Look, I totally get it: it’s hard to tell Latvia and Lithuania apart. It’s the ultimate sibling rivalry: they’re good at basketball, so we must be good at basketball. We consume ungodly amounts of potatoes, so their national dish is potato dumplings. Little wonder, then, that soon after Latvia finally got its new trains, Lithuania had to send in their own.
This time of year is usually full of reviews of the year just gone and advanced guesswork about what might happen in the year to come. Here on the LSM English-language service we try to avoid both, on the basis that you were there in 2023 too, and probably remember what happened, while our crystal balls are no more transparent than yours.
If your tinsel is sagging, your candles are crumbling and that box of seasonal decorations you keep on top of the closet looks like it needs a kick in the baubles, help is at hand! More fun, more beautiful (and much cheaper for any yuletide Scrooges) is making your own traditional Latvian decorations.
Thankfully the Latvia-Estonia border is not the cartographically satisfying but extremely boring straight line such as one finds between certain of the United States or countries owning shares in the Sahara Desert. On a large-scale map it looks fairly consistent, but the closer you zoom in, the more irregular and oddball it becomes.
Previously, she worked at the Permanent Representation of Latvia in the European Union (EU) in Brussels and for several years also advised financial institutions and fintech companies on EU law. Now, the Latvian Linda Strazdiņa is co-president of the European FinTech Association and EU policy and government relations director of the fintech company Wise. In these positions, she takes care of representing the interests of fintech companies at an EU level.
In 2024, Tartu – or rather, Tartu and a large chunk of southern Estonia – is a European Capital of Culture, and as LSM has already reported, a concerted effort is being made to attract as many Latvian residents as possible to the party. However, it would be misleading of me to say that's the reason for this series of features. It's not the reason, it's the excuse. Some of us have had the Northern Latvia/Southern Estonia bug for a long time already and need no new invitation to explore the quirks and kinks of the Latvia-Estonia border.
“It's too far”, “that's a ridiculous angle”, “this disc just isn't right for me” – my first time playing disc golf, I kept blaming everything but myself for the dire lack of decent throws. I did, however, appreciate the scenic surroundings on the banks of the river Aiviekste and the opportunity to be outside moving about after a day of screen time. While I was skeptical, I did slowly start to understand why people might like the sport that involves lobbing discs towards long-legged metal baskets trying to get them in with a minimum amount of strategic throws.
Actor John Malkovich has become an almost familiar face in Latvia in recent years. Back in 2018 he could be found giving a literary reading in Jūrmala, and then in 2022 he was appearing on stage in a sold-out run of the play In the Solitude of Cotton Fields (Dans la solitude des champs de coton) by French dramatist Bernard-Marie Koltès at the Dailes Theater.
The latest trade data shows the continuation of a trend that has been evident ever since Russia started its war on Ukraine and the West responded with swingeing trade sanctions – while trade with aggressor countries Russia and Belarus has quickly reduced, trade with countries bordering Russia in central Asia has markedly increased.
Latvian Radio's investigative broadcast 'Atvērtie Faili' ('Open Files') reported September 7 on why some Latvian companies are choosing to continue their exports to Russia despite that country's brutal attack on Ukraine.
Travel brochures, promotional videos, and photos position Latvia as a place to venture into the wild and connect with nature. With more than 50% of the country covered in forest, it is undeniably green and enriched with lakes, rivers, swamps, and the coastline. But how accessible is this natural wilderness? Can you just hike wherever you like?
Enjoying the power of song, the German Bundestag President Bärbel Bas recently attended the Latvian Song Festival anniversary celebrations. While visiting Riga, she also held political talks with five other speakers of parliaments, congratulated the newly inaugurated Latvian president and found a moment to talk to LSM.
For Song and Dance Festival performers the actual 10-day spectacle is the culmination of months or, more likely, years of preparation. It means finding time for several rehearsals a week – a major commitment, which comes in addition to the choir, dance, or folk group's everyday activities, such as weekend performances. How do people juggle such an intense schedule with their other duties in life like being a parent and partner?
The LGBTQ+ community in Latvia is often subject to intolerant comments and sometimes violent attacks. Not only do the comments come from social media but also the parliament. Latvian Radio's investigative broadcast Atvērtie faili analyzed the situation in Latvia's eastern region Latgale, where surveys have shown people to be the least tolerant with regard to LGBT issues.
Along with over 40,000 performers, the organising team and all the paid service providers, another group contributes greatly to the Song and Dance Festival – volunteers. This year, 1,000 people are dedicating their free time to ensure the festival's success. The youngest among them is 16 and the oldest 82. They were chosen from more than 1,500 applicants.