January 1st 2011 sees the northern European country of Estonia become the latest country to adopt the Euro and enter its 12 months as one of two European Capitals of Culture in 2011, the largest cultural event in the history of Estonia with over 7000 cultural events planned.
To welcome Estonia’s `Capital of Culture’ year in 2011, the city of Tallinn will host an opening ceremony and music festival, centring around the city’s Theatre Square on 31st December with fireworks at midnight, lighting up the city’s coastal location on the Bay of Finland.
The event will be attended by Estonia’s Prime Minister, Andrus Ansip, accompanied by his Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts, Valdis Dombrovskis and Andrius Kubilius, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Olli Rehn and the former president of the bank of Estonia, now European Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas.
Tallinn’s festivities will also be open to the public, many thousands of whom are expected to throng into the city’s bars and restaurants and enjoy music played on a central stage in Theatre Square by the Estonian folk band Kukerpillid, rock music from Tanel Pada & The Sun, headed up by former Eurovision Song Contest winner Tanel Padar, and from the pop band, IIRIS.
Jaanus Mutli from the Tallinn 2011 Foundation said “Simultaneously with the start of Capital of Culture we will also celebrate the introduction of the European joint currency, the Euro. Events that affect everyone in Estonia”.
Estonia Tourst Board’s director, Tarmo Mutso, said “Tallinn is going to be buzzing every day throughout 2011 as visitors, performers and venues make the most of Tallinn’s role as Capital of Culture. This is a fantastic time to be here. The city’s hotels and event organisers have responded admirably to the challenges presented by being the cultural capital with high quality hotel packages and some world class events.”
As the city warms up to its cultural year on 31st December outdoor screens will project the New year’s Eve events into Estonian homes via Estonian TV, the Theatre Square will house cultural kiosks for one night and big screens will also show Estonian Ball, attended by international guests after the International Theatre Festival `A Winter Night’s Dream’ in the City Theatre.
The traditional speech made by Estonia’s President Toomas Henrik Ives just before midnight will also be projected onto the screens.