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About us

The National Archives of Estonia is the centre of archival administration in Estonia and has its departments in Tallinn, Tartu, Rakvere and Valga. The main task of the National Archives is to ensure preservation and usability of society’s written memory, documented cultural heritage for today’s and future generations. On the other hand, the National Archives guarantees the protection of citizens’ basic rights and duties as well as the transparency of the democratic state through the holding and preservation of archival records. The National Archives is a government agency in the domain of Ministry of Education and Research acting on the basis of Archives Act and Archival rules.

What we do

The National Archives collects and preserves records documenting history, culture, nationhood and social conditions in Estonia not depending on time or place of creation, or character of data medium.

The functions of the National Archives are:

  • to collect documented data important for our society
  • to offer broadest use of the collections
  • to keep the collections in good preservation conditions
  • to supervise institutions in management and safekeeping of records
  • to participate in development of the national electronic records management
  • to receive digital records

The collections of the National Archives include:

  • about 10 million records (the oldest from 1240)
  • about 36 million digital images online (ca 5% of the collections)
  • about 12,000 films online (the oldest from 1908)
  • about 880,000 photos online (older ones from the 19th century)
  • more than 150,000 maps, ca 1/3 online (the oldest from the first half of the 17th century)
  • factually 2,200 seals
  • about 1,500 parchments

The collections of the National Archives can be found via the Archival Information System AIS using the titles and names of the archives, series and records.