Latvia's centenary party to last five years, cost €60m

Latvia's founding centenary in 2018 will cost around €60m within five years, with close to half the funding coming from outside the state budget, reported LTV Thursday.

The hefty price tag has been compared unfavorably with that of Finland, which is celebrating this year.

Finns will spend just €19m on centenary festivities, featuring films, festivals and even unveiling a new national park.

However the Culture Ministry said that Finland will celebrate for one year instead of five. Latvia is warming up this year, celebrating the most important events in 2018 and continuing to party for three more years after.

€32m from the figure, actually closer to €59m, is made up by funds directed from the state budget while the rest will come from funds already earmarked, as well as municipal funding, EU money, and funds from patrons and other sources.

2018 will be the most expensive year as €11m is to be spent from the state budget and €14m coming from other sources.

"We think that with the Latvian state centenary budget we are making investments. As a result we get several centenary films, we get literature translations into foreign languages and expand the market..." said Culture Minister Dace Melbārde.

While composer Jānis Lūsēns is irate about the proposed costs, stressing that this is a time for solidarity and volunteering. He is organizing a free concert tour to be performed throughout the centenary.

"Culture workers, artists - those who want to of course - [..] [can perform] concerts for free or anything else that doesn't involve money. There are countless little collectives performing, like guitarist trios and similar small bands with whom we can go and simply play these sets in the remotest corners of Latvia," said Lūsēns.

At the same time the state is holding a contest for regional centenary events with €550,000 earmarked for organizations and companies willing to manage a centenary project of their own.

As reported previously, the money to be spent on the centenary also includes some events that are held on a regular basis and would have taken place anyway, like the €6.5m for organizing the National Song and Dance Festival in 2018.

1 comment
Janis
Hopefully in true Latvian fashion some of that money can be diverted to secure the blood supply from infectious diseases. Might be slightly more important than a five year celebration.
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