The number of museum visits set a new record last year

news release no 55

Museums continue to be popular in Estonia. According to Statistics Estonia, in 2017, for the first time, there were more than 3.5 million museum visits.

In 2017, there were 242 museums, including branches, in Estonia. Excluding branches, there were 186 museums.

In 2017, there were for the first time slightly over 3.5 million museum visits in Estonia. Compared to 2016, there were 50,000 more visits. As expected, the greatest number of visits took place in Harju county (1.7 million), followed by Tartu county with 900,000 visits and Lääne-Viru county with 230,000 visits.

Visits by foreign tourists accounted for 35% of all museum visits. The share of foreign tourists was biggest in Harju and Saare counties and smallest in Rapla and Järva counties.

In 2017, there were 2,659 museum visits per 1,000 inhabitants in Estonia. According to the European Group of Museum Statistics (EGMUS), this is one of the highest scores in Europe.

Excluding branches, 39% of museums were Estonian private museums, 35% belonged to local governments, 32% were owned by the state and 2% were foreign private museums. Taking branches also into account, one third belonged to the state, one third to local governments and one third were private museums.

While private museums were mostly operating in one location, state museums stood out with many branches: 39 state museums had 69 locations.

Museum visits by foreign tourists by county, 2017

Since 2009, the Night of Museums has been organized in Estonia. For one Saturday night in May, museums stay open longer and are free of charge. As 2018 is the centenary of Estonia, this time, the Night of Museums will focus on party traditions. The Night of Museums takes place on May 19 and it is titled “Night of Parties”. More information is available at:

For the statistical activity “Museum”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Culture, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia analyses the data necessary for conducting this statistical activity. The classification of museums is based on UNESCO classification.

For further information:

Kaire Raasik
Leading Analyst
Social Statistics and Analysis Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 8483

More detailed data have been published in the Statistical Database.