What Used to be Here? Look into the Past with Finna Street Service

Date published
Finna Street finds historical photographs from your location.
Picture by
Asmo Saarikoski, the National Library of Finland

Our environment is constantly changing. What did familiar places look like years ago? Now everyone can travel back in time and view historical events and the places where they grew up with the help of Finna Street. Finna Street’s search service works by using your smart phone or your tablet’s location to show you historical photographs from the area around you.

Finna Street is part of the National Library of Finland’s Finna.fi web service, which houses over a million photographs from Finnish archives, libraries, and museums.

“Finna Street invites the user to look at our common visual heritage in a new way. The pictures you can find using Finna and Finna Street provide interesting perspectives on the history of Finnish places. We hope that schools, hobbyist historians, and people active in their neighborhoods and local regions will join us on a trip back in time using Finna Street,” says Erkki Tolonen, Finna’s development manager.

It’s easy to use Finna Street. Go to Finna.fi, find your location by clicking on Finna Street search, and then look at the images the service has found. Searches will be most reliable when used outside on a mobile device.

Finna Street works the best in cities. The search results are dependent on each photograph’s geographical information. If Finna Street doesn’t provide results based on your location, try a search by place name.

Finna Street is a part of the Finland 100 Photography Campaign

Finna Street will be part of the Time Travelers’ Photography campaign this autumn. The campaign, an official program of the Finland 100 jubilee year, invites everyone to photograph their surroundings in Finland. The National Audiovisual Institute, the Finnish Museum of Photography, and Finna are partnering together on the campaign. The campaign will continue until the end of the centennial year, and photographs will be collected and organized into photography exhibitions based on their location and shown in public spaces. You can find out more and participate in the campaign by going to: Aikamatkaajat.fi.

The Finna.fi service, developed and maintained by the National Library of Finland, is a joint web service of archives, libraries, and museums that provides access to over 13 million photographs, objects, books, works of art, and other materials. More than 200 archives, libraries, and museums are involved. Finna is an open source software, and its collections can also be used using common open interfaces. The service is part of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s National Digital Library project.