TOP 10 world-famous Estonians

Source: Raigo Pajula

TOP 10 world-famous Estonians

Though you might not know Estonia's most notable people by name, you've likely been touched by their songs, artwork and digital innovations. 

This nation of 1.3 million has produced a multitude of remarkable people. Let's get to know ten of the most accomplished, living Estonians.

Arvo Pärt

In 2017, Arvo Pärt was named the world's most performed living composer for the sixth year running. His minimalist style is influenced by religious music. Pärt's songs can be heard in the background of Hollywood productions like Gravity, Fahrenheit 9/11, Avengers: Age of Ultron and There Will Be Blood.

Kelly Sildaru

At age 13, Kelly Sildaru became the youngest gold medalist in Winter X Games history. Sildaru, a freestyle skier, is also the first medalist from Estonia and the youngest two-time gold medalist. In August 2017, at only age 15, Sildaru won her first World Cup slopestyle competition.

Jaan Roose

One of the world's best slackliners, Jaan Roose has performed alongside Madonna in her 2012 world tour and as a stuntman in the 2016 Assassin's Creed film. With unbelievable balance, Roose holds the world record for most consecutive front flips on a slackline: five. Currently, he is performing in Dubai at Dragone circus La Perle.

Edward von Lõngus

He's been called the Estonian Banksy; a street artist with a mysterious identity known by the pseudonym Edward von Lõngus. His signature stencil artworks can be seen on streets from Tartu to Rome. 

Kerli Kõiv

Kerli Kõiv, known simply as Kerli, has her roots in South Estonia but is internationally known for her electronic hits. Her first studio album Love Is Dead charted in the Billboard 200 and her music has been featured on TV shows like Fringe and So You Think You Can Dance? Kerli has worked with artists Demi Lovato, Tokio Hotel and Katy B. 

Ilon Wikland

Ilon Wikland is the illustrator behind some of the world's most beloved children's stories. Born and raised in Estonia, Wikland moved to Sweden as a refugee in 1944. Working as an artist, Wikland met Astrid Lindgren, best known for her Pippi Longstockings tales, and went on to illustrate over ten of Lindgren's books.

Mark Kostabi

Born in the United States to Estonian parents, artist and musician Mark Kostabi has designed album covers for Guns 'N' Roses, The Ramones and Seether. His works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

Roberta Einer

Womenswear designer and Tallinn native, Roberta Einer's vibrant, embroidered patterns can be found on the racks of Saks Fifth Avenue and on runways around the world. Celebrities such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga have sported her colourful fashions. At only 24, Einer is a graduate of Central Saint Martins and is based in London.

Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann

Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann are friends and cofounders of TransferWise, a startup that lets users send money abroad with lower fees than banks by making local transfers. TransferWise has been praised by Wired, The Economist, Financial Times and BBC. Hinrikus has a background in startups as Skype's first employee.

Jaan Tallinn, Ahti Heinla and Priit Kasesalu

In 2003, three classmates, Jaan Tallinn, Ahti Heinla and Priit Kasesalu, wrote the software for the program that would go on to have 300 million monthly users and be acquired by Microsoft. The program was Skype, a brand so recognisable, it's become synonymous with video chatting.

Last updated : 29.03.2023

In category: History & culture