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Ilon Wikland, whose first homeland is Estonia and who has spent a part of her childhood at Haapsalu with her grandparents before emigrating to Sweden during the war, is known as the illustrator of most books by Astrid Lindgren, with whom she has been a partner and a close friend for a long time.  


The idea of Wikland World at Haapsalu had been up for years but finally the initiative was taken by a lecturer of Haninge Tourism College – a good aquaintance of Ilon. Three students from the college came over with a mission, as their diploma work, to find a suitable place for the children’s playground, dedicated to Ilon Wikland.


The municipality of Haapsalu took interest in the idea and several places were discussed about, but seeing the over 200-year-old library house for children, where they came to find some material about Wikland, and sitting by the fireplace and having refreshment, they said “Why not here? The more, that one of Wikland’s wishes was to have it near either a bookshop or a library.”


This is a perfect place for a children’s world together with the backyard area between children’s art school and library, including some inner rooms of both houses.


By the end of the century the north wing of the library house for children’s activities was repaired and Ilon’s Rooms were opened in 2001, consisting of  the Candle Hall  with 50 seats and so called Ilon’s Reading Room for smaller acitvities.

In summer 2002, a part of the playground for younger children was completed in the yard close to the library.


The whole project is rather expensive, so it will take time to accomplish it. Besides, the library building itself was waiting for general repairs for many years and it was only by the end of 2008, that the house has been totally renewed and enlarged.


Ilon Wikland has emphasized two things – the project should not be of commercial purposes and better not use A. Lindgren’s creation, but base it on characters from the Estonian folklore and literature for children.


Ilon’s yard has become popular among children and parents and is never quite empty, the more that in summer various activities for children – reading, singing, games, video, handiwork etc.- are offered here two days a week.


Traditional reading promotion activities, organized by the children’s library, take place in the newly repaired house all year round as well as many other suitable entertainments, such as concerts, hours of poetry and music, theatre performances, conferences, little private birthday parties etc. etc.