Latvijas Valsts kinofotofonodokumentu arhivs

  • Latvia State Archive of Audiovisual Documents


Šmerļa iela 5


+371 2 952 7693
+371 2 964 3725


The State Audiovisual Archive of Latvia was established in 1963 to accumulate and preserve photo, sound and audiovisual documents. Its starting collection contained photographic documents from the Central State Historic Archives (CVVA) and audiovisual documents from the Central State October Revolution and Socialist Construction Archives (CVORA). The State Audiovisual Archive had to change its location several times and it was only after the renewal of Latvia’s independence that it obtained a permanent location, in 1994, in Riga at Šmerļa Street 5. On 3 March 2010 the President of the Republic of Latvia proclaimed a new Archives Law. According to this law, the former State archival system of Latvia has, since 1 January 2011, been reorganized within one body, the National Archives of Latvia (NAL). The National Archive of Latvia is the legal successor of the obligations and property of the former institutions of the State archival system.

The National Archives of Latvia collect and store records with archival value, provide access to these records, supervise the observance of records management in the institutions and in the accredited private archives, accredit private archives, and perform the other functions specified in the Archives Law The State Audiovisual Archive has become a structural unit/department of the National Archives of Latvia.

Geographical and Cultural Context

The State Audiovisual Archive maintains photo, sound, and audiovisual records from the whole country.

Mandates/Sources of Authority

The Archive collects and holds audiovisual, photo, and sound documents that are linked both to Latvia and to social, political, and cultural events. The Archive holds electronic records and data of archival value from public agencies and from the State information systems and registers.

Administrative Structure

The State Audiovisual Archive has 4 units: the Audiovisual Records unit, the Photo and Sound Records unit, the Electronic Records unit, and the Technical unit.

Records Management and Collecting Policies

The National Archives of Latvia (NAL) (as well as the State Audiovisual Archive) policy for collecting, preserving, and using policy principles is based on the Law of Archives of 3 March 2010. NAL operates according to Statutes of NAL (confirmed 29 December 2010) and Regulation (confirmed 29 June 2011).


The State Audiovisual Archive of Latvia is located n Riga at Šmerļa iela 5. There are specialized repositories for cinema, video, and electronic records, and standard repositories for sound and photo records. There are 2 reading rooms and 2 theatres for watching cinema films.

Archival and Other Holdings

The repositories of the Archive contain approximately 27,000 films, 1 million photo negatives, and 106,000 audio records; these items reflect various aspects and events in the social, economic, and cultural life of Latvia from the second half of the 19th century until today. The collection is constantly growing thanks to close co-operation with Latvia’s mass media and other producers of audiovisual documents. Since 2009 there has been a special repository for public electronic records of archival value. Records connected to the Holocaust can be found in the photo and in film collections. There are approximately 460 photographs related to Latvia during the German Occupation. These photos include pictures of cultural scenes, street sights, and victims of the German Occupation, as well as the German administration and the German army in Latvian territory. Three are also two photos of the the Riga Ghetto (1941), one photo of the Kaunas (Kovno) Ghetto (1941-1945), eight photos of the Salaspils Concentration Camp (1941-1945), two photos of the shooting of Jews in Estonia (1941), four photos of the shooting of Jews in Šķēde, the Region of Liepāja (15 December 1941) and six photos of the unearthed mass graves in the Biķernieku forest (1944-1945) The film collection includes 13 fragments in newsreels and documentary films connected to the Holocaust.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

Described and arranged records have inventory lists and different kind of catalogues (index cards and data bases). Catalogues are for on-site use only. Currently, there are no online finding aids.

Opening Times

Reading room open hours:

Monday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. *
Thursday: 9 a.m. 4:30 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. 1 p.m.

*Wednesdays visit after 3pm. 17:00 must be coordinated with the archives in advance.

Audiovisual and audio documents are delivered to readers within 5 business days of placing an order.

Conditions of Access

Access to the archives is pursuant to the Law of Archives (2010) article Nr. 12 and No.13 (see here), Copyright Law, Personal Data Protection Law, and Freedom of Information Law. The visitor must submit an application containing the title of the research as well its time frame, purpose, and the type of required documents. Review of catalogues of audiovisual, photo, and sound documents within the archive reading rooms is free of charge. Screening/playing of audiovisual records that include Archive equipment and release of films for demonstrations are paid services.


When coming from city centre, take bus nr.21 to the stop “Slimnīca "Šmerlis". There are parking place for 4 cars. Unfortunately, access for visitors with reduced mobility is troublesome as there is no specialised equipment available.

Research Services

The National Archives of Latvia can provide the following services: thematic selection of archival documents; preparation of social, legal, or informative references; translation of references or information to English, Russian, or German; copying of documents; preparing documents from institutions for holding in Archive (arranging, describing, deposites holding); consulting private persons about administration of archives and documents; preparing conclusions and/or advice about administration of documents; visits to archives; seminars and lectures in archival science; preparing exhibitions of archival documents.

Reproduction Services

NAL Latvia State Archive of Audiovisual Documents provide digital copies from photo documents, and produces copies of 35-mm films and video documents in DVD, DVCAM, miniDV, VHS, and BETACAM SP formats.

Public Areas

There is a small exhibition hall and 2 cinema theatres. There is also self-service café machine and kitchenette for visitors.

Level of Detail


Dates of Creation and Deletion

27 october 2014