There are fields of culture, where the désetatisation process has been completed: the eight state-owned theatres of the 90s are now state foundations and in 2013-2014 three state-owned music organisations (National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Eesti Kontsert) were changed to foundations. In the field of museums, the trend of désetatisation is in process. Several museums were already or will be consolidated in the near future. Foundations are preferred to state institutions as this form gives the organisations more flexibility in management and more opportunities to take regional or professional specifics into account.
In February 2019, the Parliament passed the new Heritage Conservation Act. The new legislation balances the rights and obligations of the state with those of the owners of cultural monuments, creating for the first time a compensation system for monument owners. From now on, the activities of the National Heritage Board will include both heritage conservation and museum fields. The owners of cultural heritage sites often come from the private sector (see also chapter 3.1).
The General Principles of Cultural Policy up to 2020 state: “The state will create supportive conditions for involving private funds in the cultural field, recognising those entrepreneurs, NGOs and individuals who support culture, as well as conducting initiatives in cooperation with private companies. The state considers it important that legislation does not impose unnecessary limits on the private sector’s opportunities for supporting culture. In addition to the existing models for the funding of culture, in cooperation with the field and the private sector the state is going to search for alternative financing schemes for culture.” However, the private business sector has not still shown any major interest in sponsoring culture (see chapter 7.3).
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have powerfully enhanced the diversity of cultural life in Estonia. Their activities comprise the organisation of music festivals, theatre and dance companies, information and development centres etc. All those festivals, theatres and centres can apply for grants from the Ministry of Culture, the Cultural Endowment and local authorities (see also chapter 7.2.1).