Make leil not war inside the ZiL-131 SAUNUser's  Anni Oviir project in the category Civic initiative

Our mission

We're on a mission to teach the world about Estonian saunas.

This helps Estonia prosper by boosting sauna exports from Estonia, encouraging sauna tourism to Estonia, and improving the image of Estonia internationally. Our sauna industry still has much more potential to grow, but first we need to find creative new ways to introduce Estonia to the world as a sauna-loving nation.

We've already delivered several projects in support of this mission through our company, Estonian Saunas. This has created considerable media coverage about Estonian saunas around the world (some of which you can check out here) and provided more business to sauna owners and manufacturers across the country.
 


 

Our new project to support this mission is our quirkiest and most ambitious yet - and for that we need your help.

We are going to open a new sauna in Tallinn where we can regularly bring together both Estonians and visitors, including journalists, to enjoy good leil and beat themselves with vihad. It can't be just another spa though. It has to be a truly unique experience where we can showcase Estonian sauna design and keep alive Estonian sauna traditions in a very memorable way.

We have been inspired by creative pop-up saunas around the world that we have seen make a positive impact in their communities, such as Sompasauna in Helsinki, Red Hot Sauna in New York (which was created in a fire truck using Estonian design), Beach Box Spa in Brighton, and the floating saunas of Oslo.

That's why we have now acquired a ZiL-131 Soviet Army truck leftover from the occupation, which we plan to bring to Tallinn, renovate on the inside with the best of Estonian design and open up to more people as our new Estonian sauna, named ZiL-131 SAUN. In addition to hosting saunas at its semi-permanent home in Tallinn, in future we also plan to take the truck elsewhere in Estonia and beyond for special pop-up events. Our dream is to take it on a trip to the UK where we are currently most focused on exporting Estonian sauna design and technology by promoting Estonian sauna traditions.
 


 

In the past year, we've personally contributed ourselves to crowdfunding initiatives that support Estonia with similar goals, including HUUM's expansion as Estonia's top sauna stove maker, Tallifornia's production of the movie "Chasing Unicorns", and Peter Vesterbacka's plans for a Talsinki tunnel. We support crowdfunding because it provides not just the advanced funding required to deliver the project, but also the demonstration of wider support that provides the momentum that we need. In our case, this is crucial for forming partnerships with the businesses that will host our ZiL-131 SAUN.

By backing this project, you'll help make this happen here in Tallinn by providing the advanced funding we need to open it up as a visitor attraction in Tallinn, but also by demonstrating the interest that we need to form partnerships with businesses who will host our truck.

In return, we have a range of rewards for people and companies based both here in Estonia and around the world that want to help. All backers paying €10 or more will also be given the title of honorary saunamaster and have their name displayed inside the vehicle.
 

Why a ZiL-131?

We write an Estonian saunas blog about weird and wonderful saunas around Estonia. That's how we first discovered and wrote about this ZiL-131 when it was put up for sale half a year ago.

This ZiL-131 Soviet Army truck was seized by the Estonian Army after the end of the occupation and remained in service for Estonia until 2008. It was then auctioned off and converted into a sauna at a home in Virumaa before the owner decided it was time for it to find a new home.

After publishing our own article, we were surprised to discover that no one had bought it though, so we went to check it out and ended up buying it ourselves.

The ZiL-131 was an icon of its era, but also reflects the darkest part of Estonian history, so we were fascinated by the idea of totally subverting the original purpose of this truck. The exterior will remain a brutal reminder of its era, but with your help the interior will be transformed with the best of Estonian design and provide a warm welcome to anyone who wishes to learn about the longer story of Estonia and its ancient sauna heritage.

Our ZiL-131 was created for occupation, but will now be used to celebrate freedom. It was created to suppress our Estonian identity, but will now showcase our culture and design. It was created for soldiers in heavy uniforms, but will now be used by people wearing nothing at all.
 


 

The truck is in relatively good condition, but there a number of improvements that we want to make. Most importantly, the heart of the sauna should be a HUUM stove made in Estonia. We also need to make the vehicle more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. In the future, we may remove the eesruum (pre-room) so that the truck is one entire leiliruum (hot room). Finally, we will print "Make leil not war" on the back of the truck!

