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Success Industrial Revolution Found 4.0 In Niche Products Estonia Estonia Is Contributes To Automotive A Smart Hub And Offshore Laurentsius Inside Industry And Outside The Frame
land & people I state & society I economy & business I technology & innovation I culture & entertainment I tourism
Ambitious Estonians Estonia is a small country, with a population of about 1.3 million people. At the same time, there are more than 110,000 enterprises in Estonia and about 65,000 of them are profitable. We keep hearing that Estonians are not entrepreneurial, that only about 20% of us would like to start companies. That’s a lot less than in most advanced countries with much bigger economies. Yet, wherever you go, you’ll find Estonians who against the odds have pursued their dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs.
COVER Anne Sulling Photo by Margus Johanson
Executive publisher Positive Projects Pärnu mnt 69, 10134 Tallinn, Estonia email@example.com Editor Reet Grosberg firstname.lastname@example.org Translation Ingrid Hübscher Ambassador Translation Agency Language editor Richard Adang Design & Layout Positive Design Partner
For example, the machinery manufacturing company Palmse Mehaanikakoda LCC produces forest trailers and cranes under the trademark Palms. They are one of the biggest producers of this type of forest machinery in Europe, with sales representations in sixteen EU countries. Their success is based on specialisation and finding the niche in the market that suits them best. Today their average salary is about 2,600 euros a month, more than twice as high as the Estonian average. There are several similar niche products created here that have helped small Estonia stand out among big players, from special life jackets made by Lade and footwear by Samelin to Meiren snowploughs, which are a necessity in the Nordics. Manufacturing is on its way to a new industrial revolution. The Germans have named it Industry 4.0, Smart Factory development, where intelligent cells inside a company and between companies are integrated through the Internet, and they are able to communicate and make necessary decisions. This is also the direction modern manufacturing is moving in Estonia. We’ve seen a great trend growing out of Smart Industry. There are several successfully operating industrial parks in Estonia, with remarkable synergy in different companies, accomplishing things together like a family. Those are only a few examples of the entrepreneurship Estonia provides. Flexibility has definitely become a new norm in business, where technologies and new business fields open up very quickly. In order to succeed, Estonia has to maintain the speed it has gathered so far with the help of its ambitious entrepreneurs.
Hanno Tomberg Chairman of the Management Board Enterprise Estonia
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FALL / WINTER_2014-2015 6 Where To Go This Season? Life In Estonia Recommends 10 Events
28 IPA Helps to Make Comfortable Trains Hundreds of trains around the world have roofs and cooling systems made in the Interconnect Product Assembly (IPA). One of the products that IPA manufactures is an HVAC (Heating Air Conditioning and Ventilation) unit for train manufacturers.
30 MS Balti Trafo Exports Millions of Transformers Annually
16 Anne Sulling: Estonia is an Attractive Hub for Testing New Technologies In spring 2014, Estonia introduced a ministerial portfolio with a brand new focus. The country now has a minister with specific responsibility for foreign trade and entrepreneurship, Anne Sulling. How does the new minister see her main purpose and what are the main challenges of the Estonian economy?
22 Industrial Revolution 4.0 Industry 4.0 is Cyber-Physical Systems and the Internet of Things. This new paradigm has led to an industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0, which was publicly announced by Angela Merkel at the opening of the Hanover Industrial Exhibition in 2013. Read about Estonia’s efforts to implement Industry 4.0.
24 Small Company Set to Conquer the World Skeleton Technologies, a Tallinn-based company which develops and produces ultracapacitors - extremely powerful energy storage devices - aims to become the leading ultracapacitor manufacturer within five years.
Jaanus Luberg started producing transformers in the small town of Vändra in central Estonia back in 1996. The small business has now grown into MS Balti Trafo, a private limited company employing 150 workers. As one of the biggest employers in Vändra, it collaborates closely with educational institutions.
31 Norma’s Safety Systems for Cars Help Save 30,000 Lives a Year Norma was the first company in the Soviet Union to launch the first industrial lot of car safety belts in 1973. Forty years on, the famous company in Estonia has grown into a valued unit of the Swedish corporation Autoliv. It employs over 750 staff and its product range has grown far beyond seat belts.
32 PKC Eesti AS Produces Nervous Systems for the Automotive Industry It is highly likely that whichever commercial vehicle manufacturer you ask, this particular wiring system has arrived from two small Estonian towns where the factories of the international corporation PKC Group have been in operation for years.
33 Pärnu-based Company Produces Lighting Equipment for Luxury Vehicles When you sit behind the steering wheel of a BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar Audi, Porsche or Land Rover, it is highly likely that a small part of your car has been made in Estonia: these brands use glove box or door handle lighting, number plate lighting or side markers produced by Oshino.
26 Stoneridge – American Dream In Tänassilma Village When Stoneridge Electronics in Estonia started work in 1998 under the name Berifors, it was a small production unit which serviced one customer in one product group. Today Stoneridge Estonia employs 270 people. The factory in Estonia concentrates on the production of electronic control units, telematics, switch modules, fuses and relay modules.
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34 Estonia is a Good Place to Establish a Company In order to keep the company’s costs down, Christian Testman, CEO of Norway-based ICD Industries, decided to locate some of the operations overseas. After some research and considering number of countries, Estonia became that location for ICD in 2012.
36 LDI Targets the Water Protection Market, Worth Billions of Dollars Laser Diagnostic Instruments (LDI), an Estonian R&D company with a long history, has developed the world’s most flexible and effective oil spill detection sensor. The whole world is a potential market.
51 Portfolio. Laurentsius: Inside and Outside the Frame There is a certain dreamlike quality to the work of the artist known as Laurentsius. His works leave us with fleeting impressions, dispersing in the air like smoke. According to Laurentsius himself, “Art is a serious thing, but not deadly serious”.
38 A Small Village Turned into a World Class Industrial Park Together is better than alone, an old saying goes. Bestra Engineering has proven that even in the most remote village it is possible to create an industrial park which produces complex appliances for very demanding customers, a place where a group of companies accomplish things together like a family.
63 Kristiina Poska Turns Disadvantages into Advantages A decade ago Kristiina Poska, from the small Estonian town of Türi, went to study in Berlin. Today she has risen to the position of Kapellmeister of the Komische Oper Berlin - the first woman to do so in the history of the opera house. Last year she won the most reputable conducting prize in Germany - also the first woman to ever do so.
41 Creativity and Trust are a Family Firm’s Capital Ensto, a cleantech company in the electrical sector that has gone international in small steps, is one of the best-known family firms in Finland. Marjo Miettinen belongs to the second generation of the company’s owning family. Ensto came to Estonia in 1993 and today has three factories here.
44 Skype Founders in the Process of “Replacing” e-mail The cream of the crop of former Skype employers are in the process of developing Fleep, a brand new messaging system. Their aim? To make traditional e-mail a thing of the past.
46 The Importance of Finding the Right Niche There are several stories of companies in Estonia which have found success on the international market. Often it has been due to finding their own niche, to effective branding, smart marketing and active communication. Get acquainted with Trimtex, the Lappset Group, Samelin. Fors MW, Lade and Meiren who have all successfully found their niche.
69 Annely Köster - Shaking the Foundations of Art Education Annely Köster is living her dream as an art teacher and the creator of the first international youth contemporary art triennial Eksperimenta!, whose mission is to nurture creativity, free thinking, caring and content.
72 Suur Tõll Opened Again! Welcome Aboard! The icebreaker Suur Tõll is the oldest steam-powered ship in the Baltic states. It is Estonia’s oldest and most dignified museum ship, whose century-long story reflects the entire time-line of the fragile history of the republic. During its 100-year history, it has sailed under five different flags and four different names.
74 Lotte Village Theme Park – A Load of Goodness The theme park dedicated to the girl puppy Lotte and her family and friends is situated on twelve hectares of land by the seaside near the summer resort of Pärnu. The girl puppy Lotte is an unprecedented phenomenon amongst Estonian children, and the character created by the Estonian film-makers Janno Põldma and Heiki Ernits has also won fans abroad.
78 Practical Information For Visitors
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I WHERE TO GO THIS SEASON
Season opening concert
ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Conductor
ZUBIN MEHTA Piotr Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 B-minor, Op. 74 “Pathetique” Richard Strauss Symphonic poem A Hero’s Life Op. 40 Sat. 20. Sept 20.00, Estonia Concert Hall
RINALDO William Relton: “When I first saw “Rinaldo”, nothing had prepared me for the delight which I felt while watching this masterpiece for the first time. It was his first opera written for London, not only that, it was the first opera in the Italian language to be written for the London stage. The premiere of “Rinaldo”, loosely based on Tasso’s epic poem “Gerusalemme liberata” (Jerusalem delivered), took place at the Queen’s Theatre in the Haymarket in early 1711 and was a huge hit. Gorgeous arias, a fabulous, extravagant plot, dramatic characters - all that one could wish for - were present. Conquest, magic, deception, thwarted love, betrayal, sex, violence, abduction, an heroic quest, battles; it seemed as if Händel had thrown every single theatrical device in the book at it. “Rinaldo” went on to be the most performed of Händel’s operas during his lifetime. The opera was so successful that it was given in a fairly extensively revised version in 1731, however we are basing our performing edition on the original 1711 score. And what of the music? Even for Händel this opera has a large number of “hit” arias that leaves one gasping. And then there is of course the incomparable “Lascia ch’io pianga” sung by Almirena in the middle of Act 2. One of Händel’s most beautiful and celebrated arias. A treat indeed!”
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Se easo on 20 014 4-2 2015 VANA TALLINN GALA On 25 September at the Estonian National Opera Conductor: Vello Pähn Soloists: Dmitry Galikhin (tenor, Russia), Kurt Rydl (bass, Austria), Rauno Elp (baritone), Juuli Lill (mezzo-soprano), Kristel Pärtna (coloratura soprano), Heli Veskus (soprano) and others. Estonian National Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Hu undreeds of conceertss alll over Esstonnia! See the e progra ramm mme! e!
The concert includes the most beautiful arias and ensembles from the treasury of Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Mozart, Offenbach, Korngold, Donizetti, Wagner, Richard Strauss, etc. The gala features two guest soloists – one of the greatest bass singers of our time, Kurt Rydl, nicknamed “The Mega Bass” and “The Bass”, and a prolific tenor from Russia, Dmitry Galikhin, whose original interpretation and particularly emphatic rendition has received worldwide recognition.
co onc ncer ert.ee e
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Maestro Arvo Pärt together with Nora Pärt and Fuensanta Nieto
… and President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
Architectural design contest for the Arvo Pärt Centre building won by Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos On 20 June, President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves announced the winners of the contest for the architectural design of the Arvo Pärt Centre (APC) building. In the unanimous assessment of the jury, the first prize was awarded to the contest entry “Tabula” by Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano from Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, S.L.P. (Spain). The first prize is 10,000 euros. The objective of the two-stage international design contest was to find the best architectural design for the creation of a building for the new Arvo Pärt Centre outside Tallinn. The jury assessed the conceptual and formal quality of the contest entries, whether they met the requirements of the centre, how well they would fit into the surroundings, and the feasibility of the architectural designs.
According to Michael Pärt, the chairman of the jury and Arvo Pärt’s son, the winning design is conceptually and architecturally fresh, and best met the jury’s expectations: “‘Tabula’ creates a harmonious and flexible environment for Arvo Pärt’s music. What deserves to be singled out in particular about this contest entry is its spatial arrangement and thoroughly considered thematic lighting.”
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The architectural design contest was announced on 25 November 2013. The objective for the first stage was to identify architects whose creative output to date best fits with the concept and requirements of the APC. Seventy-one applications for entry to the contest were received from all over the world, with 20 entrants invited by the jury to the second round of the design contest according to their rankings based on the results of the assessment. In the second stage, the jury picked three main prize recipients and three special prize recipients. Fuensanta Nieto and the winning entry "Tabula Rasa" named after Arvo Pärt's famous piece.
The APC was founded in 2010 by Arvo Pärt and his family with the aim of creating opportunities to preserve and research the creative heritage of the composer in his native land, Estonia, and in the context of the Estonian language. The centre is situated in Laulasmaa, 35 km from Tallinn, on a peninsula with magnificent natural surroundings: within a pine forest near the sea. The new building of the Arvo Pärt Centre will open its doors to the public at Kellasalu in 2018.
BBC named Estonian handcrafted bike as one of the most beautiful bicycles in the world BBC listed the ten most beautiful bicycles in the world. Among them was the handcrafted Estonian bike called Viks. According to the Earth Policy Institute, a US-based environmental advocacy group, bicycle production quadrupled between 1950 and 2007. During the same period, car production merely doubled. It’s a trend that continues to this day, accelerated by rising fuel prices and urban congestion. Small manufacturers, custom shops and independent designers are reinventing the humble two-wheeler with cutting-edge shapes and technologies.
“It was just a matter of time. Given single-speed cyclists’ pathological fixation with minimalism, Estonia’s Velonia – a boutique studio founded and manned by Indrek Narusk – has lopped off the seat tube right where it stood,” states BBC. “The resulting bicycle, the Viks, is a noodly abstraction fashioned from just two steel tubes, joined at the head tube below the handlebar. Shown above in “Lamborghini Orange” powdercoat, a Viks can be configured for either fixed or freewheel riding, although Narusk cautions that handlebar-mounted brakes are a tricky fit, given the bar’s unusual 30mm diameter. Best to go brakeless, in other words,” maintain BBC editors. Other bicycles listed by BBC were made in Great Britain, France, Singapore and Japan.
Fortum planning 30 MEUR bio-oil plant in Estonia The inauguration of the Finnish energy group Fortum’s combined heat and power plant (CHP) was held in January 2011 in Pärnu, Estonia. The new CHP plant in Pärnu uses such local fuels as wood chips, wood residues from industry and milled peat as fuels. “The production capacity of the CHP plant is 24 megawatts (MW) of electricity and 50 MW of heat. Its annual sales volume will be 110 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity and 220 GWh of heat, which covers the district heating needs of all Pärnu,” says Sulev Alajõe, from the Pärnu Business and Development Centre. The new Pärnu CHP plant is highly efficient and environmentally friendly. The environmental impact from the production process of heat and electricity at the plant has been reduced to a minimum thanks to its fluidized bed technology boiler and local bio fuels. The new plant has created 16 new workplaces in the operation of the plant and about 300 indirect workplaces around Pärnu in the fuel purchase chain and in other services for the plant.
Designboom chose Viks to be among the world’s top 10 bicycle designs in 2013.
the production of bio-oil could be raised to the level where producing motor fuel becomes possible. “The new plant will provide work to about 10 people but, considering that the raw material will be sourced from Pärnu County, the launch of production might indirectly result in 300 new jobs,” says Alajõe. “That makes Fortum the top investor in the Pärnu region, and we are happy to assist the company in finding both skilled labour and subcontracting partners. The latest developments of Fortum fit well with the county’s plan to establish an eco-innovative Green Economy Competence Centre. Those developments will hopefully enable to find investors, willing to establish energy consuming production, taking advantage from closeness of Fortum plants,” he adds. The European Commission has approved 6.9 million euros for the construction of a bio-oil plant using fast pyrolysis technology in the framework of the second round of the NER300 funding programme. In fast pyrolysis, biomass is decomposed in an oxygen-free atmosphere by heat, and the produced gas is condensed to bio-oil. The side products, coke and non-condensible gas, can be utilised fully and energy efficiently in the boiler of the power plant.
The Estonian unit of Fortum plans to build a bio-oil plant in Pärnu by 2016. The annual capacity of the plant is projected to be 50,000 tons of bio-oil. Bio-oil can be used at heating plants or in industrial steam production as a replacement for fossil fuels. In the more distant future,
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Centre for Translational Medicine Opened in Tartu
This spring the University of Tartu opened a world class centre for translational medicine (SIME), which takes medical research to the next level with its research activity and millions of euros worth of scientific equipment. According to Eero Vasar, Head of the UT’s Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, opening SIME creates completely new opportunities for medical research. “SIME, with its carefully designed utility systems, is situated in the Maarjamõisa campus, allowing people working in the field of medicine to gather under the same roof and conduct research in high-tech laboratories, which will one day lead to benefits via drug development.” The building is divided into medical laboratories and an animal research centre, holding up to 30,000 mice and 5,000 rats. There are laboratories for physiological and pharmacological studies and core facilities for the production
of transgenic animals and modern imaging technologies. Physiological and pharmacological laboratories are equipped with computeraided systems allowing for comprehensive phenotyping of transgenic animals, as well as preclinical screening of drug candidates. The animal research facility allows for the handling of infectious material at the BSL3 biosafety level, including such dangerous viruses as HIV and hepatitis C. The cornerstone of the imaging facility is a 9.4 T magnetic resonance tomograph, making in vivo imaging studies on laboratory rodents possible. The research has been mainly focused on neuropsychiatric and endocrine disorders, as well as cancer biology and autoimmune disorders, using a high number of different transgenic disease models, involving both mice and rats. Transgenic technology is very instrumental for understanding the role of genes with unknown functions, and for the generation of animal models for preclinical drug research. In terms of personal medicine, the transgenic approach is highly complementary with GWAS, adding functional meaning to genetic findings. This is an important step in the translation of genetic data to human studies.
Mohamed Djemni Technology Sourcing Specialist / Europe IPC German Branch
The centre is also open for study and research activity for students, including genetic engineers, veterinarians, medical doctors and many others. The University of Tartu is developing translational medicine and clinical research as a member of the EATRIS consortium. EATRIS is a consortium uniting 70 scientific research establishments across Europe, with the mission of implementing scientific discoveries more efficiently in practical medicine. The area of SIME is 4,790 square meters and the total cost of the construction was 8.7 million euros, of which 3.5 million euros was allocated by SA Archimedes from the finances of the European Union.
Samsung came to search for certain technologies in areas such as sensor technology, material processing, battery & energy, security, healthcare and artificial intelligence. Any market-ready technology that could be integrated into Samsung’s future products was taken into consideration. Altogether 14 tech companies from Estonia, Finland and Norway were pre-selected by Samsung and got a chance to introduce their technology. As a result, Samsung asked eight of them to discuss business in one-to-one meetings: DigiFLAK, NUTITEQ, ELIKO Competence Centre, YOGA AS, FlyDog Solutions, Canatu, Scannanotek and Navionics.
Samsung Sourcing in the Nordics
Samsung representatives were pleasantly surprised by the good match with local companies. They particularly mentioned that they saw a lot of great innovation happening in Europe and that they would take the message to Samsung Headquarters in Korea.
At the end of August the Estonian Investment Agency and the Samsung Electronics hosted the pitching event “Get Global with Samsung“ in Tallinn to connect tech companies from the Baltic-Nordic region with the global player Samsung. It was a unique opportunity for local companies, as such an event had never happened before in the region.
In October 2014 there will be a Samsung Electronics Sourcing Exhibition (SESE) in South Korea, for which only 30 companies from all around the world will be chosen to discuss business opportunities with key decision makers of Samsung and to have one-to-one meetings with Samsung R&D engineers.
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More than 15,000 People Have Seen Lightning At The Energy Discovery Centre Photos by Energy Discovery Centre
The thoroughly renovated Energy Discovery Centre, with its brand new exhibition, has become a popular family leisure centre. During the first month after re-opening, more than 15,000 people visited the educational entertainment centre.
On 13 June the Energy Discovery Centre re-opened its doors to the public in the Tallinn electricity plant, which has over a hundred-year history. The building was renovated to restore its 1930s glory and today the science centre offers entertainment for children and adults in its unique industrial heritage building. The star exhibit of the centre is the Tesla Generator in a Faraday cage, unique in the Baltic states, which makes it possible to demonstrate up to three-metre lightning bolts. “Regardless of the weather outside, we see lightning strike here every day at 2pm,” Kertu Saks, Manager of the Energy Discovery Centre, says to tempt visitors.
energy, optics, voice and sound. In addition, there is an exhibition on mathematics in the area for temporary exhibitions, with the possibility of organising a 4D Frame geometry workshop. In October, a new exhibition, “Mission Possible”, will open, and will include interactive exhibits, where people, young and old, can learn about the bioeconomy in a simple way. The main areas of interest are agriculture and fisheries, food and well-being, biotechnology and life science.
The centre’s virtual planetarium, introducing the science of stars with the most up-to-date astronomy software Starry Night Pro Plus 7, is very popular with visitors. Travelling over a billion light years, it is possible to see thousands of expo-planets, millions of stars and 200,000 galaxies in the planetarium. The programme is constantly being updated according to new developments in knowledge about the universe.
