COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Lithuania/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.6 Other relevant issues

In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture. Around 100 projects and more than 1 500 culture and art events attracted 1.5 million visitors from Lithuