Welcome to incredible Estonia!

Probably the only country where you get online in a deep Nordic forest!

 

Ancient traditions and 4G wireless coverage

Estonians have a hallowed custom of immersing themselves in a hot sauna for as long they can stand it. They believe it to be a way to cleanse body and soul. A smoke sauna is especially exotic. There is no chimney and the interior of the sauna is completely black and sooty. But perhaps smoke saunas account for Estonians’ fascination with everything that is new. Estonians downright worship new technology. And we are practically the first country in the whole world to be covered by Estonia’s latest, 4G network. Watch a film on your iPhone while hunting.

* "Cloud-Services" by Straits IT

 

Always good weather (with the right clothing though)

The temperature in winter has been known to drop to 25 below zero Celsius. Estonia’s allure is in the fact that it has four distinct seasons. Winters are for skiing, spring for drinking birch sap and listening to birdsong, summers for swimming and autumn for mushroom gathering. As Estonians say, there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.

 

Tallinn’s Old Town, wolves and bears

If you find a restaurant or bar in every other building, you are probably in Tallinn’s Old Town. It is Estonia’s tourist attraction no. 1, with good reason. The old town is one of Europe’s best preserved mediaeval city, replete with merchant’s dwellings, storehouses and churches. It’s also a part of the UNESCO world heritage.

But just take a half hour’s drive out the capital and you will find yourself in dense forest. There is plenty of forest in Estonia: 50% of the country is wooded. There is also a profusion of wild game. You can encounter moose, wolf, lynx and even bear in the forests. Don’t worry, though: they go out of their way to avoid running into people.


 * "Brown Bear - Male" by Mark


The world’s cleanest air and fresh intellectual energy

Estonia has the world’s cleanest air, a recent WHO report found. The sea and the forests do their share in keeping Estonia’s air clean. It has a good effect on one’s brains, too: the scholastic performance of Estonian 15-year-old students is among the best in the world, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) indicated. Estonian schoolchildren were 11th of 65 countries in math and tied for 4th with Japan, Finland and South Korean students in natural sciences. Probably no need to add that literacy is 100%.

 

A president who adores Twitter

It’s not a propaganda photo. Estonia’s president loves good music and he also can be seen at a rock concert or out doing his shopping. The president can mingle freely with his people. Like the Estonian people, the president likes new technology. He spends hours communicating with his 17,000 fans on Twitter. Buzzfeed even gave him the title of President of Twitter.



Our President says:

Dear Friends,

The secret to fast learning is the courage to start something new. Many of us are forced to learn something new, even if we would prefer not to. Because old ways no longer work in a changing world. Not only in Estonia, but in the whole world. Beginnings, as we know, can be difficult.


***

In Estonia we can see a version of the interconnected and computerized future that is inextricably a part of the fundamental operations of society: 25% of the electorate votes online, nearly 100% of prescriptions and tax returns are done online, as is almost all banking. Estonians have given 140 million digital signatures, and last December, Estonian and Finnish PMs signed the first international treaty to be signed digitally. Adding to this near 100% broadband coverage and countrywide Wi-Fi, Estonia is one of the most wired countries in the world.

 

In Estonia, satellites are launched into space by... university students!

In 2013, Estonia’s first satellite, ESTCube-1, was launched into orbit. ESTCube-1 carries a unique experiment, in which an element in the design of an innovative solar wind sail – a so-called nanowire, which is unwound from a special spool – is tested.

ESTCube-1 is a student satellite – in Estonia students don’t just study in the classroom, but can participate in major projects

 

Estonian amusements: Song Festival and kiiking

Estonians have a time-honoured tradition: every five years, 100,000 people gather at a huge festival in the capital to see 10,000 people sing together. It seems odd, but choral song has a strong uniting effect on the nation.

Those who live on the wild side might check out a new physical activity developed by Estonians – kiiking. Kiiking is 360 degree swinging – the person does a loop over the crossbar. Estonian men are also known the world over for their prowess in wife carrying.


* cover photo by:  Provincia Firenze Uff. Stampa Florence Multimedia / Flickr