There are 130 “hands-on” exhibits at the Energy Discovery Centre, offering activities and joy of discovery mostly to children. The seven permanent exhibitions introduce the history of energetics, the discovery of electricity, electricity production, renewable energy sources and nuclear
The Energy Discovery Centre offers interactive science learning to children and adult science fans. The founders of the centre are Eesti Energia, Tallinn University of Technology, the City of Tallinn and Tallinna Soojus. According to Kertu Saks, visitors have responded to the new centre with great enthusiasm: “Both kids and adults will find hours of activity here and the feedback from visitors on the exhibits and the renovated building has been extremely positive.” www.energiakeskus.ee FALL/WINTER 2014-2015
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Estonia – Innovation Drives Us. Tradition Binds Us Estonia is exhibiting at several international trade fairs in Germany this season: at the international trade fair of electronics Electronica in Munich, at the international boat show Hanseboot in Hamburg and at the watersports trade fair Boot Düsseldorf 2015. The participation of Estonian entrepreneurs in German trade fairs is supported by Enterprise Estonia through the European Regional Development Fund. The close economic and cultural ties between Estonia and Germany date back to the high period of the Hanseatic League, the medieval political and trading alliance. However, Estonia and Germany are connected by more than the historical union of the Hanseatic League. Centuries of shared history and cultural exchange have left their mark: Estonians are renowned for their exemplary work culture and “German
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punctuality”. These Prussian virtues are not considered old-fashioned in northern Europe. Indeed, they have transformed the country in the brief period since the collapse of the Soviet Union and made it what it is today: a small but strong and reliable partner, as well as a trusted member of NATO, the EU and the Eurozone. Estonian business culture is thoroughly Hanseatic: calmness, reliability and trust are the highest virtues, a strong work ethic commands great respect and the payment culture is considered exemplary. Estonians do not see this as fusty: it has simply always been the right and proper way of doing things. Keeping promises is a matter of honour: a handshake is considered at least as binding as a contract, and content is more important than form.
Art lies in innovative electronics For the first time, Estonia is participating with a joint stand at the world’s leading trade fair for components, systems and applications Electronica 2015, which takes place 11-14 November in Munich. Everything from engineering and electronics manufacturing services to PCB production, cables and radio frequency electronic devices will be displayed.
Meet Estonian shipbuilders at German boat shows The northern European boat construction industry will be showcasing itself in Hamburg from 25 October to 2 November. At the 55th International Boat Show Hanseboot 2014, seven Estonian companies will be presenting their new products. Estonia will be attending the show for the third time with a joint booth. Last year exhibitors at the 700-square-metre national pavilion of the partner country Estonia featured innovative, high-quality boat building. The exhibition space can be found at Hall B6, Stands B.120 and B.122. Estonia is also, for the first time, participating with its joint stand at the world‘s largest watersports trade fair Boot Düsseldorf 2015 from 17-25 January. A total of nine Estonian companies will be exhibiting together at the joint stand. Everything from innovative paddle boats to luxury yachts and various shipping products and services will be demonstrated. As a maritime country with plenty of good berths, Estonia has been renowned throughout history as a builder of small and big ships. Long-term experience means that the quality of Estonian recreational craft is high and the product range is diverse, from row boats to luxury yachts and service crafts. Estonia’s approximately 4,000-km coastline offers not only sailing trips but also endless opportunities for surfing, water jetting, kayak and canoe tours and diving. Being near and on the sea has become a lifestyle for tens of thousands of Estonians, and for some tourism enterprises it is their main business pillar. Additional information: Mrs. Riina Leminsky / Enterprise Estonia Hamburg email@example.com
Electronica is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014. As in the past, it will showcase the electronics trends of the future and give visitors a comprehensive look at the international electronics industry. This unique industry event presents the state of the art in innovative electronics a diverse range of components, pioneering hardware and software solutions and complete systems and applications in 143,000 m² of exhibition space. It all revolves around the latest hot topics, such as electromobility, energy efﬁciency and sustainability. At the fair, Artec Design will introduce, among other things, a validator, ticket-system equipment for public transport, which has been their biggest project in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, where public transport is free for citizens. It’s worth noting that a bus ticketing system with 2000 NFC/RFID Validators was developed and installed in only nine months. The Estonian electronics sector has been powered from the very beginning by the need to communicate and get connected. In 1907 the first telephone factory was founded in Estonia. Electronics is one of the fastest growing sectors in Estonia, with 200 companies and about 11,000 employees. A number of large international corporations produce mostly for export, while smaller local companies develop innovative products and solutions. The sector is dominated by industrial electronics and electronic manufacturing services. 95% of the Estonian electronics industry’s output is exported. A total of nine Estonian companies, along with the Estonian Electronics Industries Association, will be exhibiting together at the Munich electronics fair. The exhibition space can be found at Hall A3, Booth A3.270. Additional information: Mrs. Tiina Kivikas / Enterprise Estonia, Export Advisor in Germany firstname.lastname@example.org See the video “Land of Resourceful People“
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Come for Nordic-Baltic innovation @Latitude59 The Latitude59 conference is happening again this spring, from 14-15 May 2015 in Tallinn. The networking conference is a perfect meeting place for innovators, entrepreneurs, venture capital partners, angel investors and others who support the global expansion of innovative companies.
The speakers and panelists are all leaders in their fields, with long experience and insight into the chasm facing young companies, which must look beyond their local markets if they are to fulfil their dreams and ambitions of providing sustainable solutions to business â€œpain pointsâ€? and consumer demands. Last yearâ€™s Latitude59 was bigger and better than ever, with a full house, several demo rooms and such keynote speakers as the legendary Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google Vint Cerf, the founder and MD at Draper Fisher Jurvetson Tim Draper, the founder and Operational Chairman at Kiosked Micke Paqvalen, the IBM Venture Capital Group member Deborah Magid and many others.
Ruth Vahtras, FDI project manager, and Irene Surva-Lehtonen, Export Advisor in Finland, standing by Estonia's stand at Alihankinta 2013.
Explore the Industry of the Baltic Sea Region 14
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The 24th Subcontracting Trade Fair Alihankinta 2014 will take place 16-18 September in the Tampere Exhibition and Sports Centre, in Finland. Alihankinta, which has the largest attendance in the Nordic countries, presents the key areas of industrial subcontracting, namely the metal, electronics, plastics and rubber industries, as well as industrial ICT solutions and consulting services. Alihankinta will feature approximately 1,000 exhibitors from 20 countries. Every year some 17,000 industrial specialists visit the event to explore the latest products, services and innovations. For companies, the event offers a unique opportunity to build networks and customer relationships. The three-day event will include interesting seminars focusing on a wide range of topics related to industrial activities, economics, the future of subcontracting and factors leading to success in the subcontracting business.
Micke Paqvalen Richard Allan Homing
Gil Dibner, Partner at DFJ Esprit, London tweeted his appreciation: “Amazed, not surprised, by the strength of tech and talent in Tallinn, Latitude59. Looks like I’ll be back!” FOLLOW ON One highlight of Latitude59 is the start-up pitch contest Silicon Valley Style, introducing the most promising start-ups from the Nordic and Baltic region to well-known investors from around the globe. Last year there were over a hundred applicants, surprisingly many of whom were hardware start-ups. The topics for 2015 are Fintech, Medtech and the Internet of Things. And, as a proper networking conference, every year Latitude59 provides reasons to celebrate. There will be a vibrant start-up party on the eve of 14 May. Stay tuned! latitude59.ee
On 15 September, one day before Alihankinta, Enterprise Estonia Helsinki is organising a high level Estonia-Finland business seminar in Tampere. The seminar will be attended by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Entrepreneurship of the Republic of Estonia, Anne Sulling. “Although cooperation between Finland and Estonia is remarkably lively, there is still room for new opportunities: for example, the Talsinki Bay Area. There is a natural economic zone on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. We have to prove that we can be better together than separately, and this cooperation can be extended to the whole Baltic Sea Region, ” says Valdar Liive, the moderator and man behind the seminar. The partners of the seminar are the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki, Business Region South-Estonia, the Finnish-Estonian Trade Association and the foundation Ida-Virumaa Industrial Areas Development (IVIA).
Latitude59 is a partner of Estonian ICT Week, the single most eventful week at the centre of the sizzling Nordic-Baltic ICT powerhouse, illuminating innovative ideas that connect the brightest minds. This year it takes place from 8 to 15 May. You are very welcome to join! estonia.eu/ictweek/
This year, electronics, machinery and metal, and plastics companies from Estonia will participate in the Alihankinta Trade Fair. These fields of industry all share an orientation towards export markets and openness to comprehensive cooperation with the leaders of their respective fields all over the world. Estonian companies participating: Plastone OÜ, Hissmekano Estonia OÜ, Tech Group AS, Eolane Tallinn AS, Konesko AS, Radius Machining OÜ, Frog Plastic OÜ, Greenforce OÜ, Efekt AS, Metre OÜ, Aamex OÜ and BHC AS. Welcome to meet Estonian companies in hall D, stand D220! www.alihankinta.fi
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Estonia is an Attractive Hub for Testing New Technologies By Holger Roonemaa Photos by Margus Johanson and Meeli K端ttim
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During the change of government which took place in spring 2014, Estonia introduced a ministerial portfolio with a brand new focus. The country now has a minister with specific responsibility for foreign trade and entrepreneurship. The person who took up the position is even more interesting: Anne Sulling did not have any previous experience in politics.
Before entering the political arena, it was Sulling’s job to sell Estonia’s “emission allowances”, aimed at achieving reduced carbon emissions as part of the Kyoto Protocol. To a great extent, it is thanks to her work that Estonia can boast the world’s first nationwide network of electric car charging stations, that more than a thousand electric cars are now driving on the roads of Estonia, that hundreds of public buildings have been renovated to become energy efficient, that outdated public lighting systems are being replaced with energy efficient lighting in seven towns, that theatres have been equipped with modern energy-efficient stage lighting systems, that more than a hundred new efficient public transport buses have been procured and that the capital Tallinn will soon receive new trams.
You have now been a minister for half a year. How would you characterise the field you are responsible for? Estonia has a small open economy with exports of goods and services constituting more than 80% of its GDP. The main purpose of the
Minister of Foreign Trade and Entrepreneurship is to help support Estonia’s exporters at home and abroad and help attract foreign investors to Estonia.
What is Estonia’s export portfolio like? Estonia’s export portfolio is very diverse. We have a number of large multinational companies that make up the largest share of our export portfolio, the main articles being machinery and equipment, electronics, and information and communication technologies. We build sea vessels, from kayaks to yachts to large ships. We stand out for our excellence in IT. Everybody probably already knows that Skype was developed in Estonia, but now many new interesting companies have spun off in the IT sector that are aiming to go global: Transferwise, GrabCAD, Erply, Signwise and Fortumo, to name only a few of them. We have a strong wood sector—which is no wonder as more than half of our territory is covered by forests--producing everything from paper pulp to furniture to log-houses, which are all exported. We boast a large variety of
high quality foodstuffs, a result of Estonia’s clean nature and environment.
During your time in office you have already received many foreign delegations and also made various business trips abroad to promote Estonia. How do foreign entrepreneurs perceive Estonia? I have asked many foreign investors who have already settled here why they chose Estonia to be their production base. They all usually answer that it is because we have a very transparent and efficient business environment, a low level of corruption and a simple tax system. It is easy to file one’s taxes oneself. Our e-government solutions make communication with the state very simple and extremely efficient; this all saves businesses a great deal of time and money. We have a qualified, reliable and competitive workforce. We are logistically well-connected by sea and are working to improve our air connections, and of course being an electronic hub we are very well connected to the world.
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because all of our processes were much faster. Whenever there was a need to put together a programme within a limited time frame, they came knocking at our door, as they knew that no other country would be able to react as fast. Governmental decisions which may take months somewhere else took just a week or two in Estonia. We are fast and efficient, and our e-communication channels make communication with the state simple and efficient.
Minister Sulling at the seminar of the Confederation of Finnish Industries.
It seems that we have come to a crossroads; the cost of our labour force has risen, yet we still have a competitive advantage over Western Europe when it comes to labour costs. What is your opinion? Estonia’s challenge is to continue to climb up the value chain and that means over time lower skilled and lower paid jobs will be replaced by higher skilled and higher paid jobs. Indeed, we have seen some jobs on the lowest end of the wage scale leave the market and jobs requiring higher skills and qualifications replace them. Estonia’s average wage level is currently still only about 40% of the EU average. In the long term, it is important that the price/quality relationship offered in the labour market remains attractive. That means we need to keep investing in our people’s education and skills. One of the greatest assets Estonia has is its very good education system. According to the PISA tests carried out by the OECD, the results of Estonian primary school students rank among the best in the world, along with Finland, the Netherlands and Japan. Our universities also offer very high quality education. Different multinational companies make use of the fact that our universities have world-class scientists in the fields of biochemistry, IT, material sciences and electrical engineering, and they cooperate on projects of research and development. In recent years, our universities have been working with
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such well-known companies as Ericsson, Mitsubishi, Mercedes and Nestlé, among others. In addition, Estonia remains an excellent and attractive manufacturing location; we have a skilled and committed workforce that can produce quality goods at very competitive costs, with easy access to large markets. That is why such large multinationals as ABB and Ericsson have set up their manufacturing facilities in Estonia.
Let’s talk about the business environment of Estonia. How do you explain to Norwegian or German entrepreneurs what it is and why it is so incredibly simple for us to communicate with the state? It is our e-government solutions which have helped to shape our simple business environment. Our communications with the state are online and this guarantees a high degree of efficiency and transparency. This efficiency allows companies to get on with their core business without incurring high administrative costs. In addition to e-government, we benefit from the small size of our country: everybody knows everybody, which makes business dealings simple and fast. The cooperation between ministries and the government is very fast and efficient. Let me give the example of selling emission allowances to other countries: we clearly stood out from competing countries
In a previous issue of this magazine, Taavi Kotka expressed his belief that e-residency could be the very thing to make Estonia unique in the world. It could be Estonia’s unique selling point in the world. Is this something you consider important enough to target foreign entrepreneurs with? It is our goal to have 10 million e-residents by 2025. Obtaining an e-residency means obtaining an Estonian ID card from one of Estonia’s representations. This ID card has two functions. Firstly, there is the authentication function, which provides a guarantee at the highest level of security that the owner of the card really is the person s/he claims to be. Secondly there is the digital signature function, which to date does not exist in most countries. The digital signature enables one to give a secure signature at a distance. Business dealings thereby become much easier. It is impossible to forge a digital signature; thus in web environments where a high degree of security is important our ID-card is a great advantage. This could be a reason for foreign entrepreneurs wishing to have our e-identity. In my talks with foreign entrepreneurs who already have business dealings with Estonia, it has become clear that they are eagerly awaiting this opportunity. But there is also potential interest among those entrepreneurs who currently have no links with Estonia. The e-resident ID will provide entrepreneurs with access to the Estonian Business Registry and enable them to easily create a company in the European Union from a distance. It would be their easiest and most efficient access to the EU business environment.
In addition to simplicity, what are the reasons that foreign entrepreneurs should consider Estonia? We have a competitive workforce, a great business environment, and a simple and motivating tax system, where no income tax is paid on profits reinvested. The level of corruption is extremely low. We have a Nordic business culture, where promises are kept. Estonians have the reputation for getting things done. We speak English well. Those aspects are already sufficient for entrepreneurs to give Estonia some serious thought. Besides that, the Estonian government has invested a great deal in the business infrastructure in recent years, setting up incubators for startup companies, and founding industrial parks for companies to set up their production facilities, as well as science and development centres to help facilitate cooperation between businesses and research institutions. I have met foreign investors who say they like Estonia because it seems everybody here is developing something. That is an additional argument for foreign investors to take a look at the possibilities in Estonia. One interesting new trend we have observed lately is that multinational companies are bringing their service centres to Estonia, such as accounting, back office management and treasury functions. This is helped by the fact that we have a disproportionally high share of the workforce educated for the needs of the financial services industry, which is looking for new outlets after the consolidation of the financial sector. A few multinationals have also brought their IT development and engineering R&D centres to Estonia.
The Estonian government has also created a support scheme to motivate investments in Estonia. The state adds 30% to investments of more than 3,000,000 euros, with a maximum support of one million euros. Investments receiving state support must create at least 15 new jobs with wages above the Estonian average.
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I COVER STORY How are the arguments in favour of investing in Estonia working? To date they have worked very well. Estoniaâ€™s share of foreign investments per GDP is almost twice that of the other Baltic states: by the end of 2012, Estonia had 84.2% of foreign investments per GDP, whereas the share in Latvia was 46.1% and in Lithuania 36.7%. This shows that our business environment is very attractive.
When a foreign investor decides to consider Estonia as a potential investment location, but does not have a local partner, what are the first steps that should be taken? Enterprise Estonia (EAS) is the central contact point both for local entrepreneurs who wish to enter foreign markets and for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to come to Estonia. Enterprise Estonia has a strong foreign direct investment (FDI) advisory team, which works specifically with foreign investors. For potential investors, it is therefore a good idea to first approach Enterprise Estonia, which will provide
Anne Sulling and Alexander Stubbs, Finland's sitting PM (Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade at the time)
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them with an advisor who will help fulfil their information requirements, present the opportunities available to them and bring them into contact with the necessary people. It is a very personalized approach. I have heard from many investors that the FDI advisory team of Enterprise Estonia does great work, and that confirms what I have witnessed myself. It is also worth noting that Enterprise Estonia coordinates the network of County Development Centres, which provide advisory services to local entrepreneurs and possess a very good overview of the local level. They are therefore in a good position to help foreign investors find interesting investment opportunities in the regions.
Where do you see the largest potential for growth? What could become Estoniaâ€™s trademark in the world? Given our competitive edge on the IT side, we need to exploit that. Currently our e-solutions are mostly tailor-made and do not constitute a large share of our export volume. Thus, it is
important to move into areas that allow larger volumes. One such area where we could exploit our IT potential is that of the smart city. The smart city field is experiencing rapid global growth. There is increasing concern about how to make the city space more comfortable and sustainable. The solutions range from energyefficient lighting systems to smart building solutions to smart apps helping to orientate in city environments. Estonia can expand into this field. Another aspect which we could exploit more in Estonia is our openness to using new technologies. The small size of our country enables us to easily test various solutions nationwide. In other words, Estonia could position itself as a testing ground for various technologies where, on one hand, companies come to test new technologies and, on the other, people come to get acquainted with new technologies. E-residency is a good example of the possibility of using Estonia to test unique solutions that can be rolled-out to the whole world. Estonia possesses all the attributes to be an international testing ground: we are a creative, efficient, progressive EU member state with a well-educated and hard-working population.
Estonia boasts good chocolate and sweets. One of the most beloved chocolate bars is Anneke, which is a diminutive of the Estonian girl's name Anne. In the photo, Anne Sulling with Kaido Kaare, CEO of AS Kalev, the biggest and oldest confectionery company in Estonia whose first predecessor' activities in Tallinn date back to 1806. For years, Kalev has been the best known and most prestigious trademark in Estonia.
Photo by Eiko Kink, Äripäev
Anne Sulling and Skype Estonia CEO Andrus Järg.
Can you give any other examples? Yes. We conducted the world’s first countrywide pilot project in electric cars in Estonia. This is something we did in collaboration with Japan and the Mitsubishi Corporation through the sale of emissions allowances under the Kyoto Protocol. We created the world’s first country-wide quick-charging system for electric cars and provided some 500 electric cars to social workers for use across the country. In addition, we created a grant scheme for the general public to support purchases of electric cars. Today there are more than one thousand electric cars driving on Estonian roads, which is one of the highest concentrations in the world.
In addition, we introduced another innovative project as part of the electric car programme: the car sharing programme. Since last summer it has been possible to rent an electric car in the two biggest Estonian towns, Tallinn and Tartu. It is possible to locate the closest available car, reserve it, open its doors and start the rental session simply by using your smart phone. Car sharing has turned out to be surprisingly popular and, after its introduction, the sales of electric cars increased significantly. The rest of the world has a lot to learn from our experience in this field. For example, the Estonian company Now Innovations, which developed the payment system for the electric car charging network, is now offering the same service in other countries. It is important to mention that such pilot projects create work for our research institutions. For example, in both of the above-mentioned projects we installed data-loggers in the cars, which collect various data about the cars over several years. The professors and students of the Tallinn University of Technology, in cooperation with the Mitsubishi Corporation, will now be able to analyse the data to find ways to improve electric cars and also to learn how to introduce the electric cars to the market. Such an experience of collaboration is useful for both sides and shows foreign investors what can be done in Estonia.
You made the decision to enter politics half a year ago. If you had gone into business, which field would you have chosen? For years I have been involved in international negotiations and sales. The specific field isn’t so important; what matters is that I believe in the product. Great product ideas may come from any field.
Which markets should Estonian entrepreneurs target more? The internal market of the European Union has great potential. It is by no means an easy market. It requires high quality products and services. Its consumers have considerable purchasing power. I would first look at the EU market and focus on product development in order to manage in a very competitive market. Russia and China are huge and attractive markets, but there are very many risks in those markets which are not related to the entrepreneur. The USA and Japan are friendly markets for us, and we still have a small trade volume with them, so there is room for expansion. But also more distant markets hold potential for increases in trade. In a small country like Estonia, we need to focus on high quality and try to find niche fields with high added value.
