Tallinn 800! Tallinn City Museum looks at when the city of Tallinn was established and its common history with Denmark

Tallinn City Museum introduces the close connections between Denmark and Estonia, their common symbols and when the city of Tallinn was established in the 13th century.

Tallinn celebrates its 800th anniversary. In June 2019, it will be precisely 800 years since the first recorded mention of Tallinn in connection with the crusades of Valdemar II of Denmark to northern Estonia. This event has become known primarily through the Livonian Chronicle of Henry. Although the chronicle does not mention the name Tallinn and its settlement, it is possible to associate the events with Toompea and the area of the future city of Tallinn.

Events organised under the Tallinn 800 label:
25.01.2019 – 15.04.2019: “Tallinn 800”, Annual Exhibition of the Estonian Association of Jewellers and Blacksmiths at Kiek in de Kök (Komandandi tee 2)
15.05.2019 – 05.2021: “FROM FORT TO CITY – 800 Years Since the Birth of the ‘Danish Town’” at Tallinn City Museum (Vene 17)
15.06.2019 – 05.2020: “Dannebrog and Estonia 1219–2019” at the Kiek in de Kök Fortifications (Komandandi tee 2)


Jaana Ratas: vaade tulevasele Tallinnale aastal 1218

Jaana Ratas: Reconstruction based on archaeological data of a settlement in 1218 on the site of modern-day Tallinn.


From 15 May at Tallinn City Museum (Vene 17)

The exhibition divides the events related to the birth of the city into three phases: before the city, the arrival of King Valdemar, and establishing the city.

How old is the settlement around Tallinn? When does a settlement become a city?

What happened during the crusade of Valdemar II of Denmark and what were the early years under Danish rule like?

The largest part of the exhibition – establishing the city – focuses on the formation of the city of Tallinn. Within two or three generations a city was erected on the territory of the current Old Town of Tallinn, traces of which we can still see when walking in the area surrounded by the city wall.

The exhibition includes archaeological material from Tallinn City Museum and the Tallinn University Archaeological Research Collection. For the purposes of comparison, the display also includes objects from Tartu, Riga and Lund. Based on archaeological material, the artist Jaana Ratas has created a detailed model of Tallinn during the Danish era. The animated city model also gives an overview of the different stages of urban development.


Curator: Erki Russow, Tallinn University
Reconstructions and maps: Jaana Ratas
Design: b210
Graphic design: Stuudio Stuudio

The exhibition will remain open until May 2021.


Henrik Olrik (1830–1890). Fragment Taani rahvuslipu legendi kujutavast maalist

Henrik Olrik (1830–1890). Fragment of a painting depicting the national flag of Denmark.



From 15 June at the Kiek in de Kök Fortifications (Komandandi tee 2)

The joint exhibition organised by the Danish Museum of National History and Tallinn City Museum commemorates 800 years since the Battle of Lindanise on 15 June 1219. The victory of the Danes laid the foundation for the Danish period of rule in northern Estonia. The Battle of Lindanise has later become associated with the legend of the Dannebrog, the national flag of Denmark, falling from the sky.

The exhibition provides an overview of the background and events of the Battle of Lindanise, the Danish periods of rule in Estonia: 1219–1227 and 1238–1346, as well as the Danish monarchy at that time.

The display also introduces the Order of the Dannebrog and the symbols of the Dannebrog and the three lions in the heraldry of Tallinn and Estonia.

The exhibition in the Kiek in de Kök Fortifications will be opened by Her Majesty, Margrethe II of Denmark on 15 June 2019.

Curators:  From the Danish Museum of National History: Director, Mette Skougaard, Director of Research Thomas Lyngby, and Museum Inspector, Per Seesko.
From Tallinn City Museum: Toomas Abiline, Pia Ehasalu, Kristiina Hiiesalu, Lennart Kumm, Anneli Miil, Merike Neidorp, Risto Paju, Ando Pajus, Johanna Rannula, and Küllike Tint
Design: Lone Ernst

The exhibition will remain open until May 2020. The exhibition of the Dannebrog legend in Estonian art and Danish symbols in Estonian heraldry will become a permanent exhibition in the vaulted cellar of the Maiden Tower.


Autor: Jaan Pärn

Author: Jaan Pärn


From 25 January 2019

(The exhibition includes works by nearly 30 members of the Estonian Association of Jewellers and Blacksmiths, who in their jewellery present the beauty and history of their hometown, its architecture and natural surroundings as well as the various facets of its everyday life. The materials used range from silver and gold to various stones, wood, and synthetic materials. The exhibition presents both traditional and contemporary jewellery, and as always the display includes forged metalwork and installations. The artists have each found solutions to a given topic in their own way. Also on display are works by Ilona Treiman, laureate of this year’s Ede Kurrel Prize.

Curator and designer: Jaan Pärn

The exhibition will remain open until 25 April 2019.