In 2002, Estonia launched an electronic ID card that has been enthusiastically embraced by its population, who proudly describe to visitors the amount of time they save by not having to visit the bank or the doctor's surgery, or engage with various government services in person. According to a World Bank report in 2015, 2.8 million hours were saved in this way in the previous year. Estonia's love affair with tech has also proved to be a springboard for innovation. Skype was the first big success. Although Sweden and the UK can also lay claim to the company, it was Estonian engineers who made it possible in 2005. According to Startup Estonia's figures, there are currently just over 400 startups in the country, with 90 per cent in early stage development.
Estonia has also extended its digital identity scheme to make it available to anyone in the world. So-called 'e-residency' doesn't make you a citizen of Estonia but it allows you to set up an Estonian (and therefore EU) company online and to access Estonian banking and payment processing services. Since the programme was launched at the end of 2014, 17,000 new e-residents have started around 1,500 new companies.
Perhaps nowhere symbolises modern Tallinn better than Telliskivi Creative City, a former electrical engineering factory next to the Old City that has been transformed into a hip mix of workspaces, event spaces, restaurants and shops, covering 40,000 square metres in ten buildings. Creative City also puts on more than 500 cultural events a year, half of them for free, as well as contributing significantly to local good causes.