I LIFE IN ESTONIA
I ECONOMY AND BUSINESS Jüri Riives Professor, Dr. Eng in Manufacturing Systems Graduated from the Tallinn University of Technology. Worked at the Tallinn University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Involved in private business as a Member of the Board and Chairman of the Council. Currently working in the Competence Centre IMECC as Chairman of the Board and General Manager of Research. Scientific and research fields: Mechatronic and Production Systems Productivity and Behavioural Models; Intelligent Manufacturing and Robotics; Lean Manufacturing and Quality Management. Has taken part in several international projects in the areas of cluster development, developing of new business models for ensuring competitiveness and adding innovation
capacity of the labour force and entrepreneurs in the mechanical engineering and machinery sector. Has published more than 60 scientific articles.
Industrial Revolution 4.0 On the way to a new industrial revolution Manufacturing systems are key components of any industrial company which is oriented to production activities. Modern manufacturing systems must satisfy the following demands: high productivity, high flexibility (small batches and large nomenclature of products) and high accuracy in products. Rapidness, diversity and uniqueness characterise today’s production. Additionally, decreases in resources, pressure on manufacturing costs and continual growth in customers’ expectations have led to new problems that need to be solved. There is a need for strong individualisation of products under the conditions of highly flexible production, extensive integrations of customers and business partners and value-added processes, and the linking of production and high quality services leading to “hybrid” products.
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Germany has played a leading role in making significant changes in business models and developing new smart industrial systems. This new paradigm has led to an industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0, which was publicly announced by Angela Merkel at the opening of the Hanover Industrial Exhibition in 2013. Industry 4.0 was conceived as a forward-looking project under the Federal Government High-Tech strategy, focusing on information and communication technology. It has been developed further to include production research and user industries.
What is Industry 4.0? Industry 4.0 means Smart Factory development, where intelligent cells inside the company and between the companies are integrated through the Internet, and they are able to communicate and make necessary decisions. Industry 4.0 is Cyber-Physical Systems and the Internet of Things.
By Jüri Riives
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an integrated part of the future of the Internet, including the existing and evolving Internet and network developments, and it can be conceptually defined as a dynamic global network infrastructure with self-configuring capabilities based on standard and interoperable communication protocols, where physical and virtual “things” have identities, physical attributes and virtual personalities, use intelligent interfaces, and are seamlessly integrated into the information network. In the IoT, “smart things/objects” – robot-based industrial cells - are active things (including workplaces) in the process and/or in the production system where they are designed to interact and communicate among themselves and with the environment by exchanging data and information “sensed” about the environment, while reacting autonomously to “real/physical world” events and influencing them by running processes that trigger actions and create services with or without direct human intervention.
Challenges for a new Industrial Revolution in Estonia
IoT infrastructure allows for combinations of smart objects (wireless sensors, robots, controlling and servicing devices etc.), sensor network technologies and human beings, with their defined competences, using different but interoperable communication protocols. It creates a dynamic multi-modular, heterogeneous network that can be deployed in different production areas. Along with increased automation in industry, the development of completely new business models is an important task as well.
product effectively in a real production environment. ERP determines what and when to produce (planning), MPM determines the most efficient realisation solutions and MES provides evaluation of the realisation.
Towards modern manufacturing
IMECC’s overall goal is to raise the international competitiveness of the Estonian manufacturing industry and the field’s companies through collaboration between research institutions and companies in the field of R&D, integration with the European Technology Platform Manufuture programme and cooperation with international clusters and research institutions.
Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are becoming increasingly important in this context. Along with increased automation in industry, the development of intelligent monitoring and autonomous decision-making processes are particularly important in order to be able to steer and optimise both companies and entire value-added networks in almost real time. Working in a cross-enterprise product-realisation process means that the flow of information and materials needs to be efficiently managed throughout the entire life cycle, i.e. from concept to disposal. Due to the topology of Extended Enterprise, the flows of information and materials become complex, especially if the configuration of the Extended Enterprise changes dynamically during collaboration projects. This highlights the use of MES systems and their integration with planning and management systems. Production is a key component of every manufacturing company involved in production systems. The main info-technological means in a production system are Manufacturing Process Management (MPM) and Manufacturing Execution System (MES). MPM is a complex of production technologies and methodologies that determines how to manufacture a
IMECC working programme The Innovative Manufacturing Engineering Systems Competence Centre (IMECC) is one of the eight competence centres of Estonia.
IMECC’s main field of activities is applied research directed at the company level, process level and production cell level. The research in these three focuses is commonly referred to as the development and realisation of the Future Factory concept. The development of intelligent manufacturing systems and products is the IMECC consortium’s main objective.
• Willingness of owners/ shareholders to change • Development of new skills and competences • Employees’ ambitions • More internationalisation and cooperation in R&D • Intelligent manufacturing networking • Setting priorities • National Action Programme
Research is characterised by the integration of information technology solutions in various industries and manufacturing sectors (Intelligent Manufacturing). Research results provide the basis for enterprises to introduce new products, increase productivity and automate processes. The agility and flexibility that are needed in today’s production can be achieved by integrating workplaces with processes and systems inside a company, as well as by creating networks of companies. The network is formed by things/objects having identities, virtual personalities operating in smart spaces using intelligent interfaces to connect and communicate with the users, and social and environmental contexts. So, the plan is to make the Internet of Things a reality.
The focuses of the research are: •
Integration of business and manufacturing planning based on e-manufacturing and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems, resulting in the development of new business models Development of cost and time efficient solutions for SMEs for process automation and innovative emerging manufacturing technologies Self-organising systems with online monitoring and diagnostics.
IMECC vision of modern manufacturing
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Small Company Set To Conquer The World Skeleton Technologies, a Tallinn-based company which develops and produces ultracapacitors - extremely powerful energy storage devices - aims to become the leading ultracapacitor manufacturer within five years. Skeleton Technologies started to grow in 2009, when, after years of development work, the young entrepreneurs Taavi Madiberk and Oliver Ahlberg decided to take the technology created by Tartu scientists into production. Taavi Madiberk, CEO of the company, explains that they have experienced very rapid growth in the last five years: “Everything has gone according to our plans, and in some ways we are even ahead of our plans.” Skeleton Technologies has received nearly 1.5 million euros worth of funding from Enterprise Estonia, most of which has been received in the last two years. In July 2014, the company announced a 3.9 million euro injection from
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the investment company Up Invest. At the beginning of this year, Skeleton Technologies participated in the Norway Grants Green Industry Innovation programme, which was looking for Estonian companies to develop globally ambitious green IT projects together with Norwegian companies, and received funding from the Estonian-Norwegian cooperation programme Green Innovation Estonia to develop the next generation of “smart” ultracapacitor modules. Standardised plugand-play solutions for a variety of markets, from UPS to heavy transportation, will lower the cost of ownership for customers. The specified features, from voltage and temperature monitoring to application-based energy
By Otti Eylandt / Postimees
profiles, are class-leading and increase the efficiency and reliability of the devices. Skeleton Technologies has included the Norwegian company NX Tech, which specialises in bringing breakthrough technologies to market (their previous partners include Th!nk, Citymotion, Cisco and others), as a partner to fieldtest the modules in Norway. The German subsidiary of the Estonian company received funding from a local support programme where the total cost of their project was nearly 14 million euros. The project combines support from the Development Bank of Saxony with the company’s own contribution. Madiberk says that this is probably the largest investment ever made by an Estonian company in Germany.
Oliver Ahlberg (28, left), the Chief Operating Officer of Skeleton Technologies, and CEO Taavi Madiberk (26) have managed to get their foot in the door of big business despite their young age.
Skeleton Technologies’ ultracapacitor
Photo by MIHKEL MARIPUU / Scanpix
• Life cycle 15 years and up to a million life cycles. Normal batteries last a couple of thousand cycles. • Working temperature between -40 and +65°C. • Much smaller than products of competitors; hence production costs up to 50 % less. • Fields of use: transport, military, renewable energy and space industries.
The sums invested in the small company are quite high considering that the company is currently mainly involved in developing the products and plans to start larger production in the second half of next year. How have those investments helped to develop the company and what exactly has the company managed to do so far?
There is no danger of the company moving its development group from Tallinn to Germany and thus losing the company for Estonia. Madiberk claims that the current working group has proven its worth and he sees no reason for moving.
Madiberk explains that the investments have been pivotal for the development of the company: “High tech production is a field which requires a lot of money and we have managed to bring out a new generation product,” he said.
Skeleton’s team includes four people with doctoral degrees. One of them is the Vice President of Production, Kai Vuorilehto, who has several years of experience as Chief Technology Officer at European Batteries Ltd, where he led technology development and production set-up at one of the most technologically advanced Li-ion battery production facilities in Europe, with over 70 M EUR invested. The company also employs the former Chief Executive of Silmet, Anti Perkson. Recently, a battery industry veteran, James P. McDougall, was appointed to serve as a non-executive director with a focus on global business development.
According to Taavi Madiberk, the biggest successes of Skeleton are its cutting-edge proprietary technology and high-profile customers, ranging from the European Space Agency to leading players in the European automotive industry. The company’s cooperation with ESA started in 2011 and they have just negotiated the next contract.
The company’s ability to attract millions of euros of additional capital from Estonia and abroad should be commended. It demonstrates that investors have trust in the team and goals of Skeleton Technologies.”
The sums may seem high in Estonia but, to put it in perspective, a competitor company in the United States called Ioxus has received almost 50 million USD in investments (36.9 million euros).
Brains here, production in Germany Today the company’s headquarters in Tallinn employ over twenty staff members, the “brains” of the company, and product testing takes place there. Although the company currently produces ultracapacitors for sale in Tallinn, the production volumes are still low. Madiberk explains that larger production will take place in Bautzen, Germany, where currently preparations are under way. The production lines will open in the second half of 2015 if everything goes according to plan. Taavi Madiberk explains that the reason the company will move production to Germany is the fact that a fifth of the world’s market for ultracapacitors is based there, the customers are closer and it is easier to find qualified workers. “If we want to compete with Asia in Europe, Germany is the best option,” he adds.
• Five patents and 16 patent applications in process in Europe, the USA and Asia.
Achievements to date
Madiberk claims that the most important characteristics of ultracapacitors are their functionality, resilience, size and mass. Thanks to patented technologies, Skeleton has a real advantage in these areas over its competitors. “After all, every gram counts in space,” he says.
Lermo Pohlak, Director of Customer Centre, Enterprise Estonia: ”Skeleton Technologies is an ambitious company whose projects Enterprise Estonia has decided to support on several occasions. It is still too early to assess the impact of these projects as they are still under way. Enterprise Estonia continues to follow Skeleton’s activities with great interest and we hope for the successful implementation of their projects.
Madiberk believes that the company has all the necessary prerequisites to become the largest ultracapacitor manufacturer in Europe within the next two-three years, and then the largest manufacturer globally. www.skeletontech.com
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I ECONOMY AND BUSINESS Truck instrument cluster
Stoneridge – American Dream in Tänassilma Village
By Ann-Marii Nergi
Printed circuit board assembly of a vehicle control unit
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When the Swedish factory of the US electronics manufacturer Stoneridge became too small for the company, it was faced with the choice of expanding either to Poland or to Estonia. The choice was made in favour of Estonia as “for a variety of reasons Estonia just prevailed,” recalls Per Lindberg, member of the Management Board and a long-timer in the Estonian plant. Stoneridge Electronics in Estonia started work in 1998 under the name Berifors, a company formed from a management buyout in Ericsson’s automotive division. Due to a crowded factory in Sweden and cost pressure from its customers, Berifors needed to immediately expand. In 1997, Stoneridge acquired Berifors and, since 2001, the Estonian plant has been a part of Stoneridge Electronics. The head-office of the company, which develops products for commercial vehicles, passenger cars and special vehicles (off-road and agriculture), is located in Warren, Ohio in the USA. The company is registered on the New York Stock Exchange. For the last six years Toomas Papstel who has worked for the company since 2000 has been in charge of the car electronics factory based in the technology park in the small village of Tänassilma. Papstel recalls that, when production began in the late 1990s, it was a small production unit which serviced one customer in one product group. Today Stoneridge Estonia employs 270 people. Today all fields are strongly represented, from product development and industrialisation to product validation, not to mention process development and automation. The products and the production process are also more complex than in the early days.Papstel explains that the factory in Estonia concentrates on the production of electronic control units, telematics, switch modules, fuses and relay modules.
Products for Scania and Ford, tractors and buses “The majority of the production goes to truck producers, such as Daimler, MAN, Scania and Volvo, but also for passenger car producers, such as Ford. We also produce for buses and special vehicles, such as construction vehicles and tractors,” explains Papstel. “We send our products directly to car factories, where they are assembled on vehicles. Whereas the largest share of the production goes to European Union countries, we also export to such destinations as Brazil and Australia.”
Precision measurements with 3D measuring equipment
Although Stoneridge has other factories in the United States, Mexico, Sweden, Scotland and China, and joint ventures in Brazil and India, the factory in Estonia is able to participate in local and global development projects. Back in 2008, Toomas Papstel told the media that Stoneridge Estonia needed more “brains” in order to break into the European passenger car market and, to this end, a development department employing 30 engineers was established in Estonia in the same year. “This is one of our more successful projects,” says the plant manager. “Our local product development team is a fully-functioning unit which works in close cooperation with the Stoneridge development centre in Sweden.” Papstel adds that employees are mostly found locally and the company collaborates with the Tallinn University of Technology in finding engineering staff. “In creating competence, one needs to take a long-term perspective. We combine experienced personnel with people who are still studying in university. There are cases of former students who came to us for apprenticeships, and gradually increased their input until they became full staff members,” Papstel says, explaining the importance of combining education with practical experience.
Tests with spaceship! According to the plant manager, the task of Stoneridge Estonia continues to be to represent the corporation’s capacity in Europe, and to maintain the flexibility to service primarily European customers. “Our goal is to grow. There are also plans to expand the local product development unit,” said Papstel. It should be noted that Stoneridge Electronics was one of the participants in sending the first Estonian space satellite, Estcube, into orbit, as the satellite vibration tolerance tests were carried out in the Stoneridge testing lab. Papstel is modest in talking about this experience: “We did indeed have this interesting opportunity. But I have to emphasise that our role should not be blown out of proportion. People came to us for help in carrying out the vibration tolerance tests because our testing lab provides this capability. Of course we agreed!”
Automatic routing of printed circuit boards
“We have daily contact with the car industry, but there are no ‘space ships’ regularly at our factory. Our lab engineers were totally excited and spent the days between Christmas and New Year’s eve at work,” he says, recalling the varied working life of the engineers in the factory.
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IPA Helps to Make Comfortable Trains By Holger Roonemaa
systems. Train HVACs are extremely high-tech solutions that need to be designed and tested extra carefully, as the smallest of flaws may mean trouble for passengers and financial loss for carriers. Interconnect Product Assemblyâ€™s CEO Roman Klepikov tells us more.
Would you please introduce IPA to the readers of Life in Estonia.
Hundreds of trains around the world have roofs and cooling systems made in Estonia. Estonia may not be producing trains any longer, as it did a century ago at the Dvigatel factory, but you can find a small company that specialises in building train roofs and cooling
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Interconnect Product Assembly AS (IPA) was established in 1999. We are an independent, privately owned company specializing in the production of electro-mechanical solutions, from simple cable harnesses to complex fully functional assemblies. The range of services IPA provides includes design, prototyping, serial production, supply chain management and hub sourcing solutions. Starting as a very small company, IPA has managed to grow into a strong company employing around 200 employees and achieving a turnover of 20MEUR in 2013. 95% of manufactured goods are exported, mainly to the EU but a number of goods are also delivered to the US, Australian and Canadian markets.
I understand that among other things you also produce train roofs with cooling systems. What does that exactly mean? One of the products that IPA manufactures is an HVAC (Heating Air Conditioning and Ventilation) unit for train manufacturers. Our main customers for these kinds of products are Bombardier, Siemens, Knorr-Bremse, Sigma and Hitachi. Typically the design of the product is completed by the customer but when needed IPA has the skills to design the HVAC unit for the customer. The metal frames are manufactured by IPA local partners under the strict supervision of our engineers. The HVAC unit is assembled and completely tested at an IPA facility and is delivered straight to the train manufacturing depot. So the only thing the customer has to do is to lift the unit into the roof hole, screw it into place and connect it. The unit is tested and set up for best performance. This is a very complicated product and it might take 150 man-hours to manufacture just one HVAC unit and 30 man-hours to conduct all the tests to guarantee the best possible performance.
Can you tell me as a simple passenger what the use of your product when I’m travelling on a train is? The product consists of a metal frame made of aluminium or stainless steel, depending on what conditions the train will operate in. It includes the cooling system, heating system, ventilation system and also an emergency mode system. The HVAC unit is 100% automated and the train driver only has to start the train and the rest is done by the HVAC unit in order to guarantee a comfortable environment for passengers. In addition to saloon HVAC units, IPA manufactures train driver HVAC units and all other systems related to the train environment: floor heaters, temperature controllers, extraction units etc.
I find it quite surprising that an Estonian company is producing such systems. How easy or difficult is it to find workers with the necessary skills? The manufacturing process is fairly complicated indeed, as many aspects and restrictions must be taken into consideration. In general, railway applications have the highest technical and quality requirements. The product must be 100% secure and 100% free of defects. There can be no risk to passengers. If there is even a small problem, the whole train has to be moved to the depot for maintenance and repair. The cost of a train standing in a depot and not being in service is huge. In order to guarantee high quality and meet all customer expectations, IPA has a team of people who are true professionals in their area. There is a conduit that detects possible design faults in the early design stage, so most of the problems are eliminated before the serial production process. FAI (First Article Inspection) samples are approved internally with the customer and the train manufacturer. When needed, IPA specialists go to the train builder’s
depot in order to ensure that the unit fits “properly” in the train and fulfils all the requirements. The most challenging aspect is the manufacturing process. IPA engineers have worked out a process that always guarantees good and uniform quality, regardless of what type of HVAC is involved. The process requires trained and skilled operators and knowledgeable supervisors. Even more challenging is the testing and set-up process, as this requires good engineering skills, experience and extreme patience, as sometimes final adjustments can take much longer than expected.
What is the difference between train HVACs and common cooling systems? As trains are always moving, micro vibration is always present in products, so if the product is not assembled according to specifications then it can fail easily in one to five years’ time. And if a whole batch is assembled in the same way, this can cause an “epidemic” problem involving the whole train fleet. Nobody wants that. I’m sure you have heard about the HVAC failing in Germany a couple of years ago, when the summer temperature was well above average. There are very strict requirements for project management and also for operations and they are described in the Railway IRIS standards. IPA was audited and awarded by IRIS (International Railway Industry Standard) at the beginning of 2014.
HVAC manufacturing is only a small part of IPA production. IPA’s major manufacturing areas are: • Electrical cabinets (low and medium voltage) • Electrical modules • Relay panels • Electro-mechanical equipment • Various box-build assemblies
IPA’s clients include Knorr-Bremse, Siemens, Hitachi and Bombardier IPA has manufactured HVAC units for over 800 train carriages, including: • 2005 – 2006 Siemens EMU 70 Train Saloon HVAC Units Germany • 2006 – 2007 Siemens DMU 135 Train Saloon HVAC Units Germany
IPA has been growing quite fast. How do you see the company’s future? IPA has grown very rapidly indeed and we believe that the growth will continue for at least the next two years. This requires a lot of effort as the company must be very flexible to deal with the changes that growth brings. www.ipa.ee
• 2008 Hitachi 50 Train Cabin HVAC Units Japan • 2008 – 2009 Bombardier Electrostar 95 Train Saloon HVAC Units 54 Train Cabin HVAC Units •
2009 – 2010 Bombardier Turbostar 186 Train Saloon HVAC Units 78 Train Cabin HVAC Units
2013 Scottish Railways, East Coast Main Line 143 Train Saloon HVAC Units
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MS Balti Trafo Exports Millions of Transformers Annually One of the biggest employers in Vändra collaborates closely with educational institutions. Jaanus Luberg started producing transformers in the small town of Vändra in central Estonia back in 1996. The small business - then called Turmet - has now grown into MS Balti Trafo, a private limited company employing 150 workers. The company is the second largest employer in Vändra, which has a population of 2,300. MS Balti Trafo relies on German capital assets and is closely linked to Manfred Schmelzer GmbH in Germany. This means that although the German entrepreneurs Manfred and Michael Schmelzer invested in the production of transformers in Estonia back in 1997 they did so as private persons. Hence MS Balti Trafo is a separate Estonian company whose business partner is the corporation belonging to the Schmelzers. “MS Balti Trafo produces products for the partner company as part of orders within the corporation, as well as exporting to our own customers. We are a fully functioning company with our own sales and purchasing departments,” explains Jaanus Luberg, Managing Director. “Half of our export goes to Germany, 20% to Finland, 20% to Sweden and 10% remains in Estonia.” However, Luberg explains that actually only about 2% of their production remains in Estonia because transformers are ordered for different appliances, which in turn are exported.
