What Estonia does best

Source: Remo Savisaar

What Estonia does best

When Estonia scores high in international rankings, it is a topic of conversation for the Northeastern European nation. Here are some of the country's most surprising and entertaining strengths. 


The results of the 2018 PISA study, the same study that put Finland on the map over 15 years ago, rank Estonian basic education as the best in Europe. Estonia’s 15-year-olds rank 1st in reading, science and mathematics in Europe while in the world, Estonia’s students rank 5th in reading, 8th in mathematics and 4th in sciences. Consequently, Estonia also has a literacy rate of 100%.

Best basic education in Europe 

Estonia ranked 5th in terms of reading, 8th in math and 4th in sciences in the world, according to PISA 2018. 

Photo by: Erik Riikoja

Distinct language

Estonian is considered the 5th most challenging language for native English-speakers to learn, yet sounds whimsical and fairytale-like. Only approximately 1.1 million people in the world speak this extraordinary language. The Estonian Institute asked foreigners studying Estonian their opinions about the language. Their responses indicate that the most beautiful Estonian words are lauluhääl, laulupidu and lauluväljak (all referring to singing and song), while the strangest words are küsimusi, jäääär and loll. The word öö, meaning night, belonged to both lists, making it one of the most lovely and peculiar words. 

Clean environment

The World Health Organization has ranked Estonia's air as some of the cleanest air in the world, along with countries like Finland and Iceland. The fact that over half of Estonia's land area is covered by forest (52%), making it the 6th most forested nation in Europe, contributes to the pure air quality. Nature reserves make up about one fifth of Estonia's wilderness, ensuring preservation for the future.

A breath of fresh air  

The large amount of trees and small amount of pollution in Estonia make its air quality one of the best in the world, according to the WHO.  

Photo by: Jaanus Ree

Top models

Did you know that Estonia produces more fashion models per capita than any other country in the world with about 74 models per one million people? It certainly doesn't hurt that Estonians are the 3rd tallest people in the world, according to century long study. The average height for Estonian women is 169 cm and 180 cm for men.

Quality of life and opportunity

In addition to education, Estonia has gained attention in various international measurements like internet freedom (2nd globally), economic freedom (15th globally), press freedom (11th globally), overall quality of life (25th globally) and prosperity (21st globally). This equates to an excellent business climate, and the most startups per capita in Europe.

Last updated : 22.04.2021

In category: History & culture