The city of Helsinki, Finland has unveiled a collection of more than 65,000 historical images captured in and around the city that are now free to download and use however you see fit. You can also order prints directly from the site if you wish to support the collection directly.
Not much information is given about the collection as a whole, but is appears to be seemingly random assortment of still photographs captured in Helsinki over the years: portraits, still life, architecture and more. The individual images, however, all have a metadata section that shares the title, author, date the image was taken, original capture medium and more. All images are licensed under CC BY 4.0, meaning you’re free to share and adapt however you see fit, so long as you provide proper attribution.
The search bar on the home page of the gallery allows you to browse by year or location, which could prove challenging if you’re not familiar with Finland geography. A tip I did discover though is that if you find an image of a subject you like, you can copy at least a section of the image’s description and paste it into the search bar to find other images of that subject or location.
|The non-translated caption that accompanies this image: ‘Elannon hallintorakennus juhlavalaistuna 25-vuotisjuhlan kunniaksi, Kaikukadun puoli.’ Used under CC BY 4.0.|
The earliest images I came across in the collection was a set of photographs from November 1930 that depicts the S Group’s administration building decorated in celebration of the company’s 25th anniversary. I’m sure there are earlier ones I haven’t yet discovered, so if you find any from earlier, post a link in the comments below.
To take a look at the collection for yourself, head over to the Helsinki government micro site and peruse through the gallery.