Monday, 21 May 2018

Let's rediscover parish colours during Estonia's centenary summer!

Estonians are proud of their parish colours. They are deeply engrained in our roots, history and culture. Parish colours not only appear in our national costume but are often used in day-to-day items around the home. As part of EV100 celebrations this summer, Estonians are encourage to embrace their parish colours, pick up a paintbrush and get creative! It would be such a joy to see the finished product!

Where do Estonian parishes colours come from?
Our ancestors have valued the colours of their parishes and captured them in the skirts of their folk costumes. The arrangement of the stripes is not by chance and the colours also have their own meaning. Much red has been used, which was considered to have magical qualities, healing properties and the ability to ward off evil.

Various colours were obtained from forest plants and flowers, which people of old used to know and distinguish well. Parochial skirts were never similar to others and maintained their specific regional quality. This is also the case with our people, who may not always know their exact parochial origins, but are nevertheless connected to their roots and parentage. Parish colours thereby tell us about our history, origins, beliefs and the influence of local nature, all of which is beautifully recorded in the colours of Estonian folk costume skirts.

For further reading, please click here: 

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Estonia to Become the World's First Free Public Transport Nation

Tallinn, known for its digital government and successful tech startups, is often referred to as Europe's innovation capital. Now celebrating five years of free public transport for its citizens, the government is planning to make Estonia the first free public transport nation. Allan Alaküla, head of Tallinn European Union Office, shares some valuable insights for other cities.

To read the full Popupcity news article, please click on the below link:
Estonia to Become the World's First Free Public Transport Nation

Monday, 14 May 2018

Estonian National Costume Postcards

I recently came across these beautiful images featuring the Estonian national costume. I think they were painted sometime during the 1930s.

Harju, Viru and Järvamaa.


Peipsiäärne & Setumaa.


Saaremaa. (Eesti rahvarõivad 1938)

Viljandi, Tartu & Võrumaa.

Hiiu & Läänemaa.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Luke Manor Fundraising Campaign: Help Restore the Steward's House

A new funding initiative has commenced on the Estonian crowdfunding website Hooandja to help raise money to restore the Steward's House at Luke Manor. For years, the local community has been trying to stop the disintegration of the building and in 2011 a new roof was installed. Since then some essential repairs have taken place but more time and money is required to complete the project. The local government recently approved a grant to help restore the steward's house but more money will be needed. Maybe you can help!

The fundraising campaign runs until the 17th June 2018 and you can choose how much you wish to donate. You can pledge 5€, 10€, 15€, 25€, 50€, 100€, 300€, 500€, or 1000€. There are also gifts on offer to thank you for your generosity.  

Once complete the building will be used as a function centre to host events and exhibitions.

The Steward's House

Beautiful views await!

Work has commenced on the floor.

To view the fundraising campaign page, please click on the below link. You will need to register to make a donation. Luke mõisa valitsejamaja etenduste- ja näitustesaali rekonstrueerimine

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Different ways Estonians have been celebrating EV100

One thing I like about social media is being connected with the many Estonian communities throughout the world and viewing their experiences.  It has been great to see all the wonderful events and celebrations which have taken place to mark the 100th birthday of the Republic of Estonia. Here are some of the photographs that I have enjoyed the most.

Beauty seen from above.

Great cake!

Nice and creative!

One Estonian company planted an Estonian map! How nice is that?

I will definitely try this during my next trip to Estonia!

Whoever designed the packaging of this chocolate bar did a fantastic job!
I love it!

Stenbock House lit up in blue, black and white.

Manneken Pis in Brussels.

Celebrating parish colours. 
I need to do more folk art projects myself.

National symbols.

The giant Estonian flag knitted by Valtrik Pihl.
It measures 10 m x 16 m and took 3000  hours to make. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Peter Kentie explains the background behind the ESTonishing concept

It’s amazing how much one Dutchman can do for a country considering the knew little about Estonia just few years ago. Thank you Peter for your commitment, passion and brightEST ideas. 

Friday, 27 April 2018

The Wolf is Officially Declared Estonia's National Animal

Much debate has taken place in recent years in determining a national animal for Estonia.  In 2011 Postimees conducted an online poll revealing that the hedgehog was the people’s favourite but the debate went on. This week, after much deliberations, several local organisations including the Estonian Natural History Museum, the Estonian Nature Society, and Tallinn Zoo reached a final decision. They announced that the grey wolf would now be officially recognised as Estonia's national animal.

