Thursday, 28 May 2020

'Back to Our Roots' exchange application now open

If you are aged 18- 30 years, living abroad and come from an Estonian backgorund then the 'Back to Our Roots' exchange programme might be of interest to you. There are two opportunities to take part this year, the first commences in September and the second in November. Applications are now open.

More information can be found here: Back to Our Roots

Sunday, 24 May 2020

VIDEO: Kuressaare Castle

Kuressaare Castle reopened last week after being closed for over two months due to the coronavirus.  Safety measures remain in place in which people must keep a two metre distance and tour groups must not exceed ten people. Kuressaare Castle is one of the most popular tourist sites on the island of Saaremaa. It was founded in the 14th Century by the Teutonic Order.

More information can be found here: Kuressaare Episcopal Castle

Friday, 22 May 2020

Estonians love their mittens

Knitting is a cornerstone of Estonian folk culture. Gloves and mittens are made in Estonia using century old techniques with traditional motifs. Every pattern has its own unique meaning and history. These videos by Nordic Knitters explains more.

Monday, 18 May 2020

The coronavirus emergency situation has ended in Estonia

Lockdown measures have been lifted in Estonia. I saw this caption online today and had to smile. Clichés often reflect the truth. Estonians are indeed more reserved than other nationalities. 

Estonia celebrated the end of emergency situation with a digital choir concert. You can learn more about it here: Vaata uuesti: Ivo Linna ja digitaalse koori kontsert Tallinna lauluväljakul

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Eurovision: Ten of Estonia's best entries

The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest would have taken place this week but understandably it was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Instead, a two hour special 'Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light' was broadcast live to televisions around the world. Next year the event will be held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Over the years Estonia has performed many great songs at Eurovision. Let's take a look at some of them. Estonia won the competition in 2001.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Estonia's population on the rise

Based on the data released by Statistics Estonia, in January 2020 the population of Estonia was 1,328,976 which is 4,156 people more than the previous year. In 2019 there were 14,099 births in Estonia and 15,401 deaths. Net migration has been positive for Estonia.

More information can be found here: Immigration helped to increase the population figure

Monday, 11 May 2020

Wooden Estonian Handicrafts

If you have ever been in search of wooden products made in Estonia, then the company E.Strauss might be of interest to you. Located in Avinurme in Jõgeva County, the company has been operating since 1994 and produces a large range of goods. They manufacture everything from baskets to boxes, furniture, lights, sauna products, toys and more. E Strauss also accepts special requests if you require a more customised or personalised gift.

Some of the lovely products made by E Strauss.

it's not just the woodwork that is impressive but the artwork too.

More information can be found on their website here:

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Head Emadepäeva!

Happy Mother's Day everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day creating new memories. Sadly I lost my mother last year and this is my first Mother's Day without her. This morning I put together a new collection of her photos and hung it up on the wall. She is always near me. Miss you Mum!

If you are interesting in reading some Mother's Day poems, I found these on Elu Life.
Emadepäeva luuletused ja salmid, õnnitlused emale emadepäevaks

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Farewell Ell Tabur ‎

The Estonian community in New York lost a beloved member recently. Estonian folk singer Ell Tabur passed away in New York on the 30th April 2020.

Tabur was born in Tallinn on 29th June 1943. In 1944 she fled Soviet occupied Estonia with her parents and took refuge in Germany before emigrating to the United States in 1949.

Between 1965–1976 Ell Tabur recorded three solo records sung in the Estonian language. She collaborated creatively with the Estonian poet Jyri Korgi.

Later in life, Tabur was the General Manager of the Estonian House in New York.

Her recipe for sweet and sour cabbage was published in the 2015 cookbook ' 'Estonian Tastes and Traditions.'

Friday, 8 May 2020

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two

As Europe commemorates 75 years since the end of World War Two, we must remember that the war did not officially end in Estonia until 1994 when the last occupying Soviet (by then Russian) soldier left the country. The Nazi regime was defeated on May 8 1945 but for citizens of the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, their countries were still occupied by the Soviet Union and would remain so for the next fifty years.

Yesterday the Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid reminded us that "the Baltics and Eastern Europe had “a different history” to the West, which now needs a common “European consciousness,”

Both the Nazi and Soviet regimes were evil and caused death and destruction wherever they went, but for the Estonian people, the Soviets were the worst of the two evils. They caused the most devastation for the Estonian people. Many brave men continued to fight for Estonia after 1945, the Forest Brothers were heroes who were active until 1956 but they were too outnumbered. The Red Army hunted them down and killed them. Thousands of people deemed a threat to Soviet rule were deported to remote parts of Russia.

Estonia endured and suffered much under the Soviet Union and thankfully that all came to an end in 1991 when Estonia's independence was restored. Estonia has since rebuilt itself into a dynamic, modern and innovative country.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Who are Estonia's top chess players?

During this period of lockdown due to the coronavirus, I have been playing a lot more chess than I usually do. Playing online with is a great way to test your skills against players from all over the world.  Blitz games are my favourite as I like to think fast!

Chess enjoys a certain prestige in Estonia compared to many other countries. Most Estonians know their way around a chessboard and chess is played by people from all walks of life. Supermodel Carmen Kass was president of the Estonian Chess Federation for seven years from 2004 to 2011. Chess competitions have taken place in Tallinn since 1903 but they weren't considered official until 1923. 

The greatest Estonian chess player of all-time was of course Paul Keres whose image even appeared on the Estonian 5 kroon banknote. But who is Estonia's top player today? 44-year-old Kaido Kulaots is currently ranked No.1 in Estonia for winning the most competitions. Grandmaster Ottomar Ladva is ranked second. At 15 he was the youngest player to win the Estonian Chess Championship. Now aged twenty-two he has won four - 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018. 

The winner of the 2019 Estonian Chess championship is Aleksandr Volodin. His FIDE rating is 2497, placing him third overall in Estonia behind Kulaots (2524) and Ladva (2513).

Aleksandr Volodin. Winner of the 2019 Estonian Chess Chmapionship.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Estonian comedy with English subtitles

Tonight I was in need of a laugh and so went online in search of some light entertainment. The Estonian comedy duo Ott Sepa and Märt Avandi have produced many funny sketches over the years and thankfully several of their videos include English subtitles. The two videos below are a bit dark in nature yet amusing.