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Info4Migrants
ESTONIACountry profile
Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615
45,227km2
1,315mln
POPULATION
GDPper capita
CURRENCY
$26,555
Language 
ESTONIAN
Recognized regional languages	
VÕRO, SETU
Estonia is a Western Europe country bordering the Baltic Sea
and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia.
As a result o...
ESTONIA FACTS
Size and population
Estonia is small, but it is bigger than Slovenia, Holland, Den-
mark, and Switzerland. D...
ESTONIA FACTS
Technology
Estonia is incredibly tech savvy. Not only is Estonia the home-
land of wildly successful softwar...
1 January: New Year’s Day
Usually a very quiet day after celebrations.
24 February: Independence Day
Celebrated with the m...
ESTONIAN FOOD
Bean Soup
Bean Soup made with broad beans,
smoked meat, potatoes and onion. It is
served hot with sour cream...
ESTONIAN FOOD
Sauerkraut stew (Mulgikapsad)
Estonian sauerkraut side dish. Sauerkraut
stew with pork, served with boiled p...
IMPORTANT TIPS
Languages in Estonia
The official language of Estonia is Esto-
nian, a Uralic language which is related
to ...
Manners
• Estonians on the whole are quiet and
reserved.
• They tend to speak softly and do not like
to draw attention to ...
Estonians have strong ties to the Nordic countries stemming from important cultural
and religious influences gained over c...
Free Public Transportation
The mayor of Tallinn offered free public
transportation to anyone who is a registered
resident ...
DOS AND DON’TS
Table Manners
DON’T sit until invited to sit down.
DON’T eat until the host begins or until
someone says “h...
CORPORATE CULTURE
Meeting & Greeting
A good firm handshake accompanied with
direct eye contact is the norm. The most
commo...
CORPORATE CULTURE
Meetings and Negotiations:
Meetings in Estonia are formal. It is prop-
er etiquette for the most senior ...
WAY OF LIFE
A typical Estonian would like to portray himself as hard-working, reliable, smart, innova-
tive and friendly. ...
IN EVERYDAY SITUATIONS
Traditions
Estonia is one of the most non-religious countries in the world, but Estonians value
tra...
IN EVERYDAY SITUATIONS
sity – economy, law and medicine being the most valued areas of
study. Tartu University, known for ...
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Country profile - Estonia

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Information about Estonia. The dos and the dont's, business etiquette, general information about the country. The document was created for the project Info4migrants. Project number UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615

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Country profile - Estonia

  1. 1. Info4Migrants ESTONIACountry profile Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615
  2. 2. 45,227km2 1,315mln POPULATION GDPper capita CURRENCY $26,555 Language  ESTONIAN Recognized regional languages VÕRO, SETU
  3. 3. Estonia is a Western Europe country bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia. As a result of centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Rus- sian rule, the idea of an independent Estonian state had already been raised in the late 19th century and came true in 1918 when Estonia attained independence from the Russian Empire. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940, it regained its freedom in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia has been free to promote economic and political ties with Western Europe. Since April 2004 Estonia is a member of NATO and member of the European Union since May 2004. Estonia has a modern market-based economy and one of the higher per capita income levels in Central Europe and the Baltic region. Estonia’s successive governments have pursued a free market, pro-business economic agenda and have wavered little in their commitment to pro-market reforms. The current gov- ernment has followed sound fiscal policies that have resulted in balanced budgets and low public debt. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, Russia, and Germany. National Flag Coat of arms COUNTRY BACKGROUND FINLAND LATVIA ESTONIA Tallinn RUSSIA 3 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  4. 4. ESTONIA FACTS Size and population Estonia is small, but it is bigger than Slovenia, Holland, Den- mark, and Switzerland. Despite its small size, it feels big because only 1.3 million people live here. This makes Estonia one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe, with just 32 people per square kilometer. History “Eesti” can be traced to a first-century mention by the Ro- man historian Tacitus of a people or place called Aestii or Aestui. The name may derive from a German word referring to the east. Place names have been traced to this period, suggesting a link between language and homeland. Estonia is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, the University of Tartu, founded in 1632. The region has been a major center of conflict for centuries, and has been ruled by all sorts of powers, such as Sweden and Poland-Lith- uania. Only in the 19th century did a nationalist movement emerge that would later lead to independence. Independence days Estonia celebrates two Independence Days; the first is the 24th of February, 1918, and the second is the 20th of August, 1991, both commemorating independence from the Soviet Union. 