Day of Restoration of Independence at Vabamu

This Saturday, 20 August, marks 31 years since the restoration of Estonia’s independence and to celebrate, visitors of all ages are welcome to Vabamu to learn or remind themselves of how Estonia gained and maintained its freedom. Special activities will be running throughout the day.


Vabamu Programme Manager Aive Peil describes the Day of Restoration of Independence as the perfect time to recall the events leading up to and following the watershed year of 1991 and to immerse younger generations in this recent history. “Our permanent exhibition, ‘Freedom without Borders’, tells personal stories about the Soviet occupation, the resistance people put up and how the country regained its freedom and is a great way of showcasing that history and sharing your own family’s stories with younger members,” she said.


Peil added that an e-guide is available for the exhibition in a variety of languages. “There’s also a separate version for families with kids, to introduce history in a child-friendly way,” she explained.


You can also enjoy the temporary exhibition ‘Why Estonia? 30 Years from the USSR to e-Estonia’, which relates the country’s e-success story, highlighting the decisions that were made in the 1990s and how many opportunities young people today have to make a success of themselves in the digital and technological spheres.


The KGB Prison Cells also form part of Vabamu and will be open on 20 August. The permanent exhibition there shines a light on the terrible crimes committed in the building. Also open is an exhibition entitled ‘Belarusian Anti-Regime Art’, showcasing works created by members of the Belarusian community in Estonia who oppose the regime of President Lukashenko. The pieces give an idea of the repression taking place in Belarus.


Programme for 20 August at Vabamu


🔹 Vabamu will be hosting a workshop in which you can make Estonian-themed badges. We will examine symbols from around the time of the restoration of independence and seek inspiration from our museum’s collections.

🔹 From 11:00-12:00 there will be an excursion in the Old Town entitled ‘On the Trail of Freedom and Its Restoration’. Participation is free of charge for museum ticket-holders. The excursion will begin at Vabamu. 

This excursion will be perfect for those who literally want to take a stroll through history. In the Old Town we will search out places linked to the restoration and preservation of Estonia’s independence. We will discuss the role of the events and institutions that brought about and maintain our freedom in the past and which continue to do so today. These include the Hirvepark rally, the Intermovement protests, the erection of barricades on Toompea Hill, politicians and ordinary citizens who fought for Estonia’s freedom and their tenets and values.


🔹 From 13:00-14:00 Eero Epner will be giving a guided tour of the ‘Freedom without Borders’ exhibition.
Eero Epner is an Estonian art historian and playwright. His prolific creative output includes the texts for Vabamu’s e-guides, which take visitors on an inclusive and thought-provoking journey into the recent past.


🔹At 14:00 a workshop will be given by the Home Daughters. 

Our café will be open throughout the day.


There will be discounted admission to both Vabamu and the KGB Prison Cells on 20 August


Vabamu: Tickets €5 / Students & Seniors €3 / Family pass €11
KGB Prison Cells: All tickets €2