Kärdla, the central town on Hiiumaa, ows its name to a small village of Swedish settlers - but it grew into a city thanks to the broadcloth factory. Founded in 1829 by the barons Ungern-Sternberg, this was one of Estonia's first large textile enterprises, and it retained a prominent role up to the early 20th century. The factory was destroyed in the Second World War.
The factory settlement was carefully designed, and inspired by similar efforts in England. In 1844, the factory workers started to receive plots of land and loans to build homes.
The factory square (former factory yard) is surrounded by former shop masters' houses - single-storey buildings with large gardens, and a 60-meter long wooden house resembling a country manor, the former residence of the factory's director. Now it holds the Hiiumaa Museum, whose permanent exhibition shows the life of a broadcloth factory worker, as well as that of a gentleman.
The museum features a quiz on the life and history of the factory, as well as trial of the skills and knowledge required of a broadcloth factory worker; the latter also needs a fair bit of teamwork.
Virtual tour