National Archives of Sweden

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National Archives of Sweden
Swedish: Riksarkivet
Riksarkivet myndighetsvapen - Riksarkivet Sverige.png
Agency overview
Formed 1618 (1618)[1]
Jurisdiction Government of Sweden
Headquarters Stockholm, Sweden
Minister responsible

The National Archives of Sweden (Swedish: Riksarkivet, RA) is one of the oldest public agencies in Sweden, with a history leading back to the Middle Ages. The chief of Riksarkivet is called the Riksarkivarie.


The National Archives is one of the oldest still active Swedish institutions, with roots back to the 1200s. Axel Oxenstierna intervened in the archival conditions on October 18, 1618. He prescribed how the Old Office , ie the National Archives would be organized. Thus the National Archives was formally established as an independent body of state within the Royal Chancellery.

Only a small part of what was then the National Archives could be salvaged from the flames in the disastrous Castle fire of 1697 in Stockholm. The collection of medieval documents was severely decimated.

Regional Archives, mergers with other archives[edit]

The National Archives area of work was originally limited to the royal office, but from the late 19th century the National Archives also got responsibility to deal with archives of other central and local authorities. The National Archives functioned as chief authority over the different regional archives: the Provincial Archives of Vadstena that opened in 1899, Lund and Uppsala that both opened in 1903, Visby in 1905, Gothenburg in 1911, Östersund in 1928, and finally in 1935 in Härnösand .

Since 1963, the Royal Palace Archives at Stockholm Palace has been a section under the National Archives. In 1995 the formerly independent authority the Military Archives was made a department of the National Archives.

The National Herald Board[edit]

The authority National Herald Board was closed down in 1953, and the state's heraldic operations continued as a department under the National Archives. The department deals with questions about weapons design, flags and emblems and continuously produces new heraldic images for newly formed governmental bodies, counties, etc. The National Herald Topic of office of the Manager held the title of National Herald, but in the new organization the title instead became State Herald (statsheraldiker).


The oldest document in the National Archives is (listed in 2005), a parchment from a missal, written in England in the late 10th century. The document came to Sweden via the British Christian missionary in Norway.

The archive holdings - in 2015 amounting to approximately 750 shelf kilometers - consists mainly of parchment and paper. The digital media holdings consists among other things of 130 million digitally stored images. The amount of documents is increasing continuously by the delivery of documents from the Cabinet Office and other central agencies. There are also person archives, archives of associations and also some companies.

The National Archives is subject to open government, which means that the holdings in general is available to the public - including researchers and research-related individuals. The exception is made for confidential documents or certain perishable older material. Many of the oldest document is, however, reproduced on microfilm or as digital images.

Novgorod Occupation Archives[edit]

The "Novgorod occupation archives" (Swedish: Ockupationsarkivet från Novgorod) is the modern name (since the 1960s) of a unique collection of documents in the National Archives. They are written in Russian by Russian administrators of the city of Veliky Novgorod during the years 1611-1617 when the Swedish army occupied the city, as part of a war bargain. Among the documents are both originals and those copies that were intended to be sent to Moscow. When the Swedish army withdrew from the city, the commander Jacob De la Gardie collected these documents as useful evidence in the peace negotiations and brought them back to his quarters in Estonia. Later the documents came to Stockholm, where their importance were recognized in the mid 19th century, as a source of Russian history. They were first catalogued in 1964 by Russian historian Sergei Dmitrievsky. An improved catalog was printed and published in 2005.[2] The documents (30,000 pages) have been microfilmed, and the monochrome microfilm has later been digitized and is available online. The collection consists of series 1 with 141 books and series 2 with 368 scrolls.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Elisabeth Löfstrand, Laila Nordquist, Accounts of an Occupied City : Catalogue of the Novgorod Occupation Archives, Series I, Skrifter utgivna av Riksarkivet 24 (2005), series II, Skrifter utgivna av Riksarkivet 31 (2009).
  3. ^ Ockupationsarkivet från Novgorod, website of the National Archives, in Swedish, visited October 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Ockupationsarkivet från Novgorod, website of Stockholm University, department of history, in Swedish, visited October 19, 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°19′36″N 18°01′22″E / 59.3267°N 18.0228°E / 59.3267; 18.0228