4 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  5. 5. ESTONIA FACTS Technology Estonia is incredibly tech savvy. Not only is Estonia the home- land of wildly successful software programs Skype and Kazaa, but you can find Wi-Fi all over, including public parks. Estonia was the first country to use online voting for political elec- tions. Religion Estonia has one of the highest rates of atheism in the world, with only 16% expressing a belief in a god in a 2005 poll. Religious traditions remain, however, including pagan rituals, which are still celebrated as secular cultural tradi- tions. Family support Estonia is a great place to be a mom. It has the highest sur- vival rate in the world for mothers giving birth, and offers new mothers 100% of their former salary for 18 months, and other child support services as well. Terrain Estonia is home to the tallest mountain in the Baltic re- gion, Suur Munamägi, which reaches 318 meters. Estonia is famous for its meteorite craters, especially around Kaali, where several craters can be found that formed just within the last several thousand years. Estonia’s relative flatness makes it a great place for Nordic ski training. Due to the low population density, half the country is for- ested, which makes for great hiking opportunities. Esto- nia’s forests keep getting bigger, perhaps due to the declin- ing population. 5 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  6. 6. 1 January: New Year’s Day Usually a very quiet day after celebrations. 24 February: Independence Day Celebrated with the military parade in the morning and fes- tive family dinners in the evening. Moveable Friday during spring: Good Friday Church holiday, a day for mourning and fasting. Moveable Sunday during spring: Easter Sunday Commonly known as lihavõtted or munade pühad in Esto- nian. Celebrated by spring time (dairy based) treats, eggs and folk festivities. 1 May: May Day The night before (Walpburg night) is celebrated with parties and witchcraft. Moveable day during late spring: Whitsun Church holiday, celebrated 7 weeks after Easter Sunday. 23 June: Victory Day Celebrating the decisive battle (1919) during the War of Inde- pendence. 24 June: Midsummer Day Commonly known as Jaanipäev. Celebrated with bonfires, different events and festivities taking place all around Estonia. One of the most important dates of the year for Estonians. 20 August: Day of Restoration of Independence Celebrated with national festivities, events and family gather- ings. 24-26 December: Christmas Christmas holidays are usually spent with the family. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 6 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  7. 7. ESTONIAN FOOD Bean Soup Bean Soup made with broad beans, smoked meat, potatoes and onion. It is served hot with sour cream. Estonian Chilled Cucumber Soup Chopped onion is combined with peeled, seeded and grated cucumbers and dill in chicken stock. Once the soup is pureed sour cream and egg yolks are added. Then the soup is chilled for at least 4 hours. Boiled pork in jelly (Sült) The jelly is made by boiling the pork bones, sometimes hooves and heads. It is often made in large batches; so many Estonian families have stacks of jars of solidifying sült all over the house. Fish in Tomato Marinade Whitefish fillets are cut into pieces and sprinkled with salt and pepper and coated in flour. The fish is browned and put into a marinade for about 6 hours. When ready for serving, a sauce is made with vinegar, tomato paste, sugar and spices. Brown bread with garlic This dish made from the country’s perfect- ed brown bread recipe, which is rubbed with garlic, deep fried, and served with a very garlicky and refreshing tzatziki-like cucumber sauce. Black pudding (Verivorst) Blood and barley sausage, similar to what the English diplomatically call ‘black pud- ding’ due to its colour. In Estonia, this is traditional Christmas food and is served with a red berry jam. Estonian Ground Meat Patties (Hakkliha kotlet) Ground veal, beef and pork are combined with eggs and spices. This is made into patties, dipped in bread crumbs and fried. In addition, it might be served with braised red cabbage. Estonian pork Sauerkraut, pork loin, apple, onion, pearl barley and spices are combined and sim- mered for about 4 hours. Traditional Estonian cuisine has substantially been based on meat and potatoes, and on fish in coastal and lakeside areas, but is influenced by many other cuisines by now. In the present day it includes a variety of international foods and dishes, with a number of contributions from the traditions of nearby countries. German, Scandinavian, Russian and other influences have played their part. The most typ- ical foods in Estonia have been rye bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products. Es- tonian eating habits have historically been closely linked to the seasons. In terms of staples, Estonia belongs firmly to the beer, vodka, rye bread and pork “belt” of Europe. 