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Tallinn – European Capital of Culture 2011 application

Tallinn – European Capital of Culture 2011

Application to Estonian Ministry of Culture Tallinn 2005


Table of contents  


1. Tallinn – European Capital of Culture 2011

Tallinn’s bid for the contest of the European Capital of Culture springs from the knowledge that this title means more than simply a year-long very intense calendar of cultural events, but an obligation to value the city as a cultural environment for both its citizens and guests as well as men of culture and entrepreneurs. It is an opportunity to introduce Tallinn and Estonia to the world.   For Tallinn, culture is a lot more than professional high culture; it embodies art and cinema, architectural heritage and museums, libraries and schools, sports and city planning, science and technology, dance and music, the traditional and the innovative – the creative, lively and constantly changing city environment as a whole.   Tallinn is the home city for one third of the Estonians. They are the ones who stand in the centre of the year of the capital of culture – bearing the title of the capital of culture and preparing for it must influence namely their possibilities and practices of consuming culture, but also those of all Estonians. With our application, we want Tallinn to be more open to Europe and make all Europeans feel at home in Tallinn.  

A Common Victory  

If Tallinn becomes the European Capital of Culture, it will be our common victory. Besides Tallinn, it will be of good use for Tartu and Pärnu, Narva and Kärdla, Paide and Võru, Viljandi and Haapsalu. In co-operation with other Estonian towns we want to offer a program that would attract tourists to go from Tallinn to Türi and Suure-Jaani, to Rapla and Loksa. Tallinn offers every Estonian town a chance to be an original capital: as Otepää is already the well-recognised winter capital, Pärnu is the summer capital and Põltsamaa the wine capital, there are hundreds of possibilities still to be used and in 2011, every Estonian town could gain profit of its originality.   Already today, many festivals of high standard that take place in Tallinn (such as The Organ Festival, The Black Nights Film Festival) are also reaching the more remote places, thus offering the joy of participation for wider audiences. With the application to become and while holding the title of the cultural capital, this tradition has to grow and deepen.   In 2011, Tallinn wants to be a common home for all Estonians and all Europeans. We wish to be a place where both rappers and rockers would feel at home; a city where cosy coffee-shops and noisy nightclubs could exist side by side; where both history fans and teenagers could find something to discover. To put it short – in 2011, Tallinn wants to be both merry and serious, both revelling and absorbing.   We are certain – our city and citizens can do that. And why couldn’t Tallinn in 2011 be a home for us all, where everybody is warmly welcomed?  

1.1. Why do we bid?

In 20 years, the title of the European Capital of Culture has obtained high international value. The experiences of previous culture capitals have shown that the title influences the whole city’s development, enlivens cultural life, brings investments and tourists, increases employment rates and international recognition. Thus, bidding for the title is a unique possibility to develop Tallinn and expand traditional borders of co-operation. For Tallinn and Estonia, this title would probably be of highest international importance after the Olympic games in 1980 and the Eurovision Song Contest in 2001.   Being the Capital of Culture is not only an honorary title – it is a chance to introduce the city to the world, a reason to pull oneself together, an obligation to pay thorough and considered attention to both the citizens and the city environment.   As the Capital of Culture, Tallinn must not, cannot and will not be limited only by the Old Town or the city. Besides these two areas, we have to bring beauty back to the quarters of wooden houses surrounding the centre of the city, as well as to the distinguished residential districts where most citizens live. The value of our city lies in original districts that have survived. And we can say that today even by those tourists who have visited Tallinn many times, don’t recognise Kalamaja, Kopli or Pelgulinn.   A city as a home is designed and open for designing. We all know the wooden houses in Kadriorg, built before the Second World War; or the network of wooden houses in Pelgulinn. Many of us have walked at Nõmme under the pine trees and between houses that are typical of only this city district. These are entities that must be preserved and restored – entities that embody the feeling of home.   The massive residential districts of Tallinn are the home of nearly half of the citizens. When fifteen years ago tens of thousands of Estonians called together to stop Lasnamäe, by the year of 2011 Tallinn must find a suitable face for Lasnamäe, Mustamäe and Õismäe. These huge areas cannot remain simply residential districts; the culture capital must expand to these parts of town as well – and namely there. Both the tourists and the citizens have to get a temptation to jump on a trolleybus or a tram and go to the peculiar, strange and alternative districts full of culture, where concrete walls are covered with sharp graffiti, cool garage-bands play, revolutionary happenings and performances are performed.   For the citizens of Tallinn, becoming the capital of culture certainly means that the municipal power will pay more attention to culture; there will be new opportunities for active cultural participation, cultural buildings will be restored and the overall appearance of the town will improve.   Culture unites producing, consuming and action. If we wish to enliven the cultural life, we have to develop these three together. There is no point in producing and offering many cultural events in 2011, if the citizens’ habits to consume culture and participate in it have not developed to the same level. Therefore we stress that for us, the title itself is not as important as the process – we do not want to be “made” the Capital of Culture in 2011, we want to grow into being one.   To balance the growth of culture, it is important to know where we are at the moment and what we expect from the future. Tallinn has searched how the citizens participate in cultural activities and how they consume culture (see While bidding for the title, those kind of researches will become regular in order to see the changes but also the difficulties and to take all this into consideration while composing the calendar of events for 2011. A research among the citizens during the preparation of the application showed that people wish to participate in the process of creating culture, both as authors and audience (see supp. 4).   We can strongly say that the calendar of events for 2011 will be richer and more interesting than this year’s calendar; that our traditional international festivals will get a boost and there will be a lot of new. For example, by the year 2011, the Cultural Factory will certainly be working at full power (see supp. “The Project of the Cultural Factory”). In Europe, such institutions have long traditions, but in Estonia it will be something absolutely new, embodying every possible field of culture and offering everyone an opportunity to both enjoy and create art.


1.2. Tallinn’s strengths

Tallinn is the gate to Estonia.  

  • As the Capital of Culture, Tallinn represents all Estonia. As the capital of the country we certainly have the best starting position, because most of the visitors arrive here namely through Tallinn.
  • Tallinn is already the most well-known city in Estonia. Naturally it doesn’t mean that Tallinn would in any way be a better culture capital than Haapsalu, Tartu or Pärnu. But if Tallinn is named the European Capital of Culture, it will have a stronger basis to stand up internationally and to prove that the idea of Estonia as Europe’s periphery is out-of-date as well as out of place. Tallinn has the strongest cultural and tourism infrastructure to carry out an international cultural year – an important part of Estonia’s culture-life is centralised in Tallinn, most of the institutions and organisations are here, as well as the biggest number of hotel rooms and best connections with other countries in Europe and the rest of the world.
  • In 2011 Europe will have two capitals of culture – in Finland and in Estonia. Tallinn is a strong candidate to insure that the Estonian capital of culture would not be shadowed by Finland, which is more experienced and better known in Europe.
  • As the capital of Estonia, Tallinn has the biggest responsibility of taking Estonia to Europe and introducing our rich national heritage as well as modern achievements, be it in innovative IT-solutions, the results of our men of culture and sports or the victories of our schoolchildren in international competitions.


Wider response  

  • Tallinn has the biggest audience for the events of the cultural year, the biggest number of participants – both performers and watchers-listeners, local as well as international.
  • It is most probably a common wish among all bidders that the citizens consumed more and more culture, that culture filled their time more than it does at the moment. Let us assume that today the citizens of Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu all consume one unit of culture. But if we could make people spend one hour per week on theatre instead of, let’s say, television, the consumption of culture would grow by 0.5 units per person. Taking into consideration that Tartu has the population of approximately 100 000, the summary rise of culture consumption there would be 100 000 x 0.5, i.e. 50 000 consumption units. In Tallinn, which has the population of approximately 400 000, the similar rule 400 000 x 0.5 gives us the result of 200 000 units – four times that of Tartu’s. As a conclusion, due to bigger population Tallinn can also provide bigger growth of culture consumption.
  • Tallinn’s calendar of cultural events is already a lot longer than in other cities. More events take place here than anywhere in Estonia.
  • Tallinn’s cultural image has many faces, it is characterised by the amount of different possibilities. Here we can see how cultural institutions with long historical traditions and small alternative groups act side by side. In addition to that, the cultural scene in Tallinn is more various than in any other town, as the spectre also includes the cultural events of many national minorities.
  • Tallinn already hosts several big internationally recognised events, by 2011 many of them will have expanded (e.g. NYYD Festival) and in addition to that many new international events will take place in 2011 (Europeade, Manifesta).
  • Tallinn provides better possibilities to spend spare time than any other Estonian city. It bears the role of “bringing the world to our country”, being a cultural and entertainment centre, representing cosmopolitan city culture and tolerated thinking.


