Garden policy: ESTONIA

 Institution(s) in charge

There is no single institution in charge of gardens/parks in Estonia and no special state website on historical park protection. The responsibility is divided between:

  • Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation Department
    Narva maantee 7a, Tallinn 15172, Estonia
  • The Environmental Board
    Roheline 64, Pärnu 80010, Estonia
    EB is the governing body of areas under state protection (incl historical parks as a special type of landscape protection areas); prepares the protection management plans for the conservation and development work.
  • Ministry of Culture, Cultural Heritage Department
    Suur-Karja 23, Tallinn 15076, Estonia
    MC is responsible for the coordination of the whole heritage conservation field in Estonia.
  • The National Heritage Board
    Pikk 2, Talllinn 10123, Estonia
    The goal is to protect and preserve cultural heritage and culturally valuable environments. Their tasks include supervision, advice for the owners of monuments (incl historical parks), support for renovation, and maintenance of the national cultural heritage registry. 
  • The State Forest Management Center (SFMC)
    It organizes nature conservation work in different types of protected areas and organizes visits. Only some state-owned historical parks are included in their list.
  • Local authorities (2021: there are 79 local government units in Estonia)
    They have the right to protect historical parks which are not on the state/national list of protected parks by planning their land use. Municipalities are responsible for the local protection of the parks on municipal land. In many cases municipalities own the land of park area only partly.


 Other actors

  • Kadriorg Park Authority
    It is an authority administered by Tallinn City Municipal Engineering Services Department. The area of activity of the Authority is administration and development of Kadriorg Park (founded in 1718) and upkeep of other parks and public gardens under the Authority’s administration. It has to perform many tasks incl reconstruction, development, collecting information on historic parks etc.
  • MTÜ Eesti Dendroloogia Selts (Estonian Dendrological Society, NGO
    The aim is to collect data about Estonian native trees, dendrological collections, parks, alleys, foreign tree spscies, etc, and to provide input in forest management and greenery development politics.
  • Eesti Maastikuarhitektide Liit (EMAL) (Estonian Association of Landscape Architects) .
    EMAL is a voluntary association of landscape architects and landscape architecture scientists. Its aim is to represent and promote the specialty of landscape architecture in Estonia, develop landscape architecture training and support the development of members, make proposals for the protection of landscape architectural heritage, management of protection and preservation of documentary material, etc.
  • Eesti Mõisakoolide ühendus (The Association of Estonian Manor Schools)
    The aim is to promote cooperation in developing manor schools as modern learning environments and visiting centres for the community. Also help to preserve cultural sustainability and strengthening of people`s historic memory, collect, organize and distribute heritage conservation information about manor schools. The associations goal is also to find additional sources of financing for restoring buildings and parks of manor schools. 
  • International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Estonian National committee
  • The Estonian Society for Nature Conservation (Eesti Looduskaitse Selts)
    It unites people who care for nature and culture. The society was founded under the leadership of Jaan Eilart in 1966. The aim of the society is to coordinate the relationship between nature and society, to value cultural heritage, to promote and advocate sustainable development, use of nature and landscape management, and to increase people’s environmental awareness.
  • The Estonian Naturalists’ Society (Eesti Looduseuurijate Selts)
    The main purpose of society is to integrate professional and amateur scientists, and people interested in nature, with the purpose of aiding the study of Estonian nature, furthering environmental preservation and education in Estonia, and popularising results of scientific research. The Society’s network of trustees all over Estonia allows conducting observations and the application of collected data in scientific research. The Society’s primary work formats are organizing scientific studies, conferences, seminars and discussions, tours and nature observations, carrying out projects for studying nature and on environmental education. 


 Relevant legislation

There is no specific legislation for historical parks and gardens.

