Tallinn becomes European Capital of Culture and celebrates Estonia's entry in the Euro area

On the 1st January 2011, Estonia will have two reasons for celebration. At the same time the country will become the seventeenth country in the Euro area, its capital city, Tallinn, will become the European Capital of Culture. To mark both these events, an opening ceremony featuring an evening concert and fireworks will take place in the city.

The opening ceremony of the Tallinn European Capital of Culture is being arranged by Tallinn 2011 Foundation, Estonia National Opera and Estonian Public Broadcasting in cooperation with Government Office, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, City of Tallinn, Bank of Estonia and Solaris.

In cooperation with the Estonia National Opera and the Estonian Public Broadcasting a party programme has compiled to please everyone, young and old, including the legendary folk band Kukerpillid, rock favourite Tanel Padar & The Sun and IIRIS, who has turned the Estonian pop scene inside out.

The Theatre Square will house 'culture kiosks' for one night and the outdoor screens will transmit the New Year’s Eve programme on Estonian TV. Through special screens people on the Theatre Square can be part of the Estonia Ball, the afterparty of the international theatre festival 'A Winter Nights Dream' in the City Theatre, as well as events going on in the NO99 Straw Theatre, New World Community and CAME (Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia) by the seaside.

At midnight two spectacular fireworks displays will flare up over the brand new Capital of Culture,  one from the roof of Solaris centre across the Estonia Opera house and another over the Bay of Tallinn.

Estonia will celebrate culture with Euro in the pockets

At the very same time, Estonian will shift to Euro currency. As decided by the European Economic and Financial affairs Council in July 2010, Estonia will become on 1st January 2010 the seventeenth country to be part of the Euro area.

In order to get prepared for the changeover, Estonia has ordered around 45 million banknotes and 194 million coins to introduce the Euro in cash. The banknotes will be borrowed from a National Central Bank in the Euro area (Finland), in line with the practice in the recent changeovers. The Euro coins are to be provided by the Mint of Finland following a public tender procedure.

During the first two weeks of the changeover, Estonian kroons and Euro will circulate in alongside each other. Shops are however expected to give change in Euro only whenever possible. This is important in order to speed up the changeover and reduce the cost of having to handle two currencies simultaneously.