As a state building, the planning layout of the house was grandiose but the interior decoration and finish were unpretentious. No furnishings of value survived from before the last restoration, and the original interior design elements had been practically ruined. After ten years of deterioration, nothing much was left of the courthouse beyond vaults and walls. The interior decorator had to find a new look for the bare walls.

It was obvious from the beginning that everything that was worth preserving should be preserved. There were some documents concerning the building in the archives, and a great deal was done by analogy – after other surviving buildings on Toompea from the same era. Project design commenced in the mid-1990’s. Architectural designs were prepared by Kalle Rõõmus Architects and interior design by Katrin and Argo Vaikla. Designer Peeter Tambu finished this work, following the principle of contrast from the Venice Charter in his work: items about which authentic information is available are preserved in historical form. Everything that is added must be clearly contemporary.


There is an outbuilding opposite the Stenbock House main building originally designed as a carriage house, stables, a warehouse, living quarters for court attendants and jail guards, and partially also as jail cells.

The outbuilding is semicircular only on the side facing the courtyard. The walls facing the street follow the boundaries of the lot. The building is intentionally enclosed on all sides to seclude and close off the courthouse so that it could also function as a jailhouse. The outbuilding was not attached to the main building until 1889 in the course of reconstruction work. Some of the first storey windows of the outbuilding have been reconstructed as oval windows, just as they were at the end of the 18th century.

Offices were built in the outbuilding for staff when the Government and Government Office of Estonia moved into Stenbock House.


An old linden tree grows in the middle of the courtyard. This 150-year-old linden tree is one of the oldest trees in Tallinn and for a northern large-leaved linden (Tilia platyphyllos), it is at quite a respectable age.

In spring, the tree comes into leaf two weeks earlier, and in autumn also drops its leaves two weeks earlier than ordinary linden trees. The Stenbock House courtyard linden tree stands in solitary splendour. It has plenty of room to grow, enough light, moisture, warmth, and shelter from the winds. Large-leaved linden trees can live up to a thousand years if the conditions are right.

Õu Õu

The Stenbock House courtyard is an acoustically superb concert hall that does not need additional amplification.

The tradition of music in the Stenbock House courtyard began in 2001. Concerts are held every summer in the courtyard of the Government Building in cooperation with Eesti Kontsert (the National Concert Institute). This concert hall in the courtyard of a building housing the seat of government is unique in the whole of Europe!

The Estonian National Men’s Choir, Hortus Musicus, Rondellus, the Tallinn Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra conducted by Eri Klas, Rein Rannap, Raivo Tafenau, Jaan Tätte and Marko Matvere, the Noorkuu (New Moon) Vocal Group, Helin-Mari Arder, Silvi Vrait, Hedvig Hanson, Gerli Padar, Tõnu Naissoo and many other artists have performed in the Stenbock House courtyard.

The courtyard’s popularity as a place for holding free concerts grew rapidly and by 2002, it was already difficult to find places for all interested visitors.

In memoriam

A memorial plaque In Memoriam hangs on the façade of Stenbock House right beside the gate, dedicated to the heads and members of government who perished in the communist terror. The names of ten heads of government are on the plaque: Friedrich Akel, Ado Birk, Kaarel Eenpalu, Jüri Jaakson, Juhan Kukk, Ants Piip, Konstantin Päts, Otto Strandman, Jaan Teemant, and Jaan Tõnisson. The names of 56 members of government are also on the plaque alongside the heads of government. They all perished in 1941 or 1942.

When the Soviets occupied Estonia, it had been years since most of them had served in their positions but this did not spare them from being branded enemies of the people.