Tuesday, May 20, 2008

10 famous... Estonians

As I am off to Tallinn once more, here is the latest in my series of 10 heroes from each country. Much harder to choose than usual...

1. Paul Keres- one of the greatest chess players- "unlucky, like my country"
2. Jaan Tonisson- Moral political figure in the foundation of Estonia & a great Liberal.
3. Arvo Part- Innovative and hypnotic composer.
4. Kristjan Paljusalu- Double Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist.
5. Jaan Kross- Elegiac and powerful novelist
6. Jaan Kaaplinski- Poet of brevity and unusual imagery
7. Neeme Jarvi- Internationally renowned conductor
8. Lennart Meri- film maker, writer and President
9. Alfons Rebane- Patriot and the model for John Le Carre's General Vladimir in Smileys People
10. Ernst Opik- Astronomer & co-discover of the Oort-Opik cloud (and Lembit's grandfather)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

No women? Lydia Koidula OR Aino Kallas, perhaps?

Well Behaved Orphan said...

Now that is challenging! Arvo Part is probably the biggest name there and he is not the most famous chap in the world.

How about Erki Nool (Olympic gold medallist at decathlon) and Georg Ots (opera singer).

And if you will accept Baltic Germans as Estonians, the explorers Ferdinand von Wrangel and Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen.

mel said...

Cicero, this is hard...is this by blood or by identity, or by birthplace?

You can get much more broad, such as:

Karl Ernst von Baer (father of embryology) - birthplace

Wilhelm Ostwald (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1909) - study (Tartu PhD)

Lachlan Murdoch (son of Rupert Murdoch) - half Estonian by blood

Ornella Muti (top Italian acress and model) - half Estonian by blood

And with Estonians per se, you forgot General Laidoner and maybe even Põdder. People may not like Päts but he's famous. I agree Koidula is missing. So is Erkki-Sven Tüür. And despite her politics, Erika Salumäe (and yes, Erki Nool too). And perhaps Carmen Kass?

Good on you for listing Alfons Rebane, but I think Kaplinski is a bit of a personal take...