Source: Eesti Vabariik 99: 15 tsitaati kodumaa kohta
Saturday, 25 February 2017
To mark the 99th birthday of the Republic of Estonia, Delfi Newspaper published a list of 15 quotes (in Estonian) by some of humanity's great thinker relating to love for your homeland.
1. "Kõigist raskustest hoolimata on Eesti õppinud selgeks ühe olulise tõe: kui tahad, et sind koheldakse riigina, tuleb ka käituda riigina." Lennart Meri
2. "Ärge küsige, mida saab kodumaa teie jaoks teha. Küsige, mida saate teie kodumaa jaoks teha." John Fitzgerald Kennedy
3. "Isamaa on ju nagu naine: kui sa ütled, et sa teda armastad, siis pead teda ka kasutama, muidu on sinu armujutt tühine." Anton Hansen Tammsaare
4. "Võõramaa libedal jääl oli palju raskem ennast püsti ajada kui kodukandi tuttaval pinnal." Erich Maria Remarque
5. "Ei ole suuremat valu, kui isamaa kaotus." Euripides
6. "Meist igaühest sõltub Eesti püsimine." Lennart Meri
7. "Me võime kurta - ja tihti just seda teemegi - et Eesti väiksus ei lase meil midagi teha. Seejuures kipume aga unustama, et tugevus peitub sisus." Toomas Hendrik Ilves
8. "Eesti suurim turvalisusrisk on harimatus." Jaak Jõerüüt
9. "Meie väikesele rahvusele on hariduse edu iseäranis tähtis, sest ainult iseseisvale rahvuslikule kultuurile tuginev väikeriik võib püsida ja püsima jääda teiste suuremate riikide keskel." Johannes Käis
10. "Eesti riigist saab kõigi siin elavate inimeste kodu vaid eeldusel, et selle elanikud oma kodu hoiavad ja kaitsevad, mitte aga ei ürita seda kodu maha müüa või põlema panna." Toomas Hendrik Ilves
11. "Meid, eestlasi, on niivõrd vähe, et iga eestlase siht peab olema surematus!" Jaan Kross
12. "Eesti rahvas on arvult väike. Seepärast ei tohi mitte ühegi inimese saatusele käega lüüa." Toomas Hendrik Ilves
13. "Kõigist raskustest hoolimata on Eesti õppinud selgeks ühe olulise tõe: kui tahad, et sind koheldakse riigina, tuleb ka käituda riigina." Lennart Meri
14. "Eesti ei saagi kunagi valmis. Ta kasvab paremaks ja tugevamaks. Ta küpseb avatumaks ja suuremaks. Meie ühise armastuse ja hoolimise toel." Toomas Hendrik Ilves
15. "Kõigist tundmusist koledaim on see, kui sa usu oma rahvusesse ja isamaasse kaotad." August Gailit
Source: Eesti Vabariik 99: 15 tsitaati kodumaa kohta
Friday, 24 February 2017
To commemorate the 99th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, President Kersti Kaljulaid bestowed 113 state decorations on individuals yesterday for their distinguished work and support of the Estonian nation. The event took place at the NUKU Theatre in Tallinn.
It is great to see some familiar names among the recipients. Maie Barrow in particular has done an excellent job preserving Estonian heritage and culture in Australia. Congratulations!
It is great to see some familiar names among the recipients. Maie Barrow in particular has done an excellent job preserving Estonian heritage and culture in Australia. Congratulations!
