Housed in Viimsi Manor, the former summer residence of General Johan Laidoner who was the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Estonian Armed Forces before the WW II, the Estonian War Museum is a great place to start if you'd like to learn more about this country's history. Over hundreds of years, Estonia has had troops fighting on its soil from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Russia and has even hosted a fair share of Viking battles. Inside you’ll find all sorts of displays and info on the various wars Estonia has been involved in.
There are several permanent exhibitions available for visit. The exhibition of WW I depicts the destiny of Estonians who either conscripted or drafted voluntarily to the Russian army during WW I, and later played a crucial part in the battles for gaining independence during the Estonian War of Independence (1918-1920). The exhibition 'War for Independence' depicts the battles held on the fronts, the weapons, the battleground and war propaganda.
The period of WW II is told through the story of three Estonian men whose destiny was determined by their year of birth. Their choices or lack of choices reflect the complexity of that harsh period in occupied Estonia. The exhibition 'Cold War' reflects Estonian Forest Brothers' movement during and after the WW II, military service of Estonian men in the Western countries and in the Soviet Army, the locations of Soviet troops and nuclear weapons in the territory of Estonia until 1994.
The exhibition of uniforms of the Estonian Defence Forces from 1917-1940 displays 14 historical uniforms. In addition, the exhibition features the military units' insignia etc. of that period.
The exhibition of weapons is based on the collections of Estonian History Museum and Estonian War Museum giving an overview of the evolution of weaponry from the Napoleonic wars to World War II including 130 firearms and cold arms from the mid-18th century to the 20th century. And naturally the museum would not be complete without the overview of the life of General Laidoner.
Getting there: Take bus N°1A to Viimsi from the Viru Centre’s underground bus terminal (C-4) and get off at Viimsi vallamaja stop (should be about a 25min ride). Walk back to the main road and turn right, another 50m and it will be the large yellow building on your left.