Museum of Occupations
In summer 2003, the Museum of Occupations opened in the centre of Tallinn. Yes, Museum of OccupationS, plural, because the Soviet occupation of the Republic of Estonia from 1940-1991 and the German 1941-1944 occupation during the Second World War are both commemorated here. In fact, for Estonians, the Second World War did not end until 1994, when Russian forces finally left Estonia. The museum sits on a corner of a busy street according to the urban design principles of the 1950s, but its twisted form represents a studious lesson from Dutch architecture of the 1990s. The emotional preparation for approaching the museum is taken care of by the entranceway under the raised lecture hall and café, as well as the internal courtyard with its birch grove. The architects have managed to design a building which displays a national tragedy without tears so that while history's sad message is proclaimed Estonians can continue to live their contemporary lives with heads held high.