The President of Finland, Dr Urho Kekkonen (1900–1986) established a private foundation in 1970 to maintain the archives of his own personal documents.
The idea was initiated while he had made an official visit in the U.S.A and become acquainted with the archives of president Roosevelt in Washington D.C. At that time President Kekkonen thought he would retire in the beginning of the year 1974 when his third period as the president of Finland would end. After that he could fulfil his dreams of writing his memoirs. Moreover he planned that after having finished the work he could let researchers use his archives. In the letter with which the archives were founded President Kekkonen said that the main aim for his archives was to promote the study of political history during his presidency.
Urho Kekkonen had very carefully collected and saved his personal papers from his early years. Kekkonen was unique among the presidents of the republic, statesmen and politicians of Finland – he ruled for over 25 years (1956–1981) and he had much more power and authority than his predecessors or successors.
The Archives of Urho Kekkonen is situated in the town of Orimattila, Finland. It is the only archive in Finland where researchers can stay overnight and, if they wish, work all night long. There are 350 metres of shelf space of documents in the Kekkonen archives, mainly written in Finnish. The Archives collects new information and receives new material from politicians of the time and also hold 30 private collections of materials related to president Kekkonen.
The Archives’ goal is to give information about Urho Kekkonen’s life and work and preserve his personal private documents. These documents facilitate an easier understanding of Finland and its foreign policy in the years of the Cold War.
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