Saturday, 31 March 2018

Head Ülestõusmispüha! Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! This year I decided to do something a little bit different so I am spending my Easter holidays in beautiful Ukraine. Wishing you all a very safe and happy Easter long weekend!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Estonia 100: Free children's book ‘Tiny tree’ (Pisike puu)

The Estonian Children’s Literature Centre and the Ministry of Culture have a lovely custom of presenting all newborns with the book ‘Tiny tree’ (‘Pisike puu’ in Estonian). In 2018, on the initiative of the organisers of the Estonian centenary celebrations, every child born to an Estonian citizen abroad and added to the Estonian population register will also be given the book.   

For more information please click here:

Sunday, 25 March 2018

VIDEO: Artur Rehi - How American Estonians celebrated EV100

I recently discovered the YouTube videos produced by Estonian vlogger Artur Rehi. Artur is a 22 year old student from Jõgeva who is currently studying acting in Hollywood. Artur is a prolific YouTuber who has been making videos since the age of 14. His channel now has over 600 videos, most of them about his beloved Estonia. He covers a range of topics including history, culture, the things he loves and misses about Estonia and tips for the wannabe traveller. Artur is a very likeable and entertaining character and quite outgoing for an Estonian! The video below is one of his latest.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Kalle Laanet elected new vice speaker of the Riigikogu

Kalle Laanet (right) with President Kaljulaid and Riigikogu speakers.

On Monday Reform Party MP Kalle Laanet replaced Hanno Pevkur as deputy speaker of the Estonian Parliament. Laanet has been active in politics for the past ten years and has over twenty years experience in law enforcement. His most recent post in the Riigikogu was with the Justice Commission.

Congratulations Kalle!

To learn more about Kalle Laanet, click here.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Today is World Poetry Day (üleilmne luulepäev)

One of Estonia's  most beloved poems is Juhan Liivi's 'Ta lendab mesipuu poole' (he flies towards the beehive).

HSBC report reveals Estonia is one of five countries least vulnerable to climate change

Estonia is one of five countries considered the least vulnerable to climate change, according to a new study by HSBC. 

The bank assessed 67 developed, emerging and frontier markets on vulnerability to the physical impacts of climate change, sensitivity to extreme weather events, exposure to energy transition risks and ability to respond to climate change.

According to the report released on Monday, India is the most vulnerable country to climate change, followed by Pakistan, the Philippines and Bangladesh. The five countries considered the least vulnerable to climate change risk are Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and New Zealand.

The 67 nations represent almost a third of the world’s nation states, 80 percent of the global population and 94 percent of global gross domestic product.

Of the four nations assessed by the bank to be most vulnerable, India has said climate change could cut agricultural incomes, particularly unirrigated areas that would be hit hardest by rising temperatures and declines in rainfall.

Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines are susceptible to extreme weather events, such as storms and flooding. Pakistan was ranked by HSBC among nations least well-equipped to respond to climate risks.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

From Estonia to Thirlmere: Mall Juske’s migrant farming story

The Estonian migrant community is deeply woven into the fabric of Wollondilly’s history.

Families fled their war-ravaged homeland after World War II to make a new life in Australia.

They set up poultry farms, established a bustling market and eventually helped Thirlmere become the largest egg producer in Australia in the 1970s.

Mall Juske is just one of the farmers who played an important role in Thirlmere’s farming history.

She now lives at Taara Gardens retirement village in Thirlmere.

To read the full Wollondilly Advertiser article, please click here: From Estonia to Thirlmere: Mall Juske’s migrant farming story

VIDEO: Greip - Vihma Loits (Rain Spell)

I've got this Greip song stuck in my head this morning. It's such a catchy tune! Tule tule õllele...

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Estonian Short film: Eestluse eestvedajad Londonis

Ida Lemsalu and Aili Eistrat are 90-year-old Estonians who fled their homeland due to the Soviet occupation. They both spent time living in German DP camps before settling in England. Ida and Aili have been living in London for the past 70 years but their hearts are still in Estonia. Both ladies are active in the Estonian community in London and this film was made as part of a project for the National Archives.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Head Emakeelepäeva! Happy Mother Tongue Day!

Today we celebrate Mother Tongue Day, which marks the birthday of Kristjan Jaak Peterson, one of the founding fathers of the Estonian poetic tradition. March 14 was first recognised as a national holiday in 1999. It is now celebrated not only in Estonia but in many Estonian Houses, schools, and universities all around the world.

