Finnish Museum of Natural History

Institution (Original name) 
Luonnontieteellinen keskusmuseo
Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13
Postal code 

(+35) 891 912 8804 (+35) 0294 1911

Type of institution 
Botanical Garden
Are you part of a larger entity / legal body? 
If yes, please specify  
University of Helsinki
Member since 
Full member
CETAF Official representative
Name, position, phone, e-mail, research field 

Prof. Leif Schulman, Director of FMNH +358(0)505487692, Tropical Botany, taxonomy, living collections, conservation biology

Member of the Executive Committee? 
Executive Committee position 
Name, position, phone, e-mail, research field + Working Group or Project involved in 

Prof. Olof Biström, (Zool. Unit), Systematics incl. taxonomy, Coleoptera: Dytiscidaae+358(0)503182326,

Ms. Hanna Koivula (ICT Team),

Member of the Executive Committee? 
Director / legal representative of the institution (title, name, phone, e-mail, research field) 

Prof. Leif Schulman +358(0)505487692 Tropical botany, taxonomy, living collections, conservation biology

Governing and executive bodies 

The Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus is an independent institution functioning under the University of Helsinki. It is constituted by law to preserve, augment, and display the national natural history collections and to conduct research and provide teaching based on them. Luomus is one of the three central national museums in Finland, the other being in the fields of Cultural Heritage and in Fine Arts. The collections of Luomus include preserved and live botanical collections, and zoological, geological and paleontological specimens from all over the world.

Scientific staff 
Permanent (P)Non – Permanent (NP)
a) TOTAL scientific staff275
b) Scientific staff linked to Collections00
c) Post-docs / PhD students011
d) Others (Associates, etc.)010
TOTAL (a+b+c+d)2717
Other staff (administration etc.) 
Permanent (P)Non – Permanent (NP)
e) Exhibitions 60
f) Collection Managers / technicians408
g) Others 326
TOTAL (e+f+g) 7814
Total permanent staff 
Total non-permanent staff 
Grand total (permanent + non-permanent Staff) 
Male (%) 
Female (%) 
Externalized services, non-permanent positions 
Total (permanent and non-permanent staff + externalized personnel)  
Any other information concerning the staff 

Exhibition department hires additional 10-15 free-lance guides (Non-Permanent) Division of scientific staff in two categories (1 a and b above) is not applicable for Luomus. Numbers of non-permanent staff vary considerably from year to year. C. 8% of the staff is of non-Finnish origin.

R&D facilities
How many laboratories are in use in your institution? 
List of laboratories 
  1. Botany Unit Laboratory
  2. DNA Laboratory
  3. Laboratory of Chronology provides radiocarbon, stable isotopic measurements and luminesence dating for environmental, geological and archaeological/anthropological research,
  4. Geological laboratory
List of key tools (e.g. SEM, 3D, scanners/printers,...) 
  1. Bot. Unit. Lab. TLC (Thin Layer Chromatography), Cryostat, Rotary Microtome
  2. DNA laboratory Facilities and equipment: The Finnish Museum of Natural History has a DNA laboratory facility with necessary equipment for standard molecular work as DNA extraction and PCR amplification. The laboratory is supervised and run by a laboratory manager and has no other permanent staff. The lab provides basics labware like buffer solutions, measuring glasses and gloves for common use. The main lab has 10 bench places, allocated to members of Luomus-based research groups at the Botanical and Zoological units. The research groups independently plan their DNA work processes and purchase all laboratory chemicals and kits necessary to carry out their planned research. The laboratory has three 96-well PCR machines, several agarose gel running apparatuses of different capacities, a spectrophotometer, hotblocks, fume hoods, ice machine, incubators, ultrapure water and lab dishwasher. Sequencing is outsourced to sequencing service laboratories at the University of Helsinki or international commercial companies offering DNA sequencing service, independently managed and paid for by each research team. Sequence chromatogram editing program is available on PC computer.
  3. Laboratory of Chronology, key tools are Three mass spectrometers for stable isotope measurements Two elemental analyzers, one connected into semiautomatic sample pretreatment line (HASE) Luminescence equipment and beta activity counter for luminescence dating Access to Accelerator Mass Spectrometer of Department of Physics
  4. Geological laboratory equipment: polarizing microscope, digital camera and imaging software.


Other scientific / R&D facilities 

The facilities available for Luomus Earth science research include jointly funded and maintained laboratories at 1) Department of Geosciences and Geography (SEM, X-ray powder diffractometer, electron microprobe with WDS), 2) SIGL (Finnish Isotope Geosciences Laboratory; Nu Attom High-resolution mass spectrometer, Nu multicollector laser ablation mass spectrometer, Jeol JSM 7100F Field emission microscope) and 3) NORDSIM (Nordic facility, funded jointly by Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark; secondary ion mass spectrometer) Luomus is one of the national research infrastructures listed by the Finnish Ministry of Culture and Education. In addition, Luomus in general and its Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (under construction) and Laboratory of Chronology belong to the present University of Helsinki infrastructure programme.

