Map puts Estonia’s population density in perspective

The National Audit Office’s annual report presents a map revealing the reality of Estonia’s scarcely populated countryside.

The red coloring on the map represents areas having no more than four residents per square kilometer. Altogether, the red area is home to 18,404 people, or 1.4 percent of Estonia’s population.

Estonia’s population of 1.3 million is mostly concentrated in a few cities, with the majority of the remaining roughly 45,000 square kilometers in the red, so to say.


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Rebane brothers named entrepreneurs of the year

Entertainment businessmen and brothers Peeter and Priit Rebane of BDG Holdings were named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurs of the Year, with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves making the announcement at the awards event yesterday.

Other contenders for the award were Mailis Lintlom of Windoor AS, Thomas Padovani of Webinfluence Group AS, Anthony and Max Rivshin of Top Connect OÜ and Hellar Mutle of Bestra Engineering AS. In another notable recognition, Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts gave a lifetime achievement award to EBS founder Madis Habakuk, reported Delfi.

“I would really like to hope that Estonia does not end up on the side of the 44 percent of countries that have a negative business environment. We shouldn’t go the road of excessive taxation, but should instead support businesses,” Peeter Rebane told Delfi.

Speaking on ETV this morning, Peeter Rebane said: “Recently it seems that we lack a common societal vision for where to move forward and we are too busy dealing with thinking up new taxes and regulations,” he said. “In my opinion there should be more dialogue between politicians and businesses.”

The Rebane brothers’ BDG Holdings, founded 18 years ago, is one of the biggest entertainment businesses in the Baltics. BDG’s biggest establishments are Club Hollywood and the Solaris shopping center, which includes two cinemas and the Nokia Concert Hall. BDG is also a major concert organizer, having hosted British pop artist Robbie Williams last August.

Entertainment businessmen and brothers Peeter and Priit Rebane of BDG Holdings were named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurs of the Year, with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves making the announcement at the awards event yesterday.

Source: Estonian Review

Government to develop new valuation of land

The Land Board is currently working out a methodology in order to carry out a new valuation of Estonia’s land, as the government’s last appraisal took place in 2001.

To show the vast price increases that have taken place in recent years, Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder pointed out that the going rate for agricultural land in 2009 was 800 euros per hectare, compared with 1,300 euros per hectare in 2012, reported ERR radio.

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Fitness club loses music royalties case

In a decision that sets an intellectual property rights precedent, all fitness clubs in Estonia will have to pay the country’s SCAPR affiliate licensing fees for the copyrighted music they play in their training halls.

Yet under the decision, the club will have to pay about 3,000 euros in fees and late interest.

In light of the decision, all sports clubs that play recorded music will have to sign agreements with the Performers Association, otherwise the music over the loudspeakers is illegal. The same applies to dance instructors who rent space and operate companies.

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People need to be ready for changes to their account numbers

The survey of the payment behaviour of Estonian households by TNS Emor revealed that more than half of Estonian residents are unaware of the changes that will be made to bank account numbers and direct debits in 2014. Banks and some companies have been working to inform their clients in advance about the changes, but the real changes will be made in the new year when account numbers get longer and direct debits within Estonia are replaced by e-invoice standing orders. To adapt to the changes more quickly, people should really pay attention to the information distributed by banks and companies in the coming months and make sure they know what they will need to do differently when making payments in future.

The survey showed that the use of bank channels for payments continues to increase.  Standing orders and direct debits are used by 70% of people in Estonia, and internet banking by 62%.  Payments are only made in banks or post offices or directly to suppliers of services by 22% of people, down from 33% in 2011. Standing orders and direct debits are used more by people of retirement age, while internet banking is preferred by younger families.

The part played by cash in the payment behaviour of people in Estonia has decreased, both for receiving income and for paying for purchases. Only 4% of people receive their income partly or wholly in cash, including state benefits and other incomes, which is half as many as two years ago. The survey showed that the largest share of people receiving their income in cash were in Eastern Estonia. Those who use both payment cards and cash to pay for purchases have started to use card payments more. The continued growth in card payments was confirmed by the statistics collected by Eesti Pank showing that 17% more card payments were made in Estonia than two years ago, and an average of around 600,000 card payments are made each day. The share of households using only cash for purchases remains at 12%, which is the same as it was two years ago. Cash is used most by the retired, those with low incomes, and residents of towns in Ida-Virumaa.

People in Estonia are buying more and more from foreign retailers over the internet, as the number doing so has doubled in two years and around a quarter of Estonian residents have now used such services. Card payments account for 46% of such purchases and PayPal for 36%. Purchases over the internet are mostly made by young families, families with children and people with higher incomes. Online shoppers consider that they will continue to buy over the internet in future.

