Finnish Museum of Natural History, Helsinki, Finland | CruiseBe
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Finnish Museum of Natural History

History and museums
museum, landmark, sightseeing

The Finnish Museum of Natural History (Finnish: Luonnontieteellinen keskusmuseo, Swedish: Naturhistoriska centralmuseet), established in 1988, is a research institution under the University of Helsinki in Finland. It is a natural history museum responsible for the national botanical, zoological, geological and paleontological collections, which consist of samples from around the world. The collections serve scientific, public informational and educational purposes.

The building that houses the museum, located on Arkadiankatu and Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu in central Helsinki, was built in 1913. It was originally built for the Alexander Lyceum, a Russian-speaking cadet school, where the pupils were distinguished by their military-type uniforms. The building was designed by two Russian architects, Lev P. Chichko and M.G. Chayko, and the architecture is unusually flamboyant, especially the main stairs. After Finnish independence in 1918 the building became a Finnish cadet school. When the school vacated the building in 1923 it was converted for use as a zoological museum. Its first collections were based on donations to the University of Helsinki from a private society called Societas pro Fauna et Flora.


  • University of Helsinki Botanic Gardens
  • Natural History Museum of Helsinki

Research units

Botany Unit
  • Botanical Museum maintains the national herbarium of Finland containing 3,3 million specimens of plants, mosses and fungi.
  • Botanic Gardens maintain a collection of living plants for education and research; is responsible for international seed exchange and public education on plants.
Zoology Unit
  • Zoological Museum maintains a collection of 8 million animal specimens; performs research mainly on systematics, taxonomy, and zoogeography.
  • Bird ringing centre and monitoring of bird populations
Natural Sciences Unit
  • Laboratory of Chronology performs age determination of samples with physical methods (radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating).
  • Geological Museum maintains collections of rock and ore samples (35,000 items), meteorites (500), and fossils (6,000).


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