contemporary visitors.

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