2017 Riga & Tallinn Experience

2017 Riga & Tallinn Experience

Culture Minute 5: Estonia & Lativa in 5 infamous personalities

To close this series of 5 minutes culture we wanted to highlight contemporary personalities of each country in a few words to invite you to explore new cultural aspects of Estonia and Latvia. Jaan Kross was born in Tallinn and died in the same city. He is the most translated Estonian author. He has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize for Literature. His work includes historical novels whose history takes place in Estonia and narrates relations notably with Soviets Viktoria Modesta, Latvian singer - songwriter and model, this young woman under the age of 30 has made a...

Culture Minute 4: Religions

Today we try to find out more about religion in Latvia and Estonia. Let us start without further due with Latvia: even though the country has a secular governance, it nevertheless remains attached to its religious celebrations and rites, at least in appearance. The reality of religious practices and beliefs is indeed slightly more complex. There are three major religions in this country: the Lutherans to the north, the most numerous; Catholics to the south and east, in the regions formerly occupied by Poland; and Orthodoxy wherever the Russian minority lives. Each of these three groups represents between 20 and...

Culture Minute 3: Architecture & Crafts

Here are new elements that will allow us to better apprehend Latvia and Estonia environments! Tallinn is a city strongly influenced by its medieval past. In the old town, there are churches, fortifications and old buildings. But it is not all because different styles come together, such as the baroque (Kadriorg Palace), contemporary architecture (Kumu Museum of Fine Arts), the old fishermen's houses of Kalamajas, the art nouveau (National Opera of Estonia) as well as functionalist architecture and Soviet architecture (Sõprus Cinema). Each year, Tallinn organises medieval days, consisting of a large market on the Town Hall Place. Inhabitants dress...

Culture Minute 2: Latvian Gastronomy & Estonian Gastronomy

Latvian gastronomy Before going on a trip, one of the first things you look at is the food you should expect. From one country to another, culinary specialties can be radically different. This can even become an adventure to discover exotic dishes! Although we go to the Baltic countries for professional reasons, what will we find appetising in Latvia? Since the 19th century, potato cultivation has become part of the Latvian routine, as it allows food to be available throughout the year. It is still a must in their plates. This is a good that is accustomed to the world...

Culture Minute 1: The Influence of Culture on Local Languages

What could better reflect a country's culture than its language? Each language suggests a perception of the world through its vocabulary, as the well-known example of the 50 words Inuit have to define snow. Estonian and Latvian come from 2 families of distinct languages. Estonian is related to the Ouralo-Altaic family, so it has a structure similar to languages ​​like Finnish but also Hungarian, Turkish or Korean. Latvian is part of Indo-European languages ​​such as Lithuanian, French or German. Attention here we are talking about large groups of languages ; the languages ​​are then divided into more precise subgroups. It...

Learning Expedition / Chapter 6 : Politic in Baltics

When considering politics in Latvia and Estonia, it is important to remember that they only acquire their full independence in 1991. Their experience with democracy in the 1920s was brief and ended up with an authoritarian regime before turning into Socialist Soviet Republic. Therefore, their consideration over politics are quite different than what we are used to in our old democracies.   Estonia Estonia is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. The executive power is exercised by a government, led by the Prime Minister (currently Jüri Ratas). As a parliamentary regime, Estonia as a President, which is a ceremonial figurehead without...

Learning Expedition / Chapter 5 – Employment specificities in Latvia and Estonia

At first blush, when you talk about Eastern countries, you think of relatively poor countries where employers rule as leaders and employees earn 10 times less than the French minimum wage. So, in your opinion, fake or reality? Here are the general specificities of employment in Latvia and Estonia. Employment contract Just like in France, in those countries, there are both permanent and fixed-term contracts. However, permanent contracts are more common in Latvia as fixed-term contracts shall only be used in specific cases such as seasonal or occasional jobs. A verbal contract is possible in Estonia only if the duration...

Learning Expedition / Chapter 4 – Apprenticeship: a new stake to fit companies’ needs

Estonia is well positioned in terms of education and professional training. There are a high score in acquiring basic knowledge and a high rate of students in higher education (46,6% in Estonia against 37,9% in Europe in 2014). Furthermore, both the employment rate of young graduates and the rate of public investments in education are higher than the European average. We also notice that there is a significant difference between women and men in education: in 2014, 15,3% of young men left the initial education system in favour of apprenticeship, against only 7,5% of young women. This shows the interest...

Learning Expedition / Chapter 3 – An insight on the Baltics’ History

For many, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are three interchangeable pieces of the same puzzle, namely the Baltics. If geography finds a logic in this name for these three countries bordering the Baltic Sea, this unique denomination tends to make people believe that these three states are intrinsically linked and that they do not exist distinctly others. It seemed to us essential to talk about the History of the Baltic countries, or rather of the histories, sometimes so close but so distincts, of these little-known states. So before embarking on Tallinn and Riga, let us offer you a short getaway in...