Presidency cultural programme

09 March 2015

Culture is a constant source of inspiration which makes life more colourful and acts as a stimulus to reach new peaks. The Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is an opportunity for Latvia to inspire European society through a versatile and outstanding cultural programme that offers a vibrant and exciting presentation of Latvian culture in Europe and around the world.

The Latvian EU Council Presidency cultural programme features around 200 events which reveal the treasures of our country. Classical and jazz music concerts, photo and multimedia exhibitions, cinema days and book donations are just some of the many facets of this extensive programme.

Find out about it now and get involved!

Listen to Latvia's finest musicians!

Sinfonietta Riga. Publicity photo

Our distinguished artists – such as the State Choir Latvija, Latvian Radio Choir, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica and Sinfonietta Riga chamber orchestras and internationally acclaimed soloists – will give performances in Latvia and abroad. Audiences will be able to enjoy performances by Elīna Garanča, Baiba Skride, Vestards Šimkus, the Latvian Radio Big Band, Latvian pianist and composer Maestro Raimonds Pauls, the Laima Jansone Trio and many others.

Discover Latvian art treasures!

Gustavs Klucis. Construction. LNMA collection

The extensive programme of exhibitions will help you to discover Latvian art. These exhibitions will feature works by the foremost Latvian artists from the 20th century, such as Kārlis Johansons and Gustavs Klucis, as well as recent nominees and winners of the Purvītis Prize, thus showcasing the role of Latvian art in creative processes around the world today.

Celebrate the anniversary of two great Latvian minds!

Rainis and Aspazija, 1905. Author unknown

In 2015, Latvia celebrates the 150th anniversary of poets and public figures Rainis and Aspazija, and this event is also highlighted in the Latvian EU Council Presidency cultural programme. The Aspazija/Rainis: rebel/humanist exhibition will be on display in France and Belarus, and at the beginning of May the international interdisciplinary conference Between Truth and Power will take place at the National Library of Latvia.

To gain a more detailed insight into the minds of these two great Latvians, the #mindpower video project has been launched. This project features 29 short films in which celebrities from all the EU Member States read excerpts from the works of both poets.

Play the svilpaunieks!

Photo: EU2015.LV

The Presidency’s cultural programme also encompasses souvenirs for delegates – the traditional necktie and scarf as well as a special gift from Latvia, a ceramic whistle or svilpaunieks. The clear sound of the svilpaunieks tells the tale of Latvian ceramic tradition that is still thriving today. 40 different ceramic artists from all over Latvia have helped in the making of these Presidency souvenirs, which means that every little bird is unique.

Let Latvian traditions enchant you!

A significant part of the programme is devoted to Latvian traditional culture. You will be able to discover traditional Latvian Easter and Midsummer festivities in different parts of the world, from Luxembourg to Beijing. Our cultural heritage is also showcased in exhibitions featuring national costumes, Latvian ornaments and amber. The 100-year-old tradition of nationwide song celebrations will blossom again this summer at the Nordic-Baltic Choral Festival in Riga. Meanwhile, at the EU Council building in Brussels, everyone is welcome to dance the Latvian folk dance Spriguleits for the next six months.

Experience the Presidency in Latvia!

The inhabitants of Latvia also have the opportunity to enjoy top-class cultural events – from an Italian renaissance and baroque portrait exhibition to a selection of artworks from Mikhail Baryshnikov's art collection at the Riga Bourse Art Museum and an exhibition of works by Luxembourg-born photographer Edward Steichen at the Arsenāls Exhibition Hall. In April, Ēriks Ešenvalds' multimedia symphony Nordic Light (Ziemeļu gaisma) will be premiered at the Latvian National Opera.  

Discover the story of Latvia!

Photo: EU2015.LV

You can also discover the story of Latvia through films and books. For the next six months international audiences can enjoy watching Latvian animation films, documentaries and feature films at several international film festivals and at Latvian cinema days. The National Film Centre of Latvia has compiled an extensive film collection featuring 70 films – both classics and the latest releases – in thematic DVDs. Another project within the cultural programme involves the donation of books on Latvian history, language and art to more than 70 libraries in 35 different countries.

Here you can read and download the Latvian EU Council Presidency cultural programme catalogue in English. It encompasses information on all the cultural events taking place in Latvia and abroad. There is also another catalogue covering the cultural programme in Belgium, Luxembourg and Strasbourg in more detail.