Estonia became a member of UNESCO in 1991, joined the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe in 1992, and became a signatory to the Berne Convention in 1994. Since Estonia joined the EU in 2004, multilateral cultural cooperation between member states has grown, also on an international level. The Ministry of Culture started to compile the internationalisation strategy in 2019.
In 2006, the Ministry of Culture joined the International Network on Cultural Policy and the CULTURELINK network. Previously, Estonia has joined networks of cultural cooperation at the European level, such as ELIA (The European League of Institutes of the Arts) and EIPCP (the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies). On the international level Estonian universities, institutes or organisations are members of ICCPR (the International Conference on Cultural Policy Research) and ICCM (the International Centre of Culture and Management).
The Estonian National Commission for UNESCO applications has been submitted for entering objects into various UNESCO programmes and lists. Estonia has also been selected as a member of intergovernmental committees of two conventions: the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006 and the World Heritage Convention in 2009-2013, which allows Estonia to contribute to joint efforts, while emphasising and developing the corresponding fields at home (mapping of Estonian intangible cultural heritage and the creation of a public web-based register). The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is implemented and monitored by the Cultural Heritage Department of the Tallinn City Government.
In 2011, Tallinn was the European Capital of Culture, along with Turku (in Finland). In 2024, the title of the European Capital of Culture will be awarded to three cities, including Tartu from Estonia.
The co-operation of three Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — constitutes of two frameworks: the Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Council of Ministers. The parliamentary co-operation takes place within the Baltic Assembly, but all matters related to practical co-operation are being dealt within the format of the Baltic Council of Ministers. Some cultural initiatives take place within this official cooperation format, like the Annual Baltic Assembly Prize.
The cooperation in the Baltic Sea area is led by the Council of the Baltic Sea States, an inter-governmental cooperation form. It includes an initiative in the cultural field: Ars Baltica, an international cultural network (established in 1991).
The cultural cooperation agreement between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was concluded in 1994. Based on the agreement, cooperation programmes lasting for up to four years are carried out. This agreement ensures joint support for Kremerata Baltica (chamber orchestra conducted by maestro Gidon Kremer) and the international education project The Baltic Museology Summer School, which started in 2004. The aim of the School is to develop and strengthen museological thought in the Baltic States, by linking theory and practice, in order for Baltic museums to become more professional, contemporary and accessible to society. Currently, the programme is designed for the period 2019-2022. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania participated jointly as the Baltic Market Focus countries at the London Book Fair, with the exhibition Wild Souls. Symbolism in Baltic Art at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, one of the most renowned museums in Europe, attracted a great deal of attention and was visited by almost a quarter million art lovers. In addition, a joint presentation will be made at the Trieste Film Festival.