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A black and white group photo of people, three of them sitting in the front, others standing behind them.
The board of the Finnish organization Seta in 1981. Photo: The Labour Archives.

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Nordic and Baltic LGBTQ+ archives

Nordic and baltic queer historical archives and organizations

In the Nordic and Baltic countries there are different models concerning the preservation of queer historical archives and printed materials. Norway, Finland and Sweden have dedicated institutions or organizations to take care of this task. In the other countries the lack of such initiatives make the preservation of queer history difficult. In all the countries, a long history of neglect has caused queer history and heritage to be preserved only in fragments.

The following is not an extensive list, but a work in progress. If you have tips for other archives or organizations working to document and disseminate queer history, or that keep archives of lgbtq+ interest, we will be more than happy to supplement the list. By contacting the archives below or visiting their websites, you will get more information on relevant archive material.

1. Queer historical archives and organizations in the nordic countries


QRAB – Queerrörelsens Arkiv och Bibliotek – The Archives and Library of the Queer Movement:

QRAB – Queerrörelsens Arkiv och Bibliotek was established as a non-profit voluntarily run organization in 2017. QRAB collects, organizes, preserves and makes accessible documentation and information related to queer movements and people. QRAB's collections are housed at the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg - and in other places as the collection grows continually by donations.

SAQMI – The Swedish Archive for Queer Moving Images

SAQMI – The Swedish Archive for Queer Moving Images is compiling the history of queer moving images and storing it all in one place. The Swedish Archive for Queer Moving Images compiles the history of queer moving images and storing it all in one place. A history that has been marginalized through oppression and self-censorship. Through methods such as documentation, interviews, archiving, screenings, presentations, workshops and discussions, the first platform of queer moving images in Sweden was created in 2017.

Rosa Brus – Pink Noise

Rosa Brus is a sound archive aiming to collect, organize and publicize queer audio cultural production. The archive for Rosa Brus considers (queer) sound as a carrier of history and aims to collect, archive and publish queer cultural production in sound form. We do this in collaboration with other archives, cultural workers, activists and researchers. Through collection, archiving, reading and public events in the form of festivals, workshops and site-specific sound works around Sweden, we explore together with the participants what pink noise and a queer sound archive can be.

The Unstraight Museum

The Unstraight Museum (TUM) is tasked with empowering the LGBTQ+ community by collecting stories from a non-normative perspective. Our mission is to make them accessible digitally and physically through exhibitions and other public expressions, internationally. The Unstraight Museum is a Swedish non-government, non-profit, volunteer-run LGBTQ+ organization working with culture as means of change, globally. This work is done through collaborations with LGBTQ+ NGO’s around the world.

Homografiska Museet

Homografiska Museet shows the world where representation, diversity and variation is the key. History has always had a tendency to be subjective depending on who is listening and who is the one to tell. Our love for storytelling gives you this museum. Our collection is available to the public where we have exclusive and unique pieces that make the foundation of our museum's operation.

Lesbiskt Arkiv (in Swedish only)

Organisationen Lesbiskt Makt har ett Lesbiskt Arkiv som samlar bitar av den lesbiska historien, med målet att lägga ett pussel över lesbiskt liv, kamp och kärlek genom tiderna. Här kan du bland annat dyka ner i lesbisk historia, läsa spännande lesbiska artiklar, lyssna på lesbisk podd och hitta lesbiska tips.


Friends of Queer History (Finnish: Sateenkaarihistorian ystävät ry, Swedish: Queerhistoriens vänner rf) is an association established in Finland in 2020, aiming to raise awareness on history of gender and sexual diversity, and advance researching, collecting and presenting queer history in Finland. https://sateenkaarihistoria.fi/en/

The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas in Tampere is responsible for the nationwide documentation of the history of Finnish gender and sexual minorities. Werstas is the only museum in Finland that houses an LGBTIQ+ collection. The LGBTIQ+ collection at the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas in Tampere was established in 2002. The collection is still in its infancy; containing approximately 1500 items, 3000 photographs, as well as about 500 books and other print material (figures from 2020). https://www.tyovaenmuseo.fi/en/collections/about-the-collections/documenting-rainbow-history/

The Labour Archives in Helsinki cooperates since 2002 with the national LGBTIQ+ organization Seta and the Labour Museum Werstas in the documenting of the queer history in Finland. The archive hosts the archives of the Finnish LGQTIQ+ movement. It has documents, audio- and video materials as well as photographs. The Labour Archives has also LGBTIQ+ oral history materials and has since 2005 arranged several collecting campaigns. https://www.tyark.fi/en/


Skeivt arkiv – The Norwegian Queer Archive

Tone Hellesund launched the Idea of establishing a queer historical queer archive in 2012 and activity to establish it and collect queer history began in 2013. Officially opened in 2015. The archive is its own unit within the Special Collections of the University of Bergen Library. The archive collects archives as well as library material, and within Norwegian cultural policy, the archive officially has the national responsibility to preserve queer historical archives and to document queer oral history.