Experience and means  

  • Tallinn has a considerable experience of hosting international mass events. The successful Eurovision song contest proved both locals and the whole Europe that we can handle very difficult tasks.
  • Tallinn’s economical possibilities to carry out the project of the culture capital are significantly better than other Estonian cities, as Tallinn’s budget is four times bigger than that of Tartu, for example. Thus Tallinn can already promise that by 2011, we shall build a summer concert hall in the Pirita convent, finish renovating the big hall of the City Hall, complete building the museum quarter of Kadriorg and establish a park at the Singing Ground that could be used around the year. Tallinn with its outskirts has been the main target for foreign capital. Approximately 4/5 of all investments in Estonia have been made in Tallinn and the surrounding Harju district. This proportion has been constant for years.
  • Tallinn has the best cultural-infrastructural possibilities – we have the biggest number of theatre houses and concert halls, modern sporting grounds, cultural houses and galleries, museums and cinemas, plus many possibilities still to be discovered. Tallinn can offer a modern and various tourist infrastructure, a sufficient amount of hotels, cafeterias, restaurants and other places of entertainment. Due to strong infrastructure, the city is not forced to start massive building because of the flood of culture consumption.



The project of the culture capital can and must be measured on different levels, from the development of infrastructure to the growth of individual culture consumption. The most important objective of this project should make our capital Europeanized, starting from the improvement of service culture and ending with grown tolerance. All that should also improve the self-evaluation of the citizens and strengthen our identity. And naturally – the infrastructure, service culture and experiences will not disappear anywhere after the year 2011 has ended.   Tallinn already hosts more cultural events than any other town in Estonia. The status of the Capital of Culture certainly means adding new events, just as there will be more places for concerts, exhibitions, plays and sporting events. More importantly, the growth in quantity also means more individual culture consumption.   Tallinn holds a vital place in Estonia’s progress. Its part as a cultural engine has to grow even more by 2011. For this to happen, we have to improve co-operation with the remote regions as well. People of culture and cultural institutions in Tallinn have to make it their mission to bring culture to the inhabitants of remote regions. Through cultural integration the citizens of Tallinn should become more tolerant towards different cultures.   While bidding to become the culture capital, but most of all while being it, government and local authorities have to co-operate in terms of culture, namely considering the role of local administration in cultural organizing.   Tallinn believes that a year as the culture capital gives us experience in organising international co-operation and hosting mass events, which helps us to establish our position in the cultural scene of Europe for many years to come.  

We are convinced that if Tallinn becomes the Capital of Culture, the biggest international winner is Estonia as a country. When Tallinn has established its position on the international scene, it will do everything to take all corners of Estonia there as well.



Today, in 2005, it would be rather pointless and hypocritical to compose the final and detailed program for 2011. Doing that, we would abandon our central objective – to make Tallinn a modern, open and creative city. Hence we don’t try to list all the hundreds of events and projects, but to produce the main themes we want to concentrate on in the process of building up the program. The task of creating the detailed program is the duty of a foundation yet to be established. At the end of the application there is a sketch of the most important events we wish to see in the program of 2011 (see supp. 1).


3.1. The Old Town

Objectives: introducing the unique Old Town (which belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage List) and Tallinn’s history to the citizens and with their help to tourists and guests. The purpose is to involve the citizens in the process, so that all citizens knew the most important objects and were able to introduce them to our guests. Renovating the towers of the Town Wall and opening most of them to visitors, opening the passages in the bastions and renovating churches with the help of project “Tallinn’s Church Renaissance” are objectives that are related to the valuation of milieu.   Preparation stage: working out routes and e-solutions, producing info materials. Finding new and innovative solutions to introduce the history of the Old Town and Tallinn. Working out educational programs.   By 2011 the information about Tallinn’s main sights has to be available both on paper and electronically. The Old Town has to be marked, signed and mapped for tourists.

Projects for 2011:

  • Medieval Days
  • Old Town Days
  • Role plays in the town
  • Snow Town
  • Home Defence Days
  • Festival of City Culture
  • “The Ghost Tour” that has turned out to be extremely popular as part of the Old Town Days (citizens are taken to excursions in the Old Town, introducing different ghost stories that are each connected with a certain building) will be developed further – non-traditional walks will regularly take place in different parts of town, concentrating on one subject or the quests of historic persons.
  • In co-operation with the Harju district, tours could take place to introduce manors that have become the pride of Northern Estonia.

First and foremost – in 2011 Tallinn’s Old Town will be open and interesting for everyone, alongside with pubs there will be small music salons and coffee-shops, the doors of the cultural institutions on the edge of the Old Town will open already in the morning, museums will have interactive exhibitions to attract teenagers as well.


3.2. Masters, journeymen and apprentices

Objectives: introducing and advocating cultural, educational and sports projects on all levels; drawing citizens in creative processes. The aim is to root the lifestyle of participating actively in creating culture. For this, we want to involve the private sector in creating the necessary infrastructure, as well as creating it ourselves. The program has three levels:

  1. masters – professionals;
  2. journeymen – enthusiasts, interested citizens;
  3. apprentices – children and youngsters.

Tallinn is the home for hundreds of thousands of people, who have different values and lifestyle. Attitude towards the environment starts from home – home shapes the way of thinking and behaving, and is in its turn shaped by the environment. As a culture capital, Tallinn has to be a town where children can feel safe, where playgrounds and parks are not rarities, where every restaurant and dining place is accessible with push chairs and carriages. Tallinn’s museums will become friendly for children of all age – there will be interesting attractions for teenagers as well as quiet corners for babies. Only this way it is possible to call everybody to enjoy the culture capital. Tallinn wants to pay attention to citizens at all age and has taken the courage to bid for UNICEF’s title of a children- and youth-friendly city.   At the moment, children from babies to teenagers have a place in Tallinn, from playgrounds to extreme sport grounds. There are open hobby groups supported by the town; also an exiting world of books – mainly thanks to the central library – that has made the children read and think. Besides art and music schools that teach professional skills, the experience of exploring the world and creating something are provided by hobby-schools and youth centres. When we talk about a children-friendly town, we cannot forget the Zoo that has paid a lot of attention to its visitors’ well-being in the past few years and has thus become the favourite place of spending spare time among families – and not only for the citizens of Tallinn.   As for children and youngsters, the town has taken the principle that financial state should not stop anyone from engaging in culture or sports. And we are not talking about sweet dreams – for example, Tallinn recently expanded the list of disciplines being supported and provides support for the youngest, 4-6-year-old kids who are interested in sports. We create new sporting opportunities, e.g. renovate old and build new school gyms, build new ball and extreme sport courts of public use. The objective is to extend the sporting opportunities of all citizens and guests, but especially children.   Supporting the Pupils Academy that operates at The Tallinn University means that the town gives a hand the pupils with deeper interests in gathering knowledge. For students there is the Student House – a place where all student organisations are gathered; it is a place of spending spare time as well as a centre for hobby groups and seminars. The heart of the biggest student event, the Student Days, will also be there.   We also have many world-known masters form different fields of life – Olympic champions Erki Nool and Erika Salumäe, internationally recognised conductors Eri Klas and Olari Elts, early music master Andres Mustonen, choreographers Mart Kangro and Katrin Essenson, composers Veljo Tormis and Erkki-Sven Tüür, artist Jaan Toomik, animator Priit Pärn and many others. The town continues to support several master classes that take place during different festivals. For example, in 2011 we shall have the master classes at Black Nights Film Festival and theatre festival “Midwinter Night’s Dream”.  

