Hello! Tere! Hei!

We are excited to announce that ELASA annual meeting 2019 will take place in Estonia and Finland. We’ll meet on the 6th of August in Tartu (Estonia) and the meeting will end in the 17th of August in Helsinki (Finland).

On the 12 day trip we will discover our  finest landscapes!

What is ELASA?

ELASA is the European Landscape Architecture Student Association which promotes the support, cooperation, exchange of ideas and understanding between landscape architecture students throughout Europe. Each year an annual meeting (summer) and a smaller mini-meeting (spring) are arranged. Every meeting is organised in a different country by landscape architecture students of an university from that country.

More information:  http://elasa.org/about-2/

About past meetings: http://elasa.org/last-meetings/

About Estonia (Eesti)

Estonia is a tiny but colourful country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland and to the west by the Baltic Sea. Of Estonia’s 1.3 million people only 69% are ethnic Estonians, the rest being covered by Russians, Ukrainians, Finns, Swedes and etc. Many visitors tend to think that Estonians speak elvish. This magical sounding language is in fact Estonian. This, one of the world’s smallest official national languages, belongs to the Finno Ugric branch of European languages.

Despite of centuries of occupations, Estonians have steadily held onto their national identity and are deeply, emotionally connected to their history, folklore and national song tradition. Estonians are often referred to as the  “singing nation”, best illustrated with the local signature event - Estonian Song and Dance festival which is noted in UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Moreover, notably, the world’s most performed living composer, Arvo Pärt, is an Estonian. Other notable characteristics of the local culture are colourful handicrafts, wooden saunas and rustic food.

The country is one of Europe’s greenest, with more than 50% of the territory being covered by forests, making it a destination for hiking and exploring the well-kept wildlife which is by now extinct in most other European countries. Estonia is surrounded by nearly 3,800 km of coastline, 2,222 islands and islets in the Baltic and just under 700 km of land border giving it a distinctive coastal-country identity.

Estonia has lately being recognised by a new nickname “e-Estonia” with its growing digital society. Tallinn is sometimes dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe and has the continent’s highest number of startups per head of population. For example, a group of Estonians were fundamental in the invention of Skype as well as Mobile-ID solutions, Transferwise and Hotmail.

However, there is a saying that when Apple releases a new iPhone, Estonians hear about it in a month. When a world-famous singer arrives to Estonia, their popularity is already starting to fade. And if an Estonian becomes a victim of a trend in fashion, you can be pretty sure the rest of the world has already moved on.

Therefore, Estonians are known to be full of contradictions. They like to think of themselves as the world’s most progressive people. On the other hand, often, they are also contenders for the title of the Most Traditional Beings in the Universe.

About Finland (Suomi)

Finland is a small sparsely populated country in the Northern Europe. Population of Finland is 5,5 million, and most of them live in the southern or central Finland. Despite of being one of the Nordic countries, Finnish language differs very much from the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. Finnish is actually closest to Estonian, but this will give you endless amount of funny situations since there are many same words that actually mean something totally different. Some people say Finnish is the hardest language in the world to learn, but we’ll let you decide if you agree (you can try to pronounce our longest word epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydelläänsäkäänköhän). In addition to Finnish, also Swedish is an official language of Finland.

Nature is very dear to all Finns, and there’s a lot of it. Over 70% of the area of Finland is covered by forests, which is actually the highest of Europe. There is even a law called “everyman’s right” which allows you to freely roam in the forests and pick berries etc, so that everyone can enjoy nature despite of who actually owns it. There is also a saying that Finland is a land of thousands of lakes, which is true since there is over 180 000 lakes in Finland. Lakes take up almost 10% of the area of Finland. Forests and lakes are considered one of the most Finnish landscapes.

One of the most important traditions of Finland which is saunas. Sauna is probably the most important part of Finnish culture and very core of our national identity. There is one sauna for every two Finns, which is almost 3 million saunas. Some say that the Finns are a bit shy and reserved people, but that doesn’t apply in sauna, where Finns happily share a dark, hot and steamy room with naked strangers.

Finnish people are often seen as shy or withdrawn, but that’s mostly because there really isn’t any ‘small talk’ culture in Finland. Finns often think that if they don’t have anything important to say it’s better to stay quiet, and between Finns it’s not awkward to hang out without talking all the time. Finnish people are also quite straightforward and honest, they usually say things exactly the way they mean them. Finland was recently ranked as the happiest country in the world, but since we are quite modest and maybe a bit pessimistic, many Finns thought it can’t really be accurate.

Finland is a land of pitch black winters and midnight sun summers, home of Santa Claus and Moomin and the most coffee drinking people in the world.

See you soon!

Your Elasa team 2019