‘Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.’ – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The independent Republic of Estonia celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Freedom is precious yet a concept that is hard to define. Many things are understood to represent freedom or the lack of it. Sometimes these things are complex and seem self-contradictory – today, Estonia’s history features many, very different stories of freedom.
These stories that get passed on are about war, abductions, the Soviet era, the Singing Revolution, and the second independence of the State of Estonia. Every Estonian has a unique story of freedom to tell. The exhibition put together by the National Museum of Estonia, the Museum of Estonian Architecture, the Estonian War Museum, and Vapriikki presents eight stories of Estonian culture and of what it means to be Estonian today.
The stories presented at the exhibition focus on tradition, beauty, Estonian beer culture, the Estonian language and music, e-Estonia, Estonian architecture, the national museum and its significance in the development of Estonian patriotism, and ‘the Finnish boys’.
Here, the voices of ordinary Estonians, both young and old, are heard also. They speak of the nature of freedom and what exactly it is that makes a person free.