2013 is the year of cultural heritage in Estonia. Although cultural heritage has meant formerly mainly a cultural property or “tangible” cultural heritage, then nowadays it has also expanded to natural heritage and intangible cultural heritage which means living cultural traditions.
An important part of the intangible cultural heritage is Estonian regional dialects. According to the 2011 Population Census 14.6% of the native Estonian speakers can speak some of the Estonian dialects. 21% of them speak North-Estonian dialects, 78% South-Estonian dialects and 1% North-Eastern Estonian coastal dialect. The share of the cultural practitioners has increased during the years. When in 2004 31% of the 15–74 year-old inhabitants had some cultural hobby, then in 2010 the respective indicator was already 38.5%, which is nearly 397,000 persons (169,000 males and 227,000 females). Compared to 2004, the number of fi lm making enthusiasts has increased by 11 percentage points for the year 2010 (155,000 persons in total in 2010). The figure of visual arts practitioners has increased 6 percentage points (132,000). At the same time the number of dance and song enthusiasts has decreased 4.8 percentage points (107,000 and 112,000, respectively) and the number of acting enthusiasts 4.9% percentage points (16,000).
Estonia is in the forefront with regard to the share of the cultural practitioners in Europe. According to the latest survey only Sweden has higher percentage of cultural practitioners.