57 Interesting Facts About Estonia

Last updated on May 24th, 2016 at 05:51 am

Estonia is a mostly flat country on the eastern shores of the Baltic sea. The capital, Tallinn, has a preserved Old Town, museums and the 314m-high Tallinn TV Tower’s observation deck. Let’s explore more about this country!

57 Interesting facts about Estonia

1. Saaremaa, an oak tree in the middle of a football field in Orissaare, won European Tree of the Year Award in 2015.

Saaremaa from Estonia.
The award winning oak tree–Saaremaa–in the middle of a football field in Orissaare. Legend says two of Stalin´s tractors tried to pull it out of the ground, but the cables kept breaking. It still has marks from the cables. Image credit – Elina Kalm

2. The country also has the highest number of startup per capita in Europe.

3. Estonia adopted the Euro on January 1, 2011.

4. Estonia is also the birth place of the first Christmas tree.

5. The Estonian system for public use is so easy that you could easily file your income tax return in less than 10 minutes or register your company through the internet in less than 5 minutes.

6. It was ranked third in press freedom economy in 2012.

7. Estonia since joining the European Union has become an increasingly important transshipment zone for cannabis, cocaine, opiates, and synthetic drugs.

8. The name of the country comes from the “Ests” the settlers in the region.

Unique things about Estonia

9. The country is also the first country in the world to have implemented flat tax system.

10. It is a law in Estonia to have safety reflectors attached whether you are walking or biking during the night time or when the visibility is inadequate. The reflector can be pinned to your handbag, coat or any other suitable place where it is easily spotable. Otherwise, you could be fined up to 400 EUR.

Pedestrians wearing safety reflectors in Estonia
Interesting facts about Estonia: Safety reflectors for Pedestrians. Image credit – news.err.ee/

11. Did you know that Estonia is one of the least religious countries in the world? Only 16% of its population was found to be adherent of some form of belief during a 2005 poll.

12. Estonia is also among the cleanest places on the planet earth to breath.

13. Almost 50% of its territory is covered with forests and 22% is under agriculture.

14. It is also the third country in the world after Finland and Canada to have maximum area covered under natural mires.

15. Estonia also belongs to the group of countries with the largest density of large predators in Europe. If you are lucky, and lucky enough, you could sight wolves, lynxes and brown bears in the country.

16. Did you know that Estonia is the birthplace of Skype? Yes, there is no doubt that Estonia is a technologically advanced nation and internet focused as mentioned in the fact above.

Estonia on map with neighboring countries
Estonia on map with neighboring countries.

17. The country also produced a Chess Grandmaster – Paul Keres. Upon his death in 1975, an estimated 100,000 people attended his funeral.

18. Now, do not be jealous after learning the fact that public transportation in the capital Tallinn is free. Yes, that’s true for the registered residents of the city. This sort of arrangement also benefits the environment as there are less cars on the roads of the capital now than before. And more registered residents means more tax revenue for the capital as well. What a good idea!

19. Even if the amount you spend in Estonia is insignificant, you would always get a receipt.

20. It is also a law in Estonia for motor vehicles to use dipped headlights during the day.

21. Business cards are pinned on the wall of the airport in Tallinn. You can stick your own business card on the wall and pick the one that is of interest to you. It’s a great way to network with people and find useful stuff. Really cool, isn’t it!

Random facts about Estonia

22. The second biggest city in the country—Tartu—is also known as the intellectual capital of Estonia. The city was founded by Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus in 1632.

23. Estonians are very beautiful. This statement can very well be supported by the fact that Estonia has the highest number of supermodels per capita in the world.

24. The tallest mountain–Suur Munamägi–in the country is just about 1000 ft in height.

25. It is the least populous state of the European Union.

26. Russian is also widely spoken in the country.

Facts about Estonia’s religion, culture, history, technology, people, economy and flag.

27. Almost 19% of the Estonians are unemployed.

28. Estonian population is declining. It has a birth rate of 10.51 births per 1,000 population.

29. The flag of Estonia contains three colors: blue, black and white. Blue represents – faith, loyalty and devotion; black symbolizes – dark past and suffering, soil of the country; and white denotes the quest to strive towards virtue and enlightenment.

30. It is interesting for the kids to note that Estonia has also been described as one of the most internet-focused countries in Europe.

31. Café culture is quite popular in the country. Cafes can be found in almost every corner and street across the country. The cafes in the country are small, cozy and provide a home like feeling to its customers.

