Increased need for online culture and science during the corona year

Date published

The search service had the record number of 2.9 million visitors in 2020. Compared to the previous year, the number of visits went up by 16%. provides virtual access to the treasures kept in nearly 400 libraries, museums and archives.

“Our user statistics show clear changes due to the closing of cultural institutions and libraries. When access to physical materials and sources was limited, people turned to for information and experiences”, says Erkki Tolonen, head of development at the National Library of Finland. ”I believe that the increased use of the online materials during corona restrictions also proves how important culture is for our well-being and continued resilience”, Tolonen continues.

Covid-19 was not the only reason for increased interest; the new digital materials also played a role. “Many museums and archives introduced new interesting online collections. For example, the National Board of Antiquities made more than 200,000 printable-quality images freely available to anyone.

Easily accessible digital materials are very important for teachers, students and researchers working under these abnormal circumstances. “We were very happy to have open study materials included in at the end of the year. The number of open research publications also went up when new publication archive materials were made available through Finna.” 

Old photographs were viewed nearly four million times 

Images remained the most popular material in 2020 with 3.9 million views in the service. Literature also raised much interest, and the information of various books was accessed 1.2 million times. Other popular search objects included articles, archived materials and films. 

The search terms that were used speak clear language of the audience's interest in history as well as other interests that have motivated the searches. Among the most popular search terms were the identification code of the Helsinki Airport (EFHK), the Olympic games of 1952 in Helsinki and the photographs by Johannes Schalin (1881-1906) published by the Museum Centre of Turku.

Begin your search from the front page of

Top 10 most popular material providers in 2020: 

1. National Board of Antiquities
2. The Helsinki City Museum
3. The National Library of Finland
4. The National Archives of Finland
5. Lusto – Finnish Forest Museum
6. Museum Centre Vapriikki
7. The National Museum of Finland
8. South Karelia Museum
9. The National Audiovisual Institute
10.  The Museum Centre of Turku

Further information: 
Head of Development Erkki Tolonen, the National Library of Finland, tel. +358 50 576 2869, erkki.tolonen(at) 

Image: Pupils of the Nuijamaa primary school spending their winter holidays at the beginning of the 20th century. In 2020, materials of the National Board of Antiquities were the most popular content group in National Board of Antiquities, Historical Picture Collection. License: CC BY 4.0.