On 12 May 2003, Estonia and Portugal signed an agreement for co-operation in the fields of language, education, culture, science, technology, youth projects, sports and media. It took effect on 15 December 2005.
Portuguese language instruction takes place in Estonia and there are two Portuguese language centres—one at Tartu University and the other at Tallinn University. This is thanks to a co-operation agreement signed between Camões Institute and Tallinn and Tartu Universities in 2006. According to the agreement, the Camões Institute will cover all expenses for teachers and materials, and each of the Estonian universities will receive one scholarship to send a student to Portugal to learn the language.
Many art exhibits have taken place.
In September 2007 an exhibit of Jüri Arrak’s paintings in the monastery Convento des Cardaes took place, and that same year an exhibit of Tanel Veenre’s jewellery was displayed at the Funchal City Theatre on the island of Madeira. In 2008 an exhibition of Valli Lember-Bogatkina’s watercolours was seen in the Lisbon Water Museum and in 2009 the joint exhibit of six Estonian artists “Moss and Lichen” was exhibited in Coimbra. In 2010 events included Markus Kasemaa’s personal exhibit “Figures” in the Azores, an exhibit of paintings by Imat Suuman entitled “Estonian Landscape” in Lisbon, and an exhibit of the works of Estonian glass artists Tiina and Maret Sarapuu also in Lisbon. In January of 2011, the exhibit “Tallinn: Colours, Textures, Emotions” was opened, and in June an exhibit of Markus Kasemaa’s digital prints on canvas was opened at the Camões Institute in Lisbon. The jewellery art project “Border City” was realised in Tallinn, when the works of 17 Estonian and 17 Portuguese artists were displayed in the Tallinn City Gallery. At the beginning of 2012, the “Border City” project continued in Lisbon when the exhibit was opened on 16 February 2012 in the Camões Institute. In November of 2012, the joint Portuguese-Polish-Estonian performance art project “Cosmic Underground” took place, where Estonia was represented by Raoul Kurwitz and Flo Kasearu. In May of 2013, Estonian Ambassador Marin Mõttus opened the exhibit “Estonia as a Maritime Country: Estonian Lighthouses” in Ponta Delgada in the Azores. The easternmost lighthouse in the EU is located in Narva-Jõesuu in Estonia and the westernmost is the Albernaz lighthouse in the Azores.
Estonian musicians have also presented their talents in Portugal, both in independent concerts and in the framework of larger events. In 2007, Hedvig Hanson and Andre Maaker gave 2 concerts (in Lisbon and Abrantes) and the Estonian Defence Forces Mixed Choir performed in Lisbon. In 2008, a concert by the ETV Girls’ Choir took place in the main hall of Lisbon University to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. The Helin-Mari Arder Trio gave concerts in Lisbon and Tavira in 2009, and the folk music duo RO:TORO gave a concert in Fundão in 2010. Concerts by the Arsis Handbell Ensemble in Guimarães (European Capital of Culture 2012) and Lisbon in February of 2011 were very successful.
In April 2012 the Estonian vocal ensemble -7 (Minus Seven) performed at the Palacio Foz concert hall in the heart of Lisbon. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir gave three concerts in Lisbon during a festival at the Belem Cultural Centre called “A voz humana – o canto atraves dos tempos”. On 19 May the choir also performed in the church of Villa de Fradese in southern Portugal within the framework of the Alentejo religious music festival. In October 2012 the dance ensemble “Kuljus” performed at Santarem’s folk dance festival and in March 2013, Mari Kalkun gave two performances in Lisbon – one at the Palacio Fozi and another at the Fabricia Braco de Prata cultural centre.
At the Estoril International Film Festival held in November 2007, Veiko Õunpuu’s film “Sügisball” (“Autumn Ball”) won the jury’s special award. The formal premier of “Autumn Ball” in Portugal took place in July 2008. The film remained in the theatre for six weeks. During the Estoril film festival in November 2008, entitled “Temps d’Images”, Kersti Uibo’s documentary “Vaikelu naisega” (“Still Life with Wife”) was recognised.
The only works of Estonian literature translated into Portuguese to date are “The Czar’s Madman” by Jaan Kross, of which two editions have been published (1992 and 1993), and Eduard Vilde’s “The Milkman of Mäeküla” (2004).
From Portuguese literature, “The Relic” by Eça de Queiroz and “Autopsychography” by Fernando Pessoa have been translated into Estonian by Ain Kaalep, along with “Sunday Afternoon” by Fernando Namora and the set of short stories “The Sword of Tupariz” by Vitorio Kali. In 2007 José Saramago’s “Darkness” was published (translated into Estonian by Mare Vega Salamanca). In 2010 Fernando Pessoa’s selection of poems “Tobacco Shop” was published in Estonia, translated by Tõnu Õnnepalu.
In 2007, the publisher TEA published a small Estonian-Portuguese, Portuguese-Estonian dictionary. In 2011, the Estonian-language translation by Leenu Nigu of Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa’s novel “O Vendedor de Passados” (Estonian: “Minevikkude müüja”), originally written in Portuguese, was published.
In November of 2011, a special performance of Sofi Oksanen’s “Purge” took place at the Teatro Alberto in Lisbon. The show was preceded by a reception hosted by the Estonian and Finnish embassies, which was attended by Oksanen, and a roundtable on the themes in the work. On 16 November the Portuguese-language version of “Purge” was unveiled.
On May of 2012, a Kristina Ehin poetry night took place in the evangelical Presbyterian church in Lisbon (the poems were translated by Eva Toulouse, who is of French, Italian and Portuguese descent, and the Portuguese-language poems were read aloud by actor Joao d’Avila). On 23 May a night of Kristiina Ehin’s poetry and Silver Sepp’s original musical instruments called “Through Thousands of Falls and Winters” took place at the Fernando Pessoa House Museum in Lisbon.
In December 2002, the culturally oriented Lisbon Estonian Society was established.
In the summer of 2004, a friendship and co-operation development agreement was signed between Haapsalu and the central Portuguese city of Fundão (population 10 000), which despite its ancient appearance gained city status only in 1988. On 7 May 2005, Mayor of Haapsalu Teet Kallasvee and Mayor of Fundão Manuel Joaquin Frexes unveiled the new Haapsalu Street in Fundão. It is in the more modern part of town and curves around the new courthouse.
In October 2007, an Estonian gastronomic week took place at the Lisbon Sheraton, during which Estonian dishes were prepared by master chefs Tõnis Siigur and Raul Tee.
In December 2008, the Estonian Embassy in Lisbon introduced Estonian Christmas traditions during the Christmas event “O Natal na Europa”. Within the framework of the event, two concert were given by folk music duo RO:TORO.
Over the past few years the nationwide garbage cleanup initiative “Limpar Portugal”, or “Clean up Portugal”, has taken place. The campaign has earned widespread media coverage, and a lot of attention is given to the fact that the idea for the initiative originated in Estonia.
In May 2012, Kaia Kanepi triumphed at the Estoril Open tennis tournament.
On 8 June 2016 the Portugal-Estonia friendly match in football will take place in Lisbon at the Estádio da Luz. Estonia and Portugal have faced each other seven times, including six times in the European Championship qualification round. The last time they played was in 2009, at the A. Le Coq Arena, when Mart Poom’s farewell match ended in a 0:0 draw.