Preparation stage:

  • Working out the supporting principles of Tallinn’s major events of professional culture, which assures stable quality. Working out cultural education programs for pupils; aimed development of creative economy and the Culture Factory.
  • Shaping good sports clubs and with it a strong sporting pyramid (children, mid-level, top athletes); improving the co-operation of public and private sector in order to develop the necessary infrastructure; paying attention to street sports, creating opportunities for extreme sport fans.

Program for 2011:

  • Manifesta – European modern art biennale that we bid to organize
  • Midwinter Night’s Dream – theatre festival
  • Black Nights Film Festival
  • Jazzkaar
  • Schooldance
  • The Birgitta Festival
  • Horse Riding World Cup stage
  • International judo tournament
  • Reval Cup
  • Pop Session in street sports
  • Tallinn Triathlon
  • Educational and cultural programs in co-operation with KUMU

 As a capital of culture, Tallinn wants to be something of a home where kids make first acquaintance with culture and sports, where young people meet and masters of European and World class show their skills in all professions. They have all grown here.


3.3. A city that sings and dances

Objectives: introducing national culture, the traditions of dance and song festivals. It is important not to concentrate our attention only on the song festival, but to introduce the roots and immense response of the traditions, thousands of choruses and dancing groups that come together every week, not just once every four years. Since this subject is strongly connected with village and folk culture, effective co-operation with the Harju district is vital.  

Projects in 2011:

  • For 2011, Tallinn bids for organizing EUROPEADE (international dance and folk music festival)
  • Chorus Olympics – a competition of the amateur choruses of European capitals
  • Pirita River Festival
  • Keila Song Festival
  • Tallinn Song Festival (possibly)
  • MuFe – festival of choruses of little children

 Home is a place of preserving traditions – a place where folk songs are passed on form generation to generation. The joy of making and self-achievement should be the signs that our visitors take with them.


3.4. Gate – a meeting place for different cultures

 Objectives: to introduce Tallinn as a multicultural town. The thematic program covers the history of different nations connected with Tallinn, introduces contacts between communities and the influences of different cultures, embodying both the European dimension and national minorities. Cultural integration is an important, but not the only part of this subject.   Preparation stage: creating the necessary infrastructure for multicultural activities (The Russian Museum, Russian Centre of Culture, The House of National Minorities etc.); integration projects; making the information about Tallinn available for different national communities; educational projects; contacts with embassies and cultural centres.   The project is partnered by foreign cultural representations accredited to Estonia, mostly regarding the Festival of European Cultures:

  • Information Bureau of the Northern Ministers’ Council
  • British Council
  • Danish Cultural Institute
  • Goethe Institute
  • Finnish Institute
  • Culture Contact Austria
  • French Cultural Centre
  • Cultural representations in EU countries

Projects in 2011:

  • Series of events introducing folk cultures
  • Festival of European Cultures – every month Tallinn concentrates on introducing one European country. The project lasts longer than a year. It means teamwork with cultural representations as well as with different trade networks. Both high and folk culture are introduced, but also everyday industrial art – national cuisine and products stressing the individuality of the nation.
  • Golden Mask
  • Maslenitsa (Russian Shrovetide, carnival)
  • Slavic Wreath

Tallinn is the home of not just Estonians. Of course we could start digging in history or demanding our rights, but it is a lot more sensible and progressive to admit that we are all different and special – because it is the ability to recognise and use these differences that makes Tallinn a creative future city.  


3.5. Seaside city

 Objectives: strengthening the connection between Tallinn and the sea and making us more conscious of it. Thematic program embodies sea tourism, introducing seaside lifestyle, opening the coastal area, creating the necessary infrastructure on the island of Aegna etc.   Preparation stage: formulating initial tasks, starting detail plans, contests of ideas.   Tallinn’s attractiveness has grown since we opened coastal areas that had been closed for decades. The silhouette of Peter the Great’s castle can today be best admired from the sea; by 2011 the coastal area of Kalamaja should get a coast promenade with pubs and restaurants. The island of Aegna near Tallinn also provides great entertainment and vacation possibilities.   Tallinn’s coastal line is 40 kilometres long, but only one fourth of it is open for public. By 2011 Tallinn wants to assure that those 10 kilometres have turned into 40 and the whole coastal line is for citizens and visitors. A seaside walk or a picnic must become a part of the citizens’ everyday lifestyle. We also hope that Tallinn provides valuable experience for many Europeans who get a chance to see for themselves how closed or unused areas can become the centre of the city.   The coastal area that borders the port of Tallinn has to develop into the city’s calling card, therefore new buildings in this area have to be designed thoroughly. There are enough cities in Europe whose lead we can follow.  

Seaside town Tallinn in 2011:

  • Great potential lies in the Rotermann district with its limestone architecture where development is already in process. According to the detailed planning and limits set by the preservation of antiquities, all limestone factory buildings must be preserved. New capacities will be moderately added to the existing buildings and in addition to living quarters there will be a separate area for culture and entertainment.
  • The power station next to the City Hall will house the factory of Culture – self-initiative centre of alternative culture mainly for the young.
  • At the top of the Paljassaar peninsula, where one can still find untouchable nature there will be a bird sanctuary Natura 2000. Tallinn is one of the few European capitals with an existing birds’ nesting area only a few kilometres from the city centre. In addition to that, the capital’s most beautiful and cleanest sand beach is situated there – it would be a sin to hide these treasures from ourselves and our guests!
  • Fish market
  • Seaside Days
  • Kalamaja Days
  • Creating an attractive sea sport centre in addition to the existing Pirita Sailing Centre, where both surfers and little boats would have their place.

Opening the coastal areas gives Tallinn the chance to introduce our beautiful beach as well as talk about the fifty occupation years in our past. It is important that Tallinn today is a free and open seaside town that remembers its history but has also set sight to the future.  


3.6. Modern and changing town

Objectives: introducing Tallinn as a youthful and alternative, up-to-date culture town.   Preparation stage: contests of ideas, working out IT-solutions.   Internet has to be made accessible for everyone and the so-called digital split between the citizens must disappear. Thus, Tallinn would be one of the first cities in the world to provide all citizens with basic services, including the Internet. Among others, Tallinn has introduced its IT-solutions to Moscow, St. Petersburg and many German towns.   IT-solutions are an inseparable part of the culture capital project – event information can be found at the portal “Where to go”; one can learn about old buildings and sites via an information system soon to be called into life; every guest can send an E-request, use interactive pocket guides in the Old Town etc.   Another idea that is strongly connected with IT-solutions is Tallinn’s plan to become one of the experimental fields for Europe’s model of creative economy in the next few years. There it is possible to assess on a small scale the potential of creative industry (which has up to now mostly been the field of theoreticians); to see how creative work becomes “a product” and to realise how many of our everyday primary consumers’ goods are actually creative work.   Taking advantage of the good structure of enterprise incubators, Tallinn is destined to pay special attention to supporting creative industry in the upcoming years. We have also considered creating independent incubators of creative industry.   In terms of creative economy, our central project is Polymer, the factory of culture that will move into the rooms of a former power station. It should give a good impression of a culture factory’s working principles both as for form and content – the unused industrial environment will be turned into a cultural room filled up to the maximum. Theatre, cinema, music and art on the one hand and unique architecture on the other will enrich one another, thus creating a successful, future centre of culture.   Projects for 2011:

  • Supernoova
  • Sundance
  • Networker
  • Nature Comes to Town – forest installation on Town Hall Square
  • Festival of the Culture Factory

Let’s face it – Internet is no longer an unnecessary luxury, but it has become an essential tool to arrange everyday life. From here, it takes only a small step to understand that creative industry is nothing anti-cultural, but it is our normal environment – from a milk carton to high culture.  



