The archives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The archives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs constitute the central archives of the administrative sector. The principal function of the service is to provide material for the Ministry and other authorities.  The archival materials are available also for researchers.


The oldest collections in the Foreign Ministry's archives date back to Ministry's foundation in 1918. The archival materials form a central source of information for research into Finland’s foreign policy and the history of Finland’s international relations.

The most important documents are letters that have been arranged into groups according to content or signums (classification code).  Documents dealing with a particular subject matter are collected into one dossier.

Researchers have access to the archival materials of committees and working groups under the administration of the Foreign Service, as well as to a map collection.

Searches into the letter collection are made through the archive catalogues (archival description). The customer service staff also use index keywords organized according to subject matter or individual names and electronic registers.

The first electronic register of documents was introduced in the Ministry in 1982.

The staff are prepared to help researchers find the material that they are looking for and make materials available for them.

Customer service

The customer service is located at the Ministry’s Library which provides seats for four researchers.

Researchers can take photocopies at EUR 0.50 per copy or use a microfilm reading device.

Thanks to the Library's wireless network, they can use their own laptops and digital cameras.

Provincial Archives of Oulu

The majority of the archives of Finnish diplomatic missions abroad that date beyond 1947 have been transferred to the Provincial Archives of Oulu, which takes care of interlibrary loans to the National Archives and other Provincial Archives.

The most comprehensive records are stored in the Ministry’s archives.

User restrictions

The archival materials of the Ministry are available to the general public. Based on the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (Laki viranomaisten toiminnan julkisuudesta 621/1999), the period of secrecy for official documents is mainly 25 years.

The use of documents is limited by the provisions enacted to protect business or professional secrets and individuals’ privacy.

Act on the Openness of Government Activities (PDF)

Groups of documents related to the management of foreign policy (PDF)

List of classification codes (PDF)

Customer Service: Contact information

The archives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are located in building B of the Ministry’s main offices in Katajanokka, Helsinki. The archives are open from Monday through Friday from 9.00 to 15.00. Please inform about your visit and the theme of your research in advance by email no later than on the day before your visit.

Visiting address: Merikasarmi, Laivastokatu 22 B1, Helsinki
Postal address: Ministry for Foreign Affairs, PO Box 176, 00023 Government
Tel. +358 295 350 601

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