University of Helsinki Almanac Office – Helsingin yliopiston Kalenteripalvelut Oy (“University of Helsinki Calendar Services Ltd”)
The University of Helsinki Almanac Office is the leading expert in the Finnish calendar. We offer up-to-date information on name days, flag days and special calendar days. We have comprehensive knowledge of the global and Finnish history of calendars and chronology. We cater to calendar makers, the media and citizens in all matters related to calendars.
The University of Helsinki has the copyright to the name day lists of Finnish- and Swedish-speakers and the name day lists of animals that it has compiled. The University Almanac Office sells publishing rights to name days, other calendar data and ready calendar templates to calendar makers. We also publish the traditional University Almanac (Yliopiston almanakka, Universitetsalmanackan) every year and are responsible for communications related to the Finnish calendar. The duties of the University Almanac Office also include maintaining the Finnish culture of special days and name days.
The business operations of the University Almanac Office are managed by Helsingin yliopiston Kalenteripalvelut Oy (“the University of Helsinki Calendar Services Ltd”), which is owned by the University of Helsinki Funds. The company’s income is used for the University of Helsinki’s education and research. The Board of Directors also makes decisions on the special days to be added to the Finnish calendar.
University of Helsinki Calendar Services Ltd, Board of Directors (2023–)
Mika Peura (MBA), CEO, Chair
Esa-Pekka Nykänen (MSc), Sales and Marketing Director, Member
Heidi Sandvall (MSc (Econ.)), Director, Group Finance, Member
Minna Saarelma-Paukkala (PhD), Managing Director, Secretary (not a member of the Board)
The history of the University Almanac Office is a history of the Finnish calendar, which goes hand in hand with the history of Finland. The stages of our nation during the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the Swedish rule and autonomy have influenced our calendar in many ways. The time of independence, the wars, the values characteristic of different decades and the European identity of the 2000s are also reflected in the Finnish calendar.
Finland’s first calendar is considered to be the Missale Aboense calendar of saints of the Diocese of Turku, printed in 1488. Mikael Agricola’s Prayer Book from 1544 contained a calendar section, which also indicated the times of sunrise and sunset and the length of the day. However, these calendars were not calculated for any particular year. A couple hundred handwritten calendar pages dating back to 1100–1500 have also been preserved.
Finnish almanacs from the 17th century onwards
The first Finnish almanac was published in Swedish in Stockholm in 1608. The King granted Sigfridus Aronus Forsius, a Helsinki-born astronomer, the privilege of publishing almanacs in the kingdom of Sweden.
The first Finnish-language almanac – Laurentius Tammelin’s Almanach or Ajan-Lucu – was published in Turku in 1705. Finnish-language almanacs began to appear regularly in 1726.
From the mid-18th century to the beginning of the 19th century, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences had the exclusive right to publish almanacs. In 1810, the Academy of Turku was granted the exclusive right to publish almanacs in Finnish and Swedish in the Grand Duchy of Finland. The first State Calendar (Valtiokalenteri/Statskalender) was published in 1811 by the Academy of Turku. The calendar was first published in Swedish, and since 1869 also in Finnish.
In 1828, after the Great Fire of Turku, the almanac privilege was transferred to the University of Helsinki (the Imperial Alexander University in Finland). The University of Helsinki leased it to various printing houses.
Life after privilege – Tasks of the University Almanac Office
When Finland joined the European Union in 1995, the right to issue almanacs was abolished. However, the University of Helsinki retained the copyright to the name day lists of Finnish- and Swedish-speakers, and the decision was made to establish the Almanac Office. In 1996, the traditional Almanakka (“Almanac”) became the Yliopiston almanakka (“University Almanac”).
The University Almanac Office was put in charge of the University’s calendar-related communications and almanac business. From early on, the Almanac Office has sold publishing rights to name days as well as various calendar data to publishing houses. Before long, the Almanac Office also began to design calendar templates to meet customer needs.
The University Almanac’s publication in Finnish and Swedish is still one of the basic tasks of the Almanac Office. In addition, the University Almanac Office maintains the Finnish culture of name days and special days, preserving the intangible cultural heritage of our country.
Public holidays, church holidays, flag days, special days and name days all tell the story of our country’s past decades. The University Almanac Office firmly builds on this history, is an active participant in the present day and has a keen eye on the future.