Independence Day festivities in Berne

Estonian Independence Day festivities took place on February 21st.

 Nearly 70 Estonians and estophiles gathered at the Altes Tramdepot restaurant in Bern to celebrate the 97th anniversary of Estonia’s declaration of independence. The annual meeting of the Swiss Estonian Association was followed by a festive luncheon enlivened by a performance of choral music and a presentation by author Helen Ree of her book The Ordinary Estonian.

The Association’s president, Mirjam Loertscher, gave an overview of the Association’s activities over the past two years and of the annual meeting. The Association’s bylaws have been updated and a new board elected, as follows:

President: Mirjam Loertscher (Winterthur, ZH)
Vice president: Maarja Bircher-Suits (Zurich, ZH)
Finance officer: Kristi Leibur-Nagel (Wintherthur, ZH)
Playgroup manager: Kirsti Rosenberg (Basel, BS)
Musical programming and choir director: Jane Tiik (Basel, BS)

Internal auditors: Tauno Kangur and Tiina Luige (Tannay, GE)

Certificates of recognition were presented to the following:

- Ene Meriste has, in addition to keeping the Association’s accounts for the past 18 years, compiled a history of the Association, transmitted its documents to the Estonian national archive, and helped with translation work and the publication of the Association’s German-language newsletter.

- Helen Ree is the author, with Karin Nemec, of The Ordinary Estonian, a widely acclaimed photo essay that lets others see who we are and how we live.

- Grete Bühler is one of the founders of the Swiss Estonian playgroup and has made other major contributions to the Association over the years.

Mirjam Loertscher read aloud Independence Day greetings from the Estonian Ambassador in Switzerland (located in Belgium), Gert Antsu, in which he said that Estonians living abroad enrich their homeland by contributing new knowledge and experiences as well as greetings from honorary consuls in Geneve (Matteo Inaudi) and Zurich (Hans Graf).

The Association plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Estonian independence with a series of events, from concerts and art exhibits to wine tasting and beer making, and would like your input. Send us your ideas!

Upcoming events:

March 17 (Schaffhausen) and 18 (Winterthur): Performances by the Estonian Music School Chamber Choir, conductor Janne Fridolin. The Winterthur concert will be preceded by cocktails at the Frosch café starting at 5 p.m. All Estonians and friends are welcome!

March 27, Lucerne, the Estonian and Swiss national football (soccer) teams will meet in a Euro 2016 qualifier. Tickets available via the Estonian Football Assocation or

Thank you for all who participated and Long Live Estonia!!

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