One tenth of Estonian residents currently have or have had a bank account in another country. These accounts are or were mainly used for studies or work abroad and mainly held by people with higher incomes, meaning a personal income of 900 euros or more. As purchases over the internet become ever more important, it is worth noting that some respondents to the survey said the reason for holding an account abroad was so that they could more easily pay for goods and services ordered from abroad.

The survey found that about one third of Estonian residents would be interested in the cross-border SEPA (Single European Payment Area) direct debit service. This is a service that is likely to come to the Estonian market from February 2014 and will allow payments to be made automatically for the consumption of goods or services from abroad. The main interest in this came from those who already use the internet for making purchases. As there is no cross-border direct debit service at present, respondents might not be able to assess their real need for one.

Eesti Pank and TNS Emor will present the results of the survey publicly in more detail on 6 November in the press centre of the Eesti Pank museum.

The survey by TMS Emor was conducted in September this year and covered 911 families, with respondents aged between 18 and 74. The survey was commissioned by Eesti Pank.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Households’ living conditions have improved

According to the data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), 70% of private households live in dwellings with all basic amenities. In the 2000 census, that share was 65%. The availability of comfort characteristics in the dwellings inhabited by households has improved significantly in the last decade.

According to the 2011 census, 69.5% of private households in Estonia live in apartments. This share was 71.3% during the previous census. The share of households living in small residential buildings (one-family dwellings, semi-detached houses) has increased slightly (from 28.7% to 30.5%). A very large share of lone-parent and one-person households live in apartments (76.2% and 76.1%, respectively). Compared to other types of household, multi-family households (e.g. when grandparents live together with the younger generations) and married couples have a bigger share of those who live in small residential buildings (45.6% and 39.9%, respectively).

79.1% of households live in dwellings that they own. The share of dwelling owners has increased by about one percentage point compared to the 2000 census. The share of owners is the highest among multi-family households and married couples (93.5% and 90.2%, respectively). Although the majority of households in Estonia still live in relatively old buildings, the PHC 2011 data indicate that there is a tendency to move into newer buildings. The number of households living in older dwellings (built before 1971) is decreasing, while the number of households living in newer dwellings (built in 1971 or later) is increasing. 9.5% of households live in dwellings built in 2001 or later.

The availability of basic amenities and comfort characteristics in dwellings has improved significantly in 11 years. In 2000, 85.6% of households had piped water supply, 74.9% had a flush toilet, 70.9% had a bath or shower and 67.9% had central or electrical heating. According to the 2011 census, 94.6% of households have piped water supply, 88.3% have a flush toilet, 87.1% have a bath or shower and 71.5% have central or electrical heating in their dwelling.

As a rule, a dwelling is inhabited by one household. Dwellings with one household account for 93.3% of conventional dwellings with usual residents. These dwellings have, on average, 31.4 square metres of area per inhabitant and 1.28 rooms per inhabitant. In the 2000 census, the corresponding indicators were 24.4 square metres and 1.08 rooms per inhabitant.

Households’ living conditions by household structure, 2011 (%)
Household structure Living in a small residential building Renting Average area per inhabitant in dwellings with one household, m2 With
piped water supply flush toilet bath or shower central or electrical heating
All households 30.5 9.2 31.4 94.6 88.3 87.1 71.5
One-person household 23.9 11.7 54.1 92.1 85.1 83.0 70.5
Multi-person non-family household 28.8 13.7 30.0 91.1 83.4 82.1 68
Married couple (incl. couples with children) 39.9 3.3 28.7 96.9 91.0 90.7 72.7
Cohabiting couple (incl. couples with children) 33.0 15.0 25.0 96.0 90.6 90.0 70.3
Lone parent with children 23.8 9.5 26.8 95.4 89.6 88.4 74.1
Multi-family household 45.6 3.4 18.9 95.8 88.3 88.2 67.3

Private household is a household living in a dwelling. Private households do not include persons who at the census moment lived permanently in an institutional household (e.g. in a social welfare or penal institution) or were homeless.

This concludes the publication of the results of PHC 2011. The published data can be accessed via

The 11th population census in Estonia was conducted from 31 December 2011 until 31 March 2012. Previous censuses were carried out in 1881, 1897, 1922, 1934, 1941, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989 and 2000. The next population census will be conducted in Estonia in 2020/2021.

Source: Statsitics Estonia

Swissotel Tallinn one of top 5 hotels in Eastern Europe

Swissôtel Tallinn has came second in the Condé Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice Awards 2013 in the category “Top 5 Hotels in Eastern Europe”.

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