Location

Estonia is a small country. Its area (45 227 km²) is similar to that of The Netherlands yet the population is ten times smaller (1 439 197 people as of 1 January 2000). Estonia’s neighbours are Russia in the East, Latvia in the South, Sweden in the West and Finland in the North. Its land border is 645 km long, with half of it running along rivers and lakes. Estonia's mainland neighbours are Russia and Latvia. The sea border has been established in agreement with Latvia, Finland, Russia and Sweden.

Estonia is located in Northern Europe, on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, thus lying in the northern part of the temperate zone and in the transition zone between maritime and continental climate. Thanks to the warm North-Atlantic Stream, the entire Northern Europe (including Estonia) has a considerably milder climate than, for instance, the same latitudes in North America. In the same time, the Baltic Sea causes significant differences between the climate of coastal and inland areas.

The northernmost point of Estonia is Vaindloo Island (59º49'17” N; on the mainland — Purekkari Peninsula, 59º40'27” N) and the southernmost point lies near Naha village (57º30'32” N). The extreme points in the West and in the East are, respectively, Nootamaa Island (21º46'06” E; on the mainland — Ramsi Peninsula, 23º24'28” E) and Narva (28º12'33” E). The greatest distances by road reach 400 km. In terms of travel time the most distant places are small islands with no regular boat or air traffic (the furthest is Ruhnu Island, 65 km from the mainland).

For a small country like Estonia its political-geographic location means, above all, what are the great powers that surround it. For Estonia, such great powers have been mainly Germany and Russia, but also Sweden during its period of ascendancy in Europe. From the aspect of economic geography, Estonia's location on the Baltic Sea provides the country with a sea connection with many countries, in particular the Baltic Sea countries. Also, Estonia constitutes a part of the North Eastern coast of Europe, through which Northern Russia communicates with the rest of the world. The economic-geographic position of Estonia has changed with the times. The main economic partners of Estonia are the member states of the European Union, to which accession was gained in 2004. Connections with other Baltic states are second-rate, while ties with the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries are becoming increasingly marginal.

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