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Global Estonian Report: January 31 – February 7

Folk dancers at the press conference for the 2025 XXVIII Song and XXI Dance Festival. January 10, 2024.
Folk dancers at the press conference for the 2025 XXVIII Song and XXI Dance Festival. January 10, 2024. Source: Estonian Song and Dance Festival Foundation

A roundup of Estonian news and events taking place around the world from January 31 through February 7.

Between 165,000 and 200,000 Estonians are estimated to live outside the country right now, accounting for some 15-20 percent of the total number of Estonians worldwide.

With many diaspora communities located throughout the world, both in English-speaking countries and beyond, ERR News, in conjunction with the Integration Foundation (Integratsiooni Sihtasutus), has launched a weekly Global Estonian Report which will provide a weekly window into Estonian communities and culture from all over the globe.

Number of births in Estonia at an all-time low

According to Statistics Estonia, 10,721 children were born in 2023, the lowest number of births since 1919, when statistics started to be published consistently.

Overall, the population of Estonia increased slightly to 1,366,491 – up 607 from last year – due to positive net migration. However, the number of births, deaths and immigrants in total figures all fell in 2023, while the number of emigrants rose.

The emigration of Estonian citizens also continued to outpace migration back to Estonia – 4,451 Estonian citizens left and only 2,865 citizens returned to Estonia in 2023.

This is based on preliminary data and Statistics Estonia will publish revised population figures in May.

Estonia's dialects, family reunion at heart of 2025 Song and Dance Festival

Earlier this month, the Estonian Song and Dance Festival Foundation revealed the foundational ideas, ethos, artistic choices and visuals for the XXVIII Song and XX Dance Festival next summer. This time, diaspora Estonian folk dancers are being be given a distinct role as well.

Titled "Iseoma" – meaning something like "My Own" in Estonian – the organizers of the 2025 Song and Dance Festival have been inspired by Estonia's rich dialectal heritage and plans to bring dancers together from across the country for a big family reunion, according to a press release.

This time, diaspora Estonian dancers they will be given their own dedicated category – called "Worldwide" ("Üleilma") – and according to Helena-Mariana Reimann, principal choreographer for the XXI Dance Festival, they will have a particular and important role to play in the Dance Festival performance.

Kadri Linnas: A virtual Estonian House

One in every five or six Estonians lives abroad. How do we connect this global Estonian village to reinforce a sense of unity with Estonia and Estonianness (eestlus)?

Kadri Linnas, adviser at the Department of the Global Estonian Diaspora and Cultural Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presents her thoughts.

Upcoming events

Estonian Literature Day online quiz (through February 4, online)

Celebrate Estonian Literature Day (and Week!) with VEMU – the Museum of Estonians Abroad – by taking part in an online quiz in Estonian between January 30 and February 4.

Join in for a chance to win prizes!

North American tour of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (February 1-8, multiple cities)

The Estonian American National Council (ERKÜ) is proud to partner with the Grammy award-winning vocal ensemble Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EFK) and artistic director and chief conductor Tõnu Kaljuste as they embark on their 2024 North American tour.

Concerts will be held in New York City, Toronto, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

Language cafes (every Tuesday and Thursday, Tallinn)

Informal but organized gatherings, often called language cafes (keelekohvikud in Estonian), have become increasingly popular as a means of learning and practicing Estonian in a relaxed, independent environment.

Organized by the International House of Estonia.

What is Global Estonian?

Global Estonian is an online portal, in Estonian and English, and network for Estonians and friends of Estonians around the world.

Managed by the Integration Foundation, Global Estonian brings together news, events, culture, organizations, support programs, learning opportunities and a wealth of other information from Estonian communities abroad, all in one central gateway.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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