European Capital of Culture on 20th August 2010

Organization and history

At the meeting of an Estonian tour of the Capital of Culture, on the Day of Regaining Independence

The Singing Revolution, ending on 20th August 1991 with the rebirth of the Republic of Estonia, can be called a cultural revolution in its name as well as contents. We wanted to become masters of our own country, first and foremost the masters of our own culture.

Tallinn will become the European Capital of Culture in 2010. Then we are going to dance, sing, paint and perform to Europe. But I am convinced that there is a more important question: What will Tallinn as the Capital of Culture give to Estonia, do for Estonia? Let us not forget that we will be the capital of culture for only a year. But Tallinn has been the capital of Estonia and it will remain so afterwards as well.

Having regained its independence in the Cultural Revolution Tallinn has missed cultural communication inside the country. Everyone has minded its own business in their own region, arranging local events, where other fellow citizens and visitors from abroad happened to go very rarely. There was no integrated cultural plan of Estonian towns; we lacked a total Estonian Year of Culture. A local culture did not have a specific perspective for development.

In the year 2011 when we are going to face Europe together we are bound to ask ourselves: In what way is every single Estonian town special? In what way are we different? In what way everybody is different and more interesting than the rest of the towns in Europe?

Now that Tallinn will be the Capital of Culture, other Estonian towns will also seek for their peculiarities together. They try to work out their own image and find the domain for their cultural life. It is nice to acknowledge that the Union of the European Towns of Culture in Estonia, which was launched at the initiative of Tallinn, encourages finding one’s identity, to support one another and become acquainted with Haapsalu, Türi, Paide, Rakvere, Jõhvi, Sillamäe, Narva, Narva-Jõesuu, Pärnu, Suure-Jaani, Tõrva, Elva, Otepää, Valga, Võru and Põlva besides Tallinn.

A tour of the capital of culture will begin in Estonian towns today. We want to introduce a next year’s varied cultural programme widely. But our task is not only to compile an abundant entertainment programme and to perform it. Something unprecidenting is going to happen under our very eyes – a network of the cultural communication of Estonian towns, which are going to complement and enrich one another, will be started. We are going to change an Estonian cultural map – it will definitely be the greatest achievement of Tallinn as the capital of culture 2011.

Toomas Vitsut