Transformers can be found in Mercedes cars and Jura espresso machines To put it simply, transformers are little gadgets inside all kinds of electronics equipment or energy sources, which transform the current and electrical voltage. Transformers produced in Vändra can be found in home appliances, cars, medical equipment, lighting systems and in the solar energy sector. “The transformers we produce are very specific and custom-made. We develop our products together with our customer base of 300 and each year we produce up to 750 different articles, 12 million pieces in total. Hence we have spread our risks well,” says Luberg. According to him, the smallest transformers they produce are barely visible to the naked eye, measuring just three millimetres in diameter, and the largest ones weigh a whopping 300 kilograms. “For example, we produce transformers for welding equipment for one particular client and those are then sold to oil reservoirs. There is
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another client in Germany that produces appliances for large valves for the opening and closing of gas pipelines which have a diameter of one metre. This requires engines; the engines in turn must be managed and the voltage transformed: they use our products for this,” says Luberg. Perhaps the best-known companies that use components produced by MS Balti Trafo are the car producers Mercedes, Volvo, Audi, Volkswagen, Škoda, Toyota, Porsche and BMW, and the espresso machine company Jura. Luberg will not name more customers, as certain agreements have been made between the company and the customers.
Education allows Balti Trafo to function in the real world MS Balti Trafo has always valued education and the company has close links to the Pärnu Vocational Education Centre and the Tallinn University of Technology. Students undertake apprenticeships at the company, and MS Balti Trafo promotes in-service training and re-training of its staff members. “Our workers also train students at the Vocational Education Centre because we consider it important that young people receive an education which enables them to function in the real world. We have therefore offered our input in developing curricula, and we try to help to modernise learning whenever we can.” Jaanus Luberg hopes that young people will value practical skills more in the future than they do today. “It is clear that people with certain degrees find it impossible to find work, while the lack of skilled workers is a real problem. Our company also experiences the lack of skilled labour force but it all boils down to the value of the workforce. We need to employ specialists but there is no special education in producing transformers. Hence it can be said that training the staff we need is a life-long process.” Since 2009, MS Balti Trafo, with Jaanus Luberg at its head, has managed work at a factory in India, which legally belongs to the German partner Manfred Schmelzer GmbH. The Estonian company is responsible for the daily running of the company in India and Luberg says that cooperation functions well even at this long distance. “India, with its unique legislation and environment, is of course relatively complicated and strange to us northerners, but the people we work with are true professionals.” In addition to the Indian factory, the Germans also own a production unit in Tunisia. www.msbaltitrafo.ee
Norma’s Safety Systems for Cars Help Save 30,000 Lives a Year The company which became famous in Estonia for the production of car safety belts forty years ago is today a part of the international corporation Autoliv. The history of AS Norma dates back to the 19th century, when in 1891 a tin sheet workshop was founded in Tallinn. In 1957, Norma became the first factory in the Soviet Union to start manufacturing flashlights and in 1960 the company launched the manufacturing of electro-mechanical toys. A new era in the history of Norma started in 1973, with the launch of the first industrial lot of car safety belts. Before then seat belts were not part of the equipment of Soviet cars. Forty years on, the famous company in Estonia has grown into a valued unit of the Swedish corporation Autoliv. It employs over 750 staff and its product range has grown far beyond seat belts. The Swedish car safety equipment manufacturer Autoliv bought a 51% share in Norma 15 years ago. The production of belts was transferred from Sweden to Estonia. In 2007, AS Norma began to sell components in foreign markets. In 2010, when the Swedes purchased Norma completely, there was a significant increase in the production of safety components, because in the same year Autoliv closed two of its factories in Germany and a large share of the production was transferred from there to Tallinn.
The turnover of AS Norma in 2013 was 61 million euros and profit 1.88 million euros. The turnover of the parent company Autoliv reached record highs. In 2013, Autoliv’s turnover was 8.8 billion dollars and the operating profit was 761 million dollars.
Increasing added value is a priority Peep Siimon, Managing Director of Norma, confirms that the main competence of the company is producing technologically complex components for the automotive industry, including the construction and production of required tools. To that end, Norma buys services and goods from about 300 enterprises in Estonia. “This competence enables us to produce and create products that meet high requirements for safety equipment, primarily for Autoliv factories all over the world. As parts of such products, our components reach practically all car manufacturers,” explains Siimon. Outside Europe, the products of AS Norma are exported to Russia, the United States and Asia. “We may claim therefore that one is bound to find a component made by Norma in a luxury Bentley, as well as in an old Lada,“ says Siimon. “At the same time the share of Norma’s traditional exports to Russia has declined and will continue to do so with the end of the production of Ladas. The main market is in Europe, although the United States and Asia are also important,” he adds. As Autoliv
cooperates with almost all car manufacturers throughout the world, we can say that Norma as part of the corporation helps to save the lives of over 30,000 people each year because of the safety systems installed in vehicles. Siimon claims that raising the added value of products is more important than geographical expansion. “We wish to develop to become the producer and supplier of acknowledged complex and dependable components and assemblies directly to the international automotive industry. The keys to success are the ability to work together and collaboration between smart people.” However, Siimon emphasises that it is customers who hold the real key to success, which should not be forgotten in implementing changes.
Modern production environment as a motivator Norma’s approach to its employees is to motivate them. “The main motivators are the modern production environment and the best management systems in the automotive industry, the opportunity for rotation in different factories, stable long-term jobs and our unified team, training events and in-service training opportunities, to name just a few. We also offer great international work experience through projects and our daily work, as well as opportunities to work in Autoliv companies all over the world,” says Siimon. www.norma.ee
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PKC Eesti AS Produces Nervous Systems for Automotive Industry Did you know that the wiring system that fits under the dashboard of a regular truck and which switches on all the necessary lights and buttons at the right moment is about three kilometres long and weighs approximately twenty kilograms? Yet on the production line it only takes a couple of seconds to fit this bundle of wires in place! It is highly likely that whichever commercial vehicle manufacturer you ask, this particular wiring system has arrived from either Haapsalu or Keila, the two small Estonian towns where the factories of the international corporation PKC Group have been in operation for years. In order to be more flexible in meeting the demands of the consolidating customer base and changes in consumer behaviour, PKC will concentrate its production in Keila by the end of this year. Registered on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, the headquarters of the PKC Group are also based in the Finnish capital. In addition to Estonia, factories are located in Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia, Germany, Brazil, China and Mexico, and engineering centres in the USA. The factories based in Estonia do not differ considerably from the other factories of the
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corporation and it is a goal of the PKC Group that all its factories work on the basis of the same standards.
High prize from Enterprise Estonia Generally speaking the activity of the PKC Group can be divided into two parts: manufacturing wiring systems and electronics. PKC Eesti falls in the first branch, producing wiring systems mostly for the automotive industry: for producers of heavy vehicles or consumer cars. The company has a staff of almost 1,000 in its Keila factory. According to Lauri Rohtoja, General Manager of the Estonian factories, lead bundles are linked to the nervous system of the car, which
helps to translate the signals initiated by the driver to the mechanisms and vice versa. â€œThe wiring systems must allow for the management of a specific activity in the vehicle, for example the wiring harnesses for the lights or engine,â€? says Rohtoja. The work of PKC Eesti, which demands accuracy and has increased Estonian exports, has been noticed and rewarded in Estonia. Last year PKC was nominated in the foreign investor category of the Enterprise Awards by Enterprise Estonia. In 2012 it took all the main awards at the same ceremony: PKC Eesti received the foreign investor award and was also named the best enterprise in Estonia. During the last two years the company has invested up to 2.1 million euros in its fixed tangible assets.
“I am certain that these awards have really influenced how our workers see their own work results and their attitude to the company more generally. I personally was very proud of our staff members and company when I heard the news. I also believe that this kind of positive attention has made the name of PKC Eesti better known as an employer in Estonia,” said Lauri Rohtoja. Rohtoja has been in a management position in the company for just a few months, as in April the former Chair of PKC Estonia, Ivo Volkov, was appointed the head of the firm’s Brazilian factories. In addition, the engineering centre of the Keila factory will assume responsibility for implementing all of the new Brazilian products in addition to its current responsibility for production in Europe. This demonstrates that this big corporation is very happy with the work results of its Estonian employees.
Parent company started in a small Finnish town The PKC Group expanded into Estonia in the early 2000s, when Haapsalu and Keila factories were bought from the company Harju Elekter. Before that, the companies collaborated with Harju Elekter in providing subcontracting services. PKC Eesti still doesn’t have its own customer base, as the leads are sold to customers who have ordered them from the sales department of the corporation. “The technology in use definitely plays an important role in optimising investments and the need for retraining which comes along with introducing new products,” explains Rohtoja. The company’s history dates back to 1969, when the Finnish company Pohjolan Kaapeli a wiring harness factory in Kempele - started operations. The acronym PKC includes the two former names of the company: Pohjolan Kaapeli and PK Cable. Since 2000, the company has been called the PKC Group.
Pärnu-based Company Produces Lighting Equipment for Luxury Vehicles When you sit behind the steering wheel of a BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar, it is highly likely that a small part of your car has been made in Estonia. Situated 130 kilometres from Tallinn, Pärnu has mostly been known as a summer resort, with a beautiful long sandy beach, a popular holiday destination even during the czarist Russian times. However, Pärnu is also home to a group of smart companies which, instead of subcontracting, focus on product development. One example of such a company is Oshino Electronics Estonia, or Oshino. The company, which started in modest conditions in a dormitory back in 1992 under the name Paitec Elektroonika, today produces and develops interior lighting modules for various globally famous car brands. Brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi, Porsche and Land Rover use glove box or door handle lighting, number plate lighting or side markers produced by Oshino. The company started its first automotive industry project in 2001. “It was complicated. But once you have one positive reference, it becomes easier,” recalls Ingvar Kuusk, CEO and one of the owners of the company. He explains that Oshino produces for a very narrow niche, which means that the customers have more specific requirements and wishes. “There are no grey areas. Quality, quality, security of provision and more security of provision,” he says about the demands of their clients.
Kuusk explains that there is tough competition in their field, especially when it comes to pricing. “For a while, Estonia’s advantage was in good infrastructure and low labour costs. Today we are no longer as competitive in terms of labour costs. In order to stay in business, we must guarantee flexibility and quality.” Oshino Electronics Estonia is largely based on German capital, and the mechanical components of the products are made in Germany, where the lighting simulation is also carried out. “In Estonia, we create the schematic solutions, and design the print plate and montage test packaging. Our services include product development, the contracting of plastic moulds, the development of the production and testing environment, and the procurement and production of components,” says Kuusk. In addition to the production of the electronics, software is also developed in Estonia today. “The products are becoming increasingly complex.” Today Oshino is firmly established in the automotive industry. “People continue to produce and buy cars. Besides luxury brands, we also have projects for middle-class consumer vehicles. This increases turnover but has a very low profit margin,” explains Kuusk. He adds that the company plans to continue its product development work, which means offering higher added value. For example, the company has been working for some time on lighting solutions for new car models, which will be seen on the streets by the end of next year.
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What can you do when you need to keep your IT companyâ€™s costs down in one of the most expensive countries in the world, Norway? Christian Testman, the energetic and tech savvy CEO of Ă…lesund-based ICD Industries decided that the answer lay in locating some of the operations overseas. The overseas location needed to share Nordic values and have a good IT infrastructure, yet lower salaries than Norway. After some research and consideration of a number of countries, Estonia became that location for ICD in 2012.
Estonia is a Good Place to Establish a Company
By Silver Tambur / www.estonianworld.com
We invest in Estonia because it is highly competitive, says Christian Testman, CEO of ICD Industries. 34
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ICD Industries is in the control software business, their control design platform software (CDP) providing frameworks for their clients to develop, test, simulate and operate advanced control applications: “control” being what happens between a switch on one end and a physical action on the other. ICD’s products make it possible to create software to guide dynamic positioning, an intermediary system between a satellite signal and the thrusters on seagoing vessels, which keep an offshore supply vessel in place in deep water. In addition, ICD’s motion-compensated products serve to align a heeling ship’s helipad with helicopter struts, permitting a safe landing in tossing seas. They also produce 3D real-time graphics, which allow a ship owner to experiment with crane placement with the ease of drag and drop technologies, before spending the hundreds of millions of euros necessary to build a ship. As Testman puts it, “We build software to help other companies build their software. We make the toolbox to build the control tool.” From the outset, being a Norwegian company, the ICD has been in an enviable position: the huge offshore oil and gas drilling industry, which needs ICD’s products, is on their doorstep. Norway is one of the richest countries on Earth. But it is also one of the most expensive ones, with some of the highest labour costs. “About three years ago, we had a greatly increased demand for our products, both project- and core software-related. But the labour availability and costs in Norway concerned us. So we took the decision to establish a subsidiary elsewhere,” Testman says. At the same time, Testman, an economist by profession, is a businessman who values the Nordic background, values and business culture. He used to work for Ericsson in Stockholm at the same time as Niklas Zennström, a Swede who later set up Skype with four Estonian programmers in Tallinn. Testman also collaborated with Nokia in Finland when Ericsson and Nokia made the WAP standard. “I considered a number of countries for our subsidiary, and quickly decided that China and India were out of the question because I wanted proximity and Nordic culture. After six months of evaluation, based on economic, cultural and academic values, we selected Estonia,” Testman explains. “I learned quickly that Estonia was a high-tech country and had an impressive IT infrastructure in place,” he adds.
Since setting up ICD here, Christian Testman has spent lots of time in Estonia and he is impressed with the e-state. “The ‘X-road’ structure is impressive. We have a similar system in Norway and it’s highly advanced, but the Estonian ‘X-road’ is in a class of its own,” he says. Testman concedes that, although Estonian e-services and IT-solutions are world-class, there’s still a lot of work to do in order to spread the word about them abroad. “In Norway, people still know Estonia mostly for its timber industry, not IT.” He has joined the Norwegian-Estonian Chamber of Commerce and is doing his part to implement Estonian IT solutions elsewhere, including in Norway. “Sales and commercialisation are not easy. Perhaps it is better for Estonia to cooperate with large partners with long experience in marketing, when it comes to exporting its digital solutions abroad. My dream would be to combine the Estonian ‘X-road’ with the Norwegian public database portal. This would be a killer app,” he says enthusiastically. He has also invested in number of Estonian tech startups and the incubator Startup Wiseguys. According to Testman, Estonia still has many advantages when it comes to competitiveness and shouldn’t try too hard to catch up to its Scandinavian neighbours. “The reason we invest here is because Estonia is different. I understand that you are trying to catch up with the Nordics, but we have huge disadvantages in terms of labour costs and service costs. We are not competitive enough any more. It is really important to have a competitive advantage. Don’t try too hard to be like us. Be different,” is Testman’s straightforward advice. Meanwhile ICD Industries is experiencing phenomenal growth and the Estonian subsidiary has played its part. “The joint venture has been very beneficial and has increased our revenues. The company as a whole has grown by a factor of 70 over two years,” Christian Testman says. It is also collaborating with the largest offshore shipbuilders of the world and has ambitious plans for the future. ICD Estonia is definitely a part of those plans.
Testman also praises the effective and speedy process once ICD decided to invest in Estonia. “Innovation Norway and Enterprise Estonia (EAS) made the process easy, providing the necessary contacts in government and local business for a smooth establishment of the Tallinn office. EAS introduced us to landlords and lawyers, and helped us address patent issues, IPR. Everything was simple and efficient, and thus in 2012 we established our new subsidiary in Tallinn, ICD Industries Estonia OÜ,” he says. Testman says that they spent some time forming their team in Estonia, because they were looking for the best. He also got a very good local headhunter and Tallinn University of Technology to help. “We were after people who could write beautiful code from scratch. We took our time, but we found them in Estonia,” Testman explains. Two and a half years later, ICD Industries Estonia operations employ 40 software engineers.
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LDI Targets the Water Protection Market, Worth Billions of Dollars By Toivo Tänavsuu
Laser Diagnostic Instruments (LDI), an Estonian R&D company with a long history, has developed the world’s most flexible and effective oil spill detection sensor. The whole world is a potential market. The LDI-produced Remote Optical Watcher (ROW) is an autonomous non-contact sensor that detects oil on water. According to the company, “highly accurate and easy to maintain, it finds oil spills early so you can respond before things get out of hand.” The sooner the spill is detected, the smaller the costs to the environment and operators alike. Easy to use, running autonomously and with very low maintenance, it is the simplest device the company has ever made. The ROW device is typically installed in facilities which are in close proximity to water where early detection is critical: in sewage plants treating waste water, on oil and gas infrastructures, ports, ship routes, pollution sensitive natural
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protection areas and so on. ROW uses oil’s natural fluorescence to detect anything from marine diesel to vegetable oil, and alerts operators immediately.
Company history LDI has been working on remote-sensing technologies since 1991. The company grew out of a special construction bureau based at the Estonian Academy of Sciences which, among other clients, used to service the Soviet war industry. The company holds nine core technology patents, and it has published approximately a hundred scientific papers, making it one of the most scientific companies in Estonia.
The company’s most sophisticated products historically have been aircraft and ship-mounted laser-based (LiDAR) systems that can detect spills even once oil has sunk beneath the surface. Custom-making each system proved to be unprofitable for LDI, especially with the high operational costs of the devices and the advent of easy access to lower cost satellite imagery. Yet, demand for simpler, more flexible devices that would still catch early surface spills in real time led LDI to develop ROW.
A new beginning Last year, David Clark, a young Cambridge-educated British industrial engineer, took over the management of the company. “Before we were trying to do everything; photonics has such a wide range of applications. So rather than choosing the specific focus, the previous team did everything they could. LDI has so much potential, but we haven’t been able to get that into the hands of people. My job now is to get our technology out to the real world for the benefit of society,” says Clark. Since Clark took over, the company has been re-branded, and the focus today is on international sales, and development of existing technology rather than pure research. Operationally, the company has also been reorganised to concentrate on its core competences. Instead of machining and soldering everything in house, LDI’s engineers design, test and assemble only the final product, with basic components produced in cooperation with Estonia’s growing manufacturing industry. The small Estonian company has put a lot of effort into building up its global distribution network, finding the right partners with experience, and establishing contacts with large petrochemical firms, port facilities, power infrastructure companies and others. This year the company aims to have units installed on each continent and is now making the first deliveries of its latest model, ROW Exd, which is explosion-proof for operating in harsh environments susceptible to explosions.
For universal benefit The first user of ROW was the Port of Riga in Latvia. Many appliances created by Estonian engineers were taken into use after the city government of Riga demanded continuous and thorough monitoring of the port area in order to detect any spills as early as possible. This is the ideal situation for the LDI product. For the port, the investment paid off quickly as they saved on the environmental fines they no longer had to pay.
a conservative and safety conscious industry is a tough challenge. But LDI is winning the trust of customers through its track record in technology and service offered to its customers. “Some buy from us because they believe that our product is superior, for others it is because they trust that if there are any problems that we will fix them quickly and not let customers down.” The oil spill detector of LDI is not a sensor designed to discover a British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Although such huge spills attract a lot of attention and coverage and may lead to the fall of large corporations, they only form a small part of all oil spills on waters every year. According to Clark, the majority of spills are from everyday operations and routine maintenance carried out without due care for the environment. “Maybe you are repairing a pipe or your lawnmower at home. Changing the oil and pouring it down the drain means the oil goes into the sea and pollutes the environment. For companies, oil leaks could be a sign of failing equipment which needs repair before an expensive replacement is required. For the environment, these small leaks add up, especially in environmentally sensitive areas, but for companies it is those that are being hit in their pockets due to loss of product, fines or downtime that are our target customers.” Endel Siff, Board Member and shareholder in LDI, believes that the oil spill detector ought to become compulsory, just like the smoke detector. “Legislation for this sort of device does not exist today as the technology did not exist when the last round of laws were drafted. Today we are working with the industry to have this included in the next directives being proposed.” Clark considers the potential market for ROW to be huge. “Water protection is already a multi-billion dollar market and growing,” he says. “We aim to capture a part of this, and today are already in discussions with the oil majors and projects on a nation-wide scale. “As an example, there are some 3,000 large to medium sized ports, 1,000 oil-based power plants, and more water treatment plants than both combined. All of them could use multiple devices to provide an early warning system for oil spills,” Clark adds.
Last year the Open Water Swim Championships were held in Barcelona, Spain. The oil spill sensor of LDI was fitted onto the boat which each morning monitored checkpoints before the races started. One morning a potentially dangerous spill was detected which could have damaged the swimmers’ health. Thanks to ROW, the spill was quickly cleaned up and the race took place without any disturbance. According to Clark, one of the biggest problems that the company faces is the lack of awareness among customers of this sort of technology. Many do not know that such devices exist, while others may have had poor experiences with other systems which have over promised and under delivered. For a small Estonian company to win trust globally in such
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Gooseneck Handling System for automatic, wirelessly controlled and easy transfer of kill & choke hoses between the rig and the Rises Telescopic Joint. Â
A Small Village Turned into a World Class Industrial Park By Toivo TĂ¤navsuu
Together is better than alone, an old saying goes. Bestra Engineering has proven that even in the most remote village it is possible to create an industrial park which produces complex appliances for very demanding customers, a place where a group of companies accomplish things together like a family.