On Europe’s scale, Estonia is small and previous experiences have shown that when we plan international events, we can only be successful if we all work together. Therefore, to create the program of the Capital of Culture for 2011, Tallinn has made an offer of co-operation to all Estonian towns. If chosen to be the Capital of Culture, Tallinn will stand for the idea that every town in Estonia hosted at least one important event in the European calendar of culture. That way Tallinn would be the bearer of the title, but the whole country would become the home of European culture that year.   Many Estonian festivals already reach several cities – the concerts of the Tallinn International Organ Festival take place in all corners of the country, Klaaspärlimäng and OpeNBaroque embrace Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu. Not to mention Jazzkaar, which has reached over the whole country in past years, or Schooldance, in case of which it is probably already impossible to tell where the centre might be. The concert program “Forgotten Estonian Manors” also embraced the furthest corners of the country. In the field of education, The University of Tartu and Tallinn City Council have together announced an essay contest for high-school students, where actual topics are discussed and which is gaining popularity from year to year. One of the topics of this year’s essays is “Tartu and Tallinn – rivals or partners?”   Another result could also be the idea of different seasonal and thematic “capitals” that has become real popular during the past few years.   As we are talking about the title of the culture capital, given by the rules to one town, Tallinn with its outskirts is in the centre of the program. For that, Tallinn has improved its co-operation with the Harju district. As already mentioned, the Harju district plays a very important part in the thematic program “Singing and dancing town”. Tallinn also wants to participate in the Home Defence Days that have been organised for years.  

In good faith we call up all towns to help us compose the program of the culture capital in order to host Europe together in 2011. We do not try or want to take all the credits. Because of Tallinn’s location and size it has already become the door to Estonia, but our wish is that the guests didn’t stop at the door, but stepped in. On November 1st, Tallinn has called all Estonian mayors together in order to discuss taking the culture capital to every district in Estonia.



  • In terms of international co-operation, Tallinn finds it very important to support international mass events with long traditions. It is especially important to work together with the Capital of Culture chosen from Finland in 2011. Tallinn already has strong relations with Turku and Tampere, the candidate cities of our neighbours. We also have a long-term relationship with Kotka. After the Finnish Capital of Culture is chosen, it will be possible to plan more detailed common projects and events.
  • Tallinn does frequent co-work with European capitals and cities in the framework of international organisations and networks (Union of Capitals of the European Union, EUROCITIES, Hanseatic Movement, Union of Baltic Towns, the union of towns in the World Heritage List etc. Altogether, Tallinn is the member of 14 international organisations and networks.
  • Tallinn has co-operational relationships with tens of cities over the world, e.g. Annapolis, Gent, Kiel, Kyev, Kotka, Malmo, Moscow, Odessa, Beijing, Schwerin, Stockholm, Toronto, Venice, Vilnius, Riga etc. that have lasted for many years.
  • We will improve co-work with Helsinki as one of our most important foreign partners. We will keep carrying out common projects and participating together in programs financed by the institutions of EU; paying attention to starting the project of Tallinn-Helsinki as a twin city of science; constant co-work also continues in the framework of a non-profit union Helsinki-Tallinn Euregio.
  • We will develop economical (incl. tourism) and cultural relations with St Petersburg. Tallinn-St Petersburg friendly days will take place.
  • Tallinn has strong connections with Newcastle/Gateshead, who have, according to a signed contract of strategic cultural partnership, agreed to support Tallinn’s application for the title of the European Capital of Culture and is ready to be our international partner in the program of 2011. The first time Tallinn planned to bid for the title of the Capital of Culture was in 2000, when Newcastle/Gateshead and Liverpool were in the battle for the 2008 title and the first wanted to see Tallinn as their partner.
  • To work out better solutions and change experiences, we have signed contracts with Riga, Helsinki and Stockholm.
  • This spring Tallinn hosted a conference for European cities on infotechnology, which meant recognition to Estonia’s fast and successful development in the field of E-governing, including E-municipalities. The conference was carried out by Telecities, a sub-link of Eurocities, an organisation connecting bigger EU cities.
  • We are also planning innovation strategies in the framework of BaltMet, a network of the Baltic Sea cities. BaltMet, short for Baltic Metropoles, was established in Copenhagen in 2002 and is a network of 11 cities: Berlin, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Malmo, Oslo, Riga, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Warsaw and Vilnius.



Planned events:  

  • Manifesta – one of the most reputable art biennales of the world;
  • MuFe – song festival for kids;
  • Chorus Olympics – a competition of the amateur choruses of European capitals;
  • Conferences of educational leaders;
  • Festival of European Cultures – every month Tallinn concentrates on introducing one European country. The project lasts longer than a year;
  • Tallinn Town Festival – lasts from Tallinn’s Day to Old Town Days;
  • Educational programs for children to get to know their hometown;
  • Entrepreneurship events for children;
  • Chorus Festival “Tallinn 2011” – participants from 10 countries (Latvia, Italy, Finland, Austria, Norway, Croatia, France), altogether 1000-1500 singers;
  • Europeade – festival of folk culture where all European countries with more than 5000 enthusiasts will participate.

Events already in the culture calendar:  

  • Jazzkaar – a music festival held since 1989, it organizes about 100 concerts a year;
  • Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) – held since 1996, it has 200 European, Asian and American films in the program every year;
  • Tallinn International Organ Festival;
  • “Credo”, festival of sacred music – held since 1994, it concentrates on Christian musical culture
  • Midwinter Night’s Dream – the performances of selected troupes on small stages;
  • “Hallo, autumn!” – a sporting day for preschool kids;
  • Lotte judo tournament for children;
  • Tallinn Autumn Cup;
  • International beach volleyball tournament;
  • Horse Riding World Cup stage;
  • International judo tournament;
  • International figure skating Grand Prix stage for juniors;
  • Reval Cup;
  • Pop Session in street sports;
  • Schooldance;
  • Birgitta Festival.

A more detailed program can be found from the supplement at the end of the application. Mind that first and foremost, this an initial image of the program; composing the detailed program will be the task of a soon-to-be-established foundation.



One of the key points of the culture capital’s project is that of involving citizens and all Estonians – especially when we take into consideration that Tallinn wants to stress the feeling of home. Therefore we understand that our first objective is to bring everybody to culture.   Our application to become the Capital of Culture gives us the chance to define the town’s identity. Tallinn has published a collection of essays under the title “From Tallinn. With Regards. Sharply.”, where one can find about ten fresh reflections on the ideas about Tallinn and the capital of culture. As the title says, the essays tend to be rather incisive. But such sharpness and self-critical thinking gives us a possibility to improve. We hope that these essays are some sort of a seed for an extended discussion on the topics of Tallinn, the identity of the citizen and culture.   The idea of Tallinn becoming the Capital of Culture in 2011 has already found support among our major cultural organisers (see supp. “support of cultural organisers”) and businesses dealing with infrastructure (see supp. “support of businesses”). The citizens have also had their chance to support the town by posting coupons to special mailboxes at the information centres of each city district or in libraries (see supp. “citizens’ support”). Those who were interested had the chance to participate in Tallinn’s Vision Conference, where there was a workshop about bidding to become the capital of culture. In addition to that, there is a website about the application on the address Information can also be found in the local district newspapers and country-wide mass media channels.   The town pays special attention to children and youngsters. Therefore, if we become the capital of culture, we shall hold a special contest for ideas destined to them, where the stress is on finding original and clever educational programs.   In addition to that, the town’s priorities embrace educational programs for children and youngsters, supporting adult extension courses, introducing broad guide-practice programs among citizens so that every one of us could learn to know our town form various angles, to see what is old and new, what is hidden from the eye inside medieval houses and how ultra modern art is born.   We will also educate velotaxi- and taxi-drivers and service attendants to guarantee that the people whom our guests first meet would really know their town and would be able to guide and recommend. It is important to involve as many volunteers as possible. After the European Capital of Culture is chosen, we will start a public campaign with several objectives: a) introducing and explaining the essence of the capital of culture to the citizens in order to make everybody who is interested think along; b) introducing the project to tourism, housing and cultural enterprises, evaluating their problems and needs; c) directing a campaign to the EU citizens in order to locate and introduce Estonia.  


7.1. Communication in Estonia

  • We will create a user-friendly website of Tallinn and open it in Estonian, English and Russian. The web-project is two-dimensional – it is not only a place for giving information, but also a chance to participate, give one’s opinion, register etc. It is an active communicative environment.
  • We use every existing information channel plus local district newspapers and mass media.
  • We will work out projects for TV- and radio programs.
  • We will have workshops with different specialists.


