What is the role of culture in Estonia?

Ragnar Siil

And Estonia is very cultural country. I mean you have to have a very strong home market to have a very strong possibility to go outside. Estonians are crazy in being involved in culture. Estonians love culture.

Last year in Estonia there was 2 million theatre visits and we have 1,3 million people. That means that everybody goes to the theatre. Estonia has the number one concerts visits per capita in the Europe. So we love music. We have the biggest song festivals and dance festivals. We have 40-50.000 people being involved in these activities. We have more than 80.000 people in different folk groups, choirs. Everybody sings. We are the singing nation. We have the number one living composer in the world Arvo Part. The most played living composer in the world in the last 3 years. Composer that has been used the most in Hollywood film in the last 5-6 years. We have world famous conductors, currently conducting the national orchestras in Paris, in Tokyo and all around the world.

So when you talk about the size of the country, if you talk about the military, if you talk about national resources that we have, yes, we are a small player. But when you talk about the culture potential I do not think that Estonians would agree that we are a small player. And just to finish, I think we have one role model. And the role model is Iceland. Iceland has 400.000 people. It is even village in Estonian terms. However when you look at the absolute numbers of Icelantic culture and culture export. If you look at absolute numbers, not per capita but absolute numbers. When you look at digital services, if you look at design or most importantly if you look on what happens in the music industry in Iceland. It is if not the world player it is regional, it is European player. It is bigger than countries that are 3, 4, 5-times bigger of its size. So size does not matter all the time. So that is probably a good message for many.

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