7 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  8. 8. ESTONIAN FOOD Sauerkraut stew (Mulgikapsad) Estonian sauerkraut side dish. Sauerkraut stew with pork, served with boiled pota- toes. Unleavened barley bread (Karask) One of our desert items was this cake-like barley bread. Jellied Veal Veal shoulder, fresh pig’s knuckles, onion and carrot are placed in a pot to boil with whole peppercorns and bay leaves for about 3 hours. Then the meat is removed and cut up. The meat is placed into molds. The boiled stock is poured into each mold, and then the molds are placed into the fridge until the stock has jellied. Kama There’s really no equivalent in most other traditions. Basically it’s a thick desert drink made with sour milk (keefir), and a mixture of ground grains – rye, oat barley, and pea flour. Vanaema’s kook (Grandmother’s Cake) It’s a layer of pastry crust, jam, and some wonderful crumbly topping. Root Beer (Kali) The Estonian, non-alcoholic beverage called Kali. Referred to as “the Estonian Coca-Co- la,” Kali is a kind of unfermented beer. It’s sweet and has a very light fizz to it. Strong drink Vana Tallinn is a dark brown strong liqueur with a mild rum taste. The liqueur has a vanillin, slightly exotic and velvety taste, characterized by several natural ingredi- ents, including citrus oils, cinnamon, vanilla, as well as rum. Vana Tallinn should be drank straight, with- out any additional components, with a cup of coffee. Often Vana Tallinn is served straight, adding just crushed ice. The liquor is also an excellent component in cocktails. 8 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  9. 9. IMPORTANT TIPS Languages in Estonia The official language of Estonia is Esto- nian, a Uralic language which is related to Finnish but unrelated to neighboring Russian and Latvian, which are of In- do-European root. Russian is by far the most spoken mi- nority language in the country. There are towns in Estonia with large Rus- sian-language communities, as well as towns where speakers of Estonian are in minority (especially in North-East of Estonia, e.g. Narva). The Baltic Germans (German: Deutsch-Balten, or Balten- deutsche) were ethnically mainly Ger- man inhabitants of the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, which today forms the countries of Estonia and Latvia. The Ger- man language is the third most popular foreign language among Estonians today. The Estonian Swedes are a Swed- ish-speaking linguistic minority tradi- tionally residing in the coastal areas and islands of what is now western and northern Estonia. Almost all of Estonia’s Swedish-speaking minority fled to Sweden during World War II, and only the descendants of a few individuals who opted to stay are permanently resident in Estonia today. Etiquette Estonians are socially introverted and maintain a distance in public and private spaces. People move relatively quickly, seldom make eye contact, and talk in hushed tones in public. Business Customs Business greetings are formal and re- served, greetings are usually with a firm handshake. People should be addressed by the proper titles and you should wait to be invited to use first names. Trust is seen as important as is keeping your word, meetings can often take place at lunch. Decisions still tend to be made at the top, so it can take several meetings to get decisions made. 9 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  10. 10. Manners • Estonians on the whole are quiet and reserved. • They tend to speak softly and do not like to draw attention to themselves. • Being rational, calm and not going to emotional extremes are all respected qual- ities. • At first, Estonians can come across as aloof. Once a relationship warms up this becomes less so. Meeting and Greeting • Greetings can come across as rather for- mal and rather reserved. • Men should initiate greetings with wom- en and the younger person always greets the older person. • When meeting someone make sure you are stood up, offer direct eye contact and give a nice firm handshake. • The most common greeting is “tere” (“hello”). • Titles are very important. “Härra” is for Mr, “Prova” is Mrs and “Preili” is Miss. All should be followed with the surname. • Only use first names once you have been invited to do so. Gift Giving Etiquette • Gifts are usually exchanged for birthdays and at Christmas. • Gifts need not be expensive as it is more about the thought than monetary worth. • If you are invited to an Estonian’s house, a decent gift is a box of chocolates or flow- ers. • Flowers should be given