What’s happening in my country


This page contains specific information about the planning and implementation of smart villages in Estonia. The information aims to orient people on policy planning, key contacts and resources on smart villages. However, it neither aims to be fully comprehensive, nor necessarily reflects the official government or European Commission position.

Explore how smart villages are being implemented in Estonia.

You can also visit the page of the Smart Rural 21 selected village: Virtsu

Key CAP contact(s) :

Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs
Key contact(s) :
Taavi Kurvits (Chief Specialist)
Email : taavi.kurvits@agri.ee
Website : https://www.agri.ee/

Support for Smart Villages under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

  • Smart Villages is seen in Estonia as a key concept that can help overcoming local challenges and addressing local needs in sectors such as transport, energy, healthcare, education and other services. As a result, the Smart Villages initiative features in the needs assessment for the 2021-2027 CAP in Estonia and it has been mentioned as a key area in the Agricultural and Fisheries Development Plan 2030.
  • Due to the reduction in the overall CAP budget during the 2021-27 programming period, the Smart Villages initiative is expected to be relatively small-scale, possibly integrated within LEADER (cooperation). It is also likely that LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGs) will have the opportunity to adapt the smart village concept to their specific local needs (e.g. in terms of eligible beneficiaries, village requirements, potential resources, etc.). In this context, Smart Villages aspects might become one of the key objectives and result indicators within local development strategies.
  • A more detailed needs assessment is still ongoing and therefore, it is not yet confirmed how far Smart Villages might be supported through other CAP measures.

Further information on CAP & smart villages :

Agriculture and fisheries development plan 2030 ( 2018 ) - Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs (Language : Estonian)

Key NRN contact(s) :

Estonian National Rural Network
Key contact(s) :
Meeri Maastik (Specialist)
Email : meeri.maastik@pmk.agri.ee
Website : https://www.maainfo.ee/

Activities of the National Rural Network (NRN) on smart villages

  • The Estonian NRN has been working on the Smart Villages theme since the end of 2017. The NRN’s main goal is to collect and disseminate information and good examples of smart villages and act as a platform that brings together different stakeholders who can contribute to the development of smart villages.
  • The Estonian NRN has been actively involved in EU-level networks and activities, such as contributing to the ENRD Thematic Group on Smart Villages (since 2017), taking part in the first Smart Village Network meeting, and participating in the Workshop on „Smart eco-social villages” organised at the EU level.

Support provided through other national/ regional policies & initiatives

Key organisations & contacts

Key contact(s) :

Kristiina Tammets (Vice-Chairman)
Email : kristiina@tas.ee
Triin Kallas (Manager)
Email : triin@leaderliit.eu

A national association that brings together 20 Local Action Groups (LAGs), represents LAGs’ and other rural stakeholders’ interests as a social partner in lawmaking of LEADER activities; organises training and networking activities; arranges legal aid and advises on legal issues; takes part in various projects and cooperation networks that support international, national, regional or local levels; and participates in different working groups on rural development on national level.

Key activities :
  • Part of selection committee for the Best Village of 2019
  • Workshop on Community Led Local Development at the Estonian Rural Parliament (Maapäev)
  • Participation in international projects

Key contact(s) :

Ivika Nõgel (Board member)
Email : ivika@kodukant.ee

Kodukant has worked with village communities since 1997, including activities similar to the Smart Villages concept. The organisation unites 15 county-based regional and 5 local village networks and thus has direct access to about 600 villages all over Estonia. Priorities of Kodukant include promoting rural lifestyle, advocacy of rural communities, enhancing public involvement and cooperation with local authorities and promoting community-based entrepreneurship.  Kodukant was the first one to start training villages in local development planning which is now common practice in rural communities.

Key activities :
  • Participating in the selection committee for the Best Village of 2019
  • Workshop on Community Led Local Development at the Estonian Rural Parliament

Further key resources

Case study: National Smart Villages Programme, Estonia
E40 ( 02/2022 )
A policy case study on Estonia’s Smart Villages Programme, prepared in the framework of the Smart Rural 21 project.
Language : Estonian

Vision document on Virtsu’s (Estonia) fishery area
Municipality of Virtsu ( 12/2021 – 01/2022 )
A summary document of the vision for the communal use of the old Virtsu fishery area (renamed to Virtsu Fish Factory Center), which was prepared within the local community through a visioning process. This process was part of the Virtsu Smart Village activities and was funded partially by the European Commission’s Smart Rural 21 project.
Language : English

Smart Villages: Revitalising Rural Services
( 09/07/2018 )
A video with Estonian subtitles produced by the ENRD Contact Point summarising what a ‘smart village’ represents from different perspectives.
Language : English, Estonian

Finnish experience and vision
Estonian National Rural Network ( 06/05/2021 )
An online thematic seminar on smart villages `Finnish experience and vision, providing an overview of the development of smart villages in Finland, as well as an Estonian LEADER smart villages cooperation project. The web page features presentations and links to additional information.
Language : English

Smart villages development programme
Kristiina Tammets - Estonian Village Movement (Kodukant) , Estonian National Rural Network , LAG Tartu County Development Association , Ministry of Rural Affairs , Ministry of Social Affairs , Estonian LEADER Union , Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities ( 05/2021 – 12/2022 )
A LEADER cooperation project involving half of Estonia’s 26 Local Action Groups and 24 villages in a national 1.5 year training programme on smart villages. Lead partner: LAG Tartu County Development Association. The expected results include:
  • 24 smart village strategies;
  • 24 pilot actions;
  • a National Smart Village Network to be established and linked with the Europe-wide Smart Rural 21 network;
  • enhancement of public awareness and know-how of Estonian villages, governmental institutions;
  • increased experience of LEADER LAGs in implementing the smart villages approach and planning follow-up activities into their Local Development Strategies in the 2021-2027 programming period.

