Main building of the National Library to reopen on 1 March 2016

Date published
The renovation of the historic library building of the National Library of Finland on Unioninkatu has been completed, and the Library will reopen to the public on Tuesday, 1 March 2016 at noon. In the renovation, the library facilities were made more functional and accessible, and the building’s technology was modernised.

The Cupola Hall

The renovation involved both the main building, which was designed by Carl Ludwig Engel and inaugurated in 1845, as well as the Rotunda building, which was completed in 1906. The main building has been reroofed and the central cupola recoated, and the facade of the Rotunda building has been painted a lighter shade.

Immediately apparent changes to the interiors include the reconstruction of the original doorways and wood floors in the reading rooms, the restored ceiling murals in the foyers, and new furniture. As well, a new cloakroom has been installed on the basement level.

The contractor formally released the library building, located next to the Helsinki Cathedral, to its owner, University of Helsinki Funds, at the end of October, and finishing touches are currently being done inside the building. Collections and services will be moved into the renovated spaces between December and February.

Making the library more efficient

Visiting the Library is now even easier. Reading material can be borrowed and returned using the self-service machines, and the National Library’s online services will also be improved in the spring. Online services will include reservations, inquiries and bookings for an individual service appointment.

The renovated Library was designed particularly with researchers in mind. The General Reading Room has been furnished for researchers, and designated researcher seats can be requested from January onwards. The Library has a wider selection of sources and new literature on display, and the Research Collection has been organised according to discipline.

A protected historic building

The National Library building has considerable national significance and impact on the city’s landscape, and consequently has been protected by the Act on the Protection of Buildings.

The renovation was carried out in close cooperation with the National Board of Antiquities and other expert bodies. The building is owned by University of Helsinki Funds, and the renovation project was the responsibility of the University of Helsinki’s Centre for Properties and Facilities. The main designer of the project was Pauno Narjus/LPR Architects, and the construction manager was NCC Construction Ltd. The budget for the renovation was approximately €19 million (VAT 0%).

The magazine Rakennuslehti chose the renovation of the National Library as its 2014 construction site of the year.

Opening ceremony on 1 March 2016 at noon

The National Library of Finland will open its doors to the public on Tuesday 1 March 2016 at noon.

Opening day will be celebrated with many events. The programme for the opening day and week will be posted on the website closer to the date.

Until the end of February, the Library will continue to serve its customers at Fabianinkatu 35.

In February, the media will be allowed to photograph the Library’s new facilities before the opening ceremonies.

For media inquiries regarding photographing the interiors, contact from 11 January 2016:

National Library of Finland, Press Officer Katri Nissilä
Tel. 050 3369052
katri.nissila (at)

Further information: National Library of Finland, Dorrit Gustafsson
Tel. 050 023500 University of Helsinki,

Centre for Properties and Facilities, Eija Vuori
Tel. 050 5638023

LPR Architects Ltd, Pauno Narjus
Tel. 040 5845025