Once again the University of Tartu have complied a list of Estonian tongue twisters for you to try. The text is accompanied with audio clips for correct pronunciation. You can view and listen them here: 10 Challenging Estonian Tongue Twisters – Can You Handle Them?!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

15-year-old Grete-Lisette Gulbis wins Eesti Pank's coin design competition

Last year Estonian children were invited to submit their designs for a special 2 euro commemorative coin to mark the 150th anniversary of the Estonian Song Festival. This was a unique competition, the first time a coin was to be designed by a child, and open to anyone under the age of nineteen. Each child was permitted to submit three designs and the best eight were chosen for a public vote that took place in February.

Over 8000 designs were submitted in total from children all across Estonia. The eight finalists ranged in age from seven to seventeen.

Grete-Lisette Gulbis is a 9th grade student at the Tõrva Gymnasium in southern Estonia. Congratulations!

You can read more about the competition and finalists here (in Estonian) via the ERR story :
 2-eurose laulupeomündi joonistuskonkursi võitis Tõrva neiu

Saturday, 10 March 2018

My trip to Tallinn for EV100

It's always a joy to visit Estonia but sad when the time comes to leave. This year I spent four days in Tallinn for the cennential celebrations and so happy I was there for such a special occasion. No fireworks were scheduled for February 24 but just after 7pm I was pleasanrtly surprised to find some coming from somewhere behind St. Nicholas Church. It was a beautiful sight! And now I am busy planning my next trip to Estonia, perhaps a trip to Kihnu in the summer.

Here's some photos from my trip to ilus Eestimaa!

St. John's Church Tallinn (Jaani kirik)

A beautiful sight. 
Riigikogu 1918 - 2018.

Youth group march through Toompea on 23.2.2018.

They gave a speech and salute in the garden at Toompea.

Freedom Square.

The start of Independence Day 2018.

The flag hoisting ceremony commenced at 7:33am.
Thousands of patriotic Estonians were in attendance. 

People young and old braved subzero temperature to be a part of history.


Elagu Eesti!

Pikk Hermann Tower. 

Freedom Square.

Students marched and sung! 

EV100 military parade.

It was great being in Tallinn for such a special ocassion.

Maiasmokk Cafe. 
An old favourite and a great place for a snack and to escape the cold.

President Kaljulaid's speech at the Estonian National Museum was broadcast live on TV.
I watched it along with many other interestting programmes that day.

Nice to see a familar face at the President's reception.

The Estonian flag was proudly displayed outside the Reaal School.

Declaration of Independence.

Delicious Estonian bread!
I could only fit nine loaves into my suitcase this time!

Estonian treats to keep me going until my next trip.
Ma armastan Eestit!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

In search of Estonians from Geislingen Displaced Person (DP) Camp

Documentary filmmaker Helga Merits is currently making her latest film 'Coming Home Soon' and needs your help. The film tells the story of Estonian children who fled their homeland in 1944 with their mothers, sibling and sometimes fathers, seeking refuge in the West. On their journey they didn’t know where the dangerous roads would take them, and when they made it to the refugee camps, they knew it was temporary.

In order for Helga to complete her film she needs more film footage, photographs of people arriving at Geislingen and events from daily life. If you or a family member was at Geislingen then Helga would love to hear from you. Please contact her via her new website here: Helga Merits

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Estonia 100th Birthday Invitation / EV100 Sünnipäevakutse

The EV100 birthday invitation has now been uploaded and is ready to view online. 2552 people contributed to the project, including more than 100 of Estonia's e-Residents. All the people featured in the birthday inviation are genuine - they uploaded their photo to the project portal using their personal Estonian ID cards.

The birthday invitation includes several slides with interesting facts about Estonia. Music is by Estonian bands Greip and Trad!Attack.

This is a great initative that brought the Estonian community together and I am thrilled to be a part of it! 

You can watch the EV100 birthday invition here: Estonia 100 Invitation

Friday, 2 March 2018

Literature from Estonia: 16 Books to Get You Started

I came across this interesting article online this morning and ended up buying a copy of The Dedalus Book of Estonian Literature shortly afterwards. The article recommends some of Estonia's top literary works that have been translated into English, and as I have read several of them, I agree with many titles on the list. All we need now is for more classic Estonian novels to be translated into English so they can reach a wider audience.