We will first take the ZiL-131 SAUN to Otepää for the European Sauna Marathon, then take it to Tallinn where we will find a suitable location to open it up for visitors, both locally and from abroad.

In addition to our short video at the top of this page, you can also watch the full video of us exploring the ZiL-131 SAUN for the first time and discussing the history behind it HERE. https://youtu.be/o2X2sClLnp0.

We look forward to hosting as many of you here as possible.
 

Crowdfunding goals

  • €4,000: We will renovate the leiliruum (sauna hot room) including with an Estonian HUUM stove, for the opening of the ZiL-131 SAUN to visitors in Tallinn this year.
  • €8,000: We will renovate both the leiliruum and the eesruum (sauna pre-room) for the opening of the ZiL-131 SAUN to visitors in Tallinn this year.
  • €12,000: We will totally redesign the interior for the opening of the ZiL-131 SAUN this year by removing the eesruum entirely so that the truck is one large leiliruum that can fit 10 people at the same time.

We aim to achieve all these goals over time, but the crowdfunding will enable us to achieve all of these in 2020. We have kept mechanical work separate because we are still investigating the best solution to make the truck more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient.
 

About us

We're an Estonian couple who are passionate about preserving and promoting Estonian sauna traditions, design, and expertise - and ultimately helping more people enjoy good leil.

 


 

Anni Oviir is from Tallinn and grew up with a love for saunas, while Adam Rang is a väliseestläne (diaspora Estonian) born in the UK who only learnt to love sauna culture after moving to Estonia for the first time and meeting Anni. When not enjoying saunas, Anni is a green building specialist who is passionate about improving environmental standards in Estonian construction, while Adam is an entrepreneur who helped develop the e-Residency programme and is passionate about helping more people connect to Estonia.

In order to help more people internationally learn about Estonian saunas, we write an Estonian saunas blog and also share content on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We've also started developing our YouTube channel.

In addition, here are some of the projects we've already successfully delivered to help more people enjoy Estonian saunas:

  • We opened Tallinn's only working smoke sauna for visitors at our home using a contemporary Estonian design from Iglucraft. You can learn more about it HERE.
  • We opened online stores at EstonianSaunas.com and EstonianSaunas.co.uk for people around the world to buy Estonian sauna stoves made by HUUM.
  • We invested in Estonian sauna related crowdfunding initiatives ourselves, including to support HUUM's expansion as an exporter.
  • We opened the first WiFi-controlled sauna made in Estonia by HUUM at our previous home, which we now rent out to visitors and use to host journalists who want to learn about the technology.
  • We regularly host sauna events, such as at Heldeke! in Tallinn, and present a show called 'how to sauna the Estonian way' where we educate visitors about Estonia's sauna history in a fun way - and of course let them use the sauna.
  • We've supported the European Sauna Marathon in Otepää for a number of years, including as an official sponsor for the first time this year. We plan to take our ZIL-131 there too.
  • We've found creative ways to generate news stories around the world about Estonia from inside our saunas, including by being the first people to start a company in a sauna and the first people to vote in national elections while having a sauna.

This attention has also created a problem though.

We now receive more requests to visit our home sauna than we can handle, especially as we now have a baby at home too. That's why we began searching for an interesting new sauna in Tallinn that we can use to host people more regularly. The ZiL-131 SAUN was the perfect solution.

For updates on this project or to send us a message, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You can also email us at tere@estoniansaunas.com.
 


 

Overview of rewards for backers

Thank you from the sauna:
We appreciate all the help we can get. For the price of buying us a coffee, we'll thank you for backing our project by name on our blog and also in a video on our YouTube channel that we'll film while taking a sauna inside the ZiL-131 SAUN.

ZiL-131 SAUN Honorary Saunamaster:
We'll frame your name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.
 


 

ZiL-131 SAUN visit in Tallinn:
We will host you for an afternoon sauna at the ZiL-131 SAUN with other backers of the project. These sessions will take place in April, June, August and September 2020 in Tallinn on weekend dates to be agreed. Also, we'll frame your name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.

