iO's interactive website for Canon of Flanders makes diving into Flemish history much more fun

From Van Eyck’s brothers' Ghent Altarpiece to Rock Werchter: the Canon of Flanders is finally here.

The much-discussed list resulted not only in a bulky book but also in an interactive, challenging website, which iO enjoyed developing for a satisfied client.

Focus op content

Tom Van Mierlo, Strategy Director iO: “Commissioned by the Flemish Government, Department of Education & Training, iO developed the website We were also responsible for the branding, logo, and a promotional video. Or course, we had no influence over the content of the canon, as it was extensively curated by the canon committee. However, the website is by no means intended to promote any political preferences. It represents a compilation of interesting individuals, events, objects, and phenomena from the history of the region we now call Flanders. We have presented this information as clearly and accessibly as possible through the website. The site was designed to be dynamic, attractive, and playful, but above all, to showcase the content to its fullest extent."

Dynamic timelines

Sven Luyten, Program Manager iO: "The canon committee provided the content in 60 historical windows. We developed a web design with 3D-feeling timelines that take visitors through time. The windows are represented by spheres on those timelines. Besides this timeline view, visitors can also opt for a more classic list view. For browsing, the timelines are the most fun; for deep dives, the list view may be more appropriate."

Interactive maps

Sven Luyten: "Via the navigation at the top right, you can also view interactive maps, among other things. The maps were provided by cartographers, but we made them interactive. So, you can move the country's borders through time. For primary school children and people who are less proficient in Dutch, Wablieft also provides simpler texts. Some have already been uploaded, others are still to come."

Bold openness

Wim Heylen, Secretary Canon of Flanders Committee: "We are very excited about the cooperation with iO. We found a passionate team. They looked at our project with an open mind and the way they managed it is to their credit. On the one hand, iO was all ears for our wishes; on the other, they dared to defend their expertise to us content-driven people. 'Would you guys do that? That doesn't seem like a good plan to us,' iO sometimes suggested. We appreciated that bold openness."

Unique project

Sven Luyten: "It became a unique project. The 3D timeline of the homepage presented a nice challenge. And as you go further back in time, the quality of the images provided logically decreased. Our designers sometimes came up with particularly creative solutions for this. Moreover, we learned a lot about Flemish history in the process. The customer contact was also very pleasant."

About iO
iO is a blended agency. We help clients such as Proximus, De Nationale Loterij, Audi and Brussels Airport to sustainably shape and improve total brand experiences that leave a mark on people. By thoughtfully blending the right expertise – strategy, creation, technology, marketing, and data – and actively partnering with our clients. That’s how we advance digitally with our clients, for their customers.

iO (formerly Intracto Group) was founded in 2005 and works with local and international businesses, organisations and governments in Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Bulgaria.

About Canon of Flanders
From Van Eyck’s brothers' Ghent Altarpiece to Rock Werchter: the Canon of Flanders is finally here. The much-discussed list resulted in a bulky book of more than 300 pages and includes an overview of the Flemish language, culture, and history from the end of the last ice age to today. But there is also an online version: iO developed this on behalf of the Commission Canon of Flanders, which received a mandate from the Flemish Government, Department of Education & Training.



Roel Van Aelst

Roel Van Aelst

Marketing & Communication Director, iO

About iO

iO is a blended agency. We bring together talent in marketing, technology, content, strategy, and creativity. With our belief that "experience is everything," we help our clients provide their target audience with rich and relevant brand experiences. Our track record includes helping strong brands such as Audi, Brussels Aiport, Efteling, Eneco, Fiberklaar, and Worldline grow.

Established in 2005, iO operates locally and internationally, serving companies, organisations, and governments from our campuses in Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Bulgaria.