Number of permanent exhibitions 
List of permanent exhibitions  
Story of Bones
World Nature
Finnish Nature
History of Life
Change in the Air
Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden
Kumpula Botanic Garden
Number of recent exhibitions 
Recent Temporary Exhibitions (< 2 years) 
Treasures of Africa
Animals on Board
Wildlife Photographer of the Year (Finland) - yearly
Veiled as Vampires – The Secret World of the Bats
Number of current exhibitions 
Research Field 
Systematics including taxonomy
Summary of your Research programme 

The research profile, which is based on collections and large datasets, is nationally unique. Emerging research fields are conservation biology and multidisciplinary biodiversity research. Altogether, the research has a strong fundamental character, but it is often directly and increasingly societally relevant. The strongest research groups work on the following topics: fungal systematics, entomology, boreal phylogeography, bird community trends, global geological development, palaeoclimate reconstruction, and plant conservation methods.

Research Field 
Research Field 
The geological development of the earth
Research Field 
Research based to species monitoring datasets
Research Field 
Research based on dating-technique/Chronology
Scientific publications
Number of peer-reviewed publications per year 
Annual journals/series 

Sahlbergia (twice a year).

Quarterly journals/series 
Other publications 
EARTH SCIENCES (Geology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology,…) 
TypologyPrimary typesIndividual specimens/objects% registered cards% recorded cards in database
LIFE SCIENCES (Zoology, Biology, Botany, Mycology,…) 
TypologyPrimary typesIndividual specimens/objects% registered cards % recorded cards in database
Total specimens (all collections) 
Outstanding collection features 

(Numbers in the first filled column of Earth Sciences refer to the quantity of individual sample identity codes. For example in paleontology the number of individual objects, i.e. pieces of bones etc., is 44000) Botany: Herbarium includes 120 000 specimens of vascular plant, donated by Christian Steven (1781–1863) in 1860. It is exceptionally rich in types either collected and described by Steven or acquired through exchange with leading botanists of the 1800s, have been extracted from the general collections for GPI Helsinki. Acharius Herbarium (H-ACH) includes 5 500 specimens of lichens, brought together by the Swedish lichenologist Erik Acharius (1757–1819), "Father of Lichenology". The collection is one of the most significant biological collections in our university. It contains hundreds of type specimens. The material primarily derives from Sweden, but also from other countries. The collection was bought from Sweden in 1834. Nylander Herbarium (H-NYL) comprises 52 000 specimens of lichens (and some other fungi) from all over the world and includes an abundance of type specimens. The collection was received from the Finnish (-French) lichenologist William Nylander (1822–1899). Nylander's lichenological publications comprise over 300 titles and 4 000 pages and he described approximately 3 000 lichen taxa. Brotherus Herbarium (H-BR) – extra-European collection of V. F. Brotherus (1849–1929) includes 83 000 moss specimens of 15 500 species and thousands of type specimens. Strong in Australia, Brazil, Caucasia, China, India, New Zealand, Patagonia. Herbarium Lindberg (H-SOL) – collection of S.O. Lindberg (1835–1889) includes 48 000 specimens of 5 000 moss and liverwort species and hundreds of type specimens. Worldwide. Zoology: The Mannerheim Coleoptera collection contains in excess of 100.000 specimens. The beetles are arranged in the original cabinets the way they were left when Mannerheim passed away and all labels are hand-written by him. The collection includes a large number of syntypes, especially from Northwestern North America, Europe and South America. Mannerheim exchanged beetles with scores of people and bought many collections or parts of them. Because of this activity, his collection contains syntypes of species described by several other prominent early 1900th century scientists, e.g. Dejean and Fischer von Waldheim. In addition to the scientific importance, the collection has considerable interest as an intact example of the cultural history of its time.

Does your institution have an Index Seminum? 
Heritage sciences (art, manuscripts, maps, photographs...) 

Type(s) of objects Old books, periodicals, maps, No. of objects (of each type) 4700, 1700, 83


  • photographs in archives (paper and digital) o Finnish Museum of Natural history  2 300 000 digital photos and 15 300 paper photos o Zoology unit’s photographs in archives  10 shelf m unsorted photos and slides,  73 000 digital photos o Botanical unit, photographs in archives  About 30 000 slides of slime-fungus and lichens.  digital photos of Global Plants Initiative project (about 18 000 digital photos of type sepcimens of lichens, vascular plants and bryophytes) in JSTOR Global Plants:  Linné samples of Bot. Mus.:
  • About 30 000 pteridophytes of the herbarium collections: Geology and Paleontology: • 10 500 digital photos of fossile samples Zoological archives including
  • faunistic information, primary data, correspondence and remains of former zoologists about 460 shelf m.
  • notebooks 7,5 shelf m also in Botanical archives including floristic information, correspondence and not inventoried remains of former botanist about 200 shelf m.
Size and importance of living collections 

Botanical Gardens consist of two separate gardens, Kaisaniemi (4,9 ha) and Kumpula (6,1 ha). The latter and the greenhouses in Kaisaniemi are arranged on the basis of biogeographical origin of known seed sources. Kaisaniemi was opened to public in 1829. In 2010 there were about 4100 taxa, of 6300 origins.

