Tuesday marks century of national archives in Estonia

The new National Archives of Estonia building was opened in Tartu in February 2017.
The new National Archives of Estonia building was opened in Tartu in February 2017. Source: (Aili Vahtla/ERR)

Tuesday, March 3 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Estonia's first national archives, forerunners to the modern-day National Archives of Estonia.

The National Archives of Estonia began operating on January 1, 1999, however the establishment of a national archive system took place in the formative years of the Republic of Estonia already. It was on the initiative of an archival committee that convened on March 3, 1920, that a central state archive was established in Tartu as the storage place for historically significant institutions' documents and a state archive established in Tallinn as the manager of active institutions' documents.

The work initiated by the archival committee can be considered the first step toward collecting and preserving records and offering comprehensive solutions for their use as well as establishing trusting relations between institutions and the archives.

The National Archives of Estonia was established as the result of a merger between two previous archives, and over two decades has grown to become the center of archival science in Estonia. The institution has brought to fruition the 100-year-old plan for a national archive, the establishment of which was made possible by the Archives Act of 1998. As of 2017, the National Archives includes branches in Tartu, Tallinn, Rakvere and Valga. It sees 1.5 million visits per year, 99.5 percent of which are online.

On March 3, a new postage stamp titled "National Archives 100" will be unveiled in Tartu. A special exhibition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the institution will open in Tallinn this May and in Tartu this August.

Click here to visit the National Archives of Estonia website.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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