2017 RECIPIENTS OF ESTONIAN STATE DECORATIONS
The Order of the National Coat of Arms, 2nd Class
Taavi Rõivas, Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia from 2014-2016
The Order of the White Star, 3rd Class
Marek Helm, developer of the tax and customs system
Andrei Jämsä, rower
Priit Perens, promoter of banking
Allar Raja, rower
Kaspar Taimsoo, rower
Lembit Ulfsak, actor
The Order of the White Star, 4th Class
Tõnu Aas, power engineer
Hiie Asser, promoter of language immersion, school director
Jaan Janno, mathematician, Tallinn University of Technology professor
Anne Kahru, ecotoxicologist, Estonian Academy of Sciences researcher and professor
Tiina Kallavus, school director, promoter of special needs education
Sirje Keevallik, atmospheric physicist, professor at Tallinn University of Technology
Ivi Kesküla, judge
Epp Maria Kokamägi, artist
Ülle Kruus, art historian
Mare Kõiva, folklore researcher
Andrus Maruoja, state official
Andrus Miilaste, judge
Natalia Miilvee, prosecutor
Ülle-Marike Papp, social scientist, promoter of gender equality
Peeter Peedomaa, promoter of entrepreneurship
Anti Puusepp, promoter of entrepreneurship
Riina Reinvelt, ethnologist, developer of the Estonian National Museum
Aarne Siimsen, state official
Niina Sõtnik, school director, promoter of education
Aare Toikka, producer, theater director
Indrek Treufeldt, TV journalist, lecturer
Peeter Urbla, film director, promoter of culture
Raul Vaiksoo, architect
Martin Veinmann, actor, teacher
Taavi Veskimägi, promoter of the energy sector
Raivo Vilu, biotechnologist, Tallinn University of Technology professor
Andres Ülviste, prosecutor
The Order of the White Star, 5th Class
Anneli Ammas, journalist
Väino Aren, actor
Angela Arraste, dance teacher
Maie Barrow, preserver of Estonian heritage in Australia
Aavi Dobrõš - recorder of history
Ivo Felt, film producer, sound engineer
Igor Garšnek, composer, musicologist
Rein Grünbach, art teacher
Johan Patrik Göransson, clergyman, keeper of Estonian-Swedish cultural heritage
Taimi Hillak, promoter of entrepreneurship
Maaja-Katrin Kerem, qualifications system developer
Ülle Kikas, promoter of education
Harri Koiduste, promoter of wrestling
Kaja Kärner, radio journalist
Mart Laanpere, promoter of the digital sector in education
Ira Lember, author
Ulla Länts, radio journalist
Silja Lättemäe, journalist
Kadri Mälk, jewelry designer
Janika Mölder, gymnastics trainer
Anne Oruaas, promoter of local life in Harju County
Sirje Plaks, promoter of lifelong learning
Rein Purje, recorder of history
Rein Raudsep, geologist, state official
Evar Riitsaar, artist, promoter of Seto culture
Ann Roos, organizer of children's creative contest "Sten's fairytale contest"
Ants Roos, organizer of children's creative contest "Sten's fairytale contest"
Ülo Roos, historian
Olivia Saar, children's author
Harry Seinberg, athletics trainer
Laine Sepp, music teacher
Juhan Sihver, Estonian broadcasting historian
Liivi Soova, promoter of handicrafts and folk art
Toomas Mihkel Sõrra, preserver of Estonian heritage in the U.S.
Tõnu Talvi, conservationist
Tiiu Teesalu, historian
Peeter Vähi, composer
The Order of the White Star, Medal
Reet Kaljula, promoter of the will to defend
Krzysztof Mieczysław Kaminski, servant of the Estonian Embassy in Poland
Tiina Kivikas, adjuster
The Order of the Red Cross, 2nd Class
Tõnu Endrekson, rower
Enn Jõeste, pathologist
Kaiu Suija, oncologist, helper of cancer patients
Karin Varik, children's surgeon
The Order of the Red Cross, 3rd Class
Märt Elmet, cardiologist
Ants Kass, orthopedist
Janek Laev, rescue officer
Toomas Tartes, surgeon
The Order of the Red Cross, 4th Class
Marianne Kuzemtšenko, helper of individuals with autism
Annika Laats, clergyman, organizer of pastoral care
Katarina Seeherr, music therapist, helper of individuals with special needs
Teija Tuula Marjatta Toivari, hospice developer
Reet Veenpere, speech therapist
The Order of the Red Cross, 5th Class
Arne Aas, blood donor
Priit Kaja, blood donor
Allen Leego, blood donor
Tõnu Lukk, blood donor
Aina Pääro, promoter of health
The Order of the Cross of the Eagle, 1st Class
Werner Freers, promoter of defense cooperation, general, Germany
The Order of the Cross of the Eagle, 3rd Class
Arnaud Coustillière, promoter of defense cooperation, vice admiral, France
The Order of the Cross of the Eagle, 4th Class with Swords
Eduard Meemann, freedom fighter
The Order of the Cross of the Eagle, 4th Class
Margo Grosberg, active serviceman, major
Illar Jõgi, police official, police lieutenant colonel
Hendrik Lõbu, security police officer
Merike Pappel, security police officer
The Order of the Cross of the Eagle, Silver Cross
Ramil Sadikov, active serviceman, sergeant major
The Order of the Cross of the Eagle, Iron Cross
Janek Pinta, police official, senior superintendent
Maarja Punak, police official, senior superintendent
The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 2nd Class
Alexander Russell Vershbow, supporter of security cooperation, U.S.