The wolf was chosen above the hedgehog, beaver, roe deer, badger and fox for several reasons. In many ways the wolf shares many characteristics similar to Estonia itself. The wolf is a survivor, they appreciate privacy and prefer to be left alone. Wolves are respectful towards their parents and are very protective of their family and territory. Wolves are also quite prominent in Estonian folklore and are either depicted as feared predators of the forest or heroes.

The decision-makers said in a statement that the wolf was a “symbol of wild and untouched nature”.

Today there are believed to be 200 - 250 wolves in Estonia.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The University of Tartu named best research university in 'New Europe' - ERR NEWS

British weekly higher education magazine Times Higher Education (THE) has ranked the University of Tartu (TÜ) as the best research-intensive university in "New Europe," or the 13 member states to join the EU since 2004.

To read the full ERR News article, please click here: The University of Tartu

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Special vinyl release of the Estonian National Anthem for EV100

The Estonian Music and Theatre Academy, have released a special recording of the Estonian national anthem "My Fatherland, my happiness and joy' (Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm) in honour of EV100 celebrations. The record can be purchased from the national archives research halls in Tallinn and Tartu and online. The price of the record is 20€. 

For more information, please click here: vinüülplaat: Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Thinking about moving in Estonia? Learn about the 'Welcoming Programme'

Starting a new life in a new country is exciting but can also be daunting. To help make your transition run smoothly, the Estonian government has put together a comprehensive free-of-charge welcoming programme to assist new arrivals.

The programme consists of an adaptation course and basic Estonian language tuition (A1 level). The course comprises different modules – a basic module about Estonian society, culture, the state, rights and obligations etc. and complementary modules on work and entrepreneurship, research, studying and family. There is also one aimed at children and young adults.

The modules last for 5-8 hours each and you can choose which ones to attend. Language tuition is a core part of the programme consisting of approximately 80 academic hours of study.

The Welcoming Programme - Your Guide to Settling in Estonia is open to all foreign nationals who have legally resided in Estonia for less than 5 years. The programme contains a wealth of information and aims to answer all your questions. For more information, please click here: Welcoming programme Your guide to settling in Estonia  

Friday, 20 April 2018

VIDEO: Tartu - a city full of good thoughts

I'm thinking of joining my sister in Tartu next month. It's always good to head back to the homeland for a little R&R. This short video gave me a bit of inspiration about things we can do.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Wild Souls: Symbolism in the Baltic States - Âmes sauvages: Le symbolisme dans les pays baltes

A new art exhibition has opened in Paris celebrating the works of Baltic artists to commemorate the centenaries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The exhibition “Wild Souls. Symbolism in the Baltic States”( Âmes sauvages. Le symbolisme dans les pays baltes) opened on 10th April and will run until 15th July 2018 at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

A total of 150 works are currently on display featuring iconic Baltic artists such as Konrad Mägi, Janis Rozentāls, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Kristjan Raud, Nikolai Triik amongst others. The artworks date from the 1800s to the 1930s.

For more information, please click here: Wild Souls. Symbolism in the Baltic States

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Kamille Saabre: Apples are like Estonians

Estonian artist Kamille Saabre recently completed a series of paintings dedicated to Estonia's 100 birthday. Each apple painting is accompanied with a short story and is symbolic of Estonia and its people. 

So why apples? The artist explains:

'Apple, for me, is Estonian national fruit. Every Estonian has a memory associated with the apple or apple tree. Traveling through Estonian countryside one notices apple trees in most peculiar places. In the middle of desolate field, by the road or even in the forest. That is how you know, once there has been someone's home, house or farm. Even when the buildings are long gone, apple tree still stands. And not only stands, but bears fruit. Apple tree does not give up easy. Here is a similarity to Estonians. Despite of hard times, tough circumstances, painful events, Estonians do not give up easy. As a nation and as a individual. Each of us has a scratch, spot or taint, but despite all of that we persevere. Stubbornly withstand. Just like the apple tree.'

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

100 things you should do in Tallinn in 2018

In 2018 the Republic of Estonia celebrates its 100th birthday, Kadriorg Park turns 300 and the Tallinn Card is 20 years old. Lonely Planet also chose Tallinn as the Best Value Destination 2018. There’s really no better time to visit Tallinn and Estonia than right now!

Visit Tallinn have created a list of the best things, sights, events and activities to participate in Tallinn this year. All the places mentioned on the list have links provided in order for you to easily explore and seek further information.

Click here ot view the list. 100 things you should do in Tallinn in 2018

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!