7.2. International communication

The aim of target marketing is to spread information in the cultural spheres of different countries and to acknowledge their citizens of our existence as the capital of culture. It stands on seven pillars:  

  • Pillar I – Estonian representations in European countries, members of the European Parliament chosen from Tallinn;
  • Pillar II – co-working with the Finnish capital of culture. We help to distribute the program of the Finnish culture capital in Tallinn and in return they introduce our program in Finland;
  • Pillar III – co-working with different tourism firms in Estonia and abroad. We will use every possibility to design special tourist packages about all major events for the markets of different European countries;
  • Pillar IV – Capitals of EU and cities that are members of international organisations and networks (UCUE – Union of Capitals of the European Union, EUROCITIES – a lobby-organisation of 120 major European cities, UBC – Union of the Baltic Cities etc.);
  • Pillar V – Tallinn’s representation in Brussels;
  • Pillar VI –Friendly cities of Tallinn;
  • Pillar VII – EAS tourism development centre – participating in fairs and introducing Tallinn.

In addition to the ones already mentioned, Tallinn has many smaller and bigger supporters who have promised to help us receive the necessary attention on the international scene. For example, the English towns of Newcastle and Gateshead will support Tallinn as a tourist destination. It is also important that the international advertising agency JCDecaux has promised to support us, offering free regular advertising over Europe and participating in the development of an integrated tourist information system.



Following the footsteps of most previous culture capitals, we intend to establish an independent organisation, the foundation of Tallinn as the Capital of Culture, which gets the task to make all the necessary preparations for the bid and to carry out the program of 2011. Based on our experience, establishing an independent organisation guarantees a more comfortable and effective co-work with the private sector, other organisations and third parties, plus sufficient political independence. We have already made the necessary preparations to start the foundation and it will be established as soon as Tallinn advances to the second round of the contest.   The main objective of the foundation “Tallinn – the Capital of Culture 2011” is to offer a high-level international culture program in 2011. Thus the foundation is responsible for making all the necessary decisions concerning financial issues, contracts, marketing, sponsoring and involving foreign partners etc. They will also have the task to design the slogan, logo and visual identity of the culture capital.   We want to learn from the mistakes of previous culture capitals and make sure that all this work would be of use after 2011 as well. Therefore we expect the foundation to keep working after 2011 as a coordinator of Tallinn’s cultural life, thus following the example of our English partner Newcastle/Gateshead by being the unit that organises the marketing of the destination after the contest has ended.




  • Fall: introducing the application to the Ministry of Culture
  • Establishing a foundation that prepares and organises the bid
  • Public acknowledgement 


  • Gathering ideas from supportive organisations and the public
  • Planning co-operation with the region and other towns in connexion with an organisation to be established
  • Preparing the bid for the European Commission
  • Public acknowledgement


  • Budget planning and financial strategies
  • Summoning advisory boards
  • Finding partners for common projects
  • Public acknowledgement


  • Profiling the program
  • Finding partners for common projects
  • Programs to involve local citizens
  • Visual profile
  • Marketing plan
  • Public acknowledgement


  • Finding partners for common projects
  • Programs to involve local citizens
  • Public acknowledgement


  • Planning the after-program for 2012
  • Public acknowledgement


  • Carrying out the program of the Capital of Culture
  • Planning the after-program for 2012
  • Public acknowledgement


  • Carrying out the after-program



Tallinn’s economic abilities to successfully carry out the project of the Capital of Culture are significantly better than those of other Estonian towns. Creating a well-considered and high-level international cultural program and carrying it out costs a lot and the town itself has to find most of the necessary financial means. Although the European Union has started to support the Capitals of Culture more and more, their support covers only a small part of the budget and thus Tallinn will not rely on the financing of the EU. Tallinn’s budget for 2011 is prognosticated to be 5.8-5.9 milliard kroons. Tallinn estimates to draft approximately 250-300 million kroons to the project of the culture capital and hosting it, which is about 5% of the town’s total budget for 2011. For cultural and sports investments related to the project in 2008-2011 the city plans to draft approximately 100 million kroons per year. The whole capacity of investments related to cultural and sports objects will reach about half a milliard kroons by 2011, which means that the estimated costs of organising and investments will be nearly 800 million kroons. Major culture objects that the town intends to build are the great hall of Tallinn City Theatre, a summer concert hall in the Pirita Convent, Children’s Museum, Tallinn Culture Factory, the Sõle sports complex and Tallinn Sports Gymnastics Centre. The Russian Cultural Centre will be renovated. In addition to all that, the city will invest in other fields, all directly or remotely related to culture. Analysing the financial experiences of previous culture capitals, Tallinn has reached an understanding that the main part of the expenses will be covered by the hosting city and the hosting country, both drafting about 35% of the total budget for the project. The estimated financial support of the private sector is 10%, that of international organisations and sponsors also 10%, the draft of the European Union is 5-10% and profits from other sources, including ticket sales, also 5-10%. The necessary financial drafts to carry out the project can also be covered in co-operation between the public sector and international organisations and the private sector.   In order to bear the title well, Tallinn has prepared documents to establish the foundation “Tallinn – the Capital of Culture 2011”, where one of the most important tasks is to arrange the financial part of the culture capital before and after 2011.




This list is definitely not the final culture calendar of Tallinn in 2011. These are some of the events that have already found their place on the cultural scene and that will take place in 2011 as well. Events both in Tallinn and other places over the country that are organised in co-operation with other Estonian towns will certainly be added here. Composing a more detailed program is the task of a foundation soon to be established.   JANUARY

  • The opening event of the Capital of Culture – Theatre Festival “Midwinter Night’s Dream”
  • Festival of Light
  • OpeNBaroque
  • Festival of European Cultures – Greece
  • International Forum of Writers
  • Baltic Book Fair
  • Snow Town
  • Pop Session in street sports
  • Etc.


  • Celebrating the new astrological year
  • Shrovetide (in co-operation with the Open-Air Museum)
  • Festival of European Cultures – Spain
  • Festival of Fire and Ice
  • Keila open cross-country skiing championship
  • Estoloppet – Tallinn Marathon
  • Reval Hotels Cup
  • Etc.


  • Estonian Film Days
  • Schooldance
  • Festival of European Cultures – Holland
  • Spring concerts of folk music
  • Russian Shrovetide
  • Lotte judo tournament for children
  • Etc.


  • “Young Musician”, international contest of string instrumentalists
  • Estonian Music Days
  • Chorus Festival “Tallinn 2011”
  • Jazzkaar
  • Student Days
  • Festival of European Cultures – France
  • Northern Countries Poetry Festival
  • SuperNoova
  • Moor Run
  • Etc.


  • ORIENT, Eastern Music Festival
  • Celebrations of electing the May Count of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads
  • Tallinn’s Day (in 2011, the summer of the citizens will be fulfilled by a new Tallinn Festival that is supposed to last through the spring and summer – from Tallinn’s Day to the Old Town Days)
  • Festival “Slavic Wreath”
  • Festival of European Cultures – Denmark
  • Mix Cup in roller-skating at Pirita
  • Spring Run
  • Etc.


  • Old Town Days
  • MuFe – international festival of choruses of little children
  • Pirita River Festival
  • Days of Momma-Daddy
  • Concerts of White Nights, celebrating midsummer night
  • Festival of European Cultures – Finland
  • Song and Dance Festival of the Harju district in Keila
  • Chorus Olympics
  • Summer Cinema
  • Home Defence Days
  • Manifesta
  • Etc.


  • Medieval Days
  • Õllesummer
  • Klaaspärlimäng
  • Opera Days
  • Europeade
  • Organ Festival
  • Festival of European Cultures – Sweden
  • Park concerts in Kadriorg
  • Tallinn Triathlon
  • Series of lake runs – the great run around the Harku Lake
  • Keila half marathon
  • Etc.


  • August Dance Festival
  • Estonian-Finnish Tango-markkinat
  • Church Renaissance
  • Birgitta Festival
  • Festival of European Cultures – Norway
  • Festival of the Factory of Culture
  • Cinema Bus
  • Etc.


