The National Archives (The National Archives Service) at the Turku Book Fair 2016

The oldest document of the National Archives 700 years

The Letter of Protection from King Birger to the Womankind of Karelia that dates from 1316 will have its 700th anniversary on 1 October 2016. The letter - written in Latin and preserved in the National Archives - gives protection to the women in Karelia, and states that: ”all wives and women subjected to us […] shall enjoy peace and security […] for both in property and person so that our royal punishment will most severely meet the transgressors”. This oldest document of the National Archives is part of a Middle Ages -themed multidisciplinary programme at the Turku Book Fair.

The public has an exceptional possibility to get acquainted both with the authentic medieval cultural heritage as well as with new tools for historical research at the National Archives stand A95. In addition to medieval documents, there are also relics from the collection of the Turku Cathedral on display. A beta version of the renewed Diplomatarium Fennicum database will also be published at the Fair. The database contains up-to-date information on all known sources of Finnish medieval documents until the year 1530.


Friday, 30 September 2016 at 2.15 - 2.45 p.m., Agricola stage: King Birger's Letter of Protection to the Womankind of Karelia 1316 – Why is the letter still relevant? President Tarja Halonen, Director-General, State Archivist Jussi Nuorteva (The National Archives) and Associate Professor Kirsi Salonen (University of Turku).

Saturday, 1 October 2016 at 3.45 - 4.25 p.m.,Tieto stage: Diplomatarium Fennicum 2016 – New tool for modern medieval research - publication of the renewed database on medieval documents. Research Director Päivi Happonen (The National Archives), Associate Professor Kirsi Salonen (University of Turku), Docent Tuomas Heikkilä (University of Helsinki) and Head of Research Funding Kalle Korhonen (Kone Foundation).

After the discussion it is possible to get acquainted with the database at the National Archives stand A95 with the assistance of researchers on the Middle Ages. The development work of the Diplomatarium Fennicum database during 2015–2016 has been funded by Kone Foundation.

Sunday, 2 October 2016 at 4.00 – 4.30 p.m., Tieto stage: Relics at the Turku Cathedral in the light of modern research. In addition to medieval document presentations, Associate Professor Kirsi Salonen and Professor Jussi-Pekka Taavitsainen from the University of Turku and Archaeologist Aki Arponen from the National Museum will discuss the latest research on the relics of the Turku Cathedral.

Towards Finland's 100th anniversary

The latest poster exhibition of the National Archives, Pro Finlandia – Finland's Road to Independence, examines the relations between Finland and the Nordic Countries from the end of the 1800s to the beginning of the 1920s. The poster exhibition can be visited in the hall (Hall 2) at the Fair Centre every day during the Book Fair. The third edition of the Pro Finlandia publication relating to the exhibition will be published in December 2016.

More information: Research Director Päivi Happonen,, +358 29 533 7018