State

Estonia is situated in north eastern Europe, being the northernmost of the three Baltic States. It is bounded on the west and north by the Baltic Sea and on the east by Lake Peipsi and the Narva River. It is bordered t by Russia o the east and southeast and Latvia to the south. Tallinn, Estonian capital, is only about 85 km south of Helsinki, the capital of Finland, across the Gulf of Finland. Sweden is Estonia's nearest western neighbour across the Baltic Sea. Estonia is often referred to as a very small country. With an area of 45,000 sq. km, Estonia is in fact larger than e.g. Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark or Switzerland, but still for example five times smaller than Great Britain. Estonia stretches 350 km from east to west and 240 km from north to south. Sea islands form one tenth and lakes about one twentieth of Estonia's territory. Almost half of the Estonian territory is covered by forest and woodland.

Quick facts

Official name: Republic of Estonia

Location: North Eastern Europe

Government: Parliamentary Republic, single chamber Parliament (Riigikogu) of 101 members

Head of state: President

Capital: Tallinn

Area: 45,227 km2 (larger than e.g. the Netherlands, which is 41,526 km2) neighbours: Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Russia

Population: 1.3 million

Membership: European Union, WTO, OECD & NATO, Schengen Area

Independence: Declared in 1918; regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991

National day: 24th of February, Independence Day

Main religion: Lutheran

Currency: Euro (€)

Language: Estonian (English, Russian and German are also widely spoken)

Climate: Humid/temperate. 50% of Estonian land is covered by forests.

Proportion of urban population: 68%

Largest city: Tallinn (450,830 inhabitants – 34% of the total population, 2018)

Other major cities: Tartu (93,715), Narva (56,103), Kohtla-Järve (34,394), Pärnu (39,375)

Telephone: Country code +372

Time zone: GMT + 2 hours

GDP (PPP): $31,742 per capita (2017, World Bank)

Major natural resources: Timber, oil shale, phosphorite, peat, limestone, dolomite

Distances from Tallinn: Helsinki 85 km, Riga 307 km, St Petersburg 395 km, Stockholm 405 km, Vilnius 605 km

Flight times: Helsinki 35 min, Stockholm 1 h, Copenhagen 1 h 30 min, Moscow 1 h 40 min, Amsterdam 2 h 20 min, London 2 h 45 min

Estonian inventions: Skype, Minox miniature camera, Schmidt’s telescope, etc.

Successful Estonian start-ups: Pipedrive, TransferWise, Taxify, GrabCAD, Fortumo, Click&Grow, ZeroTurnaround, Fits.me, Now!Innovations, etc.

Notable people: Composer Arvo Pärt, supermodel Carmen Kass, actress Mena Suvari and actor Johann Urb, designer Oskar Metsavaht, artist Kalev Mark Kostabi, footballers Mart Poom, Joel Lindpere and Ragnar Klavan, freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru, one of the best chess players of the 20th century Paul Keres, noted astronomer and astrophysicist Ernst Öpik, former Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom Lembit Öpik, the “father of embryology” Karl Ernst von Baer etc.