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Everything you wanted to know about Ventspils... but were afraid to ask

Latvia's coastal city of Ventspils may be best known for its port, its castle and its publicity-hungry mayor, but there is more to the place than oil tankers, history and execrable dress sense, as a new statistics bulletin produced by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) to mark the city's 725th birthday shows.

"Congratulating Ventspils residents on the city's 725th anniversary, the Central Statistical Bureau has compiled Ventspils in numbers," the CSB said Friday.

The facts and figures reveal that at the beginning of 2015 the resident population in Ventspils comprised 36,274 people, down by 403 residents as compared to the beginning of 2014.

Out of all cities under state jurisdiction, the second lowest population density is in Ventspils – 625 persons per square kilometre, bettered only by the resort of Jūrmala with 492 persons per square kilometre.

In 2014 there were 378 newborns in Ventspils, of which 199 boys and 179 girls. Compared to 2013, the number of newborns has increased by 9.6% or 33 babies.

In 2014, out of all cities under state jurisdiction the second largest average monthly wages and salaries after taxes were in Ventspils – 632 euros. Average wages and salaries as compared to 2013, have grown by 348 euros (in 2014 – 284 euros).

In 2014, 60,500 persons stayed in hotels and accommodation establishments in Ventspils, which is the largest indicator since 2011 when 67,800 thsd visitors stayed there.

Out of all visitors 36% or 22,100 were foreign visitors. As compared to 2013 the number of visitors has increased by 14% or 7,300, of which the number of foreign visitors – by 2% or 500.

In 2014, the port of Ventspils reached a passenger transportation record – last year 41,900 thsd passengers arrived by ferry, 1,300 by cruise ship. As compared to 2013 the number of passengers that arrived by ferry was 44% larger, but the number of cruise ship passengers was 37% larger.

In 2014, 23 million tons of cargo were loaded at the port of Ventspils, which is 36% of total cargo loaded at the ports of Latvia, and 2 million tons of cargo were unloaded – 30% of total cargo unloaded at the ports of Latvia. Majority of cargo turnover was comprised by oil products – 57.7% and coal – 22.3%.

77% of Ventspils residents live in apartment buildings, but 18% – in individual houses. 16% of Ventspils residents live in buildings built in pre-war Latvia and earlier, 79% – in buildings built in 1946–1990 and 5% – in buildings built after 1990. Dwellings inhabited in Ventspils on average are 47 years old and their average floor space is 57 square metres.

Though not included on the CSB release, Ventspils also has Latvia's longest-serving mayor, Aivars Lembergs, who took office in 1988 and has resisted all efforts to unseat him in the 27 years since. He's also at the defendant in of one of the country's longest-running fraud trials, which has been going on for seven years and counting.

This weekend will be marked by various celebrations in the city, with full details available at the official city website here

The three day festival will include a parade, Flower Carpet Festival, Book Festival and Musclemen Championship, all rounded off by a speech from Mr Lembergs on Sunday night at 11pm.

Happy birthday, Ventspils!

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