Monday, 29 February 2016

Estonian World Record Attempt for Snowman Making

Estonian world record attempt in progress in Väätsa Järvamaa. The goal is to build an army of 2,037 snowmen along 4.5 km of road. 

Wish I knew about it sooner as I would love to help out!

Estonia Opens Embassy in Australia I ERR News

Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand opened a new Estonian embassy in the Australian capital city of Canberra on Monday.

Kaljurand said to the Baltic News Service that Estonia's mission in Australia wasn’t brand new. Instead of a consulate general in Sydney, the government decided in 2014 to open an embassy in Australia’s capital.

In addition to representing Estonia, the embassy provides consular services and helps Estonian citizens in Australia. Kaljurand said that there was a large Estonian community in Australia, and that it was growing. According to Kaljurand there are currently around 10,000 Estonians in Australia.

Another purpose of the embassy was to develop business connections between the two countries, Kaljurand said, pointing out that trade with Australia had grown by a third in 2015.

Next to Ambassador Andres Unga, a consul, a secretary, and a driver are currently working at the embassy. Estonia also has four honorary consuls in Australia.

Kaljurand and her Finnish counterpart Timo Soini started a week-long visit to Australia and New Zealand on Monday.

Source: Estonia opens embassy in Australia

Estonia Embraces Uber and Taxify as First European Country to Legalise and Regulate Ride-Sharing

Estonia leads again! Please click on the link below to read the full Forbes story.
Estonia Embraces Uber and Taxify As First European Country To Legalize And Regulate Ride-Sharing

Sunday, 28 February 2016

My Perfect Country Estonia – BBC World Service Episode

BBC Radio recently gave a glowing write-up about Estonia's digital success story.

You can listen to the program here BBC World Service, The Compass: My Perfect Country: Estonia

Who is Going to Represent Estonia at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest?

Eesti Laul is the singing competition that takes place in Estonia to determine who will represent the the country at the Eurovision Song Contest. The ten finalists have been named now and all we can do is wait for them to battle it out until we have a winner!

The ten finalists are:

1. "Supersonic" / Laura
2. "Sally" / Go Away Bird
3. "Seis" / Mick Pedaja
4. "Stories Untold" / Grete Paia
5. "Lonely Boy" / Kéa
6. "Play" / Jüri Pootsmann
7. "Kaugel Sinust" / Kati Laev ja Noorkuu
8. "Immortality" / Cartoon feat. Kristel Aaslaid
9. "Parmupillihullus" / Meisterjaan
10. "Patience" / I Wear* Experiment

More information can be found here: Eesti Laul

Friday, 26 February 2016

President Ilves' Independence Day speech

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves opened his Independence Day speech this year saying that he was afraid the migration crisis might lead to the disintegration of the European Union. Among other things, the President criticized that Estonia had wasted two years quarrelling about how grown up people should arrange or should be allowed to arrange their private lives instead of talking about more important issues. Here is the President's speech in full length. President Ilves' Independence Day speech

98th Anniversary of the Republic of Estonia - Concert

In honour of the 98th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, a festive concert was held in the Opera and Concert Hall in Tallinn.

You can watch the concert on the link below:
Galerii ja video: 98. aastapäevakontsert Estonia teatris

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Viljandi woman shares her birthday with the Republic of Estonia

Viljandi resident Amalie-Vilhelmine Saia celebrated her 106th birthday yesterday. She was  seven years old when Estonia declared its independence in 1918 and remembers it well. Yesterday she recounted her story.

Interview with Amalie-Vilhelmine Saia (in Estonian).
Viljandis elav vanaproua tähistab vabariigiga samal päeval oma 106. sünnipäeva:

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Estonian freedom fighters guests of honour at traditional Independence Day reception

On February 24th, representatives of the various organizations of the Union of Estonian Freedom Fighters visited the Stenbock House, the seat of the government of Estonia, for a traditional Independence Day reception.

To read more and to view all the photos, please click here:
Estonian freedom fighters guests of honor at traditional Independence Day reception

Johannes Luiga: Estonia's Youngest Fallen Hero from its War of Independence

On Independence Day we remember and pay tribute to the brave men who fought in Estonia's War of Independence between 1918 and 1920.

