Less than one month until ESTO 2019 arrives to Finland and Estonia


ESTO 2019, the XII Global Estonian Cultural Days will arrive in Finland and in Estonia by connection in less than a month. The festival will take place in Helsinki, Tartu and Tallinn following the theme “Our Future” with a focus on youth. Tickets are now on sale and branded festival gear is available for purchase. ESTO 2019 runs from 27 June 2019 to 3 July 2019.

The multifaceted and spectacular opening ceremony will initiate the ESTO festival in Helsinki on Friday, 28 June 2019. A youth seminar discussing the future in the Helsinki Cathedral and the opening concert “Bridge Across Times” debut the festival. In the Senate Square, Estonian craftsmen will showcase their art and design work throughout the day. Read more about it here.

For the first time in the history of ESTO, the festival starts in Finland and the opening events in Helsinki are organized by Finnish-Estonians. According to Sirle Sööt, Chair of the ESTO 2019 Executive Committee, Finland is the only place to start the festival. “Currently, the largest Estonian community outside Estonia is in Finland, with as many as 60,000 Estonians living there permanently. Thus, the Estonian cultural days increase awareness of the Estonian identity and contribute to continuous development moving forward, emphasizing Estonian culture as a whole” emphasized Sööt.

Aavo Reinfeldt, Chairman of the Estonian Central Council (ÜEKN), articulates the need to uphold the ESTO tradition as well as the importance of continuity. “It is incredibly important that the ESTO heritage is treated with respect. It played a crucial cultural and political role and Estonians around the world must remember its history.

According to Anne-Ly Reimaa, Head of International Relations in the Ministry of Culture, this year has begun with a milestone. “ESTO still feeds the identity of Estonians living in different parts of the world and it is important that the Estonian state recognizes and supports the efforts of foreign communities to preserve the Estonian language and culture,” explained Reimaa.

ESTO 2019 takes place in Helsinki, Tartu and Tallin from 27 June 2019 to 3 July 2019.

Tickets allow the holder entry to ESTO events such as the opening ceremony on the Tallink ship and the final ball at the Seaplane Harbour. Read more about tickets here. A more detailed program of the festival is available on the ESTO 2019 website, estofestival.com.

The first global gathering of Estonians – that later earned the name ESTO – occurred in Toronto in 1972 and continued to take place every four years since then. Those who escaped Soviet Union occupied Estonia gathered during the festival week to talk to the world about Estonia and take responsibility for preserving the Estonian language and culture. Along with preserving the culture, the aim of ESTO was always to send political messages. To this day, the National Congress, Ball and Song and Dance Festivals remain in the ESTO program.

ESTO 2019 thanks its partners and sponsors: EV100 and the State Chancellery, AS Tallink Group, Estravel, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hedman & Partners Law Office, the City of Helsinki, the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki, EAS in Helsinki, Helsinki Cathedral, Helsinki congregation, Kallio congregation, Helsinki Estonian House, Tuglas Society; SVYL, Anni Kindergarten, Helsinki Central Library OODI, the City of Tartu, National Archives, Estonian Museum of Foreign Affairs, VEMU, Baltic Heritage Network, Gunpowder Cellar, University of Tartu, EELK, Estonian National Museum, Apparatus Factory, Tartu Song Festival Museum, Tartu Nature House, the City of Tallinn, Tallinn City Center, Telliskivi Creative City, History Museum, Seaplane Harbour, Song and Dance Festival Foundation, EstDocs, Estonian Institute, Estonian Cultural Society Association, Estonian World, Enterprise Estonia, EAS, Gambling Council, Rakvere Theatre and the Estonian Academy of Sciences.