E-Estonia—“Europe’s Silicon Valley” or a New “1984”?



The Estonian state has in its responses to political risks stemming from the cyberspace the primary goal to be more and more efficient and providing services within a close cooperation with the business. The German state, on the contrary, is based on hierarchies and loyalties, inner systems based on a strong civil servant sector with tendencies of keeping the status quo. Estonia, a country as big as Munich, with only 1.3 million inhabitants, already has a fully digitalized administration. The Estonian society is integrated which also counts for the elderly. For all of them there is tax declarations with just a few clicks, a daily life without papers, and the possibility for e-voting. The difference to Germany is huge. It is a question of an open mindset diminishing the power of bureaucracy in the country. But this does not fall out of the blue. Even Estonia had its wake-up call, helping Estonians to become experts in cyber defense today. However, back in 2007, the country was the target of a major cyberattack against its official cyber structures.


  1. BBC news. (2017). How a cyber attack transformed Estonia. 27 April 2018. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  2. Bershidsky, L. (2015). Estonia’s Overhyped Silicon Valley. In, 5 March 2018. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  3. Drechsler, W. (2018). Software—das Ende des Staates? Was Europa von Estland lernen kann. In Rat für Forschung und Technologieentwicklung Re:thinking Europe (pp. 288–305). Positionen zur Gestaltung einer Idee, Wien.Google Scholar
  4. Estonian world. (2013). Estonia to export its Data Exchange Layer X-Road to Finland. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  5. Hartleb, F. (2013). Digital campaigning and the growing anti-elitism: The Pirates and Beppe Grillo. European View, 12(1), 135–142. (Springer Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hartleb, F. (2016). E-government. Von Estland lernen? Innovative Verwaltung. Fachzeitschrift für modernes Verwaltungsmanagement, 7–8, 38–41.Google Scholar
  7. Hartleb, F. (2017). Montgelas 4.0. Der Freistaat Bayern auf dem Weg zu einem modernen e-government. Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Umfrage im Auftrag von Adobe Systems. Munich. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  8. Hartleb, F. (2018). Die Mär von der Zweiklassengesellschaft durch Digitalisierung. Empirische Befunde aus dem IT-Land Estland. Verwaltung & Management. Zeitschrift für moderne Verwaltung, 24(2), 100–106.Google Scholar
  9. Heath, R. (2017). Test driving the ultimate connected society: (E-)stonia. In Politico, 23 May 2018. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  10. Heller, N. (2017) Estonia, the digital republic. In New Yorker, December 2017, Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  11. Ilves, T. H. (2017). Dankesworte for the win of the Reinhard Mohn-Prize 2017 ‘Smart country’. Speech manuscript, Bertelsmann-Stiftung, Gütersloh, 29 June 2017. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  12. Kalb, J. (1999). After technocracy and postmodernism. Modern Age, 41(2), 168–172.Google Scholar
  13. Kaminski, K. (2015). Estland, das Silicon Valley Europas? In Spiegel online, 14 March 2015. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  14. Kotka, T., Alvarez del Castillo, C. I. V., & Korjus, K. (2015). Estonian e-Residency: Redefining the National-State in the Digital Era. Working Paper, University of Oxford. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  15. Leyden, J. (2017). Never mind the WPA2 drama… Details emerge of TPM key cockup that hits tonnes of devices. The Register, 16 October 2017. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  16. Merten, M. (2018). E-residency. Taugt Estland als Vorbild für andere Staaten? In WirtschaftsWoche, 23 March 2018. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  17. Precht, D. (2018). Jäger, Hirten, Kritiker. Eine Utopie für die digitale Gesellschaft. München: Goldmann.Google Scholar
  18. (2017). ECB’s Draghi rejects Estonia’s virtual currency idea. 7 September 2017. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  19. Schmundt, H. (2016). Estland. Cyblabla in Laptopia. In Der Spiegel, 9 January 2016 (pp. 102–103).Google Scholar
  20. Scott, M. (2014). Estonians embrace life in a digital world. In New York Times, 8 October 2014. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  21. Sikkut, S. (June, 2017). Creating the super smart society. IM io. Das Magazin für Innovation, Organisation und Management, (2), 94–97.Google Scholar
  22. Simson, M. (2018). Presentation, E-Estonia, E-Estonia-showroom, Tallinn.Google Scholar
  23. Solvak, M., & Vassil, K. (2016) E-voting in Estonia. Tartu. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  24. Sundberg, M. (2014). Old world language families. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  25. Vaarik, D. (2015). White Paper on Estonian’s digital ideology. Tallinn. Accessed on May 27, 2018.
  26. Vinkel, P., & Krimmer, R. (2017). The how and why to internet voting an attempt to explain E-Stonia. In R. Krimmer et al. (Eds.), Electronic Voting (pp. 178–191) Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TallinnEstonia

Personalised recommendations