Tour #04 to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, has been curated by dotsandplanes
for Designregio Kortrijk.

Digital (r)evolution

Estonia was declared independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. With no resources and little means at hand, the country managed to develop itself rapidly into an e-government and a true forerunner with regards to e-services. This not only for its 1,3 million inhabitants, but also for the growing group of international e-residents that are starting up businesses remotely. Now, more than 71% of the country’s GDP is created by the services industry and entrepreneurship is considered second nature. Skype was born here in 2003 and in 2011, Microsoft paid $8,5 billion for the take-over. This large influx of money kickstarted a boom of start-ups, with notable names such as the successful moneytransfer platform Transferwise and the investment platform Funderbeam.

Meet insiders

Discover influencers from the government, get inspired by entrepreneurs from the disruptive start-up scene and meet innovative makers and designers who are creating  products ranging from direct-to-consumer e-bikes to intelligent flat-pack architecture.

Achitecture & Local lifestyle

Tallinn is an easy to navigate city with less than 500,000 inhabitants. The architectural context is mainly medieval, with strong reminders from the soviet era and hip new quarters that are being populated by young entrepreneurs and cultural players. Within the urban context of the capital, an international gastronomic scene is growing. Other important lifestyle elements include a strong appreciation of the outdoors, sauna culture and togetherness, a reminder of its geographical proximity to Scandinavia and Helsinki particularly.

program details

Below you find the highlights of the tour

13 Sept

Stay at Hotel Telegraaf*****

Travel Kortrijk-Brussels-Tallinn
The high-end Hotel Telegraaf is recommended as Tallinn’s most qualitive hotel. It is located right in the historical centre and at walking distance from interesting areas such as Rotermann and the hip Telliskivi quarter. The hotel has 84 comfortable rooms and is housed in the imposing former post office.

Welcome & city walk

Veronika Valk - design and architecture advisor for the Estonian ministry of culture shares her vision on today’s challenges of Estonia. This introduction is followed by a walk through the historic city centre including some must-see viewpoints overlooking Tallinn and its bay.

E-Estonia showroom

Estonia became independent from the Soviet Union in ’91 and took its chance for a total reset with an e-government that offers a broad range of e-services to its inhabitants and even e-residency to foreign companies. Key to the success? The strong branding of the Estonia, realised by a government that is a true diver of innovation as well as a trustworthy haven.

Restoran Pegasus & Whisper Sister

Dinner and nightlife
We dine in the old city at Pegasus, a must-visit bistro and popular urban hang-out, known for its suberb version of the local black bread. Since ’68, Pegasus is housed in one of the few remaining Soviet buildings in the mainly medieval city. Follow us after dinner to the hidden cocktail bar Whisper Sister and enjoy its authentic interior and drinks to die for.
14 Sept

Linnahall: Soviet Heritage

Architecture & TAB Biennale
Curator Carl-Dag Lige of the Museum of Estonian Architecture introduces us to key buildings of the past 100 years in a stunning exhibition of architectural models. He will also walk us to the nearby Linnahall, built for the ’80 Moskou Olympics, for an exclusive tour of the interior, which has now been closed for the general public.

Start-ups talk about ‘Location independency’

New digital reality
We lunch at the new Balti Jaam market by Koko architects and walk to the Lift99 co-working hub in the hip Telliskivi area for a show-and-tell by e-residency and the fundraising platform Funderbeam. Then off Jobattical, who are putting those in search for worldwide work and living experiences in touch with businesses and ambitious cities.

Visit Transferwise HQ

Tech and innovation
“To have hit break-even just six years on from launch shows how strong the foundations of our business are,” says Taavet Hinrikus, CEO of the international moneytransfer start-up. “This is just the starting point. With the unique platform we’ve built, we’re looking forward to creating a new kind of financial services for the future.”

Seaplane harbour - Restoran Noa

Development Tallinn Bay
During the Soviet era, access to the coast was forbidden for military reasons. In Tallinn, only imposing buildings such as Seaplane harbour and the Linnahall we built right at the bay. Today, the coast is slowly getting developed. Restaurant Noa is one of the only places right at the water that combines top cuisine and an oustanding sunset over the sea.
15 Sept

Ampler e-bikes

Making & direct-to customer
Forget about weighty electrical bicycles with heavy batteries. This Ampler e-bike has a sharp design, an urban feel and a battery hidden in the frame. Sales happen exclusively online, which makes for a honestly priced product, which has been optimised for simple maintenace. Accelerate in style and join us for a test ride!

Kodasema’s vision

Flat-pack architecture
Kodasema thinks about ‘light’ housing alternatives. The Koda-house is freestanding, measures 26,4m2, has no heavy foundation, and is packed with architectural details and green technology. Assembly of the flat-pack elements takes max 7 hours. Call it ‘affordable luxury’ for urban nomads or a clever summer house, work unit or granny-flat.

Sauna culture

Local lifestyle
Saunas are omnipresent in Estonian homes but also in factories, offices and even in the smallest apartements. Important business decisions are taken in the sauna and therefore we can’t miss out. We round up with some ‘togetherness’ in the woods near Tallinn with a bbq, a drink and Russian sauna for those who are up for it!
late afternoon

Lennart Meri Tallinn airport

Travel Tallinn - Brussels - Kortrijk
‘Estonia’s primary airport has positioned itself to be ‘the cosiest airport’ in Europe. Tallinn has outfitted the terminal with plenty of deep leather chairs, a free Skype booth and a library complete with a book borrowing system.’ Source: Estonian World

dotsandplanes is creating an amazing tour in any case, but be aware that the schedule might be subject to slight changes.

tour guides

Tour guides Joost Vanhecke and An Michiels have an in-depth knowledge of the European design scene. They work on commercial and cultural projects within the field of design and architecture and are both part of the core team behind the international Biennale Interieur in Kortrijk (Belgium).
In 2014, Joost and An founded dotsandplanes together with digital strategist Brik De Maeyer.

Joost Vanhecke

Joost has an in-depth knowlegde of the European design industry and over the years has initiated, curated and managed numerous projects ranging from exhibitions to product showcases, temporary restaurants and pop-up shops. Joost beliefs that sharing is rewarding and teaches at the Rubika school of design in France.

An Michiels

An worked 10 years as a project architect in London (UK). In 2010 she shifted her focus and obtained an MA Curating Contemporary Design at Kingston University (UK). She initiated design events and works in communication and design writing.


Participation fee starting at 1.760 euro (incl VAT) per person.


  • international return flight with LOT Polish Airlines in economy class from Brussels to Tallinn
    incl. Taxes & fuel
  • local transfers by coach
  • two nights in Hotel Telegraaf****
    inc. breakfast
  • all meals with basic beverage package
    as listed in the program
  • visits - entrance fees - activities
    as listed in the program
  • Dutch-speaking guides travel along from Belgium and English-speaking specialists in Tallinn
  • Transfer from Kortrijk to Brussels airport on September 13th
  • Transfer from Brussels airport to Kortrijk on September 15th
  • VAT & handling fee


  • Booking fee of 20 euros / billing address (will be added to your invoice)
  • Optional travel insurance
  • personal expenses

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