The National Archives of Finland is an impressive building and on this fine morning of Friday, the second of October two thousand and fourteen I had the honor of entering these halls. Through the back entrance…
But from the top. Last week on Friday while visiting Kaisa-talo I discussed with Veera the possibility of visiting The National Archive of Finland and she said she´ll see what she can do. Then on Wednesday of this week she wrote me an E-mail saying that I could join a group of visitors from Shanghai when they take a tour around the archive on Friday and that I should get back to her ASAP. Awesome! I had to push around some appointments in my schedule (I was supposed to meet up with Tuija but she was kind enough to delay it until next Wednesday) and today was the day!
At 9 am sharp I met up with Tomi, our host, and the 3 visitors from some University in Shanghai in the lobby of the archive. He is a development manager and one of approx. 160 employees at the archive. The archive itself is in charge of the preservation of Finnish cultural heritage and making it available for research. It also provides guidelines for electronic records management and acts as a specialist authority on the use of heraldic symbols in Finland.
The beginning of The National Archives lies in the Peace Treaty of Hamina in 1808 which stated that Sweden has to surrender all documents relating to Finland to the new Grand Duchy of Finland. Before that Finland had no central archive of it´s own because the state administration and central government agencies were all in Stockholm. First everything was stored in Turku, the then-capital of Finland, but in 1816 everything was moved to the Senate Archives in Helsinki. In 1994 the State Archives were renamed to their current title: …. (drumroll please) The National Archives of Finland.
Any material the archive stores is freely accessible to the public, with the exception of personal data, health files and so on which becomes available 50 years after a persons death.
Almost the whole stock is online accessible and in 2013 the webpage had 130.000 uses (with a population of 5,4 million that´s a lot). People can freely use what they find, there are no licenses, restrictions or anything but the archive insists on being mention if the material is published.
The National Archive is not about the paper but the data that the papers are covered with. „- Markku Nenonen, former Deputy Director General at National Archives of Finland
After the tour the Shanghai-visitors went straight to the airport to get on the plane back to China. My wanderlust kicking in I was close to joining them but my conscience won once again and it was back to work for me. Confidently I hopped on the bus, headphones on and as soon as I sat down I started to look at the pictures I took with my camera. About 20 minutes I noticed that something seemed weird. After looking out the window and not recognizing anything I saw it hit me. I took the wrong bus! I tried to ask the busdriver where I am and how I could get to Viikki but he didn´t speak English and the only other passenger was a foreigner with no idea whatsoever. So I got out the next stop, took the bus back to city center and then made sure that I take the right bus to work. All in all, a drive that should have taken me 15 minutes took me roughly 1.5 hours…damn me.
When I finally arrived at work I started with Sippola right away. I got some more E-mails from Libraries in Germany I had to reply to and then I worked on the bibliography.
After work the whole library team went to the German restaurant Zum Zinnkeller together to celebrate a colleagues birthday, the big 6.
It was a fun night but afterwards I was pretty tired and couldn’t wait to get home, partly cause me bed and therefore dear missed sleep was waiting there but I also still had a Skype date to get to.
Tomorrow I will finally take a stroll through Nuuksio. Wish us luck that the sun will come out!
p.s.: while I was at work Germany celebrated Tag der Deutschen Einheit and mostly everyone had a day off of work… unfair.