A former Soviet state on the Baltic Sea, Estonia gained its independence in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. It is currently considered one of the success stories on the Baltic with an advanced and high-income economy. Estonians receive many benefits from the state, similar to western European countries, such as universal healthcare, free education, and extended maternity leave.
Estonia is one of the first countries to offer elections over the internet and also offers e-residency, which allows non-Estonians to access services such as company formations, banking, and taxation remotely, via a smart card in order to sign documents.
Its language, Estonian, is very closely related to Finnish, as is its cultural identity where many people identify with both Nordic as well as Baltic countries. For example, the sauna culture incorporates elements from its neighbors in Scandinavia. Estonia celebrates independence on February 24th each year.