The task of the Ministry of Culture is to promote the internationalisation of Estonian culture, to develop cultural relations and diplomacy between countries, and to participate in the formation of cultural and sports policies in international organisations.
Estonia has concluded nearly 50 cultural cooperation contracts and joint programmes with countries all over the world.
Estonia also partcipates in 15 international organisations, forums and cooperation programmes.
Estonian cultural attachés abroad
The main responsibility of Estonian cultural attachés is to introduce Estonian culture, and preserve and promote cultural relations between two countries. Cultural attachés work in Estonian embassies in Berlin, Brussels, Helsinki, London, Moscow and Paris, our Consulate General in New York employs a cultural affairs coordinator.
In addition to the cultural attachés, Estonian culture is shown to the world at the offices of the Estonian Institute in Budapest and Helsinki. The Estonian ambassador in Brussels also represents Estonian interests that fall within the competence of the Ministry of Culture in the European Union institutions. The ambassador in Paris develops mutual relations and represents Estonia in UNESCO, too.
At a government sitting on 21 November 2013, fundamental principles of cultural policy were adopted, which outline the plan to promote Estonian culture in the years 2014 to 2020.
“The fundamentals of cultural policy until 2020” contains the principles of how the cultural policy is formed and carried out and what the priorities are by each field. When writing these fundamental principles, a couple of hundred propositions were considered, and professional associations and government institutions were involved.
The fundamentals of cultural policy were adopted by the parliament on 12 February 2014.
General principles of international cooperation up to 2020
The state will create opportunities for the internationalisation of culture. Culture has an important role in external relations, export and the country’s public image. The network of representatives of culture is going to be widened, cooperation will be increased with the different ministries and export-promoting organisations, support for the development of cultural exports and cooperation is going to be increased significantly. More than before, the state will increase its efforts to network on target markets outside Europe, for which cultural organisations and creative enterprises have expressed their interest and where they have the capacity to enter the market.
The Ministry of Culture supports the internationalisation of Estonian culture, cultural exports and introducing Estonia through culture via the programme “Estonian Culture in the World”. The programme helps various Estonian creative persons, cultural groups and creative enterprises enter the international stage.
The Ministry of Culture is a co-funder of Estonian projects that participate in the cultural programme of the European Union.
Activities under cultural cooperation agreements are supported by both parties to the agreement – the host country covers the costs of receiving guests and the visiting country takes care of the travel expenses. Grants from the Ministry of Culture are combined with other Estonian sources of financing.
Enterprise Estonia (EAS) supports professional development centres, including their activities that are related to cultural exports. International cooperation grants are also issued by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.
The Ministry of Culture develops foreign relations in cooperation with other ministries, institutions and organisations, and thus contributes to the positive image of our country and to the development of cultural exports.
The most important spokespeople of Estonian culture in foreign countries and actors in international cultural cooperation are the following:
Estonian cultural attachés in London, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Moscow, and Helsinki plus a cultural affairs coordinator in New York;