Genetic Repositories
Does your institution have a DNA bank? 
Does your institution have a seed bank? 
DNA or seed sample exchange 

No regular exchange of DNA samples, but occasional requests are met. Seeds are exchanged with the Millenium Seed Bank.

Number of outgoing loans (parcels / specimens) per year 
18,101 (2012)
Number of accessions (specimens) per year 
37,658 (2012)
Number of scientific visitors per year 
Zoology Unit: Arthropoda, Insecta: Lepidoptera, Elachistidae, Coleoptera, Elateriformia, Dytiscidae and Chrysomelidae, Macroplea, Diptera, Syrphidae and Platypezidae, Sciaridae, Hymenoptera, Chrysididae
Crustacea, Mysida and Amphipoda, Araneae, Platyhelminthes, Cestoda
Botany Unit: Vascular plants, Chenopodiaceae, Salicornia, Musa and Cyperus sect. Arenarii, Oxandra, Asteraceae and Cotoneaster, Symphytum
Hepatic systematics, phytogeopgraphy, Western Melanesian hepatics, Chinese hepatics, epiphytes, Helsinki bryophytes, medicinal plants
Taxonomy, systematics and evolutionary history of bryophytes, especially Lejeuneaceae and Schistochilaceae
Phytogeography, taxonomy and classification of bryophytes, Mniaceae, Philonotis, Rhodobryum, bryoflora of Finland, China and New Guinea
Molecular phylogeny of liverworts
Sphagnum. History of bryology, nomenclature of bryophytes
Mycology, Ascomycetes, lichen forming fungi in particular, Evolution of the Basidiomycetes, Lichen genus, Lichenicolous fungi growing on Bryoria, Lichen forming fungi, the family Cladoniaceae in particular,
Wood rotting fungi, Poorly known Basidiomycetes, Genus Anthracoidea
petrology and mineralogy in Earth Sciences
Main activities of communication and outreach 

Year 2012:

  • 63 press releases from witch 35 told about research, collections and monitoring and the others (28) were marketing public attractions.
  • 1153 guided tours in public attractions
  • Events organized for public: 19 in the Botanic Gardens, 12 in the Natural History Museum and 24 lectures for the public.
Contact person at your institution for communications / press / external relations (name, position, phone, e-mail) 

Communications and marketing: PR Officer Laura Hiisivuori and Marketing Coordinator Leena Gustavsson, email: first name.last

Last year:  
210 000
Trends (past and future) 

Natural History Museum 150,000

Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden 50,000

Kumpula Botanic Garden 10,000

Natural history museum doubled after renovation and re-opening in 2008. Botanic gardens fairly stable.

Website visitors
Last year  
590 000
Institution news
If your institution is involved with non-university-based teaching or education programmes, please describe them & the partners 

Staff-members are sometimes invited to participate as experts/lecturers in various non-University education programs. Students work as trainees in the botanic gardens. Taxidermists are trained by apprenticeship.

If your institution is involved with universities in teaching or education programmes, please name and describe them 

Luomus is involved with the Helsinki University Department of Biosciences and Department of Geology and Geography teaching programs. Staff-members participate in teaching systematics and geology for undergraduate level and give special courses for higher-level students. Staff-members also supervise MSc and PhD thesis.

If your institution is involved in online courses, please describe them and the partners 

Luomus has no such activities.

If your institution is involved in training projects, please describe them and the partners 

The taxidermy team of the Zoology Unit is having a training program for taxidermy. The training program is certified by the Finnish National Board of education. Link: The program is individually planned for each trainee, and takes approximately three years. Contact: See above.

Other relevant information on education and / or training carried out 

Luomus has an extensive program of guided tours, school programs etc organized by the Public Outreach Team and directed to different sectors of the public.

Contact person at your institution for education / teaching / training (name, position, phone, e-mail) 

University-level teaching: Prof. Jyrki Muona; Taxidermy: Mr. Ari Puolakoski; Public Outreach Team: Mr. Markku Liinamaa;; Horticulture: Mr. Pertti Pehkonen;


1. Collection digitisation

2. Development of biodiversity information systems

3. Systematic research


1. Collection digitisation

2. Systematic research

3. Conservation biology

Last update