Friday, 29 March 2019

15 years ago today the Republic of Estonia became a member of NATO

Fifteen years ago, on 29 March 2004, after more than 10 years of effort and negotiations, the Republic of Estonia became a member of NATO. Since then, Estonia has been a proud member of an alliance that is as important today as it was at the time of its establishment 70 years ago. The allies are united in their resolve to protect the peace and security of its citizens. This mission can never cease to be relevant.

Timeline of Estonia's accession to NATO.

During the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, four multinational battlegroups were established to deter potential threats.These forces send a clear message that an attack on one ally would be met by troops from across the alliance. Estonia takes its commitment to NATO seriously and is one of the few countries in the EU to fulfil its defence spending target.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Today marks 200 years since Tzar Alexander I signed the Livonian Peasant Law, which released Estonians from serfdom and enabled them to have surnames

Fred Puss from the Estonian Biographical Centre speaks with ETV about the history behind Estonian surnames. He discusses the common names found in Estonia and also some of the strange ones.

To watch the interview (in Estonian) please click here:
200 aastat perenimede panekust: nime võis saada kurjalt mõisnikult, aga ka atlasest

Video: Tallinn Old Town in 3D

Ah, my beloved Tallinn! Can't wait to see you again soon!

Monday, 25 March 2019

Candles will shine bright in memory of the victims of the second mass Soviet deportation in Estonia

Today marks 70 years since the March deportations in Estonia. In 1949 Estonia lost 3% of its population when the Soviet army forcibly removed over 22,000 people from their homes and sent them to remote parts of Siberia. Many of them perished in the harsh conditions, some were lucky to make it back home. In total Estonia lost 20% of its population due to the Soviet occupation that lasted 51 years.

Memorial events will take place all over Estonia today and in Estonian communities abroad. We will never forget.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Estonian word search puzzle

Inspired by Emakeelepäeva (Mother Tongue Day) last week, I designed this word search puzzle featuring popular Estonian words. The words can be found up, down, forwards, backwards and diagonally. The puzzle is free to use, there is no copyright. I hope you like it!

Monday, 18 March 2019

Tammsaare's Truth and Justice sets new record as most-watched film in Estonia

In celebration of the Republic of Estonia's centennary, a new film version of Tammsaare's "Truth and Justice" was produced. The film was released in cinemas on February 22 and has set a new record. It is now officially the most watched film in Estonia since the country regained its independence in 1991.

During the four week period after the films release the total cinema attendance was 205,595. This figure has eclipsed the previous all-time record held by James Cameron's "Avatar," which saw cinema attendance in Estonia at 194,327.

According to film production company Allfilm, 51,239 people saw "Truth and Justice" in cinemas during its opening weekend. That number rose to 90,550 in the first week.

"Truth and Justice" was written and directed by Tanel Toom as still screening across Estonia. No doubt Estonians living abroad are eager to purchase the DVD.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Tallinn 800 – First Recorded Mention of the City

This year marks a milestone in Tallinn’s history.  On the 15th of June the city will celebrate its 800th anniversary, commemorating its first recorded mention. 

Tallinn was first mentioned in 1219 in the Livonian Chronicle of Henry. The chronicle describes when the Danish fleet led by King Valdemar II landed near Lindanise Castle (Toompea Hill) in June 1219. According to the chronicle a battle took place there on the 15th of  June 1219 where the Danes achieved a difficult victory against the Estonian forces. 

The city of Tallinn got its name during this time of Danish rule. In Danish Tallinn means 'Taani-linn' - Danish-town.

Tallinn will celebrate the 800th anniversary of its first recorded mention with different outdoor events, exhibitions and themed festivals. 

Friday, 15 March 2019

Estonian Dance Celebration - "Tuljak"

Such a wonderful sight to behold. Estonia truly has some beautiful tradtions. Inspirational!

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Head Emakeelepäeva! Happy Mother Tongue Day!

Today we celebrate our beautiful Estonian language! Sometimes when I am travelling I come across people speaking Estonian in foreign lands and it's always a joy to hear!

The double vowels found in the Estonian language is one of its charms.

Monday, 11 March 2019

9th March marked the 75th anniversary of the 1944 Soviet air raid on Tallinn

On the 9th of March 1944, Soviet air forces dropped 3,068 bombs on the city of Tallinn after saboteurs had blown up the fire brigades' pumping stations. Fighting the fires proved to be near to impossible leaving the city in ruins. 757 people were killed immediately in the raid, 659 were injured and more than 20,000 people lost their homes. Three days earlier the Soviets completely annihilated the city of Narva, its beauty lost forever.

On Saturday night the churches of Tallinn rang their bells at 7.15 p.m. which was the time when the bombing began on 9th March 1944.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today is the day we show appreciation to the special women in our lives. Say thank you with flowers, chocolates - or both!  Head Naistepäeva!

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Kaja Kallas set to become Estonia's first female Prime Minister

Estonia's parliamentary election took place on Sunday producing some very interesting results. The Reform Party won 29.4% of the vote with Kaja Kallas set to become the next Prime Minister of Estonia. Kallas will now form a new coalition government in the Riigikogu, Estonia's parliament.

The Riigikogu consists of 101 seats. The Reform Party will now hold 34 of them, Centre Party 26, EKRE 19, Isamaa 12 and the Social Democrats 10. 

44% of the electorate voted online, a new record for Estonia showing voters' faith in a digital future. A further record-breaking 29 women were elected to the Riigikogu on Sunday.

Kaja Kallas is a 41-year-old lawyer and a former member of the EU Parliament who specialised in digital issues. Her father, Siim Kallas, was the 14th Prime Minister of Estonia and an EU commissioner. 

A very small number of votes came from the Estonian diaspora. Polling stations were open in 35 countries but only 2,061 votes were cast. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 77,881 Estonian citizens living abroad are entitled to vote in Estonian elections, which means that at 2,061, just under 1.2% of them actually voted in the election.

Women hold the top jobs in Estonia.
President Kaljulaid (left) and Kallas (right)