Added: Paula Nickel - Date: 14.01.2022 06:30 - Views: 40577 - Clicks: 935
F or Estonians, the most truthful conversations happen in the sauna. We may seem a bit reserved at first, but the sauna is where we truly open up and take time to understand each other better. Some countries, like Germany, see the sauna as a place of solitude.
For us, the sauna is our oldest social network — and perhaps still the best one! For a start, there are no algorithms to ensure you only hear from people who think the same as you. And the truth has never been more important in So we were recently approached by the Estonian Investment Agency — our government agency dedicated to supporting international investors — and they asked if we could tell investors the naked truth about Estonia. Afterall, we already spend a lot of time in the sauna and doing business from Estonia. Our country often gets great media coverage around the world as a business-friendly, tech-savvy, sauna-loving nation.
But investors want to know the truth behind those headlines. So we wrote up 20 of the most misunderstood things we could think about Estonia, which should be helpful to anyone thinking of doing business here or just coming to enjoy one of our saunas. Even people whose job it is to promote Estonia would rather invite journalists to look more deeply into both the opportunities and challenges of living and working in our digital society.
No one is more critical of our digital services than us as Estonians because we expect them to be continuously developed to a high standard — and the best way to achieve that is with free, open and critical discussion.
They never responded! But our connectivity is good anyway. For one thing, it would be a bit tricky to implement. Our country is surprisingly big for a small population and more than half of it is wilderness — not to mention those 2, islands.
Internet access is considered a basic right here. You can pick up 4G at even remote sauna cabins. Stones are the most fundamental feature of a sauna. We heat them then periodically throw water on them to generate steam known as leil. Our oldest and most special type of saunas are known as smoke saunas. They are also the traditional place of birth for Estonians until relatively recently. These smoke saunas pre-date chimneys so a fire is lit beneath a large pile of stones and the smoke fills up the room instead. After half a day of heating, the fire dies out, the smoke is released then we go inside to bathe with just the radiant heat of the stones, which will keep hot for another half a day.
You might be surprised to know that the room we heat the stones inside is not actually the sauna. The sauna is so much more than that. A good sauna is also just as much about cooling down as warming up! And saunas should never be thought of as a competition. Too many people around the world think of the sauna as something unbearable to be endured. In most cases, an unbearable sauna simply has poor ventilation. Our traditional smoke saunas are not just nice and airy, but also quite mild in temperature by modern standards.
No matter how hot it is though, should go cool down as soon as you feel uncomfortable and always drink plenty of water. No one is going to give you a medal for staying in the longest or enduring the highest temperature. Silicon Valley has a huge economy of scale to provide startups with access to local talent and finance. And location is less important in the digital age.
Estonia is the opposite. Our location is very affordable and you can manage your Estonian company online from literally anywhere. Being an independent country also means we can adapt fast with legislation to support emerging industries and new technologies — like we did to legalise delivery robots , ride sharing , AI , and other new startup ideas. In fact, it makes us even more proud.
Estonia successfully attracted these foreign investors and gave them the springboard they needed to build a global company. They could have gone anywhere, but it was smart minds here in Estonia — like Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, Jaan Tallinn, and Toivo Annus — who turned their vision into reality. It worked out so well for them that the founders and early employees of Skype used their success to create and invest in many more Estonian companies afterwards. Openness beats protectionism in the long term. Many of those companies have their own saunas for employees, by the way, which perhaps played some part in their success.
To see an example of that pride, go check out the co-working space Lift99 in Tallinn. Every room is dedicated to people from outside Estonia who made a valuable contribution to our country. The truth is that we have multiple overlapping identities — just like everyone else in the world. Estonia undoubtedly has similarities with the rest of the Nordic region in history, language, culture, style, and cuisine. For example, our country is very stable and has a very high proficiency in English as a second language, and our de tends to be simple, functional and inspired by nature.
Even the cross used on most Nordic flags originated in Estonia. Estonia is particularly affordable, resourceful, flexible, and retains strong links across Eastern Europe and beyond. There are better souvenirs from Estonia.
You can find plenty of Baltic amber in the souvenir shops of Tallinn usually alongside Russian Matryoshka dolls. If you want to pick up a local souvenir then there are plenty of great examples of contemporary Estonian de you can find instead. The simplest is a reflector. We think being straight-talking is polite. This is a simple misunderstanding though. Estonians are efficient with words. We say what we mean and we mean what we say. To Estonians, not keeping a promise or not meaning something literally can also be misinterpreted as rudeness by others.
Neither is right or wrong though. This is just a cultural difference. But the real benefits of using a sauna are even more interesting. Our ancestors were definitely right though in believing the sauna did give them special powers. There are plenty of real health benefits to using a sauna regularly as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle, but we still need more credible research to understand them better and a bit less pseudoscientific bullshit.
Interestingly, the most ificant health benefit of the sauna backed by credible science is also the one least talked about. The sauna is particularly good at strengthening social bonds. Loneliness is one of the biggest health problems we face right now especially among those starting companies and connecting with people more deeply, whether through regular saunas or any other group activity is what matters most for our long term health and happiness.
One study even found that men who sweat together are better at co-operating afterwards. Of course, women are already good at co-operating. It was just the best option. Estonia had few resources at the dawn of re-independence when Estonians faced the tricky task of rebuilding our infrastructure almost from scratch. This interpretation misses the point. Estonia definitely saved a lot of money by investing in digital, but the primary reason that we became a digital society is because it also offers us greater benefits.
Most of us just like technology because of what it enables us to do instead, like… spending less time glued to our technology. Estonians love nature more than anything else, as well as time spent with friends and family preferably with a sauna nearby. We are not just building tech solutions for tech enthusiasts. Everyone deserves the benefits of digitisation, whether they are tech-savvy or not. Our digital society is most notable for the things it helps eliminate: bureaucracy, costs, paperwork, fixed locations and queuing up in government offices.
Most Estonians actually now use their smart devices for digitally-ing instead. The most ificant innovations though are often legal or process-based, not technological. For e-Residency, Estonia rethought how the state operates in a digital world then changed laws to make it possible.
The e-Residency programme is still working hard — not to develop new technology, but to make the experience more user-friendly and develop a supportive ecosystem for e-resident entrepreneurs. And to prove how easy it is for anyone, yes, we did genuinely once start a company in a sauna.
Other countries are launching their own versions of e-Residency too. Estonia is also now launching its digital nomad visa as yet another example of continuous innovation, which also happens to be a legal innovation created in response to evolving technology.Estonia nude
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The naked truth about Estonia