Whoever bothers to examine the world map, discovers that Estonia lies on the same latitude with Northern Scotland and Alaska’s southern tip. And if an occasionally encountered Estonian adds by way of explanation that in summer months the Estonian beaches are full of sunbathers, you may well suspect that he is pulling wool over your eyes. In fact, far from it.
Thanks to its geographical position, Estonia has four clearly distinguished seasons: at least a month of cold and snow in winter, suitable weather for bathing in summer, returning migratory birds in spring and trees sporting colourful leaves in autumn.
The area of Estonia is a bit bigger than Belgium or Denmark, but the population is a modest 1.4 million. The number of towns is over 30. These are rather like dogs: the word dog can denote tiny creatures as well as Great Danes. The capital Tallinn accommodates about one third of the population, and the smallest town is probably no bigger than a largish village. What lies between the towns is mostly forest: almost 50% of Estonian territory is covered with forests. Thanks to this, Estonians can enjoy vast quantities of space and fresh air – a luxury in many parts of the world today.
For an Estonian, the rush-hour traffic jam starts with a five-minute halt, and if he cannot reach a forest after half an hour’s drive, this constitutes a violation of human rights. Estonians are fond of stressing that they are small in number, but resourceful.
It is true that when we compare the number of Olympic gold medallists or for example writers with the total population, the coefficient would probably be very impressive. Statistics allows other nice juxtapositions: compared with other European countries, we have more lynx, wolves and bears per person. And the largest number of Internet banking transactions.