All of these men were volunteers who risked their lives to preserve the liberty and independence of their beloved homeland.  

The youngest Estonian casualty of the War of Independence was Johannes Luiga who was just 14 years old when he fell in battle.  At first Johannes was forbidden from taking part in the war effort and was unsuccessful in reaching the front line by train from Tartu. Inspired by his older brothers, he tried again and travelled to Valga, later seeing action on the front line.  He served with distinction and won the respect of his fellow patriots.  He died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head on 25th April 1919 and was awarded the Cross of Liberty posthumously the following year.

He is buried in Nõo Cemetery near Tartu in southern Estonia.

Johannes Luiga (left) with his two brothers.
5th November 1904 - 25th April 1919.

More information about Johannes Luiga (in Estonian) can be found here:

Monument bearing his name in Sänna, Võrumaa.

Head Vabariigi Aastapäeva! Happy Independence Day!

Wishing everyone an absolutely wonderful Estonian Independence Day!  I'm sure every Estonian home is proudly displaying their blue, black and white flags today. 

This afternoon I will be busy cooking a small feast including Estonian potato salad, pork, sauerkraut and roast potatoes sprinkled with bacon and onions. Yum! For dessert there will be either Estonian apple cake or kringle - I'm not sure yet - maybe I'll cook both! All this I will do while listening to my favourite Ott Lepland and Curly Strings songs and sipping a glass of vodka or Vana Tallinn! 

Elagu Eesti!

Tanel Padar & the Sun - Õllesummer Festival 2015 Welcome to Estonia!

Tanel Padar has come a long way since winning the Eurovision Song Contest for Estonia in 2001. He is now regarded as one of Estonia's top performers. Last year when I heard this song for first time I was taken a bit by surprise, but admit I quite like this Estonianised version of the James Brown hit 'Living in America'. 

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Eesti Päevad Adelaide 2016

The 26th Eesti Päevad / Australian Estonian Festival will take place in Adelaide 27th - 31st December 2016.

On offer will be five days of fun, entertainment and Estonian culture. A must for all Estonians living in Australia! 

For more information, please refer to the official website: 

Nami-Nami's Estonian Independence Day Cake Competition: Tordvõistlus "Tort Isamaale 2016"

In honour of Estonian Independence Day which takes place tomorrow, the Estonian cooking website Nami-Nami is holding a competition for the best Estonian cake. Participants have until 28th February 2016 to submit photos of their entries. The first submission can be seen below.

For more information please refer to the Nami-Nami website: Tort Isamaale 2016

Monday, 22 February 2016

Museum of Occupation to be expanded and renamed Vabamu I ERR News

With the support of foreign Estonian Olga Kistler-Ritso, the Museum of Occupations will be expanded and renamed. Next to the occupation periods, the newly created Vabamu will also concentrate on the restoration of Estonian independence as well as on the topic of freedom in general.

To read more, click here: Museum of Occupations to be expanded and renamed Vabamu

Not everyone is happy about the changes due to take place in 2018 . Canadian-Estonian Marcus Kolga explains why - Marcus Kolga: Welcome to the e-Occupation Museum

Kerli’s New Song Is The Most Magical Thing You’ll Hear Today (Nylon)

Estonian singer songwriter Kerli is back with a new album and the first single 'Feral Hearts' is winning praise. Writer Hayden Manders from gives Feral Herats an excellent review and reveals Kerli's inspiration behind her album. 

To listen to Feral Hearts and read more, please click here:
Kerli’s New Song Is The Most Magical Thing You’ll Hear Today

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Estonian Independence Day 2016

Estonian organisations across the globe gathered today to celebrate Independence Day ahead of the official holiday on Wednesday. Here's a special message from Prime Minister Taavi  Rõivas. I watched it with my fellow Estonians in Munich today.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Ksenija Balta Wins the Women's Long Jump Event in Stockholm

Estonian athlete Ksenija Balta beat British rivals Lorriane Ugen and Shara Proctor at the Globen Galan indoor sporting competition in Stockholm on Wednesday.  Ksenija gave a superb jump measuring 6.76 thus qualifying her for the World Indoor Championship. Congratulations Ksenija!

