Estonia is located in Eastern Europe between Latvia and Russia and bordering the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. It is a low-lying country with many lakes and forests and a temperate and relatively wet climate, with moderate winters and cool summers.
Estonia’s culture incorporates elements from indigenous culture (such as the native language, Estonian) and Nordic culture. Estonia and the Baltic region in general have often been viewed as the point where East meets West; this can be seen in the presence of both Western Christian churches and Eastern Orthodox churches. Estonia was formerly part of the USSR until its independence in 1991, and Estonia still contains a sizeable minority of ethnic Russians.
Nowadays, the sense of Estonian identity is strong. Estonian people are generally relatively quiet and reserved, and the family is of great importance. Estonian society generally espouses equality, increasingly liberal views, and commitment to the concept of the welfare state.
Although Estonia is a very small state both in terms of population and geographical size, its innovations relating to state-citizen interactions are unprecedented. Following independence in 1991, Estonia has developed rapidly into a digital state; a country in which access to the internet is a human right and where a citizen can vote in elections online. Central to this movement is the removal of bureaucracy and the promotion of efficiency and transparency. Estonia’s impressive digital infrastructure is unique not just in Europe, but the world. The e-Residency program is the latest initiative, pioneering the idea of a country without borders.