Newsletter June: Maritime days brings sailboats to Tallinn

Tallinn misses out in Green Capital Award to strong competition from Oslo 

Despite not winning the battle for Green Capital for 2019, Tallinn’s presentation went down well, even impressing the Mayor of the winning city, Oslo.

There were five finalists bidding for the title Green Capital 2019: Ghent in Belgium, Lahti in Finland, Lisbon in Portugal, Oslo in Norway, and Tallinn in Estonia. The competition was held in Essen in Germany on 3 June.

Although Tallinn offered strong competition with its free public transport, green areas and superior waste management, it was Oslo promise to quit using fossil fuels altogether within two years that proved to be the decisive factor for the jury.

Tallinn’s bid was led by Erik Sakkov former chief commercial officer at Tallinn Airport. His key points were free public transport and Tallinn leafy environment.
“We are a people, who have all our own secret mushroom place,” Sakkov said whilst explaining that Tallinn paperless environment saves the equivalent of an Eiffel Tower’s worth of paper every year.
Sakkov explained that 81 percent of citizens live in green area neighbourhoods.

Tallinn has; 207 square metres of greenery for every citizen, over 100 parks of all size, two blue flagged or clean beaches. Sakkov pointed out over half of the city’s parks are already renovated and the rest will be ready by 2025.
Sakkov gave Ülemiste City as an example of urban regeneration. “We have transformed many old factory grounds to snug urban hubs, “he said.

Sakkov pointed out that Tallinn is aggressively moving to becoming a bicycle city.
“Tallinn has built 300 kilometres of bicycle tracks and by the year 2025 we will have built a further 300 kilometres,” Sakkov said.
Tallinn’s unique feature is free public transport.
“We are Europe’s free public transport city and if we get the green city capital award, then public transport will be free to all guests to the city as well,” promised Sakkov.

“Five eight percent of our public transport have no or have low (Carbon) emissions,” Sakkov said.
“In addition to being free, our free public transport system is newer and cleaner.”

Tallinn has also successfully launched bicycle rental system and community gardens.
By 2020 Tallinn hopes to achieve the goal of all city-owned establishment using only renewable energy and 100 percent of the city’s lighting being smart-led street lights.

The city plans to double the biomass used in central heating from 40 to 80 percent.
Tallinn boasts also a wide biodiversity.
“Tallinn as possibly the orchid capital of Europe,” Sakkov said.
“We have 14 of the 36 wild orchid species.”

Sakkov completed his presentation with a greeting to the jury from Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, who was one of the authors of the concept of Green Capital City.

The winning city Oslo’s mayor, Raymond Johansen, who has vowed to rid the city of all petrol consuming automobile by 2019 was impressed with Tallinn bid.
“Free public transport is a good idea, let’s see if it a practical solution for Oslo too,” Johansen said.

Maritime days brings sailboats to Tallinn

This year’s Maritime Days expands from three days to four days bringing a full programme of events to visitors to the city with the focus on both the past and the future.

Tallinn Maritime Days will take place Saturday, 15-18 July. A brand-new Haven Kakumäe Harbour is anticipated this year with special Tallinn Maritime Days programme.

Taavi Aas, the acting Mayor of Tallinn says that it is very important that the festival area has expanded from year to year.

“It has always been our goal to make the seaside more open to the public so people could find more reasons to come to the seaside,” said Aas.
“I am very glad that Kakumäe joined us this year. This means that different marine activities will take place along the shore of Tallinn, from one side of the city to the other,” added Aas.

This year, Old City Harbour will have an area of innovation where the Mektory School of Technology, Centre for Biorobotics and the Estonian Maritime Academy will show inventions, simulators and robots.
“Since there will be plenty of historical sailboats in the capital this summer, we want to show through innovation, how navigation and everything maritime-related has evolved over time,” said Aas.

For that reason, visitors will have a chance to visit robotics workshops, explore U-CAT submarine robot, find out about virtual reality and a lot more in the innovation area in Old City Harbour.
Last year the mighty Vikings sailed to Tallinn Maritime Days and it seems that they are going to stay here for a little while longer. This year the Vikings have occupied the Seaplane Harbour.
“The thing about the Vikings is that once they come for a visit, they never leave,” joked Urmas Dresen, the director of Estonian Maritime Museum.

Dresen said that in addition to the Vikings, lots of interesting events are scheduled in Seaplane Harbour – the Night Song Festival, international sailing regatta “Tallinn Race” and demo rides of so-called flying phantoms (foiling sailboats), where sailboats fly over the water by gaining high speed.

