The increasing interest in personalizable applications for heterogeneous user populations has heightened the need for a more efficient acquisition of start-up information about the user. We argue that the user’s cultural background is suitable for predicting various adaptation preferences at once. With these as a basis, we can accelerate the initial acquisition process. The paper presents an approach to factoring culture into user models. We introduce the cultural user model ontology CUMO, describing how and to which extend it can accurately represent the user’s cultural background. Furthermore, we outline its use as a re-usable and shared knowledge base in a personalization process, before presenting a plan of our future work towards cultural personalization.