Estonia

Estonia is located on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea with a coastline of more than 3700 km. It’s a small country with an area of 45 227 km2. There are two big islands off the west coast – Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. The eastern border of Estonia is on Lake Peipsi, the fourth largest lake in Europe. The population of Estonia is 1,3 million with 400 000 of them living in the capital city of Tallinn. Other largest towns are – Tartu, Narva, Pärnu. Ethnic Estonias make up 70% of the total population. The second largest group is Russians 23%. The highest point point in Estonia is Suur Munamägi(the Big Egg Hill) at 318 meters above sea level. The average temperature is -7⁰ C in January and +22⁰ C in July. It gets dark at 3-4 pm in wintertime, but in the summer the sun sets only for a few hours.

Government

Official name: Republic of Estonia Type: parliamentary democracy Head of State: President of the Republic Toomas Hendrik Ilves The parliament, Riigikogu, with 101 members is elected every 4 years. The Estonian State Portal www.eesti.ee is a secure internet environment through which Estonian residents can easily access the state’s e-services and information.

History

Estonia was settled around 8500 BC. Local people worshipped the spirits of nature until the Northern Crusaders on 13th century. Since then, Estonia became a battleground where Denmark, Russia, Sweden and Poland fought wars over controlling the gateway between West and East. In 1918 the Estonia Declaration of Independence was issued. On the eve of Second World War, Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union. Estonia regained independence in 1991 four months before the collapse of USSR and joined the European Union in 2004.

Currency

As from 2011 Estonia is the 17th member of the euro-zone.

Language

The official language is Estonian. English, Russian, Finnish and German are widely understood and spoken. Information society 77% of population are internet users. Most of Estonian Internet users conduct their everyday banking and declare their taxes via internet. In 2000 the Government changed Cabinet meetings paperless sessions using a web-based system.

National Holidays

  • 1 January – New Year’s day
  • 24 February – Independence Day(1918)
  • 18 April – Good Friday
  • 1 May – Spring Day
  • 23 June – Victory Day
  • 24 June – Midsummer Day
  • 20 August – Day of restoration of Independence(1991)
  • 24 December – Christmas Eve
  • 25 December – Christmas Day
  • 26 December – Boxing Day