The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 3rd Class
Heinrich Brauss, NATO deputy secretary general Deputy Secretary General
Pär Anders Nuder, promoter of Estonian-Swedish relations
James J. Townsend, Jr., supporter of security cooperation, U.S.
Tadahiko Yoshino, promoter of Estonian-Japanese relations
The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 4th Class
Norbert Angermann, promoter of cooperation in history, Germany
Serge Arnould, former honorary consul in Lyon, France
Bo Hugemark, promoter of Estonian-Swedish relations
Michael N. Schmitt, promoter of cybersecurity cooperation, U.S.
The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 5th Class
Nils Riess, producer, promoter of Estonian theater, U.S.
Arvo Sulo Survo, promoter of Finno-Ugric culture, Finland
To view photos of the ceremony, please click here:
President andis täna riikliku teenetemärgi 113 inimesele
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
February 22nd is a very special day to me. It is my grandmother's birthday as well the birthday of a few other significant people in my life. My grandmother would have turned 103 today if she were still alive but sadly we lost her in 1989. Her memory lives on however, in the fascinating stories my father often shares with me and in the photos that surround my home.
My grandmother experienced a lot during her lifetime. She lost her father at a young age, then her mother passed away a few years after making the move from Tartu to Tallinn. In September 1939 she married her Baltic German husband and moved to the Warthegau region as part of the Baltic German Resettlement Program. She lived in Łódź, Poland for several years during WWII before fleeing to the West to escape the advancing Red Army. My grandmother had a deep-seated fear and hatred of Russian soldiers from that chapter in her life. The Soviets were known to commit horrendous atrocities, not just in the Warthegau region but across Europe. After the war my grandmother took refugee in the displaced persons camp in Hamburg known as 'Zoo Camp'. While there she divorced her cheating husband who had abandoned the family and slowly embarked upon a new life. She meet my grandfather Alexander during her time in Hamburg and joined him when he emigrated to Australia in 1948. They both wanted to start a new life together far away from the destruction of war. Australia gave my grandmother the fresh start she needed but she always said 'Europa die Best'.
I will remember my grandmother for many things but she was best known for her dolls clothes. She had a small business making dolls clothes and my father and uncle often acted as her sales agents. They delivered her dolls clothes all across Sydney. When I used to visit her as a child I loved gazing upon her sewing room that was full of colourful fabrics, ribbons and lace. She had cupboards full of dolls clothes all carefully marked denoting size. It was heaven for me!
Of course I have preserved many of my grandmother's dolls clothes but I wish I had more.
Monday, 20 February 2017
The Chancellery of the Riigikogu has decided that the traditional morning flag-raising ceremony on Feb. 24, Estonia's Independence Day, will return to its original location in the Governor's Garden next to Toompea Castle.
The ceremony has been held in the courtyard of Toompea Castle, the seat of the the Riigikogu, for the last 17 years. Prior to that, it had been held in the Governor's Garden adjacent to the building from 1989-1999.
"People have taken beginning Independence Day with the raising of our blue, black and white flag so close to heart over the years that there is no longer enough room for us in the courtyard of Toompea Castle," spokespeople quoted President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor as saying. "Therefore I invite everyone to the flag-raising ceremony in the Governor's Garden, where you will have a much better view of the flag being raised on the Tall Hermann Tower."
