Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Oldest Estonian Arved Tamm celebrates his 107th birthday today

Estonia's oldest citizen Arved Tamm celebrated his 107th birthday in Tallinn today.  He is one of thirteen children and remembers Tzarist and Soviet times, the birth of the Estonian Republic as well as the first and second World Wars. When asked what was the most important event in his life, he replied 'marriage'.

To read more about Arved Tamm on his special day (in Estonian), please click here:
107. sünnipäeva tähistav vanim eestlane Arved Tamm: elu tähtsaim tegu oli naisevõtt!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Skier Kelly Sildaru Wins Gold at X-Games in Aspen

Kelly Sildaru just became the first athlete to win two gold medals at the X-Games before turning the age of 15. She's only 14 years old! Congratulations! Fantastic result!

Watch Kelly's performance here: Kelly Sildaru - Jeep Women's Ski Slopestyle Final

Friday, 27 January 2017

A look inside the Estonian Seaplane Harbour Museum / Lennusadam Meremuuseum

During my recent trip to Tallinn I set aside a few hours to visit the Estonian Seaplane Harbour Museum. This museum has an excellent reputation and often appears in travel guides as one of Tallinn's  'must-see' attractions. The Seaplane Harbour Museum opened in 2012 and has indoor and outdoor exhibitions. 

The Estonian Seaplane Harbour Museum is one of Tallinn's best
interactive museums. There is lots to do for people of all ages.

Go on-board and explore the Lembit submarine.

Built in England in 1937, the Lembit submarine is one of the few
submarines to have survived intact from the pre-WWII era.

The lighting sets the nautical mood. 

The museum is extremely informative.

Have fun dressing up in naval attire.

Estonian Naval uniforms.

Estonian boat ruins.

Learn about old Viking traditions.

Key attractions.

List of exhibitions.

The Estonian Seaplane Harbour Museum will be closed for renovations from 30th January - 28th February 2017.  

The museum is located at: Vesilennuki Tee 6, Tallinn. Website: The Estonian Maritime Museum

Normal opening hours are 10.00–18.00 (Tue–Sun). 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

VIDEO: Estonia in the 1930s

I love viewing these old films depicting life in Estonia during my grandparents era. Much has changed since those days...

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Legendary Estonian composer Veljo Tormis has died aged 86

Estonia lost a class act today. Veljo Tormis was an Estonian composer who was deeply in tune with his country’s vital tradition of choral singing and ancient folk culture. He was born in Kuusalu in 1930 and studied in the Tallinn and later Moscow Conservatories before going into teaching. (Arvo Pärt was among his students). During his career Veljo Tormis produced over 500 individual choral songs. Tormis was internationally regarded as one of the greatest choral music writers, and one of the most important composers of the 20th century in Estonia.

Many of Tormis’ works are written for choirs and based on an ancient form of Estonian folk song called regilaul. He once said: “National music can also convey religious feelings; it often represents pre-Christian forms of spirituality, which should also be important and meaningful in our integrating world. Old Estonian runo songs certainly communicate the nature worship and rituals of prehistoric times.”

'Forgotten Peoples' is one of his most famous works.

For those unfamiliar with the work Veljo Tormis, here is some additional background information. Veljo Tormis - Biography

Estonian Winter Festival of Lights

Tonight spruces across Estonia will be set ablaze in the annual Winter Lights Festival. This is a long standing tradition where old Christmas trees and other sculptures made from spruce and straw spectacularly light up the night sky.   This year there will be a Guinness World Record attempt and people are encouraged to share their photos on Facebook. Many parades are due to take place at multiple venues from 6 pm.

For more information (in Estonian) click here: Pühapäeval toimub Tallinnas talvine valgusfestival

Friday, 20 January 2017

Increase in oil prices breathes new life into Estonia’s oil shale industry - ERR NEWS

Both Enefit Kaevandused, the mining subsidiary of state-owned energy group Eesti Energia, and VKG Kaevandused, the mining subsidiary of shale oil and chemicals producer VKG, are planning on increasing output this year.

The Estonia mine has switched over to a seven-day workweek, which means that mining is now underway there 24/7. On Thursday, journalists were given an overview of the longwall mining technology which will allow the company to reduce mining costs, reported ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."

Ahti Puur, chairman of the board at Enefit Kaevandused, explained that the new technology would allow for a one-third reduction in the number of employees working a mine compared to previous technology. As output has increased, however, the increase in mining efficiency has not meant a reduction in the number of jobs.

"We believe we will stick with the current workforce at Enefit Kaevandus, which is approximately 2,300 employees," said Eesti Energia board member Andres Vainola. "If we compare with the most difficult period, i.e. during 2015, when we laid off nearly 350 people in the mines, then we have hired just under 100 to replace them yet have achieved pre-market decline production capacities. We do not currently plan on hiring more employees, however no layoffs are planned either."

As a listed company, Eesti Energia will publish the mining volumes of its mines in its annual report at the end of February. According to Vainola, however, last year’s mining values were approximately 10 percent greater than in the year before. In 2015, the company mined 15.5 million tons of commercial oil shale.

VKG’s Ojamaa mine is switching over to a six-day workweek as they are seeking to increase output from last year’s 2.3 million tons of commercial oil shale to 3.9 million tons this year.

A total of 500 people currently work at the Ojamaa mine, but the increase in production volume will allow for them to hire an additional 35 employees in February. The company hopes to create a total of 65 new jobs at the mine this year.

"We have never had so many employees working at the mine and we are indeed increasing our output," noted VKG board chairman Ahti Asmann. "When we reopened Kiviter, then it was largely those we had been forced to lay off that came to work [there], but there are also new people involved and more young people are entering the sector as well."

