Estonia’s Ambassador Ms Tiina Intelmann says her country’s centenary is an opportunity to give and receive gifts
In 2018, Estonia embarks on a celebration of 100 years in existence. In February 1918, in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian revolutions of 1917, Estonians in the Estonian and Livonian provinces united and declared their independence.
Estonia 100 celebrations were launched in April 2017 to mark a century since Estonia’s administrative borders took their current form. The festivities will peak with the official 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia on 24 February 2018 and come to a close on the 2 February 2020 when we mark the 100th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty.
Estonia and the UK share a common history from the very start of Estonia’s path to independence. A Royal Navy squadron under Admiral Sir Walter Cowan prevented our country from being suffocated at birth by the Russian Bolsheviks.
Within Nato, the UK is the biggest contributor to our security now, with 800 Royal Welsh soldiers leading Nato’s tripwire force to deter any aggression. We in turn are proud to cooperate with Britain in intelligence and security, including our excellent experience in cyber defence.
While remembering the past, we focus on the future
While the Estonia 100 jubilee period is based on the milestones marking the emergence of Estonia’s statehood, the centenary programme is focused primarily on the future. It will engage almost every area of life and give Estonian communities around the world a chance to look back at our turbulent past, the restoration of independence in 1991 at the end of the Cold War, highlight the present day and set new goals for tomorrow. To be both of age and full of youthful energy, innovative, curious, self-confident.
Estonians are encouraged to give gifts to the state in the form of events and good deeds. The Estonian gift to the world is a global World Clean-up Day on 15 September 2018.
The aim of the Estonia 100 international programme is to combine efforts to raise Estonia’s profile globally. The programme supports over 200 cultural, educational, research and technological events all over the world in 2017 and 2018. Estonia will also be promoted in the public spaces of a number of European cities with a ‘Digital Street Art’ creative solution combining graffiti, history and digital technology.
Estonian centenary celebrations in the UK kicked off at the end of January with the renowned Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir performing at Barbican Milton Court Concert Hall. The official opening was attended by Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
The 100th anniversary will be celebrated by Estonian communities all over the UK with the biggest celebration taking place in London on 24 February in Westminster Cathedral Hall. Everybody is welcome to join us for a day full of Estonian culture, food, music and much more.
In April, the Baltic States will be the Market Focus countries at the London Book Fair, followed by an Estonian Literature Weekend ‘EstLitFest’ taking place in Notting Hill.
We are celebrating the Estonian centenary year all over the United Kingdom. In February and March, the Glasgow Film Festival focuses on Baltic films. In April, there will be an opportunity to hear Estonian Jazz at Sage Gateshead Festival. In September, a popular exhibition ‘Soviet Hippies’ will open in Liverpool, along with a film screening.
Estonian communities in the UK and Europe have joined forces to organise a European Estonian Song Festival in Leicester this September. The festival will bring together Estonian choirs and folk dancers from all over Europe.
This autumn, you can also see Estonian female conductor Anu Tali conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonics.
In November, the Estonian National Ballet will perform in Glasgow. The Estonian focus in Glasgow will also include contemporary dance, music, film, exhibition and talks. The list of cultural events is continuously expanding.
Please visit the Embassy website http://london.mfa.ee/en for all our centenary activities in the UK.