  • “Credo”, festival of sacred music
  • “Hallo, autumn!” – a sporting day for preschool kids
  • Festival of European Cultures – Belgium
  • “Thor’s Hammer”
  • Autumn Jazz
  • Golden Mask
  • Stick Walking
  • Tallinn Autumn Run
  • Student Autumn Days in Tallinn
  • Etc.


  • TriaLogos Festival
  • NYYD, International New Music Festival
  • Finno-Ugrian Days
  • Dome Days
  • Festival of European Cultures – Germany
  • Festival of Good New Sound
  • Etc.


  • St. Martin’s Day Fair
  • PÖFF, Black Nights Film Festival
  • Festival of European Cultures – England
  • Festival of City Culture
  • Etc.


  • Festival of European Cultures – Italy
  • Christmas Jazz
  • Ending the year of the Capital of Culture – handing over the title to the next Capital etc.


  • Beach Volleyball World Cup stage
  • Horse Riding World Cup stage
  • International judo tournament
  • International figure skating Grand Prix stage for juniors
  • Etc. 



Position and population  

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is situated in Northern Estonia on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. The territory of Tallinn is 159.2 km², under that comes one island – Aegna (3 km²) and two lakes – Harku (1.7 km²) and Ülemiste (9.4km²). The river of Pirita runs through the city.   According to the data from January 1st 2005, the population of Tallinn was 401 502, 54% of them were Estonians, 36% Russians and 10% people of other nations. The population of Tallinn is about 1/3 of Estonia’s population. There are 2524 persons per one square kilometre.   Tallinn is divided into eight city districts – City Centre, Nõmme, Lasnamäe, Haabersti, Pirita, North Tallinn, Kristiine and Mustamäe.   The employment rate of the citizens is 69% (data of 2004). In 2004, the number of people working in Tallinn was 222 900, 197 000 of them were the citizens of Tallinn. Every tenth citizen is unemployed.  


Tallinn has the only international airport in Estonia. In 2004 it performed over 35 000 flight operations and served more than one million passengers.   Most of Estonia’s shipping traffic also goes through Tallinn. After St. Petersburg and Copenhagen, Tallinn was the third largest cruise destination at the Baltic Sea in 2004. In 2004, the Port of Tallinn served almost 12 500 ships and 6.7 million passengers.

The public transport of Tallinn consists of 67 bus, tram and trolleybus routes (data of 2004) with the total length of 711 km. Citizens and guests are served with 463 vehicles that made 132 million runs in 2004. By 2015, Lasnamäe should get a new speed-tram line. The City Council has accepted such proposal.   Tallinn is the biggest railroad junction in Estonia with an international railroad connection; the bus station is the starting point for several international bus lines.   Bus and railroad transport play an important part in the life of both a tourist and a local citizen, it also determines life in the outskirts of Tallinn, where people go to work to the capital. Tallinn forms a united labour district together with the Harju district and the North Rapla district.  


Tallinn has three nature preservation areas, 30 parks, 119 single objects under preservation and four public beaches. The green belt covers 27% of Tallinn’s area. There is 100 m² of green area per citizen (including city forests, green areas belonging to the nation, parks, alleys and coast areas). The green belt makes over 40 km² of Tallinn’s 158 km² area, 3.5 km² of it are town-wide parks and 11.43 km² are district-wide parks. The green belt is distributed unevenly – the “greenest” districts are Mustamäe, Pirita and Nõmme, mainly due to forests.  City planning takes the green areas into consideration and if possible, the green belt is expanded and the existing part is kept in good condition. In 2004, Mustamäe-Nõmme nature preservation area was established, the reconstruction of Mustamäe Duck Pond was finished, Stroomi park forest, Police Garden and the park of the Glehn Castle etc. were brought into good condition. The city will continue building the cascade of water fountains and park in Kadriorg.   The city has already accepted Tallinn’s general plan and the general plan of coast areas, the general plans of Mustamäe, Pirita and Nõmme are waiting their turn, as well as thematic planning of high buildings, roads and residential areas. Building regulations for Pelgulinn and Nõmme have been enforced.   Tallinn has started the project of church renaissance that should last until 2006 and embrace the renovation of 21 church buildings. The Town Wall has 26 towers altogether, their renovation began in 2002 and so far six have been renovated.   In 2002, a project “Repair Old Houses” was started to improve the face of the city.  


On January 1st 2005, 40 293 entrepreneurs had registered themselves in Tallinn, which makes 45% of the total number of 90 026 in Estonia. There were 1043 enterprises per 10 000 citizens in Tallinn (the average number of Estonia was 690).   Table 1 Number of enterprises per 10 000 citizens, 1999-2005     The registration centre of the Justice Department  


Tourism is a branch of economy that develops fast. According to the strategic plan “Tallinn 2025”, the capital of Estonia could become a centre of festival and event tourism in the Baltic Sea region. Compared to other Estonian towns, Tallinn holds the first position in terms of the number of tourists – in 2004 Tallinn welcomed 83% of all tourists visiting Estonia, which means almost three million tourists altogether. A third of them spent more than a day in Tallinn. The average length of a visit was 2.8 nights. In 2004, Tallinn had one of the biggest increases in terms of tourist numbers and it became the leader in the list of Northern European and Baltic capitals for the first time. The growing number of visitors and tourists staying overnight has also resulted in the growth of businesses providing housing services – there are already 247, 99 of which were opened last year.   Tourist numbers have continued to increase this year. In the first half of 2005, the number of foreign guests spending the night in Tallinn’s housing firms increased by 73 000 persons (+19%) and the number of nights spent here by them by 162 000 nights (+26%). Altogether, 452 00 tourists spent 777 000 nights in Tallinn’s housing businesses in the first half of 2005. Compared to the same period in 2004, the biggest increase was among vacation passengers (+28%). Among business passengers, the growth of conference passengers was high (+15%), whereas the number of other business passengers decreased. The profits from housing foreign guests were also increased by one fifth, reaching over 466 million kroons in the first half of 2005.  Tallinn is actively working on marketing the city as a tourist destination. In 2004, we participated in 11 international tourism fairs and the same number of international workshops, seminars and other marketing events outside Estonia. In 2004, the town’s tourism institution welcomed 228 members of the writing press from 18 different countries (in 2003 those numbers were respectively 208 and also 18) and 18 television groups from 10 countries. In addition to that, Tallinn was introduced as a tourist destination by welcoming 515 travel organisers. The town has been actively advertised in international press, including special literature for vacation and conference tourists. We are publishing information materials and advertising brochures of different content and target groups in six foreign languages. The penta-lingual tourism web of Tallinn is in active use.   Tallinn as a destination of cultural tourism is introduced with the help of Tallinn Card.   In 2002, Tallinn opened its representation in Brussels, which has to guarantee that Tallinn’s interests are represented in the institutions of EU and the representations of cities and regions, as well as introducing Tallinn as a destination for tourist and other useful investments in Europe.  


Tallinn has 293 recognised housing enterprises with 5549 rooms and 10698 beds. 45 of them are hotels (4765 rooms/ 8988 beds), 18 guesthouses (207 rooms/ 419 beds), 11 hostels (202 rooms/ 430 beds), 204 guest apartments (320 rooms/ 637 beds), 12 places offering home housing (37 rooms/ 78 beds) and three are vacation camps and villages (18 houses/ 56 beds/ 90 caravan places).  

Health care  

Tallinn has seven hospitals; in 2004 there was 2893 bed spaces, including 50 places for restoring care and 255 places for treatment care. In addition to that, there were 181 institutions of medical help and private doctors (dental care not included), including 86 institutions of family doctors. Tallinn has 1785 doctors, 981 of them in hospitals, and 3710 nursing workers. There are also 239 family doctors. In 2004, there were 484 dentists and 547 321 visits were made.  


Most of the country’s educational institutions are in Tallinn (see table)   Table 2 Educational institutions in Tallinn in school year 2004/2005    

Pre-school children institutions 140
Elementary schools 9
Fundamental schools 15
Gymnasiums 64
Evening schools 3
Trade schools 26
Universities 27
public universities 4
state applied schools 3
private universities 6
private applied schools 14
IN ALL 184

Ministry of Education  


Tallinn has 46 stadiums, 100 outside ball courts, 20 swimming halls and 109 gyms that the citizens can use. In addition to that, there are two shooting-ranges, three horse riding bases, four ice halls and seven sports tracks.   In 2002-2005 28 tarmac basketball courts have been or will be built in Tallinn, nine courts have got new basket constructions and two beach volleyball courts have been built.   In 2005 skate-parks will be built at Kristiine (2), Lasnamäe, Kopli and Merivälja.  