The ceremony on the 24th will begin at 7:33 a.m. with the raising of the Estonian flag as the national anthem plays. Following this, the President of the Riigikogu will give a speech and the Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Urmas Viilma will read a blessing.
The flag-raising ceremony is traditionally attended by members of the Riigikogu and the government, representatives of constitutional institutions and the diplomatic corps as well as members of the color guards of patriotic and student organizations and the public.
Thursday, 16 February 2017
Patterns of Freedom is a universal story of refugees and their search for identity in the face of loss and exile. This multi-award winning film focuses on the indigenous Estonian women, who fled their homeland in the 1944 Baltic Diaspora, with nothing more than a fierce love of their culture and the skills in their hands. These mothers and grandmothers passed on the handcraft skills of their ancestral homeland to generations growing up in exile.
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
To mark Valentine's Day, the Estonian Statistical Office posed the question, 'what is the portrait of couples in Estonia?' They sifted through data on the register and drew these conclusions.
Between 1970 - 1980 approximately 12,000 marriage ceremonies took place in Estonia each year. Since the 1990s the number of new marriages per year began to fall sharply with only 5000 - 6000 couples deciding to tie the knot.
As of 1st January 2017, there were nearly 250,000 married couples in Estonia. Many marriages end as a result of divorce or death or a partner. Currently, of the lasting marriages, 88% of married couples have lived together for at least five years. Slightly more than half of couples (52%) have celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. Although 50 years of cohabitation seems relatively rare, however, more than 15 000 couples have reached this milestone. In Estonia, the average marriage lasted nearly 25 years.
If we then look at names in Estonia, popular names of couples who have been together the longest (58 years on average) are: Aino & Evald (7 couples) and Helmi & Ülo (5 couples). Popular names of new couples, i.e. people who have been married for an average of 1-2 years are Anna & Nikita (6), Kairi & Martin (5), and Anton & Veronika (7).
In honour of Valentine's Day, it is interesting to note that there are 32 couples in Estonia with the names Valentin and Valentina, who have lived together for nearly 30 years on average.
To read the full ERR report (in Estonian), please click here: Eesti abielupaaride koondportree
Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Happy Valentine's Day! I wish everyone the very best on this joyous day. If you're unable to spend quality time with your loved one today I hope you send him / her heart warming words to let them know exactly what they mean to you. Everyone needs to feel loved and today is the day to show it! Have a great day!
Monday, 13 February 2017
I came across this article in the French press tonight and thought I would share. The original story was written in French and can be viewed here: Saint-Valentin: en Estonie, on soigne les coeurs brisés à la pâte d'amande
Inside Tallinn's famous Raeapteek Pharmacy
On the eve of Valentine's Day, a pharmacy in Tallinn founded in 1422 promises to treat broken hearts with an almond paste whose recipe dates back to the Middle Ages.
Located on the market square in Tallinn's historic old town, the Raeapteek pharmacy has been operating for 588 years and boasts being the oldest in Europe.
"Since the Middle Ages, we have been preparing and selling a special recipe for treating heartache'', says Ulle Noodapera, a pharmacy employee.
"We still manufacture this special almond paste because the demand has been maintained for centuries and there are always patients with symptoms of heart sickness," she adds.
The exact recipe remains a carefully guarded secret.
"It is not an ordinary almond paste, but a special recipe that dates back to the Middle Ages. It contains 72% almonds and 28% other undisclosed ingredients", says Noodapera. The mysterious almond paste costs 1€ for 40 grams,
The Raeapteek is no ordinary pharmacy. A separate room features displays of potions used over the centuries for their miraculous qualities - dried frog's legs, perch eyes, black cat blood, lanolin extracted from dirty sheep's wool, fragments of an exotic mummy, worms in Oil, burnt bees, wolf tripe and rabbit hearts.
"You can find it funny and ridiculous but there was always a reason why these products were prescribed by a doctor and sold at the pharmacy," says Noodapera.
"For example, valerian was recommended for people with vision problems, because cats love it and are known to have very good eyesight."
The history of the Raeapteek pharmacy has been intertwined with that of the Estonian capital through the centuries.