Skeivt historielag i Telemark – Queer Historical Society

Newly established Historical Society to document and disseminate queer history in the county of Telemark.

The Baltic Countries

There are no queer historical archives or organizations in the Baltic countries, but in Estonia Taavi Koppel at the Harju County Museum has been collecting queer archives and artifacts. In Lithuania some activists and scholars from the organization išgirsti, like Augustas Čičelis and Viktorija Kolbešnikova, are developing and archive project. išgir̃stì – Queer archyvas (isgirsti.lt)

Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, The Faroe Islands, Sápmi

There are no specific organizations or institutions responsible to collect queer history in the other Nordic countries, although there are initiatives to change this situation in some of the countries. Neither has any institution taken responsibility for systematically documenting Sámi queer history.

2. Other archives, institutions and organizations that keep queer historical material


At the National Archives in Stockholm, the archives of national organizations such as RFSL, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, and FPE-S, Full Personality Expression Sweden, are held, as well as some significant personal archives, such as those of Eric Thorsell (1898-1980), Eva Alexanderson (1911-1994), and Fredrik Silverstolpe (1947-2001).

The archives of many local organizations, some affiliated with RFSL and some independent, are housed at regional archives such as Regionarkivet för Västra Götalandsregionen och Göteborgs Stad (holds the archives of RFSL Göteborg, Lesbiska feminister, Röda bögar, Homosexuella socialister, Föreningen Benjamin, and Fjollfront), Malmö stadsarkiv (holds the archives of Lesbiska feminister, RFSL Lund, and RFSL Malmö), or Arkiv Gävleborg (holds the archives of Gävle förening för homosexuella, and RFSL Gävleborg). The holdings of the National Archives, as well as these (and more) regional archives can be searched through the National Archives Database. KvinnSam, the National Resource Library for Gender Studies at the Gothenburg university library, have rich holdings related to movements and individuals with lesbian relevancy, for example additional materials from Eva Alexanderson and archives from Föreningen LÖF (Lesbian Over Forty), Stina Line, Tjejfilm, Hagar Olsson (1893-1978), Birgitta Stenberg (1932-2014), Marie Falksten (1948-), and Rita Creighton (1951-2007). The inventory of archives can be viewed at the webpage of KvinnSam, and is partially searchable through ALVIN - Platform for digital collections and digitized cultural heritage.


The National Archives in Oslo has some archives of queer interest, notably the archive of the main lgbt-organization (today FRI the association for gender and sexuality diversity). In 2022 they digitized queer material as a contribution to the celebration of the 50 years anniversary of decriminalization of sex between men. Finn kilde - Digitalarkivet

The National Library of Norway also holds some important archives of queer content. This includes the letters of Ebbe Hertzberg (1848-1912) Søk i brevsamlingen | Norske brev og manuskript | Nasjonalbiblioteket (nb.no)

and the diaries of Petronelle Nielsen (1797-1886)

Søk i brevsamlingen | Norske brev og manuskript | Nasjonalbiblioteket (nb.no)

Also some regional archives have collections. The regional State Archives in Stavanger holds the archives of the queer movement in Norway’s fourth city, Stavanger and the surrounding Rogaland county. The Vestfold county archives keep the archive of the LGBTQ+-movement in that county.

Kvinnearkivet / Inge Ås


The archives of The Finnish Literary Society (SKS) as well as The society of Swedish Literature in Finland (SLS) has as well collected LGBTIQ+ oral history materials and the archives also hosts the archives of prominent people in the Finnish queer history.
https://www.finlit.fi/en/archive (SKS)

https://www.sls.fi/en/about-sls (SLS)

The Archive Collection of Åbo Akademi hosts many important personal archives of queer contents. In the letter collections one can find for example some of Touko Laaksonen’s (Tom of Finlands) letters to his sister. https://www.abo.fi/en/library/archive-collections/

The Finnish Social Science Data Archives contain a number of data series and individual datasets suitable for research on gender diversity and topics on LGBTIQ culture, social status and history. https://www.fsd.tuni.fi/en/data/by-theme/gender-diversity-lgbtiq-lives-and-history/

More info about memory institutions in Finland that collects queer materials and other queer history initiatives see: https://sateenkaarihistoria.fi/en/preservation/archives-and-collections/


The archive of the main lgbtq+-organization is at the National Archives.