As of 18 April 2017, the archives of the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki have been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World national register. The purpose of the register is to preserve the global heritage of archives and libraries. Besides the Olympics archives, five other Finnish archives were chosen for inclusion in the register.
Unusually well-preserved material on the 1952 Summer Olympics
The XV Olympia Helsinki 1952 archives provide a unique description of their time and of the turn in Helsinki’s and Finland’s post-war development. In all, the archives include 153 shelf metres of documents dated between 1947 and 1956, namely all those relating to the arrangements and the actual games. The majority are about the arrangements, the planning and construction of venues and about the marketing of the games and Finland abroad.
In addition, the archives include a multitude of information such as drafts and suggestions of the design of the Olympic Torch, the names of those who carried the torch on its way to the Olympic Stadium, entertainment during the games, food and drink served to athletes and spectators – as well as documents relating to the landing of Coca-Cola Company in Finland – not to mention the actual sports results.
Register honours documentary heritage worldwide
The idea of the UNESCO Memory of the World register is to preserve the global heritage of archives and libraries, improve its accessibility and increase public awareness of the heritage and its significance. The National Committee in Finland seeks to ensure the programme is implemented to its full extent in Finland. The first register search was opened in June 2016, and those Finnish archives selected for the international register were announced at a publishing event at the National Archives of Finland on 18 April 2017.
The other archives selected for the register are: Fragmenta membranea, a collection which contains approximately 9,300 parchment leaves from 1,500 medieval books (National Archives of Finland); the library of Monrepos manor in Vyborg (National Archives of Finland); the archives of Finnish 19th century writer and academic Zacharias Topelius (National Archives of Finland and the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland); Rederiebolaget Gustaf Eriksons Arkiv (Åland Maritime Museum / Provincial Archives of Åland); and Finska Hushållningssällskapets arkiv (Åbo Akademi University Library).