Founded by the German physician Johan Molner in 1422, it passed in 1580 to the hands of a Hungarian doctor named Johann Burchart Belavary of Sykava, whose family led it for the next three centuries.
During this period, the pharmacy also functioned as a club popular with the gentry and where alcohol freely flowed.
"During the Middle Ages, the pharmacy functioned as a kind of closed club for those in charge of the municipality of Tallinn, who liked to gather there after the working sessions at the Town Hall, " says Noodapera.
"The possibility of gathering at the pharmacy gave them more privacy to party than the pubs in the city. In the Middle Ages, the pharmacy also sold alcohol, so there were plenty of drinks to warm the Spirit,"she adds. The eight spice Klaret remains popular to this day.
Saturday, 11 February 2017
Estonia's ice roads are now officially opened for the season. The ice has been declared thick enough to be driven on. There are seven official ice roads in Estonia, with the longest being 25 km linking the island of Hiiumaa to the mainland.
Visit Estonia.com have put together a report of everything you need to know about ice roads in Estonia. It is very informative and outlines all the key facts and safety requirements.
Friday, 10 February 2017
Great news! Researchers from the University of Tartu made a breakthrough in the development of human papillomavirus (HPV) drugs!
Almost all people get a papillomavirus infection at some point of their life but the majority of them pass relatively harmlessly. More than 200 subtypes of human papillomaviruses exist and they cause different illnesses, ranging from not so dangerous ones (warts) to throat and cervical cancer.
To read more, please click here: University of Tartu researchers made a breakthrough in the development of human papillomavirus drugs
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Monday, 6 February 2017
Travel website Trip Advisor has named the best hotels in Estonia based on customer reviews for service. Tallinn's Hotell Palace was voted number one followed by the 4 star St.Petersbourg Hotel.
Here are the results:
1. Hotel Palace - Tallinn
2. St. Petersbourg Hotel - Tallinn
3. Savoy Boutique Hotel - Tallinn
4. Swissotel Tallinn
5. Hotel Telegraaf - Tallinn
6. Hedon Spa & Hotel - Pärnu
7. The Three Sisters - Tallinn
8. Hotel Schlossle - Tallinn
9. Padaste Manor - Muhu
10. Solo Sokos Hotel Estoria - Tallinn
To read more please click here: Top 10 Hotels for Service — Estonia
According to a press release by Statistics Estonia, a total of more than 3 million domestic and foreign tourists stayed at accommodation establishments in Estonia in 2016, representing a 7 percent increase over 2015.
In 2016, 1.3 million domestic and 2 million foreign tourists used the services of accommodation establishments in Estonia. Compared to 2015, the number of both foreign and domestic tourists increased 7 percent.
Of the foreign tourists to use these services, 46 percent arrived from Finland, 10 percent from Russia and 7 percent from Latvia, representing a year over year increase of 5, 8 and 11 percent, respectively. 2016 also saw an increase in the number of accommodated tourists from Germany, Sweden and Lithuania, while the number of tourists arriving from Asian countries increased throughout the year as well.
73 percent of foreign tourists accommodated came to Estonia on vacation and 21 percent on business trips while the remainder had some other reason for visiting Estonia. 62 percent of domestic tourists were on vacation while 23 percent were traveling for business.
In December 2016, 255,000 domestic and foreign tourists stayed in accommodation establishments, which is 9 percent more than in December 2015. Of these, 151,000 were foreign tourists, an 11-percent increase over December 2015, with more tourists visiting Estonia from neighboring countries and other major tourism partners, including Germany, Lithuania, the U.K. and Asian countries. 104,000, or 41 percent of customers of accommodation establishments, were domestic tourists, representing an 8-percent increase year over year.
In December, 908 accommodation establishments offered services for tourists, including 19,000 rooms and a total of 43,000 beds; 42 percent of rooms and 34 percent of beds were occupied. The average cost of one night of accommodation per guest was €37, remaining at December 2015 levels.