Click here to watch Ksenija's victory leap in Stockholm:

Part of Ksenija's success can be attributed to her excellent coach, Estonian sporting hero Andrei Nazarov (my cousin)!

Andrei & Ksenija

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Estonian World: Tuhala Witch’s Well and ancient Estonian mythology

In 2013 Estonian World published this article on Estonian mythology. It's a great read for anyone seeking to discover ancient Estonian beliefs and legends.

To learn more, click here:

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Nordic Deli Now Open at Estonian House Sydney

Great news! A new Estonian cafe has opened in Sydney inside the Estonian House building. Visitors can enjoy a tasty coffee and cake or the soup of the day and take some Estonian goodies home with them too. Nordic Deli is open every day and is located at 141 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, Sydney.

I'll be sure to check it out when I'm in Sydney next month! Can't wait!

For more information, please refer to their Facebook page: 

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Crowdfunding for World Cleanup Day 2018

The Estonian success story Let's Do It! began in Estonia in 2008.  In that year 50,000 volunteers gathered determined to make Estonia a cleaner place. Since then the clean-up initiative for illegal waste has expanded to more than 112 countries. Let's Do It! aims to engage 150 countries in 2018. 

For more information, please click here:

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Shrove Tuesday / Vastlapäev

Head Vastlapäev!

While people around the world will be enjoying pancakes today, Estonians will be indulging in Shrove buns instead.  In nearby Germany people will be eating a similar treat called 'Krapfen' which is a donut-like bun with a sweet filling.

Estonian food website Nami-Nami has many great recipes. Here's one for dainty Shrove buns:

Sunday, 7 February 2016

President Ilves on the Refugee Crisis - 'We have seen far worse and we have prevailed'

President Ilves gave an excellent speech on the refuge crisis at the European Parliament recently. His words have been applauded across the globe.

Please click here to listen to his speech or to read the transcript, click on the link below.

Friday, 5 February 2016

The Estonian Island of Saaremaa

With the weekend now upon us, I thought I'd share this interesting video about Saaremaa. I was there last summer and always enjoy catching the ferry over, passing through Muhu on the way. As Estonia's largest island Saaremaa definitely has a lot to offer!

Happy viewing!


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Postcrossing - my first postcard received!

I was pleased to discover yesterday that my first postcard was received by Benedikt in Germany. I sent him an Estonian postcard that I designed myself and he was thrilled to receive it. He sent me this message in reply.

“Hallo Tania! 
Vielen Dank für deine tolle Karte! Leider war ich noch nie in Estland, ich glaube aber, dass es ein richtig tolles Land ist. Will ich auf jeden Fall mal besuchen. 
Viele Grüße 

Naturally I'm looking forward to sending many more postcards in the future!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Postcrossing: A Great Website for Exchanging Postcards!

If you enjoy taking part in projects and receiving things in the post, then participating in Postcrossing might be for you!  It is an online project that allows you to send and receive postcards from all over the world! 

I recently became a member and sent my first postcard last week. You can send up to five postcards at a time and once you receive one in reply, you can obtain the address of your next recipient. I must admit I used up my quota and sent all five last week.  Very soon someone in Russia, Belarus, Germany, USA and France will be hearing from me!  It's a fun thing to do and if I manage to brighten someone's day then I'll be very pleased indeed.

Postcrossing has over 600,000 registered members in 210 countries and approximately 391 postcards are in transit per hour.

More information can be found at::

96 years ago today Estonia and Soviet Russia signed the Tartu Peace Treaty

Photo: Tartu Peace Conference closing meeting. 
Members of the Estonian delegation. 

Today is an important day in Estonia's history. The peace treaty between Estonia and Soviet Russia on 2nd February 1920 ended the War of Independence and Russia officially recognised Estonia as a free and independent country.  Such a wonderful day for all Estonians!

The Tartu Peace Treaty

To learn more, please click here: Tartu Peace Treaty

Monday, 1 February 2016

Documentary - Sinking The Gustloff: A Tragedy Exiled From Memory

Over 9300 people died as a result of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gusloff during WWII, including 5000 children. Estonian-Canadian filmmaker Marcus Kolga has produced this award winning documentary which revisits the event left unspoken for decades.

For my family we lost good family friend Ined Pfaff. Her entire family perished in this disaster.