The National Archives of Finland

The National Archives of Finland preserves documentary cultural heritage. The National Archives is a government body under the Ministry of Education. The task of Finland’s National Archives is to ensure that documents belonging to national cultural heritage are preserved and to promote their use for research. Research and development in the sector is also part of its remit.

The National Archives also guides the records management and archives administration of authorities, is responsible for the general development of archives administration and ordinates which state and municipal administration documents should be permanently preserved. It has statutory authority to issue binding regulations to the authorities, e.g., on permanent preservation of documents, archival premises, papers and writing materials for preparing of documents as well as on the registration and cataloguing of documents.

The National Archives receives and preserves records of state authorities with permanent preservation value, as well as obtaining and preserving private archives of importance for the society and in research.

Santa Claus’ Archives

Later this year A Tale of Two Countries digital gallery publishes a collection of letters sent to Santa Claus from British children. Every year a set of letters sent to Santa Claus to Finland is stored in the archive of the National Archives of Finland in Oulu. The letters tell of children’s lives and wishes at different times and in different places, and as such are important cultural keepsakes.

Santa Claus’ Archives are kept in the Oulu branch of the National Archives of Finland. Santa’s Archives contains a collection of the letters and postcards sent to Santa Claus to Rovaniemi, to the post office of the Arctic Circle, beginning from the year 1997. Children and grown-ups from all around the world send letters to Santa Claus. In addition to Finland, the most letters come from the UK, Japan, Italy, France, Lithuania and Poland.

In their letters children tell of their lives, their country and their wishes, and ask of Santa, his elves and reindeers. The letters tell not only of the christmas presents wished from Santa, but of the spectrum of other wishes, hopes and dreams. From the letters, one gets a good picture of the daily life and experiences of children in different countries and continents, and even of their feelings regarding their home country’s history or current political situations. Mostly the letters are fun and colourful, and sometimes children have included a picture of themselves or their family.

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