Read, listen and watch
While libraries were closed, many wanted to read, listen and watch online. Our own e-library serves all the time as usual, but due to increased demand it is sometimes challenging to access the material. For the purpose of this article, we have listed various services provided by others through which anyone has free access to literature, sound recordings and movies. For the services listed below, at least some of the content is freely available, but some services require registration. The links are listed under each heading in alphabetical order.
You may also want to come back to this page later as we update the list as we discover various new services.
E-books for kids
These services contain content specifically aimed at children and adolescents, but some of their books are also available on other e-book services.
Iltasatu.org is a free children's fairy tale forum that gathers classic copyrighted stories and new works.
Multilingual children's picture book service with 115 children's books now for free. Reading access opens the home access version for everyone until 15.4. Home access is specifically designed to support multilingual children, and so the emphasis is on books selected with publishers that can be listened to in many different languages. To get access to the service, download the Lukulumo app to your smart device from the app store. Sign in using the following username and password: lukulumokoti, 987654321. Free service setup instructions.
Papunet provides information, help and a variety of materials to people who do not communicate by talking or understanding speech which is difficult, as well as their relatives and professionals. Papunet offers downloadable and printable textbooks and materials for children and adolescents.
Through Literature Service Kirjasampo, it is possible to read literature for children and young people where the copyright has expired.
E-books for adults
Pearls of the National Library collections: books, prints, maps, sheet music, pictures and manuscripts.
The Internet Archive offers over 20,000,000 free downloadable books and texts. In addition, there are 1.3 million modern eBooks available, which you can borrow for free by creating an account on the site. Many books are scanned in PDF format, so the books also contain pictures. About 3500 Finnish-language works are in service.
Finnish literature from the 1880s to the 1930s.
Electronic material is available through the National Library: books, magazines, articles, sound recordings, maps, pictures, reference databases and full-text materials. Some of the electronic material is freely available online and some only with University of Helsinki user IDs or visitor IDs. Some materials can only be used in the library. Learn more about permissions.
Digitized material from general libraries, such as local and specialist collections.
Electronic versions of Finnish and Swedish classics and related research information.
The Literature Bank is a Swedish literary project that works to make the entire Swedish literary heritage accessible and some works in the humanities. Here you will find works by authors such as Selma Lagerlöf, August Strindberg and Hjalmar Söderberg. Download like this: On Litteraturbanken's website, click on "Epub files" in the menu on the left side. Then choose the author and which book you want to download. Click on "Download". The e-book is downloaded to your e-book app or your reading program on your computer.
Met offers nearly 600 free eBooks with art.
Free digital service from the Goethe Institute. The selection includes German-language books, audiobooks, magazines and movies. To use, you will need an account which you can obtain by registering for the service.
The site has hundreds of freely available resources on the web, including some for download on your own device, ebooks, audiobooks, various courses and even movies. E-books and e-audiobooks are mostly classics.
The Gutenberg Project provides tens of thousands of literary classics, plays and poems for free reading. The site contains digitized books whose copyrights have expired. Literature in more than 50 languages, incl. in Finnish, Swedish and English.
The Lönnrot project is a Finnish project that has digitized Finnish and Swedish literature, whose copyrights have expired. Books are mainly available in .txt format. Contains partly the same Finnish-language works as Gutenberg.
Audiobooks and radio plays
Audible is normally a paid audiobook service, but during the corona crisis, when schools are closed, they offer hundreds of books for children and young people to listen to freely through their service. Books cannot be downloaded but can be streamed. For more information, see this article on iMore, for example.
The BBC has been producing quality radio theater for decades and their archives are a great treasure trove for listeners. There are, for example, Hichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Copyright free audiobooks read by volunteers in many languages. Currently, there are 27 Finnish and 27 Swedish books available as well as thousands of English books.
Nelonen Media's Supla service is mainly for listening to radio programs and podcasts, but there are also a few audio books.
Radio plays are long-term Yle radio favourites. You can listen to many of them through Yle Arena.
Yle Areena offers dozens of Finnish audiobooks for free listening. Includes both children's and adult literature and several classics. Works by both domestic and foreign authors.
Movies, documentaries, TV shows and theatre
Dplay is a streaming service from Discovery Networks Finland that shows programs on their TV channels. In Finland, the company's free channels include TV5, Kutonen, Frii and TLC. Some programs are free to watch, but most are paid. You do not need to register to view free content.
Elävä muisti is KAVI's audiovisual time journey into Finnish history and Elonet is a Finnish movie database. Elonet has more than 200 Finnish films and nearly two thousand other films. Most movies are available in up to 4K Ultra HD resolution.
Kirjastokaista is a platform for Finnish libraries, where programs include books, writers, reading and libraries. Worthy of exploration on the video side, you may find documentaries, interviews with authors, reading tips and children's programs. In addition, there is also a library radio on the Kirjastokaista where you can listen to, for example, the Book on Frequency podcast.
The service consists mainly of English-language films whose copyright has expired. Movies on the service are also available on its Youtube channel.
MTV is MTV's streaming service for watching shows and movies on their channels. Only free content is available on the service. MTV's paid content is on a separate service. Use of the service requires registration.
Ruutu is Nelonen Media's streaming service, where you can watch programs and movies on their channels. Some programs are free to watch, but most are paid. Use of the service (including free content) requires registration.
Paljon Melua theatre blog has compiled a list of various theatre performances and other performances typically performed in front of a live audience, as well as a wealth of other online entertainment that can now be watched from home. Some of the tips are for paid services, but there are also plenty of free recordings and live streams.
Yle Areena is a service that is familiar to many and offers a huge amount of movies, documentaries and various TV series for free viewing for everyone living in Finland. Now is the perfect time to explore their range!
HKO recordings bring the Orchestra Concert to your home sofa.
The New York Metropolitan Opera has opened a free streaming service that allows you to watch quality recordings of popular operas.
Recordings of performances of the Finnish National Opera.
The Vienna National Opera has opened a free streaming service that allows you to watch quality recordings of popular operas. The service requires registration.
Live broadcasts and concert recordings from Finland and around the world.
Quality courses in English. There is something to learn, from creating a resume to building your own application and many other useful skills.
An information retrieval service that provides free access to digital collections and collections of about one hundred Finnish archives, libraries and museums.
A versatile link directory produced by the Finnish Public Libraries, with numerous web pages on various topics. See, in particular, the Watch and Listen concerts, performances and programmes collection.
Open and quality online courses provided by the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki.
See also: The museum from your sofa
Photo: Yura Fresh / Unsplash