in odd numbers. • Gifts are usually opened when received. Dining Etiquette • Arrive on time. Punctuality is expected. Call if running late. • Check to see if shoes are being worn in the house. • Do not expect a tour of the house – homes are private. • Dress conservatively. • Try and offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served. This will be turned down but is nonetheless polite. • Do not discuss business. • Reciprocate any hospitality received. Table Manners • Table manners are relatively formal in Estonia. • Remain standing until invited to sit down. • Table manners are Continental, i.e. the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. • Do not begin eating until the hostess starts or someone says “head isu” (“good appetite”). • Avoid resting your elbows on the table. • Compliment the hostess on the meal. • Try to finish everything on your plate. ETIQUETTE AND CUSTOMS 10 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  11. 11. Estonians have strong ties to the Nordic countries stemming from important cultural and religious influences gained over centuries during Scandinavian and German rule and settlement. Indeed, Estonians consider themselves Nordic rather than Baltic, in particular because of a close ethnic and linguistic affinity with the Finns. PEOPLE IN ESTONIA Estonians are part of the Finno-Ugric eth- nic group, making them cousins of Finns, and somewhat more distantly, Hungarians. This group holds a rather unique place in Europe, as their languages have no connec- tion to those around them. The country is considered more Nordic than Baltic, and participates in a number of economic co- operation agreements with other Nordic countries. Estonians have strong connections to lo- cal traditions related primarily to differ- ent dialects and reinforced by variations in customs and dress. Islands, including Saaremaa, have their own traditions, and people speak distinctive dialects. Other local cultures with different dialects include the mulgid (in southern Viljandimaa), the vorukad (from Voru), and the setud (from Setumaa, currently divided by the border between Estonia and Russia). Despite local attachments, people feel that they share a common culture. The country has a sizable community of ethnic Russians whose con- nections to Estonia have begun to develop only recently. The country is extremely well educated, with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, and a top-performing school system when compared internationally. Out of the nearly 200 countries in the world, Estonia ranks number two in adult literacy with its rate of 99.8 percent 11 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  12. 12. Free Public Transportation The mayor of Tallinn offered free public transportation to anyone who is a registered resident of his city. Despite the costs to the city for providing the initial transport, it also means more people register as residents. This, in turn, means more tax revenue for Tallinn’s administration. Furthermore, since people can move around the city freely and with affordable prices, the business of local shop owners improves. More people are using public transport and fewer cars are on the road, which also benefits the environ- ment. Online Voting While many countries are still debating the concept of online voting due to secu- rity concerns, Estonia has already been at it since 2005. Estonia is a very tech-savvy country, with most classrooms and homes having an Internet connection. For the sake of convenience, then, Estonians decided to automate voting. The Estonian government issues all citizens unique pins and logins for online government services, so they already have a secure infrastructure in place. Flat Tax The Estonian government was the first in Europe to put a flat tax system into practice. While Estonia is a small sample, the results have been quite good so far. However, many countries that adopted a flat tax after Esto- nia have not done very well in the economic crisis, and they have now switched their tax systems back. Estonia, on the other hand, believes that the flat tax is still the best sys- tem, and Estonian economy has recovered from the crisis. Safety reflectors Estonia is concerned with keeping their roads safe. Due to Estonia spending a lot of time in darkness, the authorities are often worried about pedestrians getting hit by vehicles. To avoid this, you must wear safety reflectors to make sure that people can see you. Estonia expects pedestrians to act re- sponsibly, and you can be fined if you don’t have reflectors. OUTSTANDING FACTS 12 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  13. 13. DOS AND DON’TS Table Manners DON’T sit until invited to sit down. DON’T eat until the host begins or until someone says “head isu” which means “good appetite.” DON’T put your elbows on the table. DO compliment the host and finish every- thing served to you. Greetings DO shake hands firmly upon meeting some- one. Maintain eye contact. DON’T remain seated while greeting some- one. Stand up! DO wait for a woman to extend her hand first. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts DO give odd numbers of flowers, not even. DO open a gift upon receipt. Visitors Etiquette DON’T be late! And if you think you will be running late, call to explain. DO take your shoes off. DON’T ask for a tour of the house. In Esto- nia, homes are considered private. DO offer your hosts help with preparation or with cleaning up. DON’T discuss business. DO bring a gift for your host, such as choco- lates or flowers. Business Meeting DO have one side of your business card translated into Estonian. Present the busi- ness card in a way that the recipient can read it. DO understand that Estonians prefer to do business with friends. Business lunches and dinners will be primarily social so that your Estonian colleagues can get to know you better. DO remember that business is very formal in Estonia. DO be patient. It may take a few meetings for a decision to be made. Socializing and Conversation DON’T raise your voice. Estonians tend to speak in a soft voice. DON’T offer compliments unless they are genuine. Estonians aren’t quick to give out compliments, so if you give too many it might be considered suspicious. DON’T refer to Estonia as “Eastern Europe.” Estonians consider themselves to be Nordic. DO be careful when bringing up the USSR. DON’T confuse being Estonian with being Russian Estonians are proud of their heritage, and it’s very import- ant to follow their etiquette. As a visitor to their country, it will help you not only fit in bet- ter, but also it shows a great amount of respect. Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com13 Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com13 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  14. 14. CORPORATE CULTURE Meeting & Greeting A good firm handshake accompanied with direct eye contact is the norm. The most common greeting is “tere” (hello). Esto- nians as a people, especially in business, can come across as slightly cool and de- tached. This is merely an extension of their leaning towards being level headed and not displaying emotions, so do not misinterpret a lack of smiles as unfriendliness. As a culture that still respects hierarchy, it is important to show due deference to those in senior positions when doing business in Estonia. Titles are therefore very important. Use “Härra” (Mr.), “Prova” (Mrs.), or “Preili” (Miss) followed by the surname. Business cards are essential but there is no ritual sur- rounding their exchange. It is always a nice gesture to have one side translated into the local language. Communication Estonians are direct communicators. They say what they mean and mean what they say. However, there is a certain diplomacy in their communication style which means they will temper their comments if they feel it could harm a relationship or cause some- one embarrassment. Silence is often used to collect thoughts in order to respond to delicate questions. Conversations at the start of a relationship will be pragmatic and reserved. Estonians are not emotive speakers and may find those that are overbearing. A certain lev- el of professionalism and respect should always be demonstrated until a relationship warms up, so politeness is key when doing business in Estonia. When doing business in Esto- nia you will note that greet- ings are formal and rather reserved. There are certain protocols that should be ob- served such as men initiating greetings with women and the younger with the older. 14 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  15. 15. CORPORATE CULTURE Meetings and Negotiations: Meetings in Estonia are formal. It is prop- er etiquette for the most senior figure of the team to open proceedings with a short speech and introductions. Similarly the most senior member of the other team should give a short speech thanking their hosts and introducing them- selves. Small talk, if it occurs, is short and simple. Prior to doing business in Estonia and hav- ing a meeting, it is recommended to send an agenda. If possible, have all written ma- terials translated. Presentations should be a blend of visual and oral information backed with accurate figures. Estonians do not appreciate hype, exagger- ated claims or gimmicks. Good eye contact with all the attendees is important. Decisions are made at the top in any busi- ness, and it will take more than one meet- ing to accomplish tangible results. The key to success is a good, firm proposal that offers long-term gains accompanied by building of trust. It generally takes several meetings to reach a decision. When negotiating, Estonians can be direct to the point of bluntness and may appear quite stubborn. It is important to always keep to your word and deliver on what you promise. Failure to do so will damage your reputation. Try your best to mirror the Estonian preference for tactful language in tricky situations so as not to cause individuals embarrassment. Never lose your temper or raise your voice as this will damage your standing. 