Tallinn celebrated 100 years of Estonian independence on February 24, 2018, as parties were held all over the nation and the world.
Whilst the main event President Kersti Kaljulaid’s reception and speech took place in Estonia’s second city Tartu, Tallinn’s leaders reflected on and celebrated the significance of the centenary. Meanwhile, festive activities took place all over the city.
Mayor of Tallinn, Taavi Aas, expressed his feelings about 100 years of Estonian independence
“With 100 years Is the Estonian republic old or young?” he asked.
“Young, if we compare it with our neighbours across the sea the 1000-year-old kingdom of Denmark. Old, if we compare it to many famous empires which had short life spans. Each small country is fragile. A hundred-year lifespan is more noticeable since every small country doubts its existence at every moment. But we are here. Alive and free.
“I am pleased that Estonia’s economy is again starting to grow quickly, and we are amongst those countries where employees can say their salaries have increased in recent years,” Aas added.
Aas emphasised the international nature of Tallinn but in patriotic terms.
“I am pleased that more foreign visitors are coming to Tallinn. It is important to drive our culture forward, that our theatre and concert life is promoted.
“The manifesto (declaration of independence) emphasises to all the people that Estonia is a nation. It’s true that this is the only country in the world which Estonian culture can be nurtured with care,” Aas said.
Meanwhile in Lasnamae Tallinn’s most populous district, on 23 February in the Lindakivi centre, audiences enjoyed a concert of Dixieland Jazz which took place in co-operation with the American embassy in Estonia.
A more traditional celebration took place in Tallinn’s highest point Jüriöö park on 24 February where candles were lit in remembrance of the soldiers who fell in the war of independence. Hot soup was handed out to the crowd during the ceremony
Lasnamae city Elder Maria Juferva said that events will be continuing to take place throughout the year in the district.
“We must be proud of how far we have come during the last century we should value our progress and achievements. Only by noticing and supporting each other can we be strong as a country,” Jufereva said.
In the Centre City, crowds followed the president’s centenary speech and fireworks display on the big screen whilst skating on Snelli pond. People who came out to stake also enjoyed pies, tea and music.
“On Independence Day, we shouldn’t be restricted to raising the flag in the morning and following the military parade,” Centre City elder Vladimir Svet said.
“Although there are those amongst us who are used to spending this evening in front of the television, we offered citizens the chance to spend a festive day out,” Svet said.
The programme for the Independence Day was a gathering together of the nation. The opening ceremony at the Art Academy was in the same location where the Estonian rescue committee laid out the groundwork leading up to the declaration of independence a few days later. There was a speech by Estonian prime minister Jüri Ratas and speeches by high school students, parades by the army and by schoolchildren. There were reading of Estonia’s greatest writers like A H Tammsaare and by contemporary writers and historians including the latest book on the theme of 100 years of Estonian independence by former Prime Minister Mart Laar.
The city took the opportunity to acknowledge and thank local community groups and teachers for the good work that they are doing.
Eurostat: High satisfaction with quality of life in Tallinn
Tallinners remain very satisfied with the quality of life. A fresh analysis by Eurostat has revealed that 95 percent of Tallinners are satisfied with the roads, public transport, the quality of the air, the green areas ant the conservation culture. This means that satisfaction with the quality of life is one of the highest in the Nordic region and has increased by a third from 63 percent in 2006 to 95 percent now.
“Tallinners have possibly had a chance to travel around more,” said Mayor Taavi Aas
“They can see with their own eyes that Tallinn is not in any way behind other capitals… For example, Tallinners value their living space more than our Nordic neighbours in Helsinki.
Rates of satisfaction are high across the Nordic region. In Helsinki satisfaction rates are 91 percent according to data from Eurostat, Vilnius has satisfaction rates of 98 percent and Stockholm and Copenhagen 97 percent.
The mayor explained that Tallinn district government each year orders a satisfaction survey which is then analysed and used by the cities leadership to improve things.
“Tallinn is one of the few who is brave enough to look in the mirror,” said the Mayor.
The results are encouraging but we are pleased also to critically evaluate the living environment because these give us the necessary information.
Here are some highlights of Eurostat’s findings
84 percent of citizens are satisfied with the quality of the air which is amongst the best in Europe due to the many green spaces parks and forest.
Satisfaction with cleanliness of the streets and pavements has risen from 74 percent to 77 percent from the previous year.
82 percent are satisfied with the appearance of the residential building. People have noticed the improvement brought about by the project “Fix the facade”
79 percent are satisfied with the waste bins and garbage collection.
55 percent are satisfied with the way people pick up after their dogs up from 51 percent the year before after the city campaigned on the issue.
Public transport is a key issue in Tallinn and 80 percent of citizens were satisfied with it. About a fourth of citizens could not find a single fault with the public transport system.
“Tallinn is one of only 10 cities in Europe that uses a large number of hybrid buses,” Aas explained. “Every fifth bus in Tallinn is either a trolley or hybrid working under electric power.
The city recently mended the tram lines and built a tram line to the airport. Tallinn has 40-year trams and plans to build a tram line to the port and purchase 28 new trams.
Get ready for the public transport conference
Tallinn is to hold an international conference “Free Public Transport for all Dream and reality” 9-12 May 2018.
Estonian capital introduced free public transport five years ago. In this time, Tallinn has built new tram lines, upgrading the quality rolling stock and introducing many other improvements.
“Tallinn has inspired cities in other countries to move over to free public transport and we are pleased to share our experience,” Taavi Aas, Mayor of Tallinn said.
The conference is anticipated to have participation by policy planners, NGOs, researchers and lobby groups interested in the cross-related issues of mobility, transport, environment, social cohesion, economics, budgetary planning, and spatial planning.
The main language will be English as the conference will have speakers and attendees from round the world.
Kadri Simson, Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure will be the keynote speaker.
If you are interested in attending the conference contactAllan.firstname.lastname@example.org GSM +372 50 84 292 or Kalle.email@example.com GSM+372 5072505 for more information.