Tallinn can be considered as the cultural centre of Estonia. Half of the theatres are here, as well as many museums and galleries.   Table 3 Cultural institutions in Tallinn, April 1st 2005  

Object name Number
Museums   31
Theatres 12
Cinemas (incl. 1 cinema house) 4
Exhibition halls and galleries 40
Libraries 27
Concert halls 15
Culture centres, 1 community centre 16  
Day centres for senior citizens 10
Youth hobby centres 20
Open Youth Centres 4
Zoo 1
Botanic garden 1

Cultural Heritage Department  In 2004 Estonian theatres had nearly 934 000 visitors, 61% of them in Tallinn. The number of museum visitors was 478 000 last year.   For enthusiasts, there are cultural centres in different city districts: Free Time Centre at Haabersti, Lindakivi Cultural Centre at Lasnamäe, Cultural Centre Kaja at Mustamäe, Nõmme Cultural Centre at Nõmme, Free Time Centre at Pirita, Salme Cultural Centre at North Tallinn etc.



A vision of Tallinn in 2011 is based on the documents accepted by the City Council: strategy “Tallinn 2025”, Tallinn’s development plan 2005-2014, the budget strategy of Tallinn 2005-2007 and “The development plan of Tallinn 2006-2015” currently in manipulation by the City Council.  


Despite the fact that the population of Estonia is decreasing, a decrease in the number of the citizens of Tallinn is not expected to be considerable. Estimations say that in 2006-2009 Tallinn will have the population of approximately 403 000, 2011 should not bring a significant decrease either. Considering better infrastructure and labour market that exceeds Estonian average, the increase of Tallinn’s population will come at the cost of other Estonian districts.   We expect the employment rate to increase and by 2009, the average salary should grow up to 12 000 kroons.   Tallinn and its outskirts is the engine of the country’s development. Due to free lots and their low prices, the outskirts become more and more attractive for investors.   In the future years, the citizens of Tallinn will continue to move from residential districts to the outskirts. Thus Tallinn will become one with nearby small towns and villages, which results in better co-operation with the municipalities of the Harju district.   Tallinn provides more than half of the Gross National Product. The continuous development of the capital is supported by the data of the Bank of Estonia, according to which in 2004, 65% of loans in Estonia were given to the trading companies and citizens registered in Tallinn.  


By 2011 Tallinn has set the following objectives:

  • Making the network of public transport suitable for the citizens’ life and business needs;
  • Integral development of the public transport in Tallinn and its outskirts;
  • Modernising public transport. The estimated average lifetime of trams will be 18, that of trolleybuses 12 and that of buses 10. The quality regulations for different transportation vehicles will be set, including the regulations to serve people with special needs;
  • Applying to a draft from the EU to open a speed-tram line to Lasnamäe. In 2008 the course will be projected, in 2008-2009 the first two stages will be projected, in 2010 we will begin building the first stage;
  • Putting an end to the transit of environmentally hazardous goods to Paldiski through Tallinn by opening a new railway section (Aruküla-Männiku-Saue);
  • Linking existing and new bicycle roads to create a network. To measure achieving the objective, the total length of the roads is taken into consideration – in 2005 this number must be 130 km, in 2006 135 km and in 2007 140 km.


Planning the development of the city derives from the principles of economical development. Waste management will be based on the waste management plan to be accepted in 2006. By 2008 four waste stations will be built, including one in the area of the Mustjõe-Veskimetsa crossing and one near the Pääsküla dumping ground in 2005-2006, one in the area of Punane street at Lasnamäe and one in the area of Paljassaare street at North Tallinn in 2006-2008.   Valuable parks will be taken under protection and they will be kept in good order according to their class. In 2006, new regulations concerning cemeteries will be forced.   By 2011 the general plans for Pirita, Mustamäe, Nõmme, North Tallinn, Kristiine and Lasnamäe will be drawn and by 2014 those of other city districts as well. We intend to project and build the Pirita coastal promenade and develop the coastal area at Pirita that is of town-wide importance.   In 2006 we intend to approve the thematic plan of the green belt and street network, also the thematic plan concerning public transport and light traffic. We will expand detailed planning initiated by the town.   We set the objective to make students more aware of environment protection and economical development by creating possibilities to obtain environmental education in the nature.   An important point is to revive the sea tradition with thematic events and thus confirming Tallinn’s position in the Baltic Sea region.    


We will create a better enterprising environment by intermediating information, working on active and destined marketing, advising entrepreneurs, organising schooling and information days, developing small businesses in incubators, drafting supports etc.   The objective is to promote innovation, the co-operation between entrepreneurs and the public sector; to improve labour quality by building TEHNOPOL, the Technology Park of Tallinn; to confirm the relationship with Helsinki, paying attention to starting the project of Tallinn-Helsinki as a twin city of science. With the help of a successful structure of business incubators, Tallinn intends to pay special attention to supporting the development of creative industry. We have also considered the need for independent incubators of creative industry.   To create new jobs we will build the Industrial Park of Lasnamäe, co-finance educating new workers, engage homeless people in common weal work and support the companies that offer homeless people temporary jobs.  


By 2011 we have set the following objectives:

  • Growing tourism profits by introducing Tallinn as an attractive destination for vacation tourism;
  • Introducing Tallinn as a destination of recognised conference tourism in order to bring international events to Tallinn;
  • Introducing the sights and tourist objects and taking more people there with the help of Tallinn Card;
  • Creating a safe and quality environment for our guests by developing infrastructure and tourism (common weal, security, tourist signs, public toilets, parking and stopping areas for tourist buses, quality of housing firms etc);
  • Building parking lots and tourist service facilities in the centre of the city, on the major routes to the Old Town;
  • Establishing the necessary infrastructure for people with special needs;
  • Establishing a speed-train connection with Europe and with Helsinki via railroad ferry or tunnel;
  • Opening the Old Town and the city centre to the sea;
  • Expanding the tourist area in the Old Town and also to the green belt surrounding it;
  • Improving the quality of tourist services (including security);
  • Creating a unite marketing conception in order to offer the tourist products of Tallinn together with the city brand;
  • Presenting Rocca al Mare and Pirita as important tourism centres;
  • Developing the Rotermann quarter into an art centre;
  • Involving the wooden house districts (Kalamaja, Kadriorg) in active heritage tourism;
  • Creating a network of quality camping sites and vacation villages near Tallinn;
  • Presenting Tallinn as a centre of festival and event tourism in the Baltic Sea region;
  • Integrating Tallinn and the Harju district as a tourist destination;
  • Developing Talsinki (a twin city) as a working tourist destination;
  • Systemized incubation of tourism products and businesses.