Tallinn Maritime Days 2017 will kick off in Pirita Harbour on the evening of 14th of July when the maritime festival will be opened by famous Estonian ensemble Regatta. Port Noblessner will celebrate Tallinn Maritime Days on Saturday, 15th of July, when a popular indie music festival “Intsikurmu festival” and thousands of riders of the Tour d’ÖÖ hit the area. For the first time in the history, Haven Kakumäe Harbour will be the festival’s partner attracting visitors from 15th – 16th of July to take part in maritime activities.

The biggest event takes place from the 17th -18th of July when the Tall Ships Races regatta sailboats visit the various harbours of the capital. Tallinn Maritime Days will be held on 15th – 18th of July in five different harbours – Old City Harbour, Seaplane Harbour and partner harbours – Haven Kakumäe, Noblessner and Pirita Harbour Marina.

More summer events in Tallinn

Tallinn this summer will be full of music and open-air events. The pinnacle event is the 12th Youth Song and Dance Celebration from 30 June to 2 July. Here is a roundup.

Nargen Festival until 11 Sept 2017
The opening event of this year’s festival is taking place on Town Hall Square at the end of May as part of the Old Town Days. The festival goes on until September, culminating in the Arvo Pärt Days. There will be concerts and musical performances all over Estonia, although the festival’s traditional home is the Isle of Naissaar.

Tallinn International Flower Festival until 25 August 2017
Each year, the grounds around Tower Square are filled with decorative gardens showcasing interesting and unusual ideas. The result is an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind exhibition experience lasting all summer. The themes for the 2017 festival are ‘Family Garden’ and ‘All One Colour’.

12th Youth Song and Dance Celebration, 30 June -2 July
This year’s song and dance celebrations, going by the title “Here I’ll Stay”, focus on the connection young Estonians feel to their country, their culture and the older generation, which is to say to their roots.

Õllesummer (Beer Festival), 5-8 July
This festival attracts crowds of upwards of 60,000 people each year, as well as around a hundred musicians from Estonia and abroad, who perform on the festival’s 10 stages. This year’s headlines are British rock band Kasabian.

Tallinn Medieval Days, 6-9 July
The Medieval Days are held in the heart of the city on Town Hall Square, where the golden era of the Hanseatic League is recreated in a market full of period merchants and tradesmen.

Tallinn TV Tower’s birthday celebrations, 11.-13 July
The TV Tower is marking its birthday in July with three days of special events, including a spectacular display of base-jumping from its viewing platform. Be sure to look at the ‘No Bananas: A Trip Back in Time to Daily Life in the Soviet Era’ exhibition in the TV Tower tunnel and the ‘Smocks and Aprons Worn by Soviet Women’ exhibition and panoramic views on the 21st floor.

Tallinn Maritime Days, 15.-18 July
The biggest family festival in the city takes place in various ports and harbours around Tallinn. The full programme for this year’s festival is due to be unveiled on 6 June.

Birgitta Festival, 4-13 August
This festival is one of the cornerstones of the summer cultural calendar. It brings together the dusky charm of the ruins of Pirita Convent with the very best of contemporary musical theatre in all its richness and diversity.

Tallinn Chamber Music Festival, 12-27 August
This festival is a major classical music event. The historical halls and churches of Tallinn’s Old Town play host to performances by leading musicians from Estonia and abroad.

Towers of Tallinn Festival, 24.-27 August
From medieval wall defences and church spires to modern skyscrapers, Tallinn will be filled with music – from medieval and baroque to jazz and contemporary – in keeping with the era of the tower in question. There will be performances by prominent Estonian artists, as well as young musicians and children’s choirs.

The Night of Ancient Lights 26 August
On the evening of the last Saturday in August, all Estonian people will be invited to the seaside to light a bonfire on the beach and form a chain of fires to unite each of the neighbours surrounding the Baltic Sea.

Summer brings more park concerts to the centre of the City 
A Free concert series will bring excursions to the cultural Hub and Köismäe, concerts by local entertainer and a fun children’s show.
“Our summer free excursions are interesting to those who wish to see more of the city and want to take strolls,” said city centre elder Taavi Pukk.
“In the centre of the city, we have been organising guided tours to showcase the best that Tallinn has to offer for many years.  This time of year, there should be interest in the Cultural Hub, the Komtuurikopli and Toompea suburbs, Käokopli and Köismaega.
Pukk added that we can anticipate a variety of exciting free Summer concerts and children’s shows in the city centre in August and September which will cost nothing to the viewers and listeners.
“Hopefully we will get families will spend more time together and will offer something for all ages not only for locals but also to visitors to Estonia,” Pukk said.