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On December 3rd, 2023, the 10 best participants of the photo competition: Die Baltische Fotoreise (The Baltic Photo Tour) were invited to a Christmas Gala hosted by the country office Estonia. From September – October 2023, young people had been sending in their photos from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, ranging from great photography of buildings and well know places to beautiful animal and nature photography in the Baltic states. 133 people participated in the competition out of which 10 were awarded a prize. The photos were judged by a jury of 4 people: Esther Schwarz, a photographer in her free time, Friederike Müller from the German Embassy in Tallinn, Dr. Martin Pabst from the German Culture Forum for Central and Eastern Europe and Julia Akimova, the Deputy Head of GBYEN.

The night took place in Telliskivi Reval Café in Tallinn and started out with welcoming words from the head of country office Estonia, Peter Sinivee and a speech from Dr. Martin Pabst. In his speech Martin Pabst addressed the question of what is this Baltic Region that a lot of people talk about? Where does this term come from and does a distinct Baltic Region even exist?

Afterwards, a dinner was offered, where the participants, the guests and the DBJW team members could connect with each other. Everyone also got the opportunity to walk around in the café and look at the photos of the 10 participants, which were hung up in the café, and share their thoughts on them.

Long awaited, the awards ceremony started. How it should be at a Christmas Gala, Santa came and handed out the gifts to each of the participants, starting with 10th place and calling each and everyone to the stage to get their deserved applause for their incredible photography. The winning photograph was by Lenna-Lee Raspel, named “The Thief”, depicting a fox with a lavaret in its mouth captured at Eeriksaare in the national park of Vilsandi, Estonia.

To finish the evening, Band Stepsel performed for us, offering an insight into beautiful Jazz sounds and giving us the Christmas feeling with “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”. Everyone was invited to join to go to the Tallinn Christmas market and enjoy the view on the lit up golden Christmas tree and a cup of Glögg. The night came to an end at the Must Puudel in Tallinn where we enjoyed nice conversations and good laughs.

We want to thank everyone again, who sent in their incredible photos, the jury and of course the team who organized this event. Have a merry Christmas time!

The winners of the photo competition with the DBJW team

The pictures were provided courtesy of the artist Peteris Ponnis


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