Source: ERR NEWS Number of tourists to stay in Estonia increased 7 percent in 2016
Saturday, 4 February 2017
After seven years of planning and construction, the National Archives of Estonia opened its new main building Noora in Tartu this week. Following an invitational event on Wednesday, Noora kicked off a three-day open house on Thursday during which the public is welcome on guided tours of the facilities and can see the original 1920 Treaty of Tartu.
"Noora is the Estonian state and society’s memory," state archivist Priit Prisko told ETV’s "Aktuaalne kaamera." "Predominantly written memory, but not only. Namely the memory that bolsters the Estonian state and society just as people are bolstered by their own memory. If there were no archives, the state would be unable to function normally."
According to Access and Enquiry Department director Tõnis Türna, people interested in learning about their own family history, for example, should not be afraid to visit the archives. The understanding, he said, that the archives are a closed institution meant only for researchers is a thing of the past.
"Everyone for whom it seems difficult to begin and would still like to ask for help from an archivist is always welcome here," Türna said encouragingly. "We are open Monday through Friday; nobody will be sent away."
The open house event at Noora, located at Nooruse 3, Tartu, lasts through Saturday, and includes guided tours of the facility, hands-on workshops, a series of lectures and film screenings as well as the opportunity to see the original Treaty of Tartu from 1920. All events are free to the public.
Archive materials: from records dating back to the 13th century to nearly 10 million meters of film.
According to its website, the National Archives, which also include branches in Tallinn, Rakvere and Valga, collects and preserves records documenting history, culture, nationhood and social conditions in Estonia regardless of time or place of creation or medium.
The collections of the archives include nearly 9 million records, the oldest of which dates back to 1240 — with the oldest on display at Noora, including a seal with the three leopards, or lions, used on Estonia’s National Coat of Arms today, dating to 1252 — and more than 15 million digital images on the web, which represents approximately just 1.5 percent of the archives’ collections.
The National Archives also boast 9.5 million meters of film recordings, more than half a million photos, almost 100,000 maps, 2,200 seals and approximately 1,500 parchments.
The digitized collections of the National Archives can be accessed via the Archives Information System AIS (link in Estonian).
To read the full article, including archive events to be held today, please click here:
Friday, 3 February 2017
To mark the opening of the largest Euronics store in the Baltic States, management of the new Tartu branch decided to do something a bit spectacular. They constructed the world's largest mosaic artwork made from used batteries. The mosaic is 25 square metres in size, made of 180,000 batteries and was built by students from Tartu Art College. A representative of Guinness World Records was on site to verify the achievement.
A puzzle made from 180,000 used batteries
More photos can be viewed here: Pildid: Tartus sündis Guinnessi rekord
The great thing about being in Estonia is that you have a good chance of becoming the national champion in almost any sport. More than 97 percent of people on this planet belong to countries with larger populations, after all. However, if the sport is kiiking, wife carrying, or saunas, then it’s fairly likely that an Estonian is actually the world champion too.
On that note, the Southern Estonian town of Otepää is hosting the European Sauna Marathon 2017 on Feb. 4. In fact, Otepää hosts the European Sauna Marathon every year because Estonia is still one of just two countries in Europe (and the world) that consider this to be some kind of sport. The other is Finland.
Up to 1,000 participants are expected to strip off at what is usually the coldest time of year and race between 27 saunas, as well as ice holes, hot tubs, and a few surprises along the way. If that’s not bad enough for them, this year ERR will be there to film it.
Expect extremes: This marathon is not for the weak
Average temperatures in Otepää at the start of February are around -7°C, although it is not uncommon for the temperature to drop even lower.
“A couple of years ago we had -20°C during the event,” recalls event organiser Sirje Ginter. “I remember one sauna owner was cutting the icehole on his pond all night because it kept freezing up. There were huge ice blocks in the morning.”
Considering that some saunas can be heated to more than 100°C, that’s a 120°C temperature difference. Nothing for the weak.
There are a wide range of saunas on the course, including a smoke sauna, an igloo sauna, an Indian sauna, a vehicle sauna, a sauna tent, and an inflatable sauna.
“Of course there are always urban people who have never seen the smoke sauna,” adds Ginter.
At the start of the race, each team is given a sauna map to navigate the course, and a sauna card that gets marked at each location they visit.
