2018 was a great year for Tallinn.
The nation celebrated 100 years of independence, Kadriorg Park celebrated its 300 birthday and the city was visited by the Pope. Tallinn is the poster child for free public transport first introduced five years ago. In 2018 it became a buzzword all over Europe as first Estonia, and then Luxembourg adopted the model nationwide.
Here is a breakdown of the main happenings in Tallinn last year and an overview of what is to come in 2019
The city moved forward with the smart driverless buses. City planners believe self-driving buses will be useful in situations where transports links are far from an important establishment.
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.
The 14th Tallinn City and Rural Municipality Days took place 14 and 15 March 2018. This year’s event attracted interest from as far away as South Korea.
The two-day event attracted 1405 participants, the overwhelming majority of whom visited the Tallinn’s information stand, heard presentations and contributed to the home city’s information material.
Leaders from municipalities, researchers and civic activists from all over the World came to Tallinn discuss free public transport at the conference “Free Public Transport for all. Dream and reality”
Estonian Minister for Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Kadri Simson, and French MEP, Karima Delli, Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism at the European Parliament, gave the keynote address to the 135 attendees.
Paris was the biggest city to be represented. Other representatives at the conference came from United States, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Brazil, China, Lithuania and the United Kingdom including the mayors of Dunkirk (France) Mayor, Avesta (Sweden) Templin (Germany).
The Information Management Policies Assessment for City Transportation Systems (IMPACTS) conference took place from 30 May-1 June 2018.
IMPACT is a Network of European capitals and major metropolitan centre which exchange information and experience on urban mobility and transport policies.
The conference for e-Governance took place in Tallinn from 29-30 May 2019. Keynote speaker at the conference was Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid. The conference brought experts and public officials from around the world including representatives from more than 80 countries.
Topics discussed were Digital Citizen, Digital Rights and Freedoms, Personalised e-Governance and Digital Platforms for Digital Citizens. Six countries were represented a ministerial level; Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Ghana, Saint Lucia and Ukraine.
Old Town days opening show began on the 30 May evening. The theme was Estonia’s centenary. Viewers saw an overview of the last 100 years of the city’s history with music and performances reflecting every decade.
The annual international conference on Housing Europe took place in Tallinn on 7 June at the newly opened Tallinn Film Museum, under the theme ‘Liveability and Affordability in Digitized Cities’
Keynote speaker was American writer and urbanist Adam Greenfield.
Also in June, the mayors of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, got together to celebrate the birthdays of all three Baltic nations.
The three-way meeting between Taavi Aas, Tallinn, Nils Usakovs, Riga, and Remigijus Simasius, Vilnius, was a continuation from the mayoral get together on 15 May in Tallinn, where the city leaders discussed important issues such as transport organisation, city development projects and investment and finance in the context of the ongoing EU financial period.
In July 2018, Estonia becomes the first country in the World to introduce free public transport in most of the nation.
Estonia has 15 counties of which 11 have agreed to offer free public transport for its residents.
Also in July Kadriorg Park celebrated 300 years Kadriorg Park, the park Peter the Great of Russia built for love, celebrated at a jubilee gala where visitors heard opera and ballet music through three centuries.
The main event took place 22 July which is the exact day when architect Niccolo Michetti measured the grounds of Kadriorg castle and planned the gardens.
August was a big month for Tallinn and the entire nation of Estonia, as the country celebrated re-independence
Estonia declared itself independent after the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1918. After bitter fighting peace was declared in 1920 the Soviet Union recognised Estonia sovereignty in perpetuity in February 1920. From the 1940s to 1991 Estonia suffered occupation from first the Nazis and then the Soviet. August 20, 1991, was when Estonia declared that the republic had been restored.
On 25 September thousands gathered to meet Pope Francis, who was given a rapturous welcome. The Pope gave mass and met Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and President Kersti Kaljulaid.
Also on 7-8 September, at least ten thousand people participated in the Tallinn Marathon and Autumn Run.
At the Vision Conference: The city pondered measures to develop Tourism.At the conference, the merits of a tourism tax were discussed. Mihhail Kõlvart, Chairman of the Tallinn City Council, said even a small tax could bring money to the city which could then be used to develop the cities sightseeing spots and improve the experience for Tallinn’s visitors.
The TechStars Startup Week launched on 19 November at Superangel Hub in Telliskivi and conclude on 23 November.
Tallinn is the home of many world famous startups including Taxify, a transport company which was founded just five years ago and now operates across Asia, Europe and Africa and TransferWise which is the leads the world in Fintech.
There are about 500 startups in Tallinn in hubs funded and develop by Tallinn City.
The World’s biggest Robotics Expo Robotex International EXPO took place from 30 November to 2 December. Robotics companies presented high tech cutting edge robots.
Finally in December 2018
The Tallinn Christmas market was voted the best in Europe in a poll involving 208,000 worldwide travellers, according to European Best Destinations.
Other notable events last year included the CyCon 2018 cybersecurity conference and the annual Lennart Meri conference which also focuses on security. International sporting events which have been a big draw include The Ironman triathlon event and the UEFA Super Cup.
Estonia has national elections on 3 March 2019. At a municipal level, there are big plans for the public reconstruction including turning the City Hall into the only symphonic size arena and state of the art conference centre in Northern European.
Cultural Events include the BachFestival DocPoint, MustonenFestival in January and Winter Festival in February Fashion Week and Music Week inMarch Tallinn TV Tower Run International Jazzkaar and Literature Festivalin April.
It is 800 years since Tallinn was first mentioned. Tallinn City Museum celebrates the first recorded mention of the city with new exhibitions, thematic excursions and an outdoor theatre spectacle. Tallinn was first mentioned in 1219 in the Chronicle of Latvian Henrik. The chronicle describes when the Danish fleet led by King Valdemar II landed near Lindanise castle in June 1219.
Medieval Days and Maritime Days take place in July the Birgitta Festival in August. Tallinn Marathon and Design Night take place in September and October there is the Tallinn Comedy Festival.
Meanwhile, the city will continue will the Independence Celebrations with the focus on the War of Independence which ended with a peace treaty in 1920.
Wishing all Tallinners and all friends of Tallinn near and afar a prosperous and successful 2019.