Estonia is located in the North-East of Europe on the coast of The Baltic Sea. It is the smallest of the Baltic countries with a population of 1.3 million people, 50 million migrating birds, a fully preserved medieval capital, 1500 islands and magnificent song festivals with 20 000 singers. 50% of Estonia is covered by forest inhabited by 700 bears and 12 000 moose. We have 100% mobile phone coverage, free wifi and a written record of 133 000 folk songs.
Estonians speak a weird, old and entirely incomprehensible language belonging to the Finno-Ugric language group. It is close to Finnish and related to Hungarian. However, you can easily cope here with English or Russian as well as Finnish, German and Swedish. Most of the signs and other information are usually written in at least 3 languages. Estonia is also home to a Russian speaking minority and many other nationalities.
Estonian culture has developed around a unique well-preserved ancient rhythmic folk song tradition that is also influenced by 700 years of German, Swedish and Russian cultural heritage. It has both modern and postmodern twists and visible traces from the Soviet Union era.
The national stereotype of an Estonian is quiet, reserved, reliable and hard-working with a genetic inclination to become a musician or a software developer. We are a peaceful people. During our 5000 year existence on the Baltic coast we have won one war, a fistful of battles and, as recently as 700 years ago, conquered one town. This makes us one of the oldest, most resilient and most stubborn nations in the world. We regained our independence in a peaceful Singing Revolution in 1991. This reflects a national sense of humour which is generally regarded as self-ironic and a bit dry.
In E-stonia e-vrything is E. We have e-government, e-tax office, e-doctor, e-school, mobile parking and we use a digital signature to sign documents (it is really convenient!). In many cases Estonia has been one of the first countries in the world to introduce those services. We like and easily adopt new technologies and sometimes we also like to e-xaggerate.
The Estonian economy is dynamic, flexible and open. However, our fiscal policy is conservative, keeping our state budget balanced (yes, nobody believes it but it is actually true!). We have one of the freest economies in the world, and as one of the most successful transformation countries in the world have one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Estonia heavily invests in innovation, cutting-edge technologies and education (which is e-ducation, of course!) to become and stay competitive.
Estonia is small. You can get almost everywhere in less than 3 hours by car, train or bus if you want to take a day or two to visit the University town Tartu, the island of Saaremaa or nature trails and beaches. Helsinki, the capital of Finland is also just a short boat ride away.
Winters in Estonia are cold, snowy and winter days are short. Summers are mild and around midsummer the nights are only a few hours of twilight. However, to be on the safe side, squeeze a warm jumper and a raincoat into your laptop case.
Estonia is an EU member state and Schengen country that joined the Euro zone in January 2011.
We are happy to have you as our guest here, and we will do our best to make you feel welcome so that you enjoy our country and everything it has to offer.
For more information about Estonia visit www.visitestonia.com and www.estonia.eu or simply drop us an email.