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January 14, 2011
by Välisministeerium
Comments Off on Celebrating Estonia’s euro adoption in Amsterdam

Celebrating Estonia’s euro adoption in Amsterdam

I am always thinking about how to promote Estonia in the best way and already some months ago I had an idea to do something with the NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam, as this always gives some free press attention in the “business world”. The EURO introduction would be a nice moment.
By the end of December I was driving in my car on the way back from a business meeting in Antwerp, together with my partner, and decided to take action. She called the media department of the NYSE exchange and there was immediately a very enthusiastic reaction. On 31st December we had a confirmation by E-mail that Friday 7th January was Estonian EURO day in Amsterdam.
The original idea was that we would have our ambassador Gita Kalmet to sound the gong but unfortunately she could not make it that day. It was not difficult to get Jan Brouwer, the senior of the three honorary consuls in The Netherlands, to do this “once in a life time” kind of job!
To walk on an early Friday morning in the center of Amsterdam and see the Estonian flag hanging on the outside of the stock exchange building gives a special feeling. We were asked to bring some guests along for a small breakfast prior to the opening of the trading day so at 08.30h. not only the three honorary consuls but also some of Jan Brouwer’s family members, Bert Muller (director of stock trading company Nyenburgh Holding with branches in Amsterdam and Tallinn) and my partner were present. All TV screens inside the building showed Jan Brouwer as the special guest that day together with the Estonian coat of arms and the logo of the Estonian EURO coin.
It was great to be in this beautiful building with its long history and to see many of the pictures on the walls with famous guests that sounded the gong before. The fact that the CEO and Chairman of the NYSE Euronext, Mr. Cees Vermaas, was personally our host made the day even more special and showed that they took the entry of Estonia into the EURO zone very serious. After the opening session we had a very nice meeting together. Jan Brouwer received some interesting souvenirs as memory of this special day.
The fact that Mr. Vermaas offered to be of help in case big Estonian companies are interested to get in contact with investors was – business wise – probably the most successful part of the day and gave us a real good feeling.
Following the visit to the stock exchange we went to the Amsterdam consulate where we enjoyed another coffee and a good piece of Amsterdam chocolate cake.
The opening session was sent out on TV by RTL business news. This resulted in several reactions from people that had seen it. Also the biggest Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf will give some more attention to Estonia in the coming days. Even at the big tourist fair in Utrecht yesterday, where Estonia’s representation was too small, several people were speaking about the EURO introduction.
Nicolaas A. van de Griendt
Honorary Consul of Estonia in Zwolle

August 27, 2010
by Välisministeerium
Comments Off on A poem in praise of Estonia

A poem in praise of Estonia

This is a poem in praise of Estonia, sent to the Foreign Ministry and written by Sean Lawlor Nelson

Have you heard about Estonia?

Over a million souls live there

not counting bear, lynx, wolf or hare;

Aside from the fair and cultured mainland,

there is many, many a quiet island

It’s a fairly temperate place,

the first natives were split

from the singular Finnish race

There are cities like Tallinn:

history-steeped and grand,

there are woods lovely dark and deep

there is fruitful farm land…

though not the easiest to farm

I understand

Estonia has been ruled by Nazis,

Russian tsars and Russian reds,

by Danes and even by Swedes like me…

but in its ancient heart,

Estonia has always been free

possessed of a proud

and perserverant identity,

a welcoming country

for travelers who come to see

Now, my fellow yankees

and readers across the seas…

you have heard

about this amazing place: ESTONIA

May 13, 2010
by Välisministeerium
Comments Off on Baltic Cup – where diplomacy meets football

Baltic Cup – where diplomacy meets football

On 8th of May, Copenhagen and Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the 5th Baltic Cup tournament in football. This one-day competition between the ministries of foreign affairs of the Baltic Sea countries takes place every year and brings together the diplomats from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The tradition was started by Lithuania in 2005 in Vilnius followed by the tournaments in Tallinn, Gdynia and Helsinki. The main rationale for the event was to take already good co-operation between the participating countries to more informal ground and this way advancing it further. As Matti Maasikas, the former Secretary General of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affair well put it in his inaugural speech of the tournament in Tallinn, football is throughly global channel of communication and it nearly always works.

Baltic Cup has been an excellent pool for creating contacts and meeting new and old friends. Darius Degutis, previously the special representative of Lithuania in the questions of economic security and currently Lithuanian Ambassador to Israel, was the mastermind of the first Baltic Cup tournament in Vilnius. Cyryl Kozaczewski, the acting Political Director of Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the leading figures of the Polish team. Estonian Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU Gert Antsu and a Liverpool-fan has been Estonian goalkeeper during the last two years. Gints Jegermanis, the Latvian Ambassador to Denmark, may have supported Latvia in their game against their Northern neighbor, but still excelled in his knowledge of Estonian language and could not hide his warmth about the country where he served years ago. Sven Isojärvi, also a very interesting person for Estonia with his Estonian roots, but in the service of Finnish diplomacy.

Of course, Baltic Cup is also about winning and losing like all the other sport events, even if the games in Copenhagen 2010 will go down in history as the most even ones. Denmark was deservedly the best team beating Finland 1:0 in the final. Lithuania, the defending champion and most successful team so far with three victories in a row came third. After conceding two narrow defeats to Poland and Finland in the group stage, Estonia managed to overcome Latvia in the dramatic derby for the fifth place with the goal in the dying seconds of the game.

Next year the Baltic Cup community will meet in Riga. Latvia has promised to deliver what Denmark did this year – organize a fantastic sport and diplomatic event and repeat their success on the field.

Tanel Tang,

Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU

Photo: Estonian Ambassador to Denmark Mrs. Meelike Palli with the Estonian team at Baltic Cup 2010