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Estonia is a European nation that regained its independence in 1991, after more than 50 years of forced annexation to the Soviet Union.

It had been independent from 1918 until 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied it and made it one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union.

A Short Background

After centuries of Swedish and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940, it regained its freedom in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia has been free to promote economic and political ties with Western Europe.


Estonia lies along the Baltic Sea, just south of Finland and has a climate of icy, snowy winters and long light summers. It is a country about the same size as the Netherlands, and is sparsely populated with around 1.4m people. Tallinn, Estonia's capital city, is about 80 km or 50 miles south of Helsinki, across the Gulf of Finland. Sweden is Estonia's western neighbor across the Baltic. Russia lies to the east, Latvia to the south.

The country is mostly flat, with many lakes and islands although in the south there are rolling hills and skiing is possible in towns like Otepää. In the east of Estonia, lake Peipus, the 4th largest lake in Europe, forms a natural frontier with Russia. On the Western Coast, the islands and islets have been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and are a mecca for Estonians and tourists alike during the summer. Across Estonia, much of the land is farmed or forested, with industrial production concentrated around Tallinn and in the Northeast.

Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia
Geographic coordinates:
59 00 N, 26 00 E
Languages: Estonian (official), Russian, Ukrainian, English, Finnish, other
Population: 1.36 million (2002), 80% citizens of Estonia, 7% citizens of other countries and 13% stateless
Currency: Estonian kroon (EEK)
Exchange rates: 1 EURO to Estonian Kroon: 15,650 (April 2004)

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 Action 5.1 activity 9 “Support for quality and innovation of the Program Youth.”
Project no: 5.1/R1/2003/06 Made by Hienet working Teams in cooperation with T.E.S.