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 2015 PISA study, the same study that put Finland on the map over 15 years ago, rank Estonian basic education as the best in Europe and 3rd best in the world. Consequently, Estonia also has a literacy rate of 100%.

Best basic education in Europe 

Estonia ranked 3rd after Singapore and Japan in terms of best basic education, according to PISA 2015. 

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 169cm and 180cm for men.

Quality of life and opportunity

In addition to education, between the years 2014 and 2016, Estonia has gained attention in various international measurements like internet freedom (1st globally), economic freedom (9th globally), press freedom (7th in Europe, 10th globally), overall quality of life (23rd globally) and prosperity (31st globally). This equates to an excellent business climate, and the most startups per capita in Europe.

Last updated : 12.03.2019

In category: History & Culture