Leading Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf (with two million daily readers) is celebrating its 120th birthday by launching a unique iPad app: Telegraaf Archief.

The app provides access to all Telegraaf editions ever published, beginning with the first issue from January 1, 1893. Nearly 40,000 complete newspapers, approximately one million pages altogether, are included.

Users can search for historic editions by date or swipe from day to day. 

The editorial office composed five themed sections with a selection of highlights on world news, the royal family, the Dutch national soccer team, crime, and politics exclusively for the Archive app. 

“The editorial files inspire people to take a journey through the 20th century. It really brings back memories,” says Jan-Kees Emmer, Telegraaf’s deputy editor. Also, the apps homepage can continually be updated by relating historical events to current news affairs.  As a result, the app stays relevant and fresh. 

In addition to the editorial files, there is space for advertisers. The first commercial partner is KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines. A timeline shows historical KLM advertisements, from the early 1920s until the present.

“It’s a great opportunity for our brand to show part of our rich and long history by exposing these great historical ads,” a KLM spokesman says. “Besides that, it shows the special bond we have with De Telegraaf.”

Right now, De Telegraaf is working on the second advertising file, featuring international premium beer brand Heineken.

Apart from advertising revenues, which are limited by the number of advertisers with a long Dutch history, De Telegraaf aims mainly at the consumer market by selling single newspaper copies.

The app itself and all previews of front pages are free. Single copies can be bought via iTunes or in the Telegraaf Web shop (credit bundles). All Telegraaf subscribers received three credits to be used in the app.

In the first days after release, the app was downloaded nearly 20,000 times. During the course of 2013, text search functionality will be available. That, combined with year-round, cross-media promotion (including a social game for mobile and desktop) should push downloads into six figures by the end of 2013.