Leil T-shirts:
We have made two types of T-shirts to help spread the meaning of leil (sauna steam) in English. This is something we are passionate about because there are currently no Estonian words in English and we think "leil" is the perfect word to introduce, especially as it also raises awareness of Estonia as a sauna-loving nation. You can choose either style of T-shirt in your size and shipping is included to anywhere in the world. The first T-shirt has the slogan of our ZiL-131 SAUN: "Make leil not war". It's available in military green with a white stenciled font.

Our second T-shirt shows a dictionary definition of leil in English so that it's ready to be inserted directly into dictionaries and vocabularies. This is available in a range of colours. For either T-shirt, we'll also frame your name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.
 


 

"Make leil not war" towel:
We've made towels with our ZiL-131 SAUN slogan: "Make leil not war". It's not only useful when going to the sauna, but also helps more people around the world know about leil and start using the word in English too. There are currently no Estonian words in the English language so we would like to fix that by adding "leil". Shipping is included, anywhere in the world. Also, we'll frame your name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.

Rangi Saun visit in Tallinn:
We will host you for a sauna at our home in Tallinn with other backers of the project. Our home has Tallinn's only working smoke sauna and we use it to educate visitors about Estonia's sauna history, culture, designs and traditions. You can learn more about our home sauna HERE. These sessions will take place in April, June, August and September 2020 on weekend dates to be agreed. Also, we'll frame your name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.
 


 

ZiL-131 SAUN private group visit:
We will host you and up to 4 friends/colleagues for a private 4 hour sauna session at the ZiL-131 SAUN in Tallinn. During this time, we would happily join you to discuss our research into the history and traditions of Estonian culture ...or just let you enjoy the sauna to yourself. Also, we'll frame your name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.

Blog feature:
If your organisation supports sauna culture then we will create an in-depth profile about your company on our Estonian Saunas blog in a way that is interesting for our audience, while also thanking you for backing our project. Our blog is very niche, but our journalism is high quality and in-depth, our content ranks well for SEO as a result, and we attract a dedicated audience of enthusiasts in Estonia and its saunas. We know from experience that it does generate extra business for companies featured. For an example of how we profile companies for our blog, check out a feature we wrote about TransferWise HERE. Also, we'll frame you and your company's name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.

Blog and YouTube feature:
If your organisation supports sauna culture then we will create both an in-depth profile about your company on our Estonian Saunas blog and also a video on our Estonian Saunas YouTube channel of us visiting and learning about your company. We will do this in a way that is interesting for our audience, while also thanking you for backing our project. Our blog and YouTube channel are very niche, but our journalism is high quality and in-depth, our content ranks well for SEO as a result, and we attract a dedicated audience of enthusiasts in Estonia and its saunas. We know from experience that it does generate extra business for companies featured. For an example of how we profile companies, check out a blog feature we wrote about TransferWise HERE. Also, we'll frame you and your company's name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.

Company sauna session at Rangi Saun in Tallinn:
We will host your company with up to 15 employees at our sauna at our home in Tallinn and serve food. Our home has Tallinn's only working smoke sauna and we use it to educate visitors about Estonia's sauna history, culture, designs and traditions, which we will discuss with you in between enjoying the sauna. We'll also discuss other sauna traditions around the world. You can learn more about our home sauna at HERE. This can take place any time in 2020. Also, we'll frame you and your company's name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.

24 hours with the ZiL-131 SAUN, anywhere in Harjumaa:
This is ideal for company summer or winter days and can take place any time in 2020. We will deliver the ZiL-131 SAUN to you and collect it the next day so you can host your own sauna session with it or you can invite us to host your sauna session and we will give a talk about the history and traditions of sauna culture in Estonia and around the world. Also, we'll frame you and your company's name inside the ZiL-131 SAUN on a list of Honorary Saunamasters and send you a digital certificate.

  • 46 backers
  • 2215€raised of 4000€ goal
  • 3 days
    The project will only be financed on 25. February if it raises the amount of money it has set as its goal
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