Lessons from Estonia: Farewell Uhljebistan, Welcome to the Future?

Total Croatia News

June 24, 2019 – If other countries in Eastern Europe can do it, why can’t Croatia. Mighty Estonia, leading the world in the approach to the future. Some lessons… 

The last time I was in Tallinn was in 1996, and my visit coincided with the Scottish football team due to play Estonia in some competitive game. I say due to play, as the Estonians never turned up, and Scotland kicked off on a pitch with no opponents. The match was abandoned two seconds later, and Scotland was awarded a 3-0 victory. The abiding memory was the chanting of the Scottish supporters:

“One team in Tallinn, there’s only one team in Tallinn.”


My first visit was four years earlier during my time in Russia in 1992. And, charming as Tallinn and Estonia were, it was hard to think that this Baltic republic, which was struggling to remove the shackles of its Soviet domination, would ever amount to anything significant on the world stage. 

But it has. 

And how. 

A little innovative thinking from the early days of independence in 1991 to Estonia in 2019, the market European leader in digitalisation and progressive practices. 

A tiny country of 1.3 million people with no outstanding resources of its own now one of the global leaders of future trends. 

In the words of the World Economic Forum:

Estonia is often described as a genuinely digital society. Today a majority of government services are offered 24/7 online, and data integrity is ensured by blockchain technology. You can use medical e-prescriptions, file taxes, or even buy a car online without needing to go to the vehicle registration office. There are only a few things that you still need to do in the analog world, such as get married or buy property.

Why spend your life waiting in line for a piece of paper that proves you are you? Governments must learn to provide public services as efficiently as Amazon sells books: no physical presence, no cost of application, no opening hours.

For some weird and unexplainable reason, people normally expect better services from private companies than from their own governments. This is not the case for our citizens in Estonia. They expect a lot from their government and are constantly demanding us to improve and innovate. Estonians expect that if the private sector is constantly innovating, the government should be, too.

Take a moment to learn a little more from this CNBC International video feature, How Estonia became one of the world’s most advanced digital societies.

If Estonia can do it… 

As lovely as Estonia is – and it IS – Croatia, with its huge tourism industry, great weather, safety, natural beauty and relaxed lifestyle, is a natural draw for the ever-growing army of digital nomads who are taking their wealth-creating lifestyles to the most interesting parts of the planet. It is estimated that there will be 1 billion digital nomads by 2035. If Croatia, with all its natural advantages, could attract just 2% of them, that would be 20 million digital nomads, quietly spending independent of the tourist season – more than the number of tourists currently visiting Croatia each year. 

If Croatia is willing to learn lessons from others, there is so much potential – so much.


Lessons from Rwanda in how to promote tourism through football, for instance.  

Lessons from Macedonia in how to promote wine.  

Lessons from Malaysia in how to promote medical tourism.

Lessons from New Zealand and Northern Ireland in how to promote Game of Thrones. 

Lessons from Swaziland, Bosnia and Serbia in how to promote the Chamber of Economy

Will sometime soon the citizens of the Kingdom of Uhljebistan say enough is enough and fight to be on the same playing field of Rwanda, Estonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia and Swaziland (now known as Eswatini)? 

To learn more about being a digital nomad in Croatia, check out the Total Croatia guide



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