15 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  16. 16. WAY OF LIFE A typical Estonian would like to portray himself as hard-working, reliable, smart, innova- tive and friendly. Though these qualities are all true, they are often kept as a hidden trea- sure. In attempt to avoid being seen as obtrusive or aggressive, Estonians (even service staff) keep to themselves and wait for you to make the first move. Once there, you will be greeted with an honest and kind attitude. Sense of Humour The Estonian sense of humour is dry, sarcastic and quite often politically incorrect. In Europe, it is most simi- lar to the British one – jokes at our own expense are popular, though you are much more likely to get a grin and not open laughter as a response. Choir When asked to sing out loud, you’re met with shy refusal. Yet, many Estonians have sung in a choir and our National Song and Dance fes- tivals (once every 5 years) are the biggest gatherings in Estonia: hun- dreds of thousands of Estonians will come together to hear choirs of up to 20,000-strong sing and see thou- sands of people perform folk dances. Technology In contrast, the same modern Estonians are the ones behind Skype, mobile parking, e-elections and many of the innovative technol- ogies and solutions. Various e-services like e-bank- ing, online medical and document registries; digital tickets; full wireless connectivity and excellent mobile coverage are considered to be as elementary as air and water by most modern Estonians. Compliments given by an Estonian are genuine, handshakes are valid and invita- tions heartfelt. No wonder many people claim Estonians make the best of friends. 16 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  17. 17. IN EVERYDAY SITUATIONS Traditions Estonia is one of the most non-religious countries in the world, but Estonians value traditions. Christian holidays and rituals are often observed or mixed with pagan ones. A good example is All Saints Day on the 2nd of November: the day before, many people visit churches and graves of lost family members, and at night, candles are lit on the windows of thousands of Estonian homes to greet the wandering souls. Traditional handicraft and cooking skills are passed on from one generation to another: each year, from July to the end of Septem- ber, Estonians are busy picking berries and wild mushrooms. Local homemade jam, pickled vegeta- bles and mushrooms are a real treat! Favorite foods are sauce made of minced meat (“hakklihakaste”), cab- bage stews, meat in jelly and oven baked potatoes with pork. Also, poul- try and fish (smoked or fresh-salted) are well-loved dishes. During summer, grilling and barbecue are an important part of the family gatherings. Be sure to try Estonian beer and the non-al- coholic “kali” (an Estonian style cola) and take home some smoked hams and sausages (deer, wild boar, moose and horse) to your friends! School Children go to school for 12 years, starting from the age of 7, and even though maths, physics and science are a huge part of the curriculum, they all learn at least 2 other lan- guages. Most commonly, Russian and English are taught at school; French, German and Swedish are popular alternatives. It is typical for young Estonians to start their careers at an early age, whilst still at univer- 17 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  18. 18. IN EVERYDAY SITUATIONS sity – economy, law and medicine being the most valued areas of study. Tartu University, known for its medical and science fields, is one of the oldest in Europe. The number of people in Estonia with a university degree is pro- portionally one of the highest in Europe. Art Theatre, art and reading are also an im- portant part of Estonian culture: there is a theatre in every city and you might be surprised by the volume of books in Estonian homes. There are numerous art galleries in Estonia – the most fa- mous and largest is the KUMU Mod- ern Art Museum. Sauna Most of the country houses (and many private houses and even apart- ments in cities) have a sauna, and heating up before jumping into a lake during summer or rolling in the snow during winter, to cool down, are an im- portant part of our bonding and cleansing rituals. But prepare yourself if you plan to join in: heat is high (80° Celsius is considered to be “warm”) and nudity is normal. Nature and sports Estonians love nature and feel part of it: weekends are often spent hiking, camping or just walking in the forests or by the sea – both have played an important role throughout history and Estonians are proud of their wild, clean nature, rich in varied – and even rare – flora and fauna. Fishing and sailing are popular and during winter, cross-country skiing captures the mind of most Estonians. 18 Country profile ESTONIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com

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