The gantry crane is an effective solution for transportation of tubulars from the pipe-deck to a catwalk machine
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Why can you regularly come across interesting groups of foreigners—from Norwegians to South Koreans, clad in overalls bearing logos of wellknown international brands—in the tiny village of Päri near Viljandi in southern Estonia? The answer is Bestra Engineering, a company based in Päri which produces various details for oil platforms in the Arctic Sea, Asia and elsewhere. Contracted by Norwegian project management companies, Bestra Engineering produces unique metal constructions, machine-building details and mechanical assembly, which travel all over the world to oil and gas producers, mainly to drilling towers. Extremely strict quality requirements, akin to those found in the space industry, are met by such details. This is what makes Bestra’s work interesting, yet complex, involving a high degree of responsibility. Bestra’s clients include very large and well-known companies. In 2007, Hellar Mutle, Executive Director of Bestra Engineering, made a radical decision with his Norwegian partners: to concentrate on the highest value-adding jobs in the long production and supply chain of the metal industry. This means that the components previously produced at the Bestra factory are today bought from local partners. The focus has shifted to project management and assembly. Many steps have been taken in technological design. The company has taken a great leap in development when it comes to drilling equipment: just five years ago it was mainly producing details for machinery, but now there is the know-how to assemble the equipment. The company is also discovering the “underwater world”. In collaboration with an Estonian design bureau, Bestra has completed a series of robotically managed underwater manipulator tools, which drill holes into steel plates underwater. One of those inventions is in operation 80 metres below sea level in the Arctic Sea. All of this has confirmed Mutle’s vision that with the right will-power it is indeed possible to create expensive and complex machinery in Estonia, if
local companies put their resources together and act in collaboration. Once somebody explained machine-building in this way: you put a Singer sewing machine on the table and ask for a copy of it to be made. According to Mutle, most Estonian machinists will not be able to pull this off, but if one specialised in building one detail and another in a second detail, we could indeed build a Singer or any other complex product.
Fully automated and compact roughneck’s JIM-10 maximizes the efficiency of pipe handling operations by providing integrated spinning and torquemaking capabilities in a single machine.
New projects under way
Nils Vidar Stray CEO at Bestra AS (Norway)
Päri Bestra is becoming a competence centre, similar to the Volvo factory in Sweden, which pulls the entire branch of industry along with it. The collaboration between companies is set to grow. In August, Bestra led the process of founding a cluster of offshore equipment producers, called DEFO, which in addition to Bestra includes E-Profiil, Marketex Offshore Constructions, and Contractor and Deck Engineering. Mutle hopes that the cluster will attract new members from producers, research institutions, vocational schools and companies providing support services in this sector. Another initiative is the joint industrial area development project involving the county and the city of Viljandi: this will create the necessary conditions at existing industrial areas for the development of a new and innovative industrial space. Mutle claims this will be innovative in many ways. For example, students of vocational education institutions will be incorporated into the production process from the start in order to provide practical work experience. As resources are limited, companies will share know-how (including employees). Optimised support services will be developed for all companies. It would not be effective for each company to own a separate compressor, loading equipment or different machinery. The companies will also have the opportunity to use rental spaces (production areas, storage spaces, logistical loading areas, etc.) exactly when these are needed to fulfil their contracts. This is how Smart Industry is created in a tiny Estonian village, which has customers all over the world.
Bestra AS is a supplier in the global market and we have to be globally competitive. Instead of being competitors, we have to combine our resources in the relatively small country of Estonia. Our strategy has been to build up an efficient supply chain, where everyone involved has special competence and there is high utilisation of resources. Our vision is to build up a strong industrial park. In Viljandi, Bestra has invested in building up competence at both the internal and supplier levels, based on the fact that we believe in long term cooperation. To make an investment, you need to know that there is a predictable utilisation of your resources, and with true cooperation you have a chance to get better and more predictable utilisation. We can easily share “best practice”, which is an efficient way to increase the level of competence.
I LIFE IN ESTONIA
I ECONOMY AND BUSINESS Kaarel Lehtsalu Board Member, Development Centre of Viljandi County Bestra is an interesting phenomenon. I have been able to observe its activities from near and far since 2010. Firstly, Bestra has been able to develop a well-functioning production system in a global distribution of labour and in a very competitive field of machine building, where the main focus is on ready-to-bedelivered produced and tested equipment. Secondly, Bestra has created a collaboration network of other metal-work companies in the county and elsewhere which guarantees the production and timely supply of necessary details and components. Today we have the potential and will to use existing knowhow and bring in new investors to create new production companies around Viljandi and throughout southern Estonia.
Other similar cases in Estonia: The best example from Võru County is Estelaxe, a company which won the Company of the Year award in Võru County in 2012. Estelaxe, founded in 2008 and based on Estonian capital, is a producer of polyurethane products. The company employs 38 people and it produces seats for global vehicle producers, e.g. snowmobile, train and motorboat seats, as well as snow plough blades, blocks and other plastic products. www.estelaxe.ee
Thirdly, Bestra is a great example of how smart jobs are created and the number of employers has multiplied within the last five years. Universities and vocational schools have been brought into the process.
METEC EU EuroBar, certified pushbar
In Tartu County there is Metec, a quickly developing company that exports nearly 90% of its products (mainly to Germany and Sweden) and which fits neatly into the southern Estonian key industrial areas of metal work and machine building. Metec also uses subcontracting to meet certain requirements in the production chain and uses several companies in southern Estonia to this end. It is definitely one of the most outstanding metal sector employers in the area. This autumn, Metec accessories will be presented in the 65th IAA Commercial Vehicles International Motor Show in Hannover, Germany. www.metec.ee
METEC accessories for Mercedes V-Klass – Van Tour sideboard step, pushbar-citybar and roof rails
LIFE IN ESTONIA I 2014-2015 FALL/WINTER
By Arja Korhonen Photos by Gert Kelu, Raigo Pajula and Ensto
CREATIVITY AND TRUST ARE A FAMILY FIRM’S CAPITAL Ensto, a cleantech company in the electrical sector that has gone international in small steps, is one of the best-known family firms in Finland. Marjo Miettinen belongs to the second generation of the company’s owning family. Arriving straight from a reception with Estonia’s president, a good-humoured Marjo Miettinen cuts through Kadriorg Park and enters the café of the Estonian Art Museum Kumu. The summer weather is warm at last and the relaxed, informal nature of the meeting has been refreshing. As Marjo admires the whirled milk froth in her cappuccino, on the other side of Tallinn tens of thousands of Estonians are preparing for their famous Song Festival procession. She plans to go and watch it as soon as the interview is over.
“The Song Festival is important because it represents fundamental traditional and cultural values and is also one reason why young Estonians are returning home from abroad,” Marjo says. Marjo pops over to Estonia a couple of times a year on business and at the same time drinks in the culture. This time she came to Tallinn to attend the international business seminar organised by Enterprise Estonia in connection with the Estonia’s Friends International Meeting. After Estonia regained independence, Ensto was one of the first Finnish companies to set up here, in 1993. Now Ensto has three production plants in the country: in Keila, Tallinn
and Paide. The company adopted the same strategy in expanding into Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland: find the right person on the ground willing to commit to the company. Operating locally is so important to Ensto that it is written into the company’s strategy. Ensto has not taken the route of sending managers from Finland to run its plants. Marjo has nothing but praise for Ilmar Rang and Üllas Täht, who got the company established in its early years in Estonia. “The Estonians have earned our confidence. It is wonderful how the Estonians are interested in everything new and are not afraid of change. For example, our plants’ LEAN concept has been adopted here more rapidly than anywhere else.”
I LIFE IN ESTONIA
I ECONOMY AND BUSINESS Ensto
Creativity is vital
founded in 1958 by Ensio Miettinen (1929-2010)
Ensto has worked its way from a one-man firm into a company with subsidiaries in 20 countries, production in seven and a total of almost 1,700 employees.
cleantech company specialising in developing, producing and marketing electrical systems and equipment three business units: • Ensto Utility Networks • Ensto Industrial Solutions • Ensto Building Technology • turnover: 280 MEUR • 1,670 employees • subsidiaries in 20 countries • production in seven countries parent company: EM Group owned by the Miettinen family
21 Years in Estonia • Established in 1993 • Turnover 70 MEUR in 2013 • 500 employees
Ensto was founded in 1958 by Marjo’s father Ensio Miettinen, who was a leading figure in Finnish society: he has a road named after him in Porvoo, for example. That, of course, is where the company’s head office is located. Marjo Miettinen talks at length and with sincerity about trust and innovation. Both have been part of the company’s value base from the very start. “My father was truly fearless, he was incredibly creative in product development. He gave Ensto its innovative culture, and holding on to that is vital for the company.” One example of Ensio’s open-mindedness was when he invited the celebrity philosopher Esa Saarinen to give a presentation to Ensto’s management team. Saarinen had just published his book Erektio Albertinkadulla (“Erection in Albert Street”), and Ensio was inspired by the ideas in the book. In 1990 the two jointly wrote the successful book Muutostekijä (“The Change Factor”), and Saarinen subsequently joined Ensto’s board of directors. Ensio Miettinen, who died in 2010, was in many ways ahead of his time. He filed over 100 patents. He wrote several books on business administration and society, and introduced Finland to the concept of trust as capital. In 1995 this was still so unusual that the title of the book was registered. “In principle we could levy copyright infringement charges against anybody who used the phrase”, Marjo says with a laugh. Ensio Miettinen’s last product development project was electric vehicle charging poles. “My father was 78 when he said that electric cars wouldn’t make a breakthrough unless there was infrastructure behind them”, says Marjo, who is rather disappointed that Ensto lost the tender for vehicle charging stations in Estonia. “Even though Ensto’s pole would have looked better.” Indeed Ensto has prioritised design in its product development from the very start. According to Marjo, one of Ensto’s strengths is that the company is involved in a number of areas. Therefore they don’t face exactly the same competitor anywhere.
This has also helped them to survive downturns and has been an endless source of creativity. “The best ideas often come at the intersection of different areas, and that’s where we score.”
Branding Marjo has devoted a lot of thought to branding, which she was responsible for when working in Ensto. Marjo considers branding all the more important as the world becomes more digitised. “Of course during his lifetime Ensio’s personality meant that he was a walking advertisement for us. We have tried to clarify our brand and we have devoted a lot of effort to that.” For Marjo, branding doesn’t mean a colourful logo; it’s the whole way the company operates. First of all this has to be sold to the people within the company, who then continue the sales work in their own areas. “The brand extends to trust, customer service, product development, every single element.” For that reason, outsourcing operations can have unforeseen consequences, because everything has a bearing on the company’s image, starting with the way the switchboard operator answers the phone and whether the person knows anything about the company. The brand and the company spirit help to set a company apart from its competitors. As Marjo sees it, this gives the company the necessary attitude to go out and conquer the world. When Ensto added the slogan Saves Your Energy to its logo a few years ago, the idea spread like wildfire and became embedded in everybody’s mindset at Ensto. In the offices, two waste paper baskets became the norm, in product development every new model was always more energy-efficient than its predecessor and the sales force got a great new sales pitch. “They were incredibly motivated. It was wonderful to see and experience.” Marjo relates how Ensto’s people in India used a corrosion test to illustrate the difference between their product and a cheap imitation. Within three days, the copy had become unusable. “Being green is no longer a competitive advantage by itself. You need products that genuinely last and save energy. It used to be said that you have to be good, but being good is no longer enough. You have to be excellent.”
The Ensto eFill electric car charging station is also suitable for domestic use.
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Three plants: • Ensto Keila Plant Assembling and metal plant. The Keila plant produces network construction equipment (and overhead line and underground cable solutions) and luminaires. • Ensto Tallinn Plant Injection moulding and thermoplastic enclosures. The Tallinn plant mainly produces plastic enclosures typically used in demanding applications, such as wind turbines and solar power generators. Ensto Cubo enclosures are approved for use in applications where safety, including protecting human life, is paramount. • Alppilux Paide Plant Assembling, metal handling and surface treatment.
Big Little Brother The previous day, Marjo had visited the business seminar hosted by Enterprise Estonia, focusing on the initiatives and ideas of Estonian entrepreneurs worldwide who contribute to a world without borders. She was truly impressed by the success stories of young Estonians. “President Ilves mentioned Finland in his speech countless times. We have so many joint projects on at the moment.” Joint projects in IT are opportunities for Finland and Estonia, for example in healthcare. “If we work together successfully in this area, it will be easier for us to get other interested Nordic countries on board.” Marjo believes Finns shouldn’t adopt a bigbrother attitude, because within a couple of decades Estonia has almost overtaken Finland, and is at least a very big little brother. Because of its small size, Estonia has also been able to make more nimble moves.
Marjo is afraid that Finland’s mental space is too restricted. In her view, it’s time to stop talking about cheap alcohol, for example, and realise how little national boundaries mean nowadays. In a sense, Talsinki, the united cities of Tallinn and Helsinki, is already a reality. “If you draw a circle of 100 kilometres in radius round Helsinki, it includes Tallinn in Estonia, but not Tampere or Turku in Finland.” Estonia is not entirely perfect, and as a former teacher Marjo sees room for improvement. Marjo is worried that Estonia is putting far too much emphasis on university education. “We ran into the same problem in Finland some years ago. Fortunately we now have a better balance. This is something that is being talked about too little in Estonia.”
Preparing the third generation Succession processes are often decisive for family firms. International studies indicate that hand-overs work in only 30 per cent of cases.
The plants also have modern logistics centres and assembly and sales offices. All in all, Ensto’s plants in Estonia make approximately 6,000 different Ensto products.
Ensio Miettinen originally founded his own company after falling out with his father. At Ensto the hand-over was successful: Ensio’s four children took over the running of the company in 2001. Marjo Miettinen says handovers don’t work unless the new generation is truly fired up about the business. She herself was originally a school teacher before being swept up by the business in 1989. She was in charge of Ensto’s PR at that time and until the spring of this year she was the CEO of the holding company, EM Group. Now the third generation is being primed to take the baton. ”The four of us have nine children in total, and eight of them are between 21 and 33. They have their own family council, which meets twice a year to discuss company matters. They visit the plants and pour over the profit and loss accounts and equipment designs.”
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“These are interesting times: many people are trying to come up with alternatives to e-mail,” Ruukel explains at his Fleep office in Tallinn, at the start-up incubator of the Tehnopol Science Park. “I will consider my job done when people no longer need Outlook.” Ruukel mentions the most famous services to date which have challenged e-mail - Mailbox and Sparrow - although both of them have taken existing technology and created new user interfaces. Moreover, one was sold to Dropbox and the other to Google and, fundamentally, nothing changed.
Skype Founders in the Process of “Replacing” e-Mail By Toivo Tänavsuu
The cream of the crop of former Skype employers are in the process of developing Fleep, a brand new messaging system. Their aim? To make traditional e-mail a thing of the past. Before 2003, when Estonian developers gave the world Skype, not many people had considered the possibility of making phone calls via the computer. But there it was - a cost-free Internet phone - and the old, expensive longdistance phone lines were soon forgotten. Nobody these days is willing to pay for a phone call to the other side of the world, even if it is a video call. The group of people who participated in the creation of Skype are back at it, trying to shake up the world once more. A new messaging
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system called Fleep was brought onto the market in 2013, and its aim is quite ambitious: Fleep aims to dethrone traditional e-mail. Henn Ruukel, the founder of Fleep, admits that the messaging services market is jampacked: WhatsApp, Kik, Piip, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and even Skype. But those, he says, are quick messaging tools which often have entertainment value and “no historic significance”. E-mail is different, as it is used to reach agreements, take decisions, transfer documents and so on.
A similar approach to that of Fleep in developing messaging has been taken by Hipchat, Campfire and Slack, which are also trying to focus on communication within teams. Fleep also concentrates on a messaging service to teams but, unlike its competitors, Fleep has or will have several advantages. First and foremost, Fleep is totally open to communication with others outside the team or “house” (everyone with e-mail addresses can be brought into the communication even if they do not have the Fleep app). Secondly, the “Seen By Indicator” of Fleep shows who is actively participating in the conversation in real-time and who has seen the message (the latter is also possible with Facebook Messenger). Thirdly, each conversation has its own notice board, where one can write important points from the conversation, create tasks and edit them. Files (attachments) move like clockwork via Fleep messages. Ruukel says that, besides building great environments for conversations, the natural next step is to integrate tasks and calendars into the Fleep experience. The service is free but with this option users can only access the history of the conversation for 30 days. There will be no commercials to annoy users. The newest product is the new Premium subscription, which for just three euros a month will provide users with the entire conversation history.
In its first year of existence, 15,000 beta users all over the world used Fleep and, in addition to technology blogs, The Guardian has written about the company. Fleep is usable via a web browser and also via iOS and Android. Yet doesn’t “replace e-mail” sound a bit too ambitious? What is the key to success? The answer may lie in Fleep’s team. Before founding Fleep, Ruukel worked with servers at Skype. During his time at Skype, he learned that exchanging messages really speeds up work in comparison to traditional exchanges of e-mails. Yet for Skype, messaging services are not a priority. Non-Skype users could not be brought into the Skype message exchange, the messages were not synchronised between different communication tools, the mobile application used up the phone battery, and there was no offline regime.
Comments Jaan Tallinn Skype co-founder: “Fleep has many competitors. Already former Skype employers have created four or five Instant Messaging products. One of the advantages of Fleep is the experience former Skype workers have in building communication tools. Fleep employs the cream of the crop of former Skype engineers. The third
thing which attracts me is Fleep’s vision: to build an Instant Messaging product which will enable users to comfortably send and receive e-mail. Let’s hope Fleep will reap benefits from the same trend which made Gmail popular: e-mail conversations are becoming more similar to Instant Messaging conversations, which means that Instant Messaging tools are better equipped to manage those conversations than classic e-mail is.”
“Then I had the idea of leaving Skype and creating a better service,” says Ruukel. Among Fleep’s current investors are the original developers of Skype: Jaan Tallinn, Ahti Heinla and Priit Kasesalu, and the long-term manager of the Estonian Skype office Sten Tamkivi, who today works for Andreessen Horowitz. Ruukel believes that many current trends work in the favour of Fleep, for example the widespread use of cloud services and the preference for private messaging services, such as Facebook Message, Viber and WhatsApp, over e-mail. The market for messaging services is huge and scattered, without a single big service provider. There are of course many serious challenges. Unlike Skype, where the real value of the service was immediately visible through free phone-calls, the usefulness of Fleep is only noticeable over time. “If we compare ourselves to gardening services, we can produce a great rake or a great spade. Our biggest risk is that we will build a mediocre rake-spade which will not sell because people will not understand what it is and how to use it,” says Ruukel.
Sten Tamkivi EIR at Andreessen Horowitz, and Co-Founder of Teleport: “As is common with start-ups, the main foundation for belief in the company is its team: Fleep employers have already been in high-responsibility roles and have created software which has hundreds of millions of
users. They are trying it again on the basis of their unique experience, which many 20-year-old teams lack. The entire team communication at Teleport is based on Fleep, and I use the product daily to get much of my business done. The biggest advantage of Fleep may be its openness: you can communicate with other Fleep users and with anyone who has an e-mail address.”
I LIFE IN ESTONIA
I ECONOMY AND BUSINESS This jacket became a running and cross-country skiing best-seller.
Considerable growth From 2011 to 2013, the company doubled its turnover. What started as a supplier of workout clothes for the orienteering field in 1976 has become a corporation supplying cross-country skiers, runners, orienteerers, athletes, bikers and triathletes with sportswear. We count several major clubs and companies among our clients. For instance, Trimtex supplies the Norwegian and Swedish armed forces with large amounts of exercise clothes. When the Trimtex Baltic factory opened in 2008, there were four employees. Today, there are more than 80 employees, and the company’s growth shows no signs of stopping. “Over the last few years, we have increased the number of employees at our production unit in Estonia considerably, and it seems that this growth is set to continue. We anticipate a need for designers, technicians and warehouse workers,” says Tor Eivind Augland.
From paper to garment
• 20 national teams exercise and compete in Trimtex’s orienteering sportswear. • On average, the factory processes 400 orders a week. • The factory delivers 8,000 products a week. • In 2013, the brand Trimtex had a turnover of 13,000,000 euros.
Plenty of Blank Canvas
The designs our Estonia-based designers develop are converted into sizes ranging from children’s sizes to 6XL. Large plotters reproduce the design onto paper before yards and yards of white fabric is imprinted with the club or company logo. It’s a tedious, painstaking process. Huge amounts of fabric are passed from the hands of the printers to the seamers and seamstresses. Sewing a cap takes three minutes. A technical orienteering shirt takes approximately four times as long to sew. The more details, the more time consuming a garment is.
