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On New Year’s Eve, Tallinn becomes the European Capital of Culture 2011, reports The Guardian. The city also has something to prove. “What happened in Lithuania was disgraceful,” says Jaanus Mutli, head of the Tallinn 2011 Foundation. “We can do a lot better than that.” resumably, Tallinn’s year in the cultural spotlight of Europe will be a success. The Capital of Culture is the biggest event to hit this country of 1.4 million since independence in 1991, though it’s competing with euro adoption on Jan. 1 as well. The year-long event trumps Eurovision - which the Estonians won in 2001 and duly hosted in 2002. “We have to seize this opportunity,” says Triin Mannik of the Tallinn 2011 Foundation. “We have to make this work - we will not get another chance to do it. It is really special.” The city has a full line-up of events and activities throughout the year.
A master’s degree study by Eedi Sepp indicates that the number of people in Estonia increases most on Christmas Eve in the municipalities of Saaremaa island, by up to two times as compared to ordinary days, Meie Maa reports. Sepp based his study on anonymous cell phone call transaction positioning. “Out of six Estonian municipalities where the biggest amount of extra people emerged on Christmas Eve, four were located in Saaremaa: Torgu, Lumanda, Pihtla and Mustjala,” said Sepp, who works in the interior ministry. He thinks that this might reflect a stronger regional identity of the islanders as well as the fact that many inhabitants of Saaremaa have left Estonia’s largest island to work or study on the mainland, and at Christmas time and leisure time migrate to childhood homes and places of residence, where parents play a major role. Sepp compared the location of people on Dec. 24 and 25 to their location on Dec. 17, an ordinary workday.
Minister of Social Affairs Hanno Pevkur pointed out that emigration is not a problem in Estonia, reports LETA. Pevkur said the number of Estonians working abroad is not high and many will likely return home. “There’s nothing strange in going ‘outside’ and coming back later. It is completely positive,” said the minister. He said Estonia’s situation is not unique. “I have talked with ambassadors from the Nordic countries and I constantly hear that there are many fewer Estonians in Sweden and Norway than there are Latvians and Lithuanians,” said Pevkur. The ministry’s Deputy Secretary General Egle Kaarats said that working abroad is a better option than staying in Estonia and falling into despair. Pevkur noted that emigration depends on the economy and people’s educational level. The better a person’s education or the stronger the economy, the less likely they are to want to leave the country, he said. Youth and likelihood of moving abroad are also correlated.