Counties of Estonia

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I added population data from the 2011 census. Comparing source [1] to my previous area data, it appears that Järva lost about 164 km.² to Lääne-Viru.

The NUTS county codes listed below were apparently created as long ago as 2000. The European Union adopted NUTS codes for its new Eastern European members in 2004, and they agree with these codes up to the NUTS-3 level. Eurostat has changed the terminology, so that the NUTS-4 and NUTS-5 level codes have been replaced with LAU level 1 and LAU level 2, respectively, where LAU stands for Local Administrative Units. The latest NUTS spreadsheet for Estonia shows all the codes truncated to five characters (e.g. EE004), which are region codes. The LAU-1 codes are four digits, always beginning with 00, and the last two digits are the same as the ISO county codes (e.g. 0039 for Hiiu).

Country overview: 

Short nameESTONIA
ISO codeEE
LanguageEstonian (et)
Time zone+2 ~


Modern Estonia corresponds to the Russian government (guberniya) of Estonia, plus the northern part of the government of Livonia, as they stood in 1900. In 1918-02, it declared its independence, with essentially its present borders. Estonia was occupied by the army of the Soviet Union in 1940, and became a constituent republic of the U.S.S.R., the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, on 1940-08-06. The annexation was never recognized by the United States. Estonia once again proclaimed its independence, this time from a disintegrating Soviet Union, on 1991-08-20.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Estland
  2. Dutch: Estland, Republiek Estland (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Estonia (formal), Esthonia (obsolete)
  4. Estonian: Eesti Vabariik (formal), Estlandija (obsolete)
  5. Finnish: Viro, Viron tasavalta (formal)
  6. French: Estonie f, Esthonie (obsolete)
  7. German: Estland n
  8. Icelandic: Eistland
  9. Italian: Estonia
  10. Norwegian: Estland, Republikken Estland (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Estónia, Estônia (Brazil), República f da Estónia f (formal)
  12. Russian: Эстония, Эстонская Республика (formal)
  13. Spanish: Estonia
  14. Swedish: Estland
  15. Turkish: Estonya Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Possibly meaning shore dwellers, from Baltic aueist: water dweller

Primary subdivisions: 

Estonia is divided into fifteen maakonnad (sing. maakond: counties).

15 counties1,294,4551,361,24243,43216,769
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2, an international standard.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
  • NUTS: Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics.
  • Pop-2011: 2011-12-31 census (source [1]).
  • Pop-2002: 2002-01-01 estimate.


The first five characters of a county's NUTS code determine which group of counties it belongs to. The names of the groups of counties are Kesk-Eesti (EE006), Kirde-Eesti (EE007), Lääne-Eesti (EE004), Lõuna-Eesti (EE008), and Põhja-Eesti (EE001).

Postal codes: 

Estonia uses five-digit postal codes. Postal codes for Estonian addresses can be identified by prefixing them with "EE-". Under the Soviet Union, Estonia used postal codes from the Soviet system. They were six digits, beginning with '2'. After independence, it adopted a set of four-digit codes, replaced with the current set in 1997.

Further subdivisions:

See the Municipalities of Estonia page.

The counties are divided into linnad (sing. linn: towns) and vallad (sing. vald: parishes). In 1997 there were 254 towns and parishes. The parishes are further subdivided into alevid (alev: borough), alevikud (alevik: small borough), and külad (küla: village). Some of the towns are subdivided into linnaosad (linnaosa: district).

Territorial extent: 

Estonia includes many islands. The largest ones are Saaremaa (Saare county), Hiiumaa (Hiiu county), Muhu, and Vormsi in the Baltic Sea, Ruhnu and Kihnu in the Gulf of Riga, Nais, Osmus, and Prangli in the Gulf of Finland, and Piiri in Lake Peipus.

The UN LOCODE page  for Estonia lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Change history: 

  1. 1917: Name of capital of Estonia changed from Revel to Tallinn.
  2. 1918-1940: During its period of independence, Estonia was divided into eleven provinces. This table shows them and the approximate correspondence between them and the present-day divisions. The Soviet Union apparently used these divisions, but modified them soon after the end of World War II.
ProvincePopulationArea(km.²)CapitalModern counties
Harju243,1225,682TallinnHarju, Rapla
Ösel55,8512,963KuressaareHiiu, Saare
Tartu181,2967,016TartuJõngeva, Tartu
Viru146,3187,384RakvereIda-Viru, Lääne-Viru
Võru83,1454,043VõruPõlva, Võru
  • Population: 1934 census
  1. 1944: Petseri province annexed to Pskov Oblast of the Russian Republic.
  2. 1990: The Soviet-era divisions, rajoonid (rayoni, or districts), became counties, and their Estonian names were restored.
  3. 1992: Under new constitution, six independent cities merged with the surrounding counties: Kohtla-Järve (FIPS code EN06), Narva (EN09), and Sillamäe (EN15) merged with Ida-Viru county; Pärnu (EN10) merged with Pärnu; Tallinn (EN16) merged with Harju; and Tartu (EN17) merged with Tartu.
  4. 2004-05-01: Estonia joined the European Union.

Other names of subdivisions: 

All of the counties may be written with -maa suffixed to their names, especially Hiiumaa and Saaremaa, which are also island names. Officially preferred, but less common, are the forms "Harju maakond," "Hiiu maakond," etc.

  1. Hiiu: Dagö (German)
  2. Saare: Ösel (German)
  3. Tartu: Dorpat (German)
  4. Viljandi: Vilyandi (variant)


  1. [1] Population, area and density by county, 31 December 2011 . Statistics Estonia (retrieved 2014-03-12).
  2. [2] Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1969 edition. G. & C. Merriam, Springfield, MA, 1969.
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