Brand and quality Our technology experts in Pärnu are constantly working not only on finding the best materials for improving the already impressive quality of their products, but also on finding Trimtex’s next best-seller. A single garment can consist of up to 20 different textiles, assembled so as to fit the human anatomy perfectly. In order to strengthen the Trimtex brand, it’s key to have our sportswear seen on high-profile athletes. “For us, it’s key that these athletes give us their feedback on our products. After all, they are the ones who know where the shoe pinches,” Augland says.
Every year, 300,000 square metres of white fabric are given new life at Trimtex Baltic’s production facilities in Estonia. Behind the factory doors, high-tech production of customdesigned sportswear for companies and sports clubs around the world takes place. The Norwegian brand Trimtex was established in 1976. The main offices are in Lillesand, Norway, but the company currently has sales offices throughout the Nordic countries. At first, the sportswear was made in Norway, but in 1997 the company owners decided to move production to Estonia. ”It became too costly to keep production and seaming in Norway. We set up Trimtex Baltic six years ago, and today we make nearly all our clients’ sportswear here,” says Tor Eivind Augland, Managing Director of Trimtex. 46
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Trimtex remains one of the world’s major suppliers of orienteering clothes.
Two Years of Positive Experiences of Lappset’s Investment in Estonia The Lappset Group is known for its high quality playground and outdoor sports equipment. With headquarters in Finnish Lapland, on the Arctic Circle, and operations in seven different European countries and a distribution network extending to 50 countries worldwide, Lappset is one of the leading companies in its field. Lappset opened its first factory in Tallinn two years ago. Lappset Estonia OÜ manufactures metal components for wooden playground equipment, as well as metal products for play and outdoor sports. “Our investment in this new production plant has strengthened our competitiveness and expanded our operations internationally. Apart from our own product range, we also sell production capacity to other customers and have drawn more customers to this sector. We have learnt a lot, and our experiences in Estonia have been positive during the first two years. We thank all staff, suppliers and stakeholders, and look forward to many more years of cooperation,” says Reine Karlsson, Director of the Supply Chain at Lappset Group. “We now sell more products made of steel, and there is potential for growth. Therefore, Lappset Estonia has increased the number of employees and will need more skilled professionals in the future.” www.lappset.com
Parkour is a fast growing form of sports amongst young people. Lappset Estonia manufactures parkour equipment and metal components, as well as selling production capacity for steel subcontracting.
Samelin Marks Comfort and Quality The best-known products are work and safety footwear, military footwear, trekking boots and casual footwear for children, ladies and men. Samelin supplies army boots for the Estonian and Norwegian army and police. The company’s success is based on high quality, functionality and comfort: in the footwear only natural leather, breathing lining materials and high quality soles are used. The products are made for the medium foot width, and guarantee good wear in various climate conditions. Samelin is a gold member of the SATRA Technology Centre, the Estonian Defence Industry Association and the International Chamber of Commerce. Samelin has ISO 9001:2008 Certification, is certified by Bureau Veritas and has AQAP 2110:2009 Certification. www.samelin.ee
SAMELIN Ltd. located in Tartu, the second biggest city in Estonia, is based solely on Estonian capital and has 70 years of experience in footwear production. The company, which employs 180 people, produces 25,000 pairs of footwear per month. All models are developed by a highly educated technical team.
I ECONOMY AND BUSINESS
Success is not a Coincidence AS Fors MW was founded in 1992 in Estonia. The group produces, markets and sells, through dealers, the market-leading brands BIGAB hook lift systems, FARMA lumber trailers and NIAB tractor processors. All of the brands are in leading positions in the world market. Fors MW is one of Estonia’s oldest companies. The company is run by an international management team. Today, Fors MW is a booming company with hundreds of employees, efficient and quality-based production and daughter companies in both Sweden and China. Most of the production and all of the assembly are handled at the production facility in Estonia. The Fors MW factory is specially designed for serial production in short series. The production facilities cover 40 000 m2, of which 17 000 m2 are roofed over. Every year Fors MW manufactures thousands of machines in their Estonia-based factory, which makes it northern Europe’s largest production facility in its field. Visit the homepage at www.forsmw.com Follow Fors MW’s journey on the blog www.forsmw.blogspot.com
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Lade Develops the World’s First Smart Life Jacket
By Ivar Soopan
In cooperation with the ELIKO Technology Development Centre and Tallinn University of Technology, Lade—a company based in Haapsalu—is developing a new-generation smart life jacket, which is usable in extreme, including very cold, conditions and provides information about the health status of its user. According to the partners, the goal of the project is to develop a product which can be used in cold seas with minimum risks. The life jacket will be suitable for adventure voyages and extreme sports events, but also for high-risk jobs, such as on oil platforms in the North Sea and in work related to the economic usage of the Arctic Ocean. The smart life jacket will use communication to provide information on the current health condition of its user, explained Professor Mart Min, who heads the group of researchers working on the project at the Tallinn University of Technology.
The project will take several years and will cost millions
In the first phase of development, which will take five months, an investigative study and first testing of the technology is planned. The entire project is estimated to run for two to three years. In the next phases, the development team will become international. According to Gerhard Eberle, Manager of Lade from Germany, up to one million euros will be invested in the project during the next three years. Eberle claims that the product will indeed be a smart life jacket. One of its components - liquid gas - is already used in all life jackets produced in the world, but this gas freezes at very low temperatures. Lade is in the process of creating a gas mixture which will solve this problem. The ELIKO Technology Development Centre has worked on development projects in the electronics and signalling industries since 2004, and the centre has displayed competence in measuring human physiological parameters.
According to Indrek Ruiso, Head of ELIKO, they are always on the lookout for clients such as Lade: companies that are ambitious and forward-looking, and that have strong export potential. “What appeals most to us about Lade is the fact that they are involved in clear and successful production of safety equipment and they are a market leader in Europe in their field,” explained Ruiso. Ruiso explains that it is also important to promote cooperation between regional production companies and research and development institutions in Estonia, which will provide the foundation for the growth of higher addedvalue products in Estonia. Professor Min explained that the development team will bring together the best experts from Estonia in the fields of electronics, information technology, energetics and physiology. “Such collaboration is very important for Estonian scientists and engineers, because it makes it possible to unite fundamental and applied research with engineering work in ways that will benefit the Estonian and European economies,” he said. “In the field of product development, we are competitive globally,” he added. Professor Min said that there are plans to use bioelectrical impedance solutions meant to assess health conditions. These solutions have been patented by ELIKO and the Tallinn University of Technology in Europe and the USA, and have been used in heart stimulators in the USA; now they will adapt them for use in Lade life jackets.
Lade growing fast
Led by Gerhard Eberle, Lade is a valued producer of Marinepool rescue equipment in Europe. The products of Marinepool have won several competitions, and the company´s life jackets are considered to be among the best in the world. The company is based in Haapsalu but there is also a factory in Kärdla, on the island of Hiiumaa. ”I like the good modern infrastructure and relatively low prices in Haapsalu,” explained Eberle. ”I have found the workers here to be motivated and responsible. The flexible labour market enables us to implement rapid changes if necessary. I live in a great environment with fast access to the rest of the world, and Eastern Europe, with all its advantages, is right here within easy reach,” he added. www.lade.ee
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Although the Meiren VTSP-series was designed for tractors, it can also be used on trucks.
The World’s Most Innovative Snow Ploughs are Made in Estonia Tallinn Airport keeps its runways free from snow with Meiren ploughs
In 2003 an engineering company was established by two students of mechanical engineering at the Tallinn University of Technology - Raoul Renser and Jaan Meikup - whose last names combined created the company’s name MeiRen. Although the initial idea was to offer engineering design services, there was a twist in fate and soon the first snow ploughs were being designed. Today Meiren claims to be one of the world’s most innovative snowplough manufacturers and has a lot to back that up. Meiren produces professional snow clearing equipment for different weather and snow conditions. Snow ploughs meant for use on inner city streets, walkways and parking lots are narrower, usually 2.4-4.0 meters wide, and have approx. 90° blade angle and a spring mechanism that helps avoid obstacles on the road. Motor and highway snow ploughs are up to 4.6m wide and have an aggressive blade angle which lifts the snow up, creates snow rolling and throws it far away from the road. As the angle is more aggressive than on competitive products, the truck’s fuel consumption is lower. Trucks that keep highways and motorways free from snow are often also equipped with side ploughs which provide up to eight meters of ploughing width. Tallinn Airport keeps its runways free from snow using Meiren airport snow ploughs that are nine meters wide. In February 2013 Meiren Snow introduced its next generation MSPN-04 series snowploughs, which are equipped with double-shifting parallelograms (lifting frames), which gives the driver an additional option for manoeuvring with the snowplough as, in addition to the traditional lifting and turning of the plough, the MSPN can also be moved sideways. The capability of sideways shift enhances usability and economic benefits: the driver has more control over the machine, which is very handy on roundabouts or for cleaning bus stops on motorways. When the MSPN front plough is combined with a Meiren KS-series side plough, there is an additional 0.5m ploughing width compared to traditional ploughs. This provides the economical opportunity of using wider snowploughs on narrower roads.
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The second innovative feature of the MSPN-04 is the blade holder, made from a special mixture of polyurethane that acts as a self-repelling spring system. When the plough encounters an immovable object (e.g. a rock, a drain hole, bridge elements etc.) the blade holder moves backward, allowing the blade to run over the object and return to the original position after the object is avoided. The elastic polyurethane blade holder also follows the road surface better than conventional snow ploughs, and that provides a cleaner result, allowing for lower levels of salt and de-icing consumption. This is the best economical and environmental aspect of the solution. Since the blade is not in direct contact with the mould board, the noise level of the MSPN-04 snow plough is lower. The MSPN-04 snow plough has earned Meiren several awards at trade fairs and competitions. In early 2013 Meiren received an award for innovation at the Östersund, Sweden trade fair. A few months later Meiren was awarded a Silver Medal for innovation, being the only snow plough manufacturer nominated. In the winter of 2013 Meiren received a Tallinn City entrepreneurship award for sustainability and ecological development, as the snow plough allows for more efficient ploughing and lower de-icing material usage. www.meirensnow.com
Meiren’s award-winning MSPN-04 series snowplough for highways, packed with innovative features.
78 x 49 I
oil on canvas, mixed media, 2000
Girl with a Hat I
245 x 245 I
oil pastel on paper, mixed media, 2010
Beauty and the Snowman I
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oil pastel on paper, mixed media, 2005
Portrait of a Young Woman III
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Oil on canvas, mixed media, 2010
Portrait of a Young Woman I I
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Oil on canvas, mixed media, 2008/2009
Totally Allegorical Floral Still Life I
250 x 250 I
oil pastel on paper, mixed media, 2014
Flower Painting with Flying Cherries I
150 x 150 I
oil on canvas, 2014
120 x 53
oil on canvas, mixed media, 2011
Inside and Outside the Frame By Anneliis Aunapuu
I meet Laurentsius (born in 1969 as Lauri Sillak) in Haapsalu, where he is in the process of hanging up the works of his upcoming exhibition. Together we take a look at how his wildly different works share areas of influence in the gallery rooms: large canvases, smaller pictures squeezed into fancy frames, and tiny creations on bricks. It all leaves a diverse and multi-layered impression, somewhat familiar and somewhat alien, different cultural layers on top of each other, a refined style of painting and a sense of everyday, seemingly arbitrary, rudeness. The beautiful is linked with the ugly, the classical with the weird: always just enough to leave viewers with a strangely dense experience. Questions arise.
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Final Snack, Laurentsius Remix (Laurits & Mäeots Remastered)
The Catholic sound of your artists name is linkable to the decorative dramatic character of your work. Does the spirit of St Lawrence sometimes interrupt you when youre painting? How did you come up with this name? In the early 1990s, I created art in tandem with my course mate Toomas Tõnissoo. We made paintings that were very large for that time, mostly on kraft paper or used wallpaper: a cheap and effective surface material. Our work process was relatively fast and spontaneous. Due to the lack of space in the school workshops, we used to work at night. We tried out various different styles, materials and collage. At exhibitions, these absurd works had an unusually aggressive effect, dominating the space. As authors, Lauri Sillak and Toomas Tõnissoo just felt too long and clumsy. Hence the tandem became known as Tommi & Laurentsius. In about a year this period was over, but a lot of the work I do still goes back to the time of Tommi & Laurentsius. I also kept the name Laurentsius because it was already something of a trademark. But it is only my name which connects me to St Lawrence.
In any case, a certain odour of morbidity floats around among your works at the exhibition. All this reminds the viewer of flamboyantly decorated coffins and tombs, and then find a humorous detail at the edge of the frame which makes them smile. You probably don’t intend to be deadly serious. I try to create my works like one cooks an oriental soup: a wide selection of different (often contradictory) flavours, with balance being important. Certainly there is a portion of morbidity in my works and also a bit
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250 x 510
digital print, mixed media, 2005
of humour, but I think that the general impression is more neutral. Art is a serious thing, but not deadly serious.
As your works are all very different, I would like to ask what the essential element in them is for you. What do they speak of? I think that it is probably not the most important thing what my paintings speak of, and sometimes that is totally irrelevant. Good art should speak to the subconscious. In the works, you can find some exciting constructions, shapes, connections and hints. The textures, shines, unexpected colour solutions, uses of material and composition tricks should all attract attention. It is the combination of all of these components: everything serves the function of offering something special to the viewer, to enable the viewer to sense something divine and unearthly in the art. And it is very difficult to achieve this in art, much more so than in music or film. But this is the goal I am working towards and I hope that someone will receive a total catharsis from my work one day (if it hasn’t happened already). That may be the secret goal of every artist.
Frames, which normally just surround a piece of art, are a significant part of many of your works. Their flamboyant and over-the-top character, bordering on kitsch, is very different to everything else in the art scene. It has always seemed logical to me that an artist’s work should stand out from others. Many people do not consider individuality important in art. But in that sense I am an individualist.
Do you make the frames yourself? I create the design of the frames and I assemble them myself. To assemble one composite frame I have used three to eight types of ready frames, adding hundreds of smaller decorative elements, for example plastic Christmas angels. The colour black unites this Babel into an entity and balances the overly sweet taste of kitsch.
You have said that the frame is even more important than the little classically painted picture inside it, and that is indeed how it looks. In my art, I like to break up the things we are used to: in the series â€œB.F.R.â€œ (Black Frame Roses), a huge frame dominates a tiny painting, which seems like a metaphor for something. The painting is the same; only the frames vary. At the same time, this seems to emphasise loneliness: the painted roses in the midst of it all are somewhat lonely. At the last exhibition, I added a dead fly between the painting and the glass: again a metaphor.
Some of your paintings are almost steam-punk. You have buried some classically painted motifs in a metal surface. Shards from the world of machines, ambassadors from a locksmiths treasure trove, from simple fixing details to butterfly screws, have accumulated to admire the skilfully painted little miracle. Offering contradictions again? The idea of using metal elements in paintings came from old Russian icons, where the background surrounding the Saviour was covered in sheet metal. The warm surface of the painting and cold metal are ideally suited to each other. I added other metal objects to the metal sheet. The works recall the instrument cases of musicians or Rimowa cases; someone even said that they are like the doors to the morgue drawers familiar from crime shows.
Mapplethorpeâ€™s Calla Lily I 60 x 60
oil on canvas, 2005
The format of your works - just like your painting style - changes all the time. On the large canvases, the entire background behind the larger-than-life portrait of the protagonist is covered in robust hints of the urban everyday and technological world. It seems you enjoy different ways of expressing yourself? Large portraits - I have been really inspired by some faces on big advertising billboards - the quality of the photos, their attention to nuance and detail, the effective lighting solution on charismatic faces which seem to be slightly doped. A pretty female face on a canvas of wallpaper: that is the height of sickly sweet! With expressively painted additional details, the industrial form, graffiti and other ugly things, I create balance in paintings: that is the most exciting, creative and time-consuming part of the work process.
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City romance has pushed its way into your works through hints at graffiti. A part of the exhibition is the brick series, where works have been painted on red bricks found in dilapidated buildings. By carrying the paintings, they connect information from several eras. The gallery space of one exhibition demanded many small works, which is when I got the idea of creating a selection of miniature graffitis from the word LOVE on old bricks. A brick wall is one of the most commonly used surfaces for graffiti. In miniature form, it has the effect of someone saying something really quietly. Old bricks have a really interesting and varied texture, and partially the graffiti design took what was there already. The title of the series, “Ken’s graffiti”, hints at the smallness (Ken is the doll Barbie’s boyfriend).
Who are your favourite audiences? For whom do you paint?
Rose (Metal Mix) II I
oil on MDF, mixed media 2014
I used a similar scheme at my exhibition at the Vaal Gallery, where I imitated old portrait art: the academic style of painting, golden frames, dark backgrounds, crackle glaze on the painting’s surface and so on. When you looked at the paintings more closely, it seemed like some vandals had ruined them with markers, spray paint etc. But this whole concoction looked cool; in a paradoxical way, the additions worked together with the painting. The works were full of intrigue and the dusty paintings suddenly looked contemporary. I partially proceeded from the idea that works that had been attacked would excite people who were normally distant from art.
mixed media on brick, 2013
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My favourite audiences are the fans of my work, and I hear there are many of them. At the same time, when I consider my music and film preferences, which are not mainstream, there is probably not that much reason for optimism…
There are endless historical layers which you havent played with yet – , huge potential. But you have not remained with one scheme; you continue to look for new things. What still remains to be accomplished? I have used quite a wide spectrum of approaches, and it may sometimes seem that all of these works have not been created by the same artist. But I believe that some kind of unified sense of things can be detected in all my works. I think I should use the same schemes and go deeper, improving quality. The ceiling is still out of reach and that inspires me.
A decade ago Kristiina Poska, from the small Estonian town of Türi, went to study in Berlin. Today she has risen to the position of Kapellmeister (Director of Music) of the Komische Oper Berlin - the first woman to do so in the history of the opera house. Last year she won the most reputable conducting prize in Germany also the first woman to ever do so. “Kristiina Poska has conquered the fortress which until now has belonged to men” is how German media put it at the time.
Turns Disadvantages into Advantages By Külli-Riin Tigasson / Eesti Kontsert magazine Aplaus Photos by Johann Sebastian Hänel and Jürgen Kelper
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I CULTURE The lush greenery, birdsong and water bodies of the Tiergarten area in Berlin, where Kristiina Poska lives, resemble Estonian nature. She loves to take long walks there and cycles to work through the park in the summer. Kristiina’s eyes sparkle and she gesticulates excitedly with her hands when she speaks. “It is definitely not an advantage to be a female conductor in the cultural landscape of Germany,” she says, and adds, “but it is important to know how to turn disadvantages into advantages.” What does that mean?
angel who only sent me orchestras that wished me well and guarded me from big problems which more experienced conductors often face…
What kind of big problems exist in this field of work? There may be differences of opinion with the orchestra or there may be vocalists who are difficult to work with because they are in a world of their own and don’t pay attention to the conductor. My tasks have grown in parallel with my own growth as a conductor. I think this applies generally in life, not just in my field of work. We cannot say that a 50-60-year-old person has no more problems or challenges. There are always new ones.
What is your main challenge as a conductor at the moment? Lately I’ve been occupying myself with trying to understand how an orchestra functions in a more general sense. With each orchestra, one needs time to comprehend what needs to be done in order to bring the best out of each piece of music and each situation. People are different and each group has its own dynamics. Some things are universal and some things are totally different. For example, there are orchestras that react very fast to the conductor’s beat, whereas others do so slowly. Recently I have come across orchestras with very different reactions. It is generally said that German orchestras tend to react quite late. But there are conductors who promote this. The way a collective behaves musically depends on various factors: what they are used to, the chief conductor’ s character and their traditions. There are things which cannot be explained. Just like with people.
The conductor of an opera is the only person with his/her back to the audience. Do you think about the audience whilst conducting? This may sound strange but the answer is no. I only think about the music when I conduct. It is my job to conduct the music, to control the evening, to bring the vocalists and the orchestra together. If I fail to give this a hundred per cent of my concentration, something is wrong. There is no time for other thoughts, such as how I look or what the audience is thinking. At the opera, there is a slightly different set-up each evening, for example stand-in musicians from other orchestras who require special attention. The vocalist may be ill and replaced with someone unfamiliar with the production or someone who sings in another language. Such a vocalist may not have had the time to study the production, in which case they sing from the edge of the stage and the director’s assistant plays the role. Or if the vocalist performs, other singers have to be prepared to improvise constantly. In other words, there is always too much excitement at the opera for my thoughts to wander.
