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-like.

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 they relate 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.

A story does not always have to be positive, just as life is not entirely positive. The hero of a story must conquer challenges, but in the process also undergo a personal transformation. It is the same with the story of Estonia history, which speaks of both war and peace; advanced technology and the unharnessable sea; about the Estonians, the Russians, the Danish and the Finnish – and why not the Latvians. Estonia has often been in the crossroads of others cultures and this clearly echoes in our stories – always in a lively and intriguing way.

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.

It is also important to note that our stories will not only be told for the benefit foreigners, but also for ourselves so that we may discover anew ourselves, our history and our country.


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, the 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, ect. – 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 unite representatives of world cultures and will 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 on 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!