Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia, and covers approximately 160 square kilometers. The city has a harbor location on the north coast of the country, on the Gulf of Finland. The official language is Estonian, but roughly half the population is Russian speakers. Other languages represented in Tallinn include Ukrainian and Finnish.
There are 65 municipal schools in Tallinn, with approximately two thirds being taught in Estonian, and the other third in Russian. Expatriates moving to Tallinn with children might be interested to know that there are some international schools that have lessons in English, including The International School of Estonia and Tallinn European School.
There are also nine municipal centers for extra-curricular activities. In Estonia, these are called “hobby schools” and they offer children extra education in topics such as art, crafts, music, dance, sport, nature, and languages. The Tallinn Education Department manages the administration and helps to shape the educational policy for all state educational institutions, including these hobby schools and over 100 nursery schools.
Expats living in Tallinn will enjoy completely free public transport, once registered as residents. This includes the 64 bus lines, four tram lines, and seven trolleybus lines that cover routes to all districts, as well as rail links within the city limits. For anyone paying for public transport, a flat fare system is used and tickets are issued as prepaid electronic cards.
The rail network connects Tallinn to Aegviidu to the east of the city, and Paaskula, Keila, Riisipere, Klooga, Kloogaranna and Paldiski to the west. The road network is also good, with highways linking Tallinn with the Lithuanian and Polish border through Latvia. Like the majority of Europeans, Estonians drive on the right hand side of the road. In Tallinn, the speed limit is 50 km/h, with some exceptions.
Tallinn enjoys many cultural events throughout the year, including classical, jazz, and popular music concerts, sporting events, and art exhibitions. It has been said that there is music for every day in Tallinn, with concerts taking place each day in the concert halls and churches around the city. There are also music festivals, including Jazzkaar; the largest jazz event in the Baltic States, and Estonian Music Days, which highlights the recent work of Estonian composers. Expats with a passion for music should further make time for Tallinn Music Week at the end of March, which is the largest indoor music festival in the Baltics.
Life in Tallinn doesn’t just revolve around music, though. Lovers of the outdoors will be similarly at home in Tallinn, with 46 km of coastline to explore. There are a number of activities that take place on the coast, including surfing, windsurfing, and boating.