What is the most complicated thing about conducting? Or do challenges change depending on your own development? I feel things depend on where I am at a particular moment. The challenges are always changing. In the early days, I felt as if I had a guardian
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Rumours have it that new conductors of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra may experience certain challenges. Someone deliberately plays off-key and the orchestra tests the conductor’s reaction. Have you experienced such testing? I haven’t really experienced underhand means of testing me. When you work with a new orchestra, you never know if you have the right chemistry with the people or not. That applies to human relationships generally. It does not depend on someone being better or worse. You either get along or you don’t. Sometimes there are organisational problems which have nothing to do with music which may prevent the orchestra from playing well.
Can you give some examples? When I was still studying I had to take a concert exam. I knew I had to attend the main rehearsal at 11 am. At 9.30 am I was in my bathrobe at home drinking my morning coffee when the professor phoned and asked where I was. They had made changes to the schedule the day before, but no-one let me know! I arrived out of breath and apologised to the orchestra. The piece of music which had been “ready” at rehearsals would not come together. The orchestra was deeply troubled by my lateness. During the first four beats, they managed to make ten mistakes. I had to interrupt the process several times.
They were upset? They were obviously upset. Such processes tend to be subconscious but they have a large impact on group dynamics. Later, I talked to the orchestra members and found out that they did not experience the situation so acutely. One violinist may sense that something is off. But for me as a conductor it is almost an existential problem.
If one musician feels troubled and makes a mistake, another musician might repeat it… An orchestra is a very sensitive organism. One insensitive word may ruin the energy of the whole rehearsal. Also, an organisational mistake may lead to the orchestra playing badly or losing concentration. I was once in such a situation as a guest conductor. There was total chaos at our morning rehearsal: they just couldn’t play together. In the afternoon, there was a meeting where the problem was solved and the orchestra was newly born at the concert in the evening.
So experiences of a conductor would be useful in a textbook on organisational management?
And perhaps also on courage and the ability to forgive yourself for your mistakes? I used to constantly feel that what I did was not good enough. At one point, I decided to start thinking constructively in order to be able to develop as a human being and as a musician. Artistic people are always full of doubt; it is an important and useful force. But when those doubts take away most of your creative energy, it is the art which suffers. The largest force is the force of your mind. Whereas earlier I had too many insecurities, these days I tend towards the other end of the scale, being too courageous. Some people say that one cannot help it when one is shy. But this is not true. Behind the shyness, there is courage.
Disadvantages can be turned into advantages? Precisely. Each and every one of us has courage; we just need to locate it. I am also convinced that each of us has opposite forces inside us: good and bad, joy and sadness, introvert and extrovert. We are the ones who decide what dominates. I am proof of that.
Psychological issues always strongly influence a process. But no matter what the environment or the mood, a conductor needs to stay true to him/herself. It’s great when everything runs smoothly. But this cannot be taken for granted. Even in critical situations, the conductor must remain calm and true to herself, to do the work and to proceed from the music.
You said above that your current challenge is to understand how various orchestras function. What was the most difficult issue for you when you got started? The main problem back then was me. I was blocking my own way. I had destructive thoughts and a lot of fears. At first, I was overly humbled by standing in front of people who had worked for years as musicians, who were more experienced than me. It took me a long time to understand that there are other factors up there as a conductor which matter more. I also had the feeling that music was so much bigger than me, that whatever I did I was not worthy of it.
But regardless of those fears it attracted you... I have always had the desire to make music. And at the end of the day, it is this will that counts. There are many difficulties along the way. It is also important that you want to keep at it, no matter what. The music itself is the biggest reward and I am willing to put up with any difficulties along the way for the music.
Is such determination more important than talent? I believe so. It is necessary to have some talent, because if you don’t have a musical bone in your body, you cannot work in this field. But how far you are able to develop your talent depends on your will and your determination.
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Why did you choose to become a conductor? My grandpa played the piano, but there were no professional musicians in my home; there was no Beethoven playing in the background. My interest in music was abstract. I wanted to play the piano just like grandpa. I went to a music school for children. At one point, I understood that I would not become a pianist because I did not have the patience to spend five to six hours every day playing on my own. My voice was not strong enough to become a singer. But I really wanted to study music and thought I would give choir conducting a try. I must have been about 17 years old when I first saw a rehearsal of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and I was so enchanted by the sound that from then on my biggest dream was to conduct an orchestra.
You have said in an interview that you have to become the embodiment of an emotion as a conductor. I have to use my body to show people what I want expressed. I have to radiate those emotions out of my body. Many young conductors make the mistake of emulating someone physically, putting a mask on. Everything is possible when you change into the thing you want to be. When you are determined enough, you can be who you really want to be. This is the task that we all have as human beings. Many people make excuses and say: “this is who I am, I cannot change.” Everyone can change if they want to! Many characteristics which people consider inherent are not. They are habits or patterns which have nothing to do with someone’s nature.
What would you like to change now? Nothing at this moment. I would like to understand better why some things are the way they are. For example, why some conductors seem
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to conduct fantastically, yet the orchestra plays badly. And, vice versa, why some conductors seem to be doing nothing and the orchestra plays fantastically. I am interested in finding out what happens when we have rehearsed thoroughly and everything is prepared and I happen to do something unexpected during the concert. Does it open some channels and make musicians in the orchestra more open and spontaneous? Or does it frighten them? How much can I pull myself back? My ideal goal is to be active in the working process and then to pull back during the concert to enable the orchestra to activate itself. Recently, a brilliant orchestra musician told me an interesting story about a conductor with whom it was difficult to establish rapport during the rehearsal process. There was no chemistry, so the rehearsals were incomprehensible. At the concert, the conductor led the orchestra with effective movements rehearsed in front of the mirror, which had nothing to do with the sound of the orchestra or with influencing it in any way. The orchestra was forced to activate itself in order for the performance to stay together. Because of this, the concert was great and the audience was thrilled, so the conductor received a lot of applause. The orchestra however thought that they did it all by themselves.
What kind of music do you listen to at home? I do not have music playing in the background at home. I have to listen to so much music because of my work and I only do so with concentration. I work through many sheets of music, listen to different performances. I don’t have that much spare time and when I do, I enjoy the sound of silence. My sister who lives in Tallinn keeps me up-to-date with popular and folk music.
KRISTIINA POSKA Graduated as a pianist from the Türi Music School, as a conductor from the Tallinn Georg Ots Music School and from the Estonian Academy of Music. From 2004–2009, she studied conducting at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin under Christian Ehwald. From 2009–2011, she continued her studies with Ehwald (Konzertexamen), graduating with honours. Received the special orchestra award at the competition of conductors in Athens (2006), became a finalist at the Donatella Flick competition in London (2010), and won third place and a special audience award at the Nikolai Malko competition for conductors in Copenhagen (2012). In April 2013, won a reputable conducting award in Germany: the Deutscher Dirigentenpreis. Tagesspiegel named her “one of the 25 most interesting people in Berlin in 2013”. From 2006–2011, the chief conductor of Capella Academica of Berlin’s Humboldt University. Has conducted various orchestras: the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic of Stockholm, Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra of German Radio Saarbrücken, Chemnitz Robert Schumann Philharmonic Orchestra, Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Bern Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, etc. This season she has conducted the Hessische Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig MDR Symphony Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and others. Has conducted at the Komische Oper in Berlin: Puccini’s “Bohème“, Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” and “The Abduction from the Seraglio”, Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins”, Bernstein’s “West Side Story”, Verdi’s “La Traviata“, Offenbach’s “La Périchole“ and Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel”. This season she will conduct Lange’s “The Canterville Ghost”, Mozart’s “Lucio Silla“ and “Don Giovanni”, and Offenbach’s “La belle Hélène”. In 2011 she debuted at the Vienna Volksoper with Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel”, followed by Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville”, Bizet’s “Carmen“ and Lehar’s “The Merry Widow”. This season she will conduct, at the same opera house, Donizetti’s “Viva la Mamma” (director: Rolando Villazon), as well as the Hamburg Staatsoper (Mozart’s “The Abduction from the Seraglio”) and the Stockholm Royal Opera Theatre (Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”). After successful performances, she was elected the first Director of Music (Kapellmeister) of Berlin’s Komische Oper in autumn 2012.
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You have lived in Berlin for ten years. How quickly did you adjust? I liked Berlin from day one. There is a certain sense of freedom here. I have always liked big cities and anonymity. However, the connection to Estonia is very important to me and I may one day return to Estonia. Happiness is very much related to what we do. And creative people often go where they have a chance to make the most of their creativity.
What does a normal day look like for you? It depends on whether I have rehearsals or a performance at the opera, whether I am travelling somewhere as a guest conductor or working from home. At the opera, the rehearsals start at 10am. On other days, I prepare. I get up around 8, sit at my desk and work with sheet music. Sometimes I sit at the piano, analyse, do background research and read relevant literature. If possible, I go for a little walk around lunchtime.
Arvo PaĚˆrt, the JaĚˆrvi family... even the main conducting prize of Germany has been awarded twice to an Estonian in the last seven years, to Mihkel KĂźtson in 2006. Why is it music which makes Estonian culture famous in the world? Estonian music is definitely something special. Sometimes it seems that it looks even more special from the outside. It is definitely closely linked to our tradition of song celebrations. Just think about how many choir singers we have, how we have sung our way to freedom twice. It is part of our identity. This not only applies to music but to all fields or art and literature. Many of my German acquaintances who like to read have expressed surprise at how many new books and poetry collections are published in the Estonian language. There are a lot for a tiny nation. Estonian people are very creative. Regardless of the fact that it is not
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a financially easy choice, many people have dedicated themselves to a risky profession - to art. Perhaps it is our long and dark winters. It is also possible that Estonians who tend to be more inward-looking, look for expression in other fields.
Long winters and an endless longing, which are woven into culture? Yes, I think it is some Ugric yearning for something which people are not often even able to verbalise. Art, literature and music help us to cope with it.
How much do you pay attention to critics and audience feedback in your work? There are a couple of opera critics whose opinions I care about. But of course there are as many opinions as there are people. If you aim to please everyone, you end up losing yourself. For an artist, the only real foundation is himself. You need to proceed from your own intuition and feelings. I have always searched for truth in music, and in most things. But I have come to realise that truth in itself does not exist. For me, truth can only exist in a moment. In music it is not possible to do something convincingly in order to please someone else. The only person I try to please is the composer.
A considerable amount of pop music is made to please somebody. I would not compare pop music with classical music, as the former mainly has entertainment value. The function of classical music is something else. Art which is made for someone else cannot be totally sincere and this is why I do not believe in it.
By Maris Hellerand Photos by Maiken Staak and Eksperimenta!
Annely Köster – Shaking the Foundations of Art Education Annely Köster (45) is living her dream as an art teacher and the creator of the first international youth contemporary art triennial Eksperimenta!, whose mission is to nurture creativity, free thinking, caring and content.
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I I CULTURE CULTURE& ENTERTAINMENT
E! 2011, Juš Zidar, Slovenia YOUTH SUICIDE | 500 X 500 CM | PERFORMANCE, VIDEO, MIXED MEDIA INSTALLATION The main purpose is to point out the everyday presence of the contemporary problem of suicide in the young population. The performance is constructed as a miniature drama play. The author writes a farewell letter and then hangs himself from the structure provided.
Growing up in the last years of the Soviet Estonia, Annely took a message from her own art teacher literally: to carry on the mission of teaching art. So after graduating from high-school she started her first children’s art group at the age of 18 in Tallinn’s leafy suburb of Nõmme. After a while, the local government discovered that the nice former villa could be put to better use than children’s art classes and Annely moved her school to the Hopner House in the Old Town. That’s where Sally Studio was born in 1991, the year of Estonia’s rebirth as an independent country. “The 1990’s were a crazy era in Estonia. Everyone was starting a business, so we sold a painting by a good friend and invested the money as stock capital in Sally Studio. The art studio is named after my Great Dane Sally, who was born that year and accompanied me to classes daily. After a little while, the kids started to ask each other after class ‘Are you coming to paint with Sally tomorrow?’ So Sally Studio it was. Sally, the first CEO, was a great teacher of friendly caring and has left a strong paw print on the studio’s philosophy. We realised very soon that this was not going to be a big business; after all, our share capital was lost with the bankruptcy of Tartu Kommertspank. So in 1994 we restructured the studio into a non-profit organisation.”
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E! 2011, Lukas Dirzys, Lithuania MECHANICAL PAINTING | PERFORMANCE The piece consists of machinery specially designed to mechanically produce large-scale pieces (150x500 cm) of abstract painting on paper. The performance consists in real action to produce several paintings live.
Obviously running a successful business was never the driving force for Annely. Strangely, arts and culture used to be one of the very few areas of life in the Soviet system where speaking your mind was possible. Annely remembers the long talks about life and the world with her arts teacher and friends that often resulted in small art actions: in today’s art lingo “performances”. Metaphorical expression was a very widespread means in the arts and is still one of the main aspects of contemporary art. This is the legacy that has formed the ideology of Sally Studio. “It is not important to draw a technically perfect camel or count toe bones. It’s about free thinking and creativity, which we hope and try to nurture in our children. Sally Studio is a school of creative thinking, bravery and pro-activity. If we want our lives to be better, it is important that people dare to think independently and dare to stand up for their ideas.” Annely didn’t take the classical path to art teaching. She was fortunate to take many international arts courses and classes at the beginning of the 90’s, to learn a little about Waldorf methods, which form a big contrast to contemporary art and have, over the years, influenced the teaching at Sally a lot. Then, after several years of teaching and running the studio, Annely finally decided that psychology was the subject she needed to study most to keep growing as a person and as the head of her art school. A curious combination of colour perception and
Eksperimenta! 2014 23 October – 23 November in Hopner House and St Catherine’s Church open Tuesday through Sunday from 11-18 www.eksperimenta.net Participating artists from: Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Russia, Germany, Slovenia, Portugal, Ireland, Turkey, Canada, South Korea and Brazil. Art schools in all participating countries researched the topic of Art and Science throughout the last school year, and have involved nearly 10,000 students. Combining creative thinking about contemporary art with the methods of science will lead to innovation and open up new educational paths for the young artists. Creativity is a vital survival skill of the 21st century.
E! 2011, Anna Mari Liivrand, Estonia VIRTUAL SPACE | 200 X 250 X 150 CM | INSTALLATION The virtual space is capable of meeting almost all of our needs and also providing the things that we lack in this world. That world is becoming more real than the reality that we inhabit, because the virtual life seems much better than what we have to confront. The person becomes a shell that is here with us, while in his thoughts he is somewhere else.
management psychology courses in Tartu University led her to further studies of education management in Tallinn University. Art education became a big issue when kids started to ask her after class to explain all they had done once again so that they could retell it at school and do it all over with their school classes. So Annely has had major input into the new curriculum of arts in Estonian schools, moving it away from technique and towards creativity and integration.
international exhibition platform for the pre-university age group of art students. Ten years later the first Eksperimenta! triennial took place as the highlight of Tallinn’s year as the European Capital of Culture, bringing young artists from more than a dozen countries to Tallinn and presenting an amazingly professional level of art that was praised by critics and an audience of more than 18 000.
Sally Studio has taught thousands of children, aged 3 to 19, for more than two decades. Many have returned as teachers or as parents of new students.
This year, when Eksperimenta! takes place for the second time, many circles will be completed. The exhibition venue is the Hopner House in the Old Town – the same place that Sally Studio started more than 20 years ago. The contrast – one of the key threads of Annely’s working life – is that it will spread throughout the Old Town. Next to a medieval merchant’s house, the contemporary youth art from a dozen countries will also be exhibited in Tallinn’s oldest Christian church – St. Catherine’s, which is a very fitting venue for this year’s topic “Art and Science”, as Catherine is the saint of scientists, philosophers, students, youth and women. The contrasting environment offers a great challenge to the organizers and the young artists: how to create an inspiring and pleasant environment for the exhibition during the darkest season.
The students of Sally were the real reason behind the birth of Eksperimenta! in 2011. Annely believes in fulfilling one’s dreams through consistency and patience. In 2001 she started to dream about an
Annely believes that it takes a decade for an organisation to mature, so Eksperimenta! still has a few years to go. And now a new Great Dane – Gracia - is helping her to find the right track to grow together.
Sally Studio has grown and developed along with Estonia since 1991. Annely sees how Estonia has matured and has learned a lot from the old Western countries, especially about efficiency and bureaucracy. What she feels is missing is the caring and consideration that characterizes these societies. Fortunately, the young generation seems to have stronger social consciousness than the “founders” of the 1990’s. And Estonia still is the place where the impossible is possible.
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Opened Again! Welcome Aboard!
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The icebreaker Suur Tõll (named after Toell the Great, the hero giant in Estonian mythology) is the oldest steampowered ship in the Baltic states. It is Estonia’s oldest and most dignified museum ship, whose century-long story reflects the entire time-line of the fragile history of the republic. During its 100-year history, it has sailed under five different flags and four different names.
In the 1910s a powerful icebreaker was needed for year-round operation of the port of Tallinn. The ship was built at the Vulcan-Werke AG shipyard at Stettin in 1914. It entered service as Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich - named after the founder of the Romanov dynasty. Less than a month after arriving at its home port, the ship had to enter military service due to the outbreak of the First World War. After the February revolution in 1917, the ship’s name was changed to Volynets (to commemorate the Volhynian regiment, which participated in the uprising) and the Russian tricolor was replaced by the Red flag.
Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Volynets
In March 1918, the icebreaker was captured by Finnish freedom fighters as she left Helsinki, and between 1918 and 1920 the icebreaker played an important role in both the Finnish and Estonian wars of independence. She was renamed the Wäinämöinen after the main character of the Finnish national epic. The ship was used to transport military equipment and volunteers, who helped to turn the War of Independence (1918–1920) in Estonia’s favor. Finland ceded the icebreaker to Estonia in November 1922 according to the Tartu Peace Treaties, and after returning to its home port the icebreaker was renamed Suur Tõll. For the next 18 years it sailed under the Estonian flag. For a small country like Estonia, a big and powerful icebreaker meant direct economic benefits: she made it possible to keep the bigger ports free of ice and ensure trade with other countries.
When Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union, the Suur Tõll was nationalised. The icebreaker was again renamed the Volynets and began to sail under the colors of the Soviet navy. Kronstadt became her home port, and she was in active service until the end of the 1970s. The icebreaker returned to her home port in 1988, when the Estonian Maritime Museum requested that the ship — soon to be scrapped for metal — be brought back to Tallinn and converted into a museum ship. After her return, her former name Suur Tõll was reinstated, and in 1991 the Estonian flag was raised on the ship. Since her return, the ship has been under constant renovation, mostly in connection with major anniversaries in the ship’s or Estonia’s history. The renovations have been aimed at restoring the ship’s exterior as it was in the 1930s and her living quarters as they were in the 1950s.
A great deal of work was done between September 2013 and June 2014, when, in addition to extensive hull repairs, the living quarters on the main deck were renovated. The stately officers’ mess-room and the slightly less stately mess-room of the crew have been restored, a new exhibition has been set up about the history of the icebreaker, and several of the crew cabins that used to be closed to visitors are now open. Even one of the galleys (i.e. the ship’s kitchen) was restored to working order, and visitors can now enjoy authentic seamen’s dishes aboard the ship. www.lennusadam.eu
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theme Park – a Load Of Goodness By Ann-MARii neRGi
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the theme park dedicated to the girl puppy Lotte and her family and friends is situated on twelve hectares of land by the seaside at tahkuranna, near the summer resort of Pärnu. The slogan of Lotte Village is “‘Goodness makes life interesting!’ and no visitor will leave here without experiencing this,” says Rein Malsub, Project Manager of the Lotte Village theme park, which recently opened to visitors. The girl puppy Lotte is an unprecedented phenomenon amongst Estonian children, and the character created by the Estonian film-makers Janno Põldma and Heiki Ernits has also won fans abroad. No other Estonian children´s film, cartoon or related toys have ever experienced success equal to that of the films, books and toys related to Lotte and her friends. The story, which first gripped audiences as a cartoon series on television and was later developed into full-length films and books about the adventures of the girl puppy, her family and friends in Gadgetville has also won the hearts of parents for the simple reason that, unlike in many other tales, there is not a bit of violence in the stories created by Ernits and Põldma, only goodness.
And now, after lengthy preparations, Estonia has its own Lotte Village theme park, similar to Moomin Land in Finland and Astrid Lindgren’s World in Sweden, offering familiar characters from the cartoon, their homes and, of course, their gadgets and inventions. As evident from the name of the village, the daily routine of the inhabitants of Gadgetville revolves around inventing new and exciting gadgets and competing with each other to see whose invention is the best. During the long winter months, the villagers rack their brains to invent interesting gadgets and in the summer everybody wants to win the trophy at the competition of inventions. Lotte’s father Oskar is an inventor and he has won the trophy four times already! All of his inventions can be seen and tested in Lotte Village. You can check out the tooth-brushing machine, the carrot-measuring machine and the machine invented to help Lotte’s mum Anna plant flowers. Visitors can even create their own gadgets in Oskar’s shed.