Health care  

The main attention is on health improvement, especially developing a lifestyle that values and favours health. It also means creating the necessary infrastructure (for sporting and spending spare time).   Due to changes in the age structure of the population, the numbers of treatment care places have to be increased and more attention paid to restoring care.   The objective is to minimize double work by developing co-operation between hospitals, also cutting long queues by improving services, namely by introducing a new internet-based registration system. If a new central hospital is built, the city will apply for it to be set in Lasnamäe, as most of the existing hospital facilities are located in the western part of town. Next to the Lasnamäe hospital, a department of extraordinary medicine and a traumatology facility will be established. In order to improve the accessibility and quality of special health care, the services of home nursing and day-care will be improved.   Social issues   By 2011, the following objectives must be reached:

  • Opening at least one youth centre in every city district;
  • Supporting town-wide and international sports events and youth programs in Tallinn;
  • Building gyms and courts with modern equipment and creating sporting possibilities to all residential districts;
  • Developing international co-operation in the field of youth work and integrating it to the youth programs of the EU;
  • Establishing day-care centres for children in all city districts;
  • Offering rehabilitation programs to children and youngsters with behaviour and addiction problems;
  • Securing a support centre for orphanage children;
  • Securing the optimal number of child protection officials;
  • Changing Tallinn’s physical environment friendlier for people with disabilities (public buildings, streets, public transport), supporting invatransport and advantaged taxi services;
  • Establishing new buildings to meet the needs of elderly and disabled people and families with small children;
  • Providing sufficient number of asylums and living quarters;
  • Supporting advisory cabinets the young;
  • Starting assisting programs for bringing released prisoners back to ordinary life;
  • Creating the necessary conditions to expand social involvement that helps to reduce the risks of poverty and social rejection;
  • When developing the city’s public services, considering the special needs of risk groups and guide them at consuming the services;
  • Creating alternative working and acting opportunities for people who cannot be integrated to working life;
  • Reducing social rejection by improving the way people are informed; concentrating on creating a social network, paying special attention to the fact that information must also be accessible to the foreign-language population;
  • Framing positive evaluations that stress the importance of working;
  • Making all citizens aware of their opportunities to live a healthy life by creating working conditions and regulating workload, choosing vacation opportunities, eating, moving habits etc. For that, it is necessary that all city administrations provided the citizens with necessary information.


Tallinn’s general objectives to carry out the educational strategy for 2011:

  • Optimising the network of the institutions for pre-school and elementary school children, ringing them into correspondence with sanitary requirements;
  • Offering everyone fundamental education in keeping with their abilities;
  • Putting pre-trade education programs into practice since the 7th grade;
  • Assuring the integrity of the education system;
  • Assuring that life-long learning becomes influential and all members of the society have access to education;
  • Assuring the conditions to acquire education of high quality in a modern environment, taking into consideration the individuality of every person;
  • Enlarging the applied value of education, creating a balance between theory and practice to support creativity and aspiration;
  • Assuring guarantees and motivation for teachers;
  • Helping different communities to integrate, expanding the scene of the Estonian language as a language used in teaching;
  • Assuring normal management of schools and modernising the investments in learning environment, incl. expanded application of infotechnology;
  • Expanding international relations among students as well as teachers;
  • Optimising the network of educational institutions and making the learning process polyfunctional;
  • Making financial schemes more effective so that they would spring from long-term development perspectives;
  • Expanding the opportunities for youth entertainment, hobby and achievement sports and maximum assurance of participation possibilities.


To improve the sporting and spare time spending opportunities of citizens, new walking paths, public ball-courts and playgrounds will be built. The network of walking paths will be developed.   Tallinn will continue to build gyms to schools, renovating school stadiums and opening those stadiums for public use. To improve the sporting environment, the city will continue investing to sports bases in its possession. Together with the owners and administrators of private bases, new co-operation models of the private and the public sector will be brought to life in order to develop the bases.   In 2007, Tallinn will start to work out a system to support sporting activities of 20-26 year-olds in co-operation with sport organisations, the Ministry of Culture and the Estonian Olympic Committee. New public swimming halls will be built at Mustamäe, North Tallinn, Lasnamäe, Haabersti and Kristiine.   Culture   The objective of the city’s culture life is to guarantee the permanence of Estonian cultural traditions and vitality in all fields and give the citizens various opportunities that fill their spare time and develop their mental powers, thus helping them in self-realization.   City districts have the task of creating the citizens sufficient possibilities to participate in enthusiast circles and spend their spare time.   Tallinn’s general objectives to develop the field of culture in 2011:

  • Renovating and modernising museums;
  • Developing the Zoo, the Botanical Garden, the Park of Kadriorg and the Song Festival Ground;
  • Working out the plan to develop the complex of the City Theatre in the 9th quarter of the Old Town, building work (if possible);
  • Reconstructing libraries and connecting them to the internet;
  • Establishing a town-wide network that offers all citizens the service of loaning books and using the internet;
  • Supporting the cultural activities of different national minorities and blending it into the Estonian cultural room;
  • Renovating the Russian Cultural Centre
  • Supporting town-wide and international sports events hosted by Tallinn;
  • Involving young people in the deciding process and structural units of youth work;
  • Opening the City Wall and underground passages;
  • Establishing the post of a museum-educator to every museum in order to popularise the activities and strengthen the co-operation of museums;
  • Composing programs for schools that introduce Tallinn’s history;
  • Converting the City Museum into a modern centre of history, science and hobbies;
  • Building a roof on the Pirita convent, thus creating a new weatherproof concert hall.

The financing system of Tallinn’s name events is being worked out and it should be a guarantee for the organisers of major cultural events (Tallinn’s Day, Old Town Days, Jazzkaar, PÖFF, Festival of Light, Medieval Market, theatre festival “Midsummer Nights’ Dream” etc.).   The name events of Tallinn are a great opportunity to co-operate with our partner cities to enrich our cultural life and introduce Tallinn’s cultural heritage and our potential as an attractive cultural city.   Calling our partner cities to Tallinn’s Day and developing Tallinn’s Day into an international cultural event should become regular. We plan to work out the Festival of Tallinn that lasted from Tallinn’s Day to Old Town Days. 



The omnibus-inquiry was carried out by ES Turu-uuringute AS among the citizens of Tallinn between the age of 15-74 (the size of the random sample being 300 persons) from 15th to 23rd September. The purpose was to understand what the citizens of Tallinn expect from the culture capital, what this title gives to the Estonian capital and its citizens and what advantages Tallinn has compared to Tartu and Pärnu, the other two Estonian contest cities.   Analysing the question “What do you expect from the program of the culture capital?” showed that the citizens expect diversity of events: in addition to the events of high culture they also want to take part in popular mass events (approximately half of the people wanted that). Interestingly enough, there were no major differences in terms of gender, age, educational level or nationality. The citizens also value the importance of active participating in the program, through the above-mentioned popular events as well as being volunteers and organising events, e.g. via non-profit unions. It has to be mentioned that women valued this opportunity higher than men. Answers to the question “In your opinion, what will the title of the Capital of Culture bring along?” showed even more than wanting Tallinn to grow its importance as a tourist destination, the citizens wish Tallinn’s general look and the state of cultural buildings to improve. The group with especially high hopes in that matter are 30-39 year old well-educated women. The citizens also valued highly the importance of increasing investments and the growth of vacant working places, strengthening the integration process and increasing co-operation of different national groups, but also increasing self-evaluation and strengthening identity. In the matter of growing investments and vacant jobs, non-Estonians were more optimistic, the same applies to male answerers and people of primary or fundamental education. Men were also more optimistic about the idea that the title of the culture capital would raise the self-evaluation of Tallinn’s citizens and strengthen their identity. This also applies for middle-aged and old answerers. The situation concerning the cultural integration was rather the opposite – young people see culture as a possibility to unite different national groups, every other citizen of primary or fundamental education think the same, just like those of high education. On the contrary, citizens of secondary and applied secondary education are more pessimistic about these two questions.   Answering to the question “What are Tallinn’s strong sides compared to Tartu and Pärnu, the other two Estonian contest cities?”, the citizens of Tallinn named several advantages. 98% were convinced that the unique Old Town and rich cultural heritage play an important part in Tallinn getting the title and bearing it. 95% mentioned better resources and the fact that in Tallinn, the number of people participating would be the highest. This kind of attitude that values Tallinn’s bid shows the main truth that our citizens share – Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and therefore the best candidate to represent Estonia. More than 4/5 of the answerers were convinced that Tallinn’s cultural program would be intense and rich, offering experiences not only in 2011, but also in the previous and following period.  



  • Tallinn. Facts and Figures 2004
  • Home page of Tallinn
  • Home page of Tartu
  • Home page of Pärnu
  • Statistics Agency
  • Tallinn’s development plan 2006-2015
  • Strategy “Tallinn 2025”
  • Tallinn’s budget strategy 2005-2007
  • Home page of the Estonian Civil Aviation Administration:
  • Home page of the Estonian Maritime Administration:
  • Home page of the Ministry of Social Affairs:
  • Home page of the Ministry of Culture:
  • Home page of the Ministry of Education:
  • Home page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
  • Home page of the Ministry of Economy and Communication


Last modified 19.11.2019