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Attitudes towards landed property among local and absentee landowners in North West Estonia
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2009 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The coastal region of North-West Estonia has a great potential for summer tourism and second homes. During the Soviet period it was a military zone as well as national property and in consequence not exploited for other purposes than strategically. The restitution process of the 1990´s has returned some of the land to former owners and their heirs, while other parts have been sold through public auctions. The descendants of the pre-Soviet landowners, who have had their land restituted, to a large extent live abroad or in remote towns. An intensive land market has developed and exploitation has taken place, at the same time as there is competition between those who want to build summer cottages, those who want to build wind power plants and those who want to restrict use in order to preserve the valuable landscapes and the habitat.

Three main types of private landowners can be identified: First, those with restituted land and have strong emotional bonds to the property of their ancestors and are often unwilling to sell, even though many, at least of those absentees living far away, hardly utilise their domains for anything but a small summer cottage. Secondly, those who prefer the rural calm and forests and build their houses as remotely as possible. Finally, there are urban dwellers for whom rural traditions of behaviour mean little and who have bought an attractive plot for a considerable sum of money, on the other hand, have rapidly built a house, not infrequently within the prohibited 100 m coastal zone, and love to fence off hikers, campers and tourists with fences and signs indicating that this is private land. The private landowner study is based on a postal survey and interviews. In the paper, we discuss the conflicting interests between the private landowners and the public interests, and how they might affect present and future land use and landscape development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
North West Estonia, restitution, land ownership, second homes, emotional bonds
National Category
Agricultural Science Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-106734OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-106734DiVA: diva2:226163
3rd Nordic Geographers Meeting, 8-11 June 2009, Turku, Finland
Land and forest as resources in Estonia
Available from: 2009-06-30 Created: 2009-06-30 Last updated: 2011-12-14Bibliographically approved

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Grubbström, Ann
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