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I TOURISM Lotte Village in figures:
Size: the theme park is located on 12.4 hectares of land; in addition, there is a 5.5 hectare car park
ViSitOrS: opening week brought 10,000 visitors, approx 1,500 people per day
WOrkerS: about 100 total workers; about 60-70 staff present at all times every day
COSt: seven million euros, of which 4.5 million comes from Enterprise Estonia, 260,000 euros from the local county government and the rest from private investors. The investors are Kuldar Leis, Meelis Saaresalu, Raul Lusti, Elmer Maas and Alger Närska
OPeNiNg: Off-season starts in September; fully open from June 2015.
tiCket PriCeS: 15 euros; children up to two years of age free.
From planetarium to marathon One should plan at least half a day for a visit to Lotte Village, if not the entire day. The programme is jam-packed from 10am to 6pm. At the planetarium located at the Hares’ House, children get a factual overview of our solar system. The mother of Lotte’s best pal Bruno gives music lessons and his dad Mati, who has always been a bit of an athlete, exercises with the kids and even takes them on a Lotte Village marathon. Rabbit Adalbert is definitely one of the more eccentric characters in Gadgetville and he tells the kids about how he became friends with electricity (and makes his recommendations). The old rover Klaus talks about his thrilling travel tales on a push bike. Children are guaranteed to be surprised and overwhelmed with joy when the “real Lotte” turns up to offer hugs.
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Janno Põldma told Life in Estonia that it was by no means difficult to bring the characters of the film to life at Lotte Village. “For us Lotte Village was already real and we just needed to find the right attractions which would work in a theme park, because it is impossible to translate everything from the film into a theme park. One example of what we couldn’t bring to life is the flying machine of Helmi, the mother of pigs, which she uses to fly over trees and bushes. But we do have Oskar´s flying machine, which can take you straight to Japan,” said Põldma. Although Põldma is usually considered to be the screenwriter of the Lotte films and Heiki Ernits the artist, Põldma explained that the screenplays are actually created by three people: one of the best-known writers in Estonia - Andrus Kivirähk - joins Janno and Heiki in the process. ”When the screenplay is complete, Heiki and I continue. We are both directors, Heiki is the designer and I am the editor.”
Lotte through the years: 2000 cartoon series “Lotte Travels South” 2006 feature-length animation “Lotte from Gadgetville“ 2011 second feature-length animation “Lotte and the Moonstone Secret”
Planning began in 2008 The author of the idea of Lotte Village and its main organiser is Rein Malsub, who approached Põldma and Ernits with the idea years ago. They started to look for a suitable location for the theme park in 2008. There were many setbacks due to flawed construction procurements, and a suitable building company was only found with the third procurement. The total cost of the theme park was nearly seven million euros, and the development was supported with 4.5 million euros by Enterprise Estonia under their tourism development programme. It should also be noted that, although the main season of the theme park is summer and it will be fully open next June, Lotte Village will be open to visitors all year round. “We are still putting together the specific programme of Lotte Village outside the
two Lotte musicals “Detective Lotte” and “Cosmonaut Lotte” have been staged at the Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu. main season, but there will definitely be birthdays, company events and special programmes organised here,” says Malsub. What about those children who have not seen the Lotte films or read the books? Would they enjoy a visit to Lotte Village? Both Malsub and Põldma confirm that all children will feel welcome at Lotte Village. “Lotte and her friends will introduce Lotte Village to children, talk to them and play with them. We believe that children need a place like this where they are kept busy and where there is no room for violence,” says Janno Põldma. Rein Malsub adds that the theme park is a place of positivity and it really cheers up everyone who comes here. “Lotte Village is about spreading goodness and this is something that everyone - Estonians and foreigners alike - needs these days: a real charge of positivity!”
Books have been written based on all of the films. The books have been translated into Latvian and Finnish. The films have been translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian, Latvian, Finnish, Russian and Polish. The films have been sold to 50 different countries and territories. The films can be bought on DVD, and they are shown in cinemas and on television channels that have purchased the rights. COMiNg SHOrtLY: 2015 the third Lotte musical will premiere at the Vanemuine Theatre 2018 a new Lotte film will be produced. The screenplay has already been completed by Põldma.
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Practical Information For Visitors
San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela. The required travel document for entry is a valid passport. Citizens of countries not mentioned above require a visa to enter Estonia. Visitors arriving in Estonia with visa must have national passports valid at least 3 months after their planned departure from Estonia. Children aged 7 to 15 years must have their own passport when travelling to Estonia or, if they are registered in their parent’s passport, must have their photo next to the name. Children under 7 years need not have a photo if they are registered in their parents’ passports. Persons above 15 years must have a separate travel document with photo.
For more travel details, please consult the sources below: www.visitestonia.com (Estonian Tourist Board), www.riik.ee/en. Tourist information centres are located in all larger towns.
For detailed information on visa requirements and entry rules, please consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at www.vm.ee/eng.
By ship: With over 6 million passengers annually, the Port of Tallinn is undoubtedly Estonia’s main gateway. Large passenger ferries arrive from and depart for Helsinki and Stockholm regularly. The 85-km Tallinn-Helsinki line is served by ferries that make the journey in 2 hours; hydrofoils and catamarans make the trip on 1.5 hours and operate between April to November-December, depending on weather conditions. Travellers should note that different ferry lines depart from different terminals and harbours. The City Port with its four terminals is a 10-15 minute walk from Tallinn Old Town; the Paldiski-Kapellskär line uses the Port of Paldiski, about 50 km from Tallinn. By car: Border checkpoints greet travellers entering or departing the country by way of the Estonian-Latvian border points at Ikla (the Tallinn-Riga highway) and Valga, as well as on the Estonian-Russian border at Narva (the Tallinn-St. Petersburg highway), Luhamaa, Koidula and Murati. On the Estonian-Russian border, all traffic is subject to border formalities both when entering and leaving Estonia.
The Tallinn Tourist Information Centre in the Old Town is located at 4 Kullassepa Street - no more than 10 steps from the Town Hall Square (ph.: + 372 645 7777, e-mail: turismiinfo@ tallinnlv.ee). The Tallinn Tourist Information Centre in Viru Keskus (ph: + 372 610 1557, 610 1558), open every day 9 am - 9 pm, is located in the centre of the city. A wide selection of maps, brochures and publications in several languages (largest selection in English) can be found at local bookstores and tourist information centres.
Visa As of 21 December 2007, Estonia is a part of the Schengen visa area. Nationals of EU and EEA member states are free to enter Estonia. The required travel document for entry is a national ID card or passport. Nationals of the following countries do not need visa to enter Estonia, and can stay for up to 90 days in any 6-month period: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay,
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arrival By plane: Recently renovated, the Tallinn Lennart Meri Airport, just 3 km from the city centre, is welcoming, modern and user-friendly. Among other amenities, travellers have access to a free WiFi area in the transit zone. The airport’s 24-hour customer service telephone is +372 6058 888. Tartu Airport is situated at Ülenurme, near Tartu. Flights from Tartu to Helsinki depart six times a week. Regional airports are located in Kuressaare (Saaremaa), Kärdla (Hiiumaa), and Pärnu; these provide no regular international connections.
By bus: Not only is travel by bus the fastest and most convenient mode of international public transportation in the Baltic states, it also offers excellent value for your money. Lux Express (www.luxexpress.ee/en) offers regular connections to all major cities in the Baltic countries and to St. Petersburg. Prices start from �20.00. Lux Express is operating also within Estonia on the following routes: Tallinn – Tartu, Tallinn – Pärnu and Tallinn – Narva. A useful tip: Regular passenger buses have priority at the border checkpoints, so travel is smooth. By train: There is only one international overnight train to Moscow.
www.bussireisid.ee and ticket information is available at telephone +372 6800 900.
We suggest travellers consult with the Estonian Customs Board help desk (ph.: +372 880 0814 or www.customs.ee) for details. The limit on import of alcoholic beverages from outside the EU is one litre for beverages over 22% alcohol content, and two litres for beverages up to 22%, and four litres for wine. Import of tobacco and tobacco products from non-EU countries is limited to 40 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 50 g of tobacco products. Counterfeit goods, including pirated CDs, video and audio tapes, are prohibited by law. A special export permit is required for specimens of plants and animals of endangered species, protected species and hunting trophies (please contact the Nature Conservation Department, Ministry of the Environment for details). Articles of cultural value produced in Estonia more than 50 years ago also require special permits (please contact the National Heritage Board).
travelling by car Travellers hoping to see more of the country and the rural areas it would be best advised to travel by car. The roads are quite good and traffic is light. Crossing Estonia from north to south or west to east by car takes approximately three to four hours. All major car rental agencies have offices in Tallinn. It is also possible to rent the car in Estonia and drop it off at a rental agency in Latvia or Lithuania, or vice versa. The speed limit in rural areas is 90 km/h and in cities 50 km/h. In some areas the highway speed limit is increased during the summer months. Headlights and seatbelts (front and back) must be on at all times. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances is punishable by law.
Free public transport: As of 2013, all residents of Tallinn, students and passengers 65 years and over are entitled to free travel on Tallinn public transport. Tickets for visitors: The Public Transport Card Ühiskaart may be purchased for the price of €2. This smart card, onto which you can load money, or e-tickets can be purchased from post offices and online at www.pilet.ee. Personalise the card for €1 at the point of sale or for free at www.pilet.ee/yhiskaart.
If you are using pay-as-you-go credit, your smart card automatically calculates the cheapest fare within the next 24 hrs (never more than one-day travel card). Validate your journey with Ühiskaart immediately after entering the public transport vehicle. You can also buy tickets from kiosks and from the driver (single ticket €1.60 and student ticket €0.80). Try to have precise change (cash only) for the driver. The ticket is valid for one journey only in that specific vehicle. Discounts only for ISIC Scholar and Student Card holders. Holders of a validated TallinnCard are entitled to a free ride.
Local transport Getting around estonia Inter-city public transportation Public buses are the easiest, cheapest and most convenient solution for visiting Tartu, Pärnu or any other of the larger towns. Buses from Tallinn to Tartu depart every 15-30 minutes, to Pärnu every hour. On weekdays, seats to these destinations are almost always available even immediately before departure (watch out for special events). For weekend travel or trips to more remote locations with fewer connections, it is advisable to buy tickets in advance. The Tallinn Bus Terminal is located at Lastekodu 46. The timetable is also available online at
Taxis: Taxis must clearly display their fares, driver’s taxi service licenses, and a meter. The initial charge for entering a cab ranges from 2 to 3.5 euros. Different taxi companies have different rates, but the average charge per kilometre is 0.5 euros. There is no additional charge for ordering the taxi by phone, and it usually takes the cab just five to ten minutes to arrive. All taxi drivers must give you a receipt (in Estonian, ask for “Kviitung, palun”). Locals usually give the exact fare and no tip. As in most major cities, some dishonest drivers attempt to overcharge unsuspecting passengers. If in doubt, note the taxi company and license plate number. Public transportation: Tallinn has a public transport network of buses, trams and trolley-buses. Other Estonian towns have buses. Check the time schedule for Tallinn bus lines for any bus stop at www.tallinn.ee/eng.
accommodations All major hotels in Tallinn have been newly built or completely renovation in recent years. Despite annual additions to the number of hotels and rooms, it can nonetheless be difficult to find a hotel room on short notice (particularly over the week-end). For the best selection, we urge visitors to Tallinn and the rest of Estonia to book hotel rooms in advance. For more details, see the Estonian Tourist Board website at www.visitestonia.ee.
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money On 1 Jan 2011, Estonia adopted euro as its currency thus replacing the Estonian kroon which had been the only valid currency in Estonia since 1992. Most larger hotels, stores and restaurants accept Visa, MasterCard, Eurocard, Diner’s Club and American Express. However, it is advisable to carry some cash with you. Traveller’s checks can be exchanged in most banks but are less likely to be accepted in shops. Eurocheque is the most widely accepted traveller’s check, but American Express and Thomas Cook are also accepted. Banks are plentiful and easy to find in Tallinn. Most are open from 9:00 to 18:00 on weekdays, while some offices are also open on Saturday mornings. All banks offer currency exchange services. Exchange offices can also be found in larger hotels, the airport, harbour, railroad station and major shopping centres. ATMs are conveniently located around town; instructions are in English, Russian and Estonian.
libraries and post offices. There are over 100 wireless free Internet zones around the country, many of them in rather unexpected places - beaches, Old Town squares, stadiums, and concert halls.
emergencies 112 is the emergency number for ambulance, police and fire department. The police can also be reached directly at 110. Emergency numbers can be dialled free of charge. Select pharmacies are open 24-hours-a-day in many major towns. The one in Tallinn is located at 10 Pärnu Road (opposite the Estonian Drama Theatre); the one in Tartu is located in the Town Hall building (Town Hall Square).
telephones and Internet The country code of Estonia is 372. Dial 00 for outbound international calls. The GSM mobile phone system is available; please check compatibility with your operator. Public Internet access points have been set up all over Estonia. They are located in local
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Estonians celebrate January 1 as New Year’s Day, a rather slow and quiet day as people recover from the festivities. Shops open late and banks are closed. February 24, Independence Day, is celebrated with a parade of the Estonian Defence Forces at Vabaduse väljak (Freedom Square). May 1 is a bank holiday, similar to Good Friday and May Day. June 23 is the biggest holiday of the year as Estonians celebrate Midsummer Eve and the Victory Day in commemoration of the 1919 Battle of Võnnu, and June 24 is St. John’s Day (Midsummer). August 20 is the Day of Restoration of Independence (1991). December 24 (Christmas Eve), December 25 (Christmas Day) and December 26 (Boxing Day) are usually spent at home with families.
Food Traditional Estonian cuisine consists of simple peasant food, such as cottage cheese, potatoes and bread, all of which are still important components of the local diet. The Estonian dark bread is the main staple missed by Estonians abroad. Typical Estonian dishes do not feature prominently on restaurant menus, and traditional home cooking is more likely to appear at small eateries in remote areas. Still, a few establishments have made Estonian specialities their niche; to sample Estonian cuisine, try the Vanaema juures, Kaerajaan and Kolu Tavern (Open Air Museum) in Tallinn, and the highly recommended Muhu Kalakohvik and Lümanda söögimaja on the Island of Saaremaa. The list of the top 50 Estonian restaurants can be found at www.ﬂavoursofestonia.com
19th-century kristallkümmel (caraway liqueur) has made its long-awaited comeback. Estonian wines, made from currants or other local berries, are rather sweet. Wine lovers
Even the most sceptical museum-goer is bound to find something intriguing in Estonia’s large selection of museums, which feature everything from history, art, photography to toys, chocolate, musical instruments, even wax fig-
drinks The main drinks in Estonia are beer, wine and vodka. While many young city residents opt for beer or wine, the older generation and rural folk tend to prefer vodka. In the 1930s Estonian vodka made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the strongest vodka in the world (96º). Local brands of beer enjoy a very strong market position in Estonia. The two main breweries are Saku and A. Le Coq. Saku is Tallinn-based, and its corporate colour is navy blue while A.Le Coq is brewed in Tartu and its colour is red. There are also many smaller breweries. A full list of Estonian beers is posted at www.BeerGuide.ee
usually prefer imported wine, of which there is an ever-increasing selection at stores and vinoteks. A very popular and refreshing nonalcoholic drink is kali, made of bread, malt, rye or oats flour and yeast; it has a characteristically dark brown colour. It was with this drink that the Estonians forced the Coca-Cola company into submission, or at least into a business deal. Kali was enjoying phenomenal sales, while Coke was not selling up to expectations. It was then that Coca-Cola decided to broaden its horizons by buying one of the local kali trademarks in order to make a profit on the stubborn Estonians.
Spirits also include some traditional liqueurs. The famous Vana Tallinn (Old Tallinn) has a 45º alcohol content, and is coincidentally made from 45 ingredients - the recipe is known only to a handful of people. Indeed, the legendary
The entertainment scene in Estonia is vibrant year-round, providing visitors and locals alike with a long list to choose from. Concerts, festivals theatre, street raves, DJ competitions – Estonia has it all. It is not by chance that both Tallinn and Tartu have their own opera and ballet theatre. Tickets are an excellent value for the money; concert tickets cost around 10 euros, and best seats at the opera are yours for about 25 euros. For more information on the concert schedule see www.concert.ee; the programme for the national opera is posted at www.opera.ee. Tickets can be bought at the box offices or via ticket agencies located in all larger supermarkets, or via Internet www.piletilevi.ee, www. piletimaailm.com and www.ticketpro.ee
ures and many other topics. Most museums are closed on Tuesdays and many on Mondays as well. It is advisable to have cash on hand as many museums do not accept credit cards. Tallinn is also bustling well into the night with booming and blooming club scene. Clubs are usually open and packed with energised vibes from Thursday to Sunday, with Friday and Saturday drawing the liveliest of crowds. In addition to local and resident DJs, clubs frequently present guest performers from London, the US and other club hubs. For those looking for a more mellow night on the town, Tallinn’s street are brimming with pubs, vinoteks and bar-restaurants, many of which offer live music even on weekdays. Rather take in a movie? Films in cinemas are shown in the original language with subtitles.
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shops Souvenir shops in Tallinn and most other tourist locations are open seven days a week, 10:00-18:00 or 19:00. Big supermarkets and hypermarkets are open seven days a week from 9:00-21:00 or 10:00-22:00. Department stores close a few hours earlier on Sundays or, in smaller towns, may be closed on Sundays. Smaller food shops may have shorter opening hours. Some 24-hour shops can be found as well. Other shops usually open at 9:00 or 10:00 and close at 18:00 or 19:00; they often close early on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays. The majority of shops accept credit cards, with the exception of smaller stores and stores in rural areas.
sweaters and mittens with local ethnic patterns, linen sheets and tablecloths, crocheted shawls and veils, colourful woven rugs, handmade jewellery and glassware, baskets, and an array of wooden spoons and butterknives made from juniper. Fine and applied art for show and purchase is on display at art galleries around the country, featuring graphics, glass, ceramics, hand-painted silk scarves and leatherwork. Various herbal teas from wild plants are available at pharmacies. Local honey – pure or flavoured, e.g. ginger, is another delicious treat. In rural areas, you may find hand-milled flour. And those who keep coming back swear by the Estonian black rye bread. To bring home local spirits, popular choices include Vana Tallinn or kristallkümmel liqueur or local beer. And there is no place better than Estonia to buy Estonian music.
Crime Although common sense is advisable in all destinations, Estonia gives no particular reason to be excessively worried. Do not walk the unlit and abandoned areas alone at night. Do not leave bags or items of value in the car, as not to tempt car thieves or robbers. Pickpockets may operate at crowded tourist destinations in Tallinn, so make sure your wallet and documents are stored safely.
An English-Estonian dictionary is available online at www.ibs.ee/dict.
estonians Estonians are typical Nordic people – they are reserved, not too talkative and speak rather monotonously, with very little intonation. All this may give one the impression of coldness bordering on rudeness. But rest assured, this is not the case, and the speaker may actually be extremely well-meaning, even excited. There are several well-known Estonian sayings, such as “Think first, then speak”, “Weigh everything carefully nine times before making a move”, and “Talking is silver, silence is gold”. It is, therefore, no wonder that the people are not very good at small talk, do not waste too much time on grand introductions, and usually come straight to the point. This is why Estonians’ English may sometimes sound shockingly direct. There is, however, often a subtle irony involved in Estonians’ utterances - delivered with a serious face and just the slightest twinkle of the eye.
souvenirs Souvenir and shopping preferences vary hugely but there are certain souvenir gifts that have gladdened many a heart. Estonian handicraft comes in many forms. There are woollen
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Estonian is not widely spoken in the world, so Estonians do not expect short-term visitors to master the local language. Still, local people are thrilled and pleased to hear a foreigner say “Tere!” (Hi!) or “Aitäh (Thank you) in Estonian. Knowledge of foreign languages is naturally a must for hotel staff and numerous other professions in the service sector. Many people are fluent in English, particularly the younger urban generation, and a great number of people also speak Finnish, due to Finnish TV, Finland’s close proximity to Estonia and the great number of Finnish tourists. German is less widely spoken in Estonia, although previous generations have often studied German, not English, at school. Russian-language use has dropped to a point where older people no longer speak the language well and the younger generation have already chosen other languages to learn at school. Studying French has become more popular over the last few years but the number of people who speak French is still quite small.
Estonians are relatively individualistic. There is a saying that five Estonians mean six parties. Even though people agree on the final objective, they insist on reaching it in their own ways. Estonians also value their privacy. In the old days, it was said that the neighbour’s house was close enough if you could see the smoke from the chimney. Modern, tight-packed urbanites flock to remote countryside on the weekends to enjoy more space and privacy. Even though guests at birthday parties and concerts are rather quiet and subdued in the onset, they warm up eventually and turn into a direct opposite of their day-character, as you are likely to see in Tallinn’s clubs.
SMART COUNTRY RICH IN IDEAS AND AMBITION A highly progressive and intelligent environment for smart industries