Latvia in Brief
Latvia today is renewing the old, creating the new and proudly displaying a revitalised national presence on the European scene.
Republic of Latvia Latvijas Republika
COUNTRY CODE: LV
INTERNET TLD: .LV (.EU)
TIME ZONE: EET (UTC+2) EEST (UTC+3)
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: Metric
The Republic of Latvia was founded on November 18, 1918. It has been continuously recognised as a sovereign state since 1920 despite occupations and rule by the Soviet Union (1940-1941, 1945-1991) and Nazi Germany (1941-1945). OnAugust 21, 1991 Latvia declared the restoration of its de facto independence, re-established international diplomatic ties, and joined the United Nations. Latvia joined the WTO in 1998 and in 2004 became a member of the European Union and NATO.
The name "Latvija" comes from the ancient Latgallians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes, who along with Couronians, Selonians and Semigallians formed the ethnic core of today’s Latvian people.
Music: Renārs Kaupers
Lyrics: Imants Ziedonis
Perfoemed by: Renārs Kaupers & Youth chior "Kamēr"
Arrange by: Ēriks Ešenvalds
Completing its second decade of renewed independence, Latvia continues to play an increasingly prominent role in Europe and the world. Together with the EU and NATO, Latvia is helping shape the 21st century.
Latvia today is renewing the old, creating the new and proudly displaying a revitalised national presence on the European scene. The rest of the world is rediscovering Latvia as well. It is discovering a country that has been a sovereign state since 1918, but a national state of mind for centuries. A country that survived two world wars and 50 years behind the Iron Curtain, now even more committed to the principles of freedom, democracy and international co-operation. A country with a language, culture and attitude all its own – yet with a national identity shaped by its dynamic Baltic Sea region and woven through with diverse historical influences. Latvia is a Baltic country, a Baltic Sea country, a European country. In 2004 it became a NATO and EU country and is actively developing its special role in a rapidly changing, increasingly globalised world community.
Latvia is a keystone of Northern Europe’s prosperous Baltic Sea region. A country of 2.2 million people who are eagerly exploring what it means to live, work and raise their families in a natural environment they can shape themselves. It is a place where young national, business, social and cultural leaders have good reasons to be optimistic about their future. A future where Latvia is free to preserve, protect and develop its very special place in the world.
An Ancient Culture in a Dynamic European Setting
The contemporary Latvian poet Imants Ziedonis has described culture as something “which is, lives, wants to live and flourish”. In Latvia, this spiritual desire to live and flourish developed a distinctive national identity over a period of 3,000 years.
Like other cultures, Latvians developed traditions, customs, decorative designs and a world view that were uniquely their own, closely tied to the Northern European land and nature that they depended on for survival. Ironically, the period when the Latvian language and culture began to coalesce, was also the period when it faced its greatest threat, for the 13th century marked the beginning of a series of foreign incursions, invasions and occupations. German, Swedish and Polish warriors and traders brought European culture to Latvia, at times threatening the existence of the Latvian culture, at times strengthening it through adversity, and eventually co-existing along side it.