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In 2011 Tallinn is the European Capital of Culture


Tallinn 2011 and stories of the seashore

In 2011, Tallinn begins the largest storytelling event in its history. Writers, musicians, artists and actors will tell, paint, sing and act tales inspired by the sea, speaking of Estonia and its people. The stories will be short and long, modern and ancient, exciting and tragic; most importantly, they will all be genuinely Estonian.

The Nature of Stories

Storytelling gives birth to meaning and understanding. Our stories help discover and preserve the image of a young Estonia as part of Europe. Stories give rise to Estonian history as it relates to Europe and the modern world, as well as the face and achievements of the Estonian people. More significant, however, is the fact that Tallinn’s position as the culture capital will allow these stories to be shared with visitors and those observing the year of cultural celebration from all around the world.

Storytellers will not constrain themselves to traditional methods, but will instead utilize all mediums that are available today – everything from social networking to experimental visual and sonar solutions.


The main theme of Tallinn 2011, "Stories of the Seashore", encapsulates Estonian history and Tallinn’s physical location next to the sea, which explains Estonia’s rich cultural diversity, contacts and conflicts. The larger theme is also organized into three smaller parts:

  1. Stories of singing together;
  2. Stories of the living old city;
  3. Stories of dreams and surprises.

"Stories of singing together" describe how we are all changing the world – through democracy, citizenship, community, freedom and traditions. In truth, song and dance festivals are our biggest stories of all – we are a people of song and dance; we have the ability to come together and unified we are victorious, and we cannot forget that it is through singing that we won our freedom. In addition to the Song and Dance Festivals, music events include the Birgitta Festival and the youth subculture project, AfroReggae.

"Stories of the living old city" will tell the story of Tallinn as a city where time has never stopped. Every morning, the people – Estonians, Russians, Germans, Finns, etc. – gather here to write a new page in our city's history. This can be witnessed in the Old Town's drama festival, Tallinn Teater Treff, which will unite representatives of world cultures and breathe life into the heart of Tallinn’s culture. The "Stories of the living old city" will also feature interpretive dance with architecture in Open Spaces Living Art and Tallinn's Marathon.

"Stories of Dreams and Surprises" will speak of a city and country where the internet has been declared a "human right" and which saw what the media named the world's first cyberwar. Together we dream of bringing the sea to the city, and we will do just this during Tallinn’s Maritime Days. Also in store is the audiovisual Plektrum Festival and the Student’s Modern Art Trianual Eksperimenta!

In 2011, Europe's best stories will be told in Tallinn!

Program booklet

More videos on Tallinn 2011 Youtube channel

For further information please visit European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011 website


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