Estonian is the official language of Estonia, but the North and South have different dialects. These result from two migrations into Estonia each having different Finnish language. The Northern dialect has taken precedence, but Demark, Germany , Sweden and Russia have all contributed to making Estonian culture equipped with a unique language, unlike the other Baltic languages or Russian. However, around a quarter of the population speak Russian. German is sometimes spoken in the Baltic areas, as is Swedish in the north-west.
Social Life in Estonia
The family is the backbone of Estonian life; they look after the elderly as part of the family. Oral traditions have been very influential, keeping tradition alive during Soviet occupation. Singing is especially effective – they sung their way to freedom in the 1989-1991 “Singing Revolution” (more…)
Estonian men prove their virility by carrying their wives further than men from other countries which participate in this annual event. The cool way to do so is called the “Estonian Method”. The wife grip the man’s neck with her legs and hangs down his back. The origin of this strange sport lies in gang initiation, where gangsters would carry off someone’s wife.
Estonia regained its indepedence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and joined the EU in 2004. It has been a member of the Schengen Area since 2007 and its currency is the euro. The capital city is Tallinn, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe.
The country is mainly flat, with lots of lakes and islands, forests and farmlands. (more…)
When you’re relocating to Estonia from the UK, you must register your place of residence at the local government registers service within three months of entering the country – you can also do this by post. You then have residency rights for 5 years. Families can have a joint application.
Within one month after you have registered your place of residence and obtained your right to temporary residence, you must apply for an ID card and number at the Police and Border Guard Board. The ID card enables you to get health insurance, and gives you access to a wide range of digital services.
Questions of social insurance, pensions and health care in Estonia are paramount when you consider living there. I hope that you’ll find some useful guidance in the article below.
If you are a pensioner, you need to inform the IPC (International Pension Centre) to prevent problems with your pension payments. (Phone 0191 218 7777). Estonia has double taxation agreements with the UK so you will not be taxed twice – provided you ensure that the tax offices are aware of your circumstances. You can arrange to have your pension paid directly into your Estonian bank account – and still benefit from the increases as if you still (more…)
Tallinn International Airport is two miles south east of the city centre; the only domestic flights go to the two islands of Saaremaa and Hilumaa. There are no longer trains between Estonia and Latvia and travelling by train in Estonia tends to be fairly slow. There are regular long distance bus services, including from Berlin and London. Arriving by sea is a popular option, with ferries of various types including catamarans and hydrofoils.
There is an extensive rail service within Estonia, although it may not always be very efficient. The buses service is extensive, and you can usually buy your tickets at the time of travel. In Tallinn there are trams with reasonable fares; you buy your ticket in advance or from the driver, and validate your ticket from machines once on board. There are plenty of taxis – but the taxi drivers have a reputation for overcharging. It is best to order one in advance from a reputable firm. (more…)
There is a property boom in Estonia, despite slow economic growth. Demand for property is rising, as are house prices. You can access a Detailed Buying Guide (written in 2008) as this includes advice on buying off-plan.
If you decide to rent out your property beware of the tenancy trap – when the agreement expires, the tenant can demand another three years tenancy, and then another extension and it is very hard to get rid of them. (more…)