32. Estonia is a developed country with a high-income economy and high standard of living.

33. During your visit to Estonia, do not be amazed to find internet access even in the woods. Remember, we told you that Estonia is an internet-focused country.

34. Estonian schools are connected to the Internet. Internet is everywhere in the country!

35. It is also the first country in the world to have used internet for political voting. The Estonian parliamentary elections were conducted online in 2007 for the first time in the world.

36. Estonia has a literacy rate of 99.8%, which makes it rank second in the world for that matter.

37. They host a wife-carrying competition every year. Many European countries participate in this event. The male contestants have to carry their female counterparts and run through the obstacle course in the least possible time.

wife-carrying competition Estonia
Competitors during wife-carrying competition, Estonia. Image credit – sixfiftyml.com

38. Radiocarbon dating suggests that “the Pulli settlement”, the oldest settlement in Estonia, was settled around 11,000 years ago.

39. One-fifth of the mainland area of Estonia is covered with Bogs and Mires.

40. If you want to greet someone in Estonia with a “Hello”, you had say them “tere”. It means Hello in Estonian.

41. Folk song lovers, please pay attention to this fact. Estonia has the highest collection of written folk songs in the world – 133,000.

42. Estonia does not accept dual citizenship.

43. Estonia has one of the highest rates of mobile phone ownership per capita. With a mobile phone, you could pay for virtually anything. Free Wi-Fi is also available across the country.

44. Drink and drive is not permissible in Estonia. They have zero tolerance for such offenders. The take away time for alcoholic beverages in shops is restricted to 10 pm.

45. The capital of Estonia–Tallinn–is voted as the best protected and intact medieval city in Europe.

46. You can also have a good chance to travel on ice roads if you visit the country during winters. Ice roads are formed between the mainland and the islands when the Baltic Sea freezes during winters.

47. Pay attention bird watchers, here is something of interest for you. Estonia sees millions of migratory birds. At least 380 species of birds are spotted in Estonia annually. The bird watching season begins in early march in the country.

48. And the country is among the top three bird watching destinations in Europe for the number of species spotted here.

Tallinn Town Hall Square
Tallinn Town Hall Square – As a square it plays an important role today as well – in summer it is filled with outdoor cafes, plays host to the Old Town Days and other medieval festivals, is a venue for open air concerts and fairs and more. In winter it becomes a magical Christmas market, the centrepiece of which is a towering spruce tree. Image credit – Jorge Lascar

Estonia facts for kids

49. Lake Peipsi is Estonia’s largest lake and Europe’s fourth largest freshwater lake.

50. Prior to 1921, Estonia was also spelled as “Esthonia”. Noticed the difference in the spelling?

51. The capital city has an area of approximately 159 sq km.

52. The Estonian territory consists of a mainland and islands and islets in the Baltic Sea.

53. The country was once ruled by the Danish, the Swedish, the Germans and the Russians.

54. In area Estonia is about twice the size of New Jersey.

55. It has a total 657 kilometers of land boundaries.

56. It is a democratic parliamentary republic.

57. Estonians celebrate their independence twice a year. Once on 24th of February and the other on 20th of August.

Quick/fast facts about Estonia

Capital CityTallinna
59°25′N 24°45′E
Largest CityTallinna
59°25′N 24°45′E
Total area45,228 sq km
Population1,265,420 (July 2015 est.)
Official LanguageEstonian
BordersLatvia, Russia and Finland.
CurrencyEuro (€) (EUR)
ReligionLutheran Church (majorly a non-religious nation)
Life expectancy76.47 Years (2012)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatemaritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers
Terrainmarshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south
Natural resourcesoil shale, peat, rare earth elements, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud
Agricultural land22.2%
Birth rate10.51 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate12.4 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio0.87 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Independence20 August 1991 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)
National symbolsbarn swallow, cornflower; national colors: blue, black, white
National anthem"Mu isamaa, mu onn ja room" (My Native Land, My Pride and Joy)
Exports$13.44 billion (2015 est.)
machinery and electrical equipment 34%, food products and beverages 9%, mineral fuels 9%, wood and wood products 10%, metals 7%, furniture 9%, vehicles and parts 6%, chemicals 5% (2015 est.)
Imports$14.43 billion (2015 est.)
machinery and electrical equipment 28 %, mineral fuels 11%, food and food products 10%, vehicles 9%, chemical products 8%, metals 8% (2015 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)$28,600 (2015 est.)
Time ZoneIST (UTC+05:30)
Internet country code:.ee
Internet users1.119 million
percent of population: 88.4% (July 2015 est.)
Calling Code+372
Drives on theRight