  • The Estonian Nature Conservation Act
    Parks are protected as special type of landscape protection areas under it
  • Kaitsealuste parkide, arboreetumite ja puistute kaitse-eeskiri (Management rules for protected parks, arboretums and forested lands)
  • The Heritage Conservation Act
    Parks are also protected as National cultural monuments by it. Many historical parks are protected by both above mentioned acts.
  • The Building Act
    It is a generally used instrument for protected park which directs master planning and detailed planning. A lot of parks are protected locally by town master plans as green areas and this number is not available.

Estonia has joined a number of international conventions, the principles of which form the foundation of heritage conservation work (incl The Florence Charter).


 Protection measures

A. Protected parks/gardens : yes

There have been more than 1.000 manors in Estonia throughout history. Every manor had a smaller or larger park/garden area around the main building.

At present 325 protected parks are on the national list.

B. Level of protection:

Parks are protected on state level and local level

C. System of protection:

See above

D. Statute of gardens:

The list of protected historical parks does not consider the type of property. It means that several parks have more than one owner. Parks can be private, municipal or state owned. All protected parks are open to public from sunrise till sunset if not designated otherwise by the private owner.


 Existing inventories

There is no comprehensive list of all inventories.

  • Since 1930 a lot of dendrological inventories have been compiled, most of them as only manuscript documents.
  • 1976 (?)-1984 dendrological and cultural heritage inventory of all protected historical parks took place (manuscripts only)
  • Since the mid-20th century also birds, bats and herbal plants are inventoried in some parks.


 Online information

  • Rahvusarhiiv (National Archives of Estonia)
    Register of the maps, photos, documents (including manor parks) is available to everybody.
  • Eesti Maa-amet (Estonian Land Board Geoportal)
    The Web Maps page includes links to thematic web map applications, through which the Estonian Land Board (ELB) mediates various spatial data managed by different owners. You can find boarders of protected areas (incl parks) there.
  • EELIS (Estonian Nature Information System)
  • Estonian manors (Eesti mõisaportaal)
    The website gives a short overview about Estonian manor architecture, including data about parks


 Specialised training

There is not a specific specialization for park/garden historian or restauration but different schools have landscape architecture courses and gardening in curriculum.


Vocational education

  • Räpina School of Horticulture (Räpina Aianduskool)
    The school is the oldest and also the biggest vocational school teaching horticultural subjects in Estonia.
  • Luua Forestry School (Luua Metsanduskool)
    It is the only vocational school in Estonia specialising in different forestry-related subjects. There are three main teaching fields : forestry, horticulture and nature tourism.
  • Hiiumaa Vocational School (Hiiumaa Ametikool)
    It offers a variety of training courses inc landscape gardens and urban gardens

Different institutions annually organize public programmes and short courses for professionals, hobbyist, teachers etc on issues concerning park and landscape. There is no central body for that.


 Awareness-raising actions

Targeted audiences for vocational education: initial and further vocational training, complementary training and re-qualification programs for all age groups.

  • Forgotten manors (Unustatud mõisad)
    This is the only regular event which is held in certain days during the summer. Guided tours take place in manor buildings and parks.
  • Some one-time awareness events are organized by different institutions (e.g lectures for officials of local authorities on how to manage historical park).
  • Eesti Loodus (Estonian Nature)
    It is an in-depth magazine for people interested in nature. It particularly addresses local nature, its research and protection. The magazine features news of nature and nature-related science and research as well as the chronicles of Estonian nature conservation.


 Terminology tools

  • Glossary/thesaurus: monolingual (Estonian), not available on-line
  • « Pargiterminite seletussõnaraamat » contains Estonian-Finnish-English park terminology
    Printed with support of Central Baltic Interreg IV A programme (the DEVEPARK project).



  • Rahvusarhiiv (National Archives of Estonia)
    Register of the maps (including manor parks) is available to everybody.
  • Eesti Maa-amet (Estonian Land Board Geoportal)
    The Web Maps page includes links to thematic web map applications, through which the Estonian Land Board (ELB) mediates various spatial data managed by different owners. You can find boarders of protected areas (including parks) there.
  • There is a long list (not available online) concerning articles and books on historical parks. It can be consulted in the book «Estonian parks» vol 1 and vol 2.