Language : Estonian

Smart Village – Village of the Future
Estonian National Rural Network ( 13/11/2020 )
A seminar of November 2020 on already existing smart solutions in Estonian rural areas and practical examples of smart villages. The event brought together representatives of villages and regions and LEADER Local Action Groups.
Language : Estonian

Virtsu Smart Village strategy basis
Kulno Keskula - Municipality of Virtsu ( 23/02/2021 )
A presentation provided at the 2nd Smart Village Academy of the Smart Rural 21 project during the “Local energy communities and stakeholder engagement” working group. Virtsu – selected Smart Rural 21 village – aims to increase the village self-sufficiency through establishing a local cooperative company (commercial association), owned by the people in village as a members. Energy generation can be one of the many business options in Virtsu: solar park fed by renewable electricity to the communal services and business center or selling electricity to the grid The aim is to complement this with business development and education, including renewable energy solutions applications and training center and training center for off-shore wind generators maintenance specialists.
Language : English

Summary Highlights of the Smart Village Strategy of Virtsu (Estonia)
Municipality of Virtsu ( 12/2020 )
The Summary Highlights of the Smart Village Strategy of Virtsu has been developed in the context of the ‘Preparatory Action for Smart Rural Areas in the 21st Century’ project funded by the European Commission.
Language : English

Smart Village Strategy of Virtsu (Estonia)
Municipality of Virtsu ( 12/2020 )
The Smart Village Strategy of Virtsu has been developed in the context of the ‘Preparatory Action for Smart Rural Areas in the 21st Century’ project funded by the European Commission.
Language : Estonian

Workshop on Community Led Local Development at the Estonian Rural Parliament (Maapäev)
Estonian Leader Union ( 07/2019 )
Estonian LEADER Union organised a focus group to discuss the opportunities of integrated use of EU structural funds for local development. The results were presented as part of the Rural Manifesto.
Language : Estonian

Village of the year campaign
Estonian Village Movement (Kodukant)
Every second year Kodukant announces the call for candidates for title of Village of the Year. The call is a signal for all 15 counties to start the process for finding the best representative from the county. The candidates will have to describe their strengths and achievements, illustrate their traditions with photos and prepare a 2-minute video about their village. These videos together are shown on national television programme and are voted by the audience to select the favourite of the public. The last morning programme of the season takes place in the favourite village voted by TV audience. All the villages have a second chance to present themselves to the jury consisting of representatives of relevant ministries and rural development organisations. After site visits the jury will vote based on predetermined criteria and select the Village of the Year. County organisations support and advise their representatives throughout the process.
Language : Estonian

Estonian Rural Parliament
Estonian Village Movement (Kodukant)
Every second year the most active rural community leaders gather together for 3-day Rural Parliament. The programme includes site visits to local villages, sessions for exchange of experience, workshops on topics that are acute to rural population and formulation of Manifesto that addressed national and local government institutions.  Last Rural Parliament in 2019 was already 13th time for villages to gather. Rural Parliament is also the place where the Village of the Year (see next) is publicly announced.
Language : Estonian

Survey of Village Elders: Development of institutional cooperation model with village elders for local governments
Estonian Village Movement (Kodukant) ( 2017 )
The survey sought to explore what the role and responsibilities of village elders in rural communities have been and how their role was perceived by local authorities; to analyse how their role might change during forthcoming reform of local administration; to analyse the expectations and needs of village elders in representing their community and to provide the recommendations in creating functional structure for cooperation with local authorities and input for creating instruction material for the statute of village elders.
Language : Estonian

LEADER summer seminar on Smart Villages
Estonian National Rural Network ( 14/08/2019 – 15/08/2019 )
Estonian NRN organises yearly summer seminars for Estonian LEADER LAGs, each year the focus is on different topics. In 2019 it was ‘smart villages’. The event consisted of two parts: study tour for visiting smart LEADER projects and a ‘Smart Villages and LEADER’ seminar. The aim of the event was to introduce the Smart Villages topic to Estonian LAGs, encourage discussion and get input for Estonian NRN next activities of ‘smart villages’.
Language : Estonian

Smart Villages Roundtable
Estonian National Rural Network ( 14/03/2019 )
The roundtable was addressed to Estonian managing authorities, representatives of the LEADER Union, LAGs and the Village Movement. It was a small group discussion to find out the current state of development, share information and think about possible steps in the future of Estonian ‘smart villages’.
Language : Estonian

Smart Villages sub-page
Estonian National Rural Network ( 2018 )
The Estonian NRN put together a Smart Villages sub-page to gather available information and to make it more accessible in Estonian to interested stakeholders. The sub-page is located on the network’s website.
Language : Estonian

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