All team members have to spend at least three minutes in each sauna or incur a 30-minute penalty for any saunas not visited. They can also reduce their time by ten minutes every time all team members jump in a hot tub, and when at least one team member jumps in an ice hole.
There have been a range of colourful costumes over the years, which are often more commonly worn by British stag and hen parties in Tallinn’s old town, including Borat, doctors, angels, brides, Vikings, Spartans, and Soviet military officers. Most participants opt for sauna hats, dressing gowns, and swimming costumes, although the bravest participants do not require any clothes when running between the saunas and their ice hole.
Bring a towel... and a car
Stopping to take saunas isn’t the only thing that makes this marathon slightly unconventional. In fact, the word “marathon” is used very loosely.
For a start, you’ll need a car. The total distance is around 100 km (assuming you don’t get lost), as some saunas are in the neighbouring municipalities of Valgjärve, Sangaste, Palupera, and Urvaste. Previous participants have used everything from Hummers to old Soviet ambulances to get around, although it’s probably best not to use a vehicle with nice leather seats.
“Last year I saw a local guy in the ditch with his car and he couldn’t get out,” explains Ginter. “There were participants in a Hummer who just popped out of the car half naked, took the rope, and pulled this car out. I don’t know what the local guy must have thought about it.”
In addition, the winners are not necessarily the first participants across the line, as the organisers are keen to ensure all traffic laws are obeyed. Participants are gently reminded that the police will be there to make sure the event runs smoothly. Instead, the top three prizes will be randomly allocated among the first 30 teams.
Another key difference with this marathon is that there are no tests for performance enhancing drugs. Instead, competitors are warned not to take one particular performance deteriorating drug, alcohol. Also, participants are not allowed to keep any alcoholic drinks in the car—participants can be checked by the police. Instead, there will be an after party at Otepää’s Kääriku Sports Centre for that.
Last year’s competition: 192 teams, including ambassadors
The format of the competition has not changed much since the first event organised by local businesspeople in 2011, although there were only 60 participants then and the number has increased every year since. The event is now co-hosted by the Otepää Culture Centre, the Otepää Rural Municipality, and the sauna owners themselves.
There were a record 192 teams competing last year, of which 181 were from Estonia. The international participants have included visitors from Latvia and Russia, as well as students, embassy staff, and even ambassadors.
“The Sauna Marathon remains one of the silliest things I’ve ever done and I loved it,” says former U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Levine. “My best advice to those who are actually serious about doing well in the event is to wear shoes that fit and have a driver who knows the area.”
Levine has retained his links with Estonia, as he now works for the Estonian technology company Teleport, albeit from the considerably warmer climes of California, which gives him a legitimate excuse to not attend the competition again this year.
Arguably the most valuable prize is actually awarded to the owners of the sauna that participants select as their favourite on the day.
For all the laughs generated by this competition, it is a lot of fun, and it does do an increasingly good job every year of promoting tourism in Otepää and showing the world that Estonia is a fun, sauna-loving nation.
“The Sauna Marathon is a fun and relaxing event, and we want to introduce Estonian sauna culture and the beautiful places in Otepää,” says Ginter. “Almost all participants complete the course, but there are always those who don’t compete, they just enjoy the saunas.”
Let’s hope Estonia will host the European Sauna Marathon for many more years to come.
Tickets are available here and cost 60€ for each team of up to four participants.
Source: ERR News 1,000 to brave Baltic winter in clothes-optional marathon
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Former Estonian President Arnold Rüütel with his wife Ingrid
January 2017 marked the 15th anniversary of the first ID card issued in Estonia. The electronic ID card is an important foundation of Estonia’s information society that enables secure implementation of e-solutions. Using the ID card to sign documents digitally saves an individual in Estonia at least five business days each year. Electronic ID has enabled Estonia to transform itself into one of the most developed information societies in the world. Most European Union’s digital signatures are given in Estonia.
The first recipients of the Estonian ID card was President Rüütel and his wife Ingrid in 2002.
For more information about Estonian electronic ID cards, please click here: Electronic ID Card