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Eesti Pank takes its travelling exhibition to Ülemiste Keskus

17.08.2019

The travelling exhibition for the centenary of Eesti Pank will be on display by the main entrance to Ülemiste Keskus in Tallinn from Friday. The exhibition uses contrasting examples to tell the story in simple terms of the changes over a century in the purchasing power of the people of Estonia, and how money moves between people.

The exhibition is designed in the form of the buildings of the central bank, showing the historical buildings where Eesti Pank started operations a century ago and still works today. “Historical exhibitions usually take a chronological approach, but we focus more on interesting contrasts. Where today we use instant payments, a century ago people in Estonia used milkmen to transfer money”, said Siiri Ries, the curator of the Eesti Pank museum.

One of the main goals of the work of the central bank has always been to maintain the purchasing power of money. The exhibition shows what it was possible to buy with the average wage in the 1930s and today. Very many things have become much cheaper, but some have become more expensive because the prices of products or services depend on the number of hours of work that have gone on them, or the technology used.

It is the job of the central bank to organise the circulation of cash and to promote payment systems. A hundred years ago cash was mainly transported by the postal network, which in many places was conveniently linked to milk transport, so the milkman carried alongside the milk an envelope of cash and took it to the Post Office, from where it was sent onwards. Such cash deliveries could take a week or longer to arrive, while today we have instant payments that allow money to be transferred within 10 seconds any time of the day and any day of the week. Over 800,000 card payments, which were obviously completely unknown a hundred years ago, are now made every day in Estonia. People in Estonia pay by card four or five times as often as people in, say, Germany or Italy.

The Eesti Pank centenary exhibition will be at the Ülemiste Keskus shopping centre until 16 September, after which it will move to the Solaris Keskus shopping centre in Tallinn. At the end of the year it will move to the Tasku centre in Tartu.

Earlier the exhibition has been in the Mustamäe keskus and Stroomi keskus in Tallinn and the Port Artur2 shopping centre in Pärnu. The exhibition was designed and made by Velvet OÜ.


Eesti Pank started work on 3 May 1919 as the state bank, acting as a state-owned bank under government control. Its operations were interrupted by the arrival of foreign forces on 9 October 1940. Although operations were nominally restarted in August 1941, after Tallinn had fallen to the Germans, it was in reality working under the control of the occupying forces. In 1944-1990 banking in Estonia was part of the financial and banking system of the Soviet Union, and there was no institutional central bank. In 1990 Eesti Pank started operating again after a break of fifty years. Eesti Pank is today one of the central banks of the euro area and participates in shaping and implementing the single monetary policy, which affects the lives of more than 330 million people. Eesti Pank makes sure that people in Estonia are easily able to use good-quality cash and make payments securely. It also monitors and analyses the state of the Estonian economy and advises the government and the public.

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