Cultural relations between Estonia and Finland are very close and the number and level of cultural events are remarkable. The Republic of Finland celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017 and the Republic of Estonia celebrated its 100th birthday in 2018. The anniversaries were celebrated in both states with a very diverse programme of cultural events.
The idea to establish the Estonian House in Helsinki came from the desire to support the Estonian nationals living in Finland and companies interested in doing business in Finland. The Viro-keskus, which was opened in 2010, is a ‘new-generation’ Estonian House that brings together the functions of representing Estonia (the Estonian Institute), promoting export and finding investments (Enterprise Estonia) as well as developing estophilia and supporting the adaptation of immigrants (Tuglas Society, Association of Estonian Societies in Finland). The Finnish Institute in Estonia has been working on the development of the cultural and economic relations between Finland and Estonia since 1994.
Active preparations for celebrating Estonia 100 started in 2017. Ambassador Margus Laidre suggested the playful term ‘Estonia-Finland 200’ for celebrating the double jubilees and strengthening the extremely diverse and close ties between the two countries and nations.
The biggest and most outstanding event of Estonia-Finland 200 was the two-week tour of the Estonian National Opera to Finland in 2017, which culminated on the gala night held at the Musiikkitalo in Helsinki on 25 November, which was also attended by the presidents of both countries.
The exhibition “Bridge – greetings from Two Republics” at the Virka gallery of the Helsinki City Government, which was open from October 2017 to the end of February 2018, was born from the cooperation between Estonia and Finland. The exhibition marked the hundred-year independence of Estonia and Finland from the viewpoint of the interaction between Estonians and Finns as well as of the independence culture.
The Finnish-Estonian cultural fund awarded the first symbolic grant of 15,000 euros at the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Convention on Intellectual Cooperation of Estonia and Finland held in Helsinki on 1 December 2017. Over 20 private persons from Estonia and Finland and several organisations have contributed to the initial capital of the fund, which amounts to ca 150,000 euros. The Estonian Government allocated 700,000 euros to the Estonian-Finnish cultural funds from reserves. The Finnish Government supported the cultural fund with 6 million euros. The monetary contributions of the states are proportional to their gross domestic product.
According to the Convention on Intellectual Cooperation (contract for education and cultural cooperation), Finno-Ugrian days are celebrated in Estonia, Finland and Hungary every year on the third weekend of October (the Finno-Ugric peoples living in Russia also joined the tradition after 1991). The world congresses of Finno-Ugric peoples are also very important in terms of the existence and preservation of the Finno-Ugric peoples, their languages and culture. The 7th congress was held from 15 to 17 June 2016 in Lahti and the plan is to hold the 8th congress in the Estonian National Museum in Tartu in 2020.
Estonians from all over the world will gather in 2019 to celebrate their global heritage and culture. ESTO 2019 will take place in Helsinki, Tartu and Tallinn from 28 June to 4 July 2019.