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

My cinnamon roll recipe

There wouldn't be a bakery in Estonia that doesn't sell cinnamon rolls. They are a popular tasty treat enjoyed by all. Here is my recipe that was recently published in the UK's Take a Break Magazine. Cinnamon rolls are inexpensive and very easy to make! 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Estonia ranked 11th most competitive country in the world

Estonia has achieved an excellent result in the 2016 Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index conducted by SolAbility. Now ranked 11th in the world Estonia follows closely behind its Scandinavian neighbours who top the list.

The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI) aims to evaluate the ability to sustain wealth creation. It is based on a competitiveness model that incorporates all pillars of sustained growth and wealth creation: natural capital availability; national governance (the framework in which all players operation - the outcomes of policy directions and investments, e.g. the availability of infrastructure); intellectual capital (innovation and business capabilities); resource efficiency, and social cohesion. The Sustainable Competitiveness Index also integrates data trends over time to allow for a better expression of future development potential.

Based on these factors each country is given a score out of 100. This year Estonia achieved 11th place with a score of 53.6 while Sweden topped the list with a score of 60.9.

Scandinavian countries dominated the top spots.

To read more about the report, please click here: Global Sustainable Competiveness Ranking 2016

Friday, 13 January 2017

New national brand concept launched today for Estonia

An Estonian design team have come up with a new brand for Estonia. The concept is based on three adjectives: open, smart, and active, characteristics illustrating both the nature of the country and its people.

Estonia is known mostly for its digital ambition but there’s a lot more to discover about this beautiful country. To read the overview of the new branding concept, please click here: Estonia: A land of independent minds 

Watch 'Brand Estonia' here: https://vimeo.com/197890298

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Cool Estonian postcards

I recently bought these postcards at the Estonian Maritime Museum in Tallinn. They are so good that I just had to share!


The Guardian: Estonian National Museum Review – Touching and Revealing

It is unusual to put a museum at the end of a runway, still more if it also straddles a chain of ornamental lakes, but then the Estonian National Museum is not a usual sort of institution. Its past is wrapped up with that of the country itself. Now it somehow has to represent the complex and precarious history of Estonia, in a fraught present, with a combination of pride and sensitivity.

For a European country to build a national museum at this moment, when nationalism is taking new and unpredictable forms, is perilous. If Russia were to invent such a thing now, it would look like another form of aggressive aggrandisement; if Britain, an episode of querulous post-Brexit blue-passport patriotism; if Germany, it would raise issues too agonising for a single museum to handle. Estonia, a country of 1.3 million, whose two periods of independence – between the wars and since 1991 – add up to less than 50 years, and which still has grounds to be nervous of its neighbour Russia, has reason to define and assert itself with a museum, but it also has to tread cautiously.

The idea of a national museum has been linked to the idea of Estonian independence for more than a century, ever since a group of nationalist-minded intellectuals decided to create such a thing. Since then the fluctuating fortunes of independence, war and occupation have caused the collections to be housed in different places, to be dispersed and reassembled. Under postwar Soviet occupation the contents and concept of the museum were threatened. In the late 80s the call to reinstate the museum was part of a new campaign for freedom. The new €70m building is the fulfilment of this desire, after many years of debate and interruptions since Estonia won back independence in 1991.

To continue reading, please click here: Estonian National Museum– touching & revealing

Sunday, 8 January 2017

UN officially changes status of Baltic States from Eastern Europe to Northern Europe

Great news! Estonia is now officially part of Northern Europe. This is where we belong!

For more information please refer to the United Nations website: List of Northern European countries

Thursday, 5 January 2017

TALES OF TALLINN - The Salt Trade (Sool)

One of the most important goods imported to Tallinn during the Middle Ages, was salt. Known as “the white gold” it was extremely valuable and used as one of the currencies in the Hanseatic League. The flavouring was mainly brought in from Brouages and Baie in France as well as Portugal and Lüneburg, Germany.

For thousands of years salt has been the best-known food preservative. Today, approximately 1,5 kg of salt is used per person each year while 600 years ago it was four times more.

In the 15th century, more than 100 shiploads of salt arrived in the port of Tallinn. It was transported unpacked in the ship's interior and once the salt arrived, it was quickly loaded into smaller boats and taken to shore. From there the salt was taken to the weighing house (Vaekoda) on the Town Hall Square where it was crushed, weighed and divided into smaller bags. Most of it was sold to Novgorod, Finland and Sweden.

The income obtained from salt trade was stored into the walls and houses of Tallinn. This is the reason we have a saying - it is a city built on salt.

Source: Reval Denim Guild on Facebook. 'Tales of Tallinn - Salt'. (Lood Tallinnast - Sool))

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Estonians prefer basketball over football

According to Amazing Maps Estonia and Lithuania are the only two European countries where basketball is the most popular spectator sport.  While most countries in the world are football crazy, there are a few countries where other sports are even more popular. In the Northern Hemisphere Canadians absolutely love their ice hockey while in Australia Aussie Rules is the most watched sport. 

Monday, 2 January 2017

The best gifts come from Estonia!

One of the best things about visiting Estonia is coming home with a suitcase full of treats afterwards! Naturally I stocked up on Estonian rye bread, cheese and piparkook.  I also picked up a few of Estonia's finest DVDs produced in recent years and bought my first folk belt. Can't wait to try it on!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year! Head uut aastat!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2016 was a good year for you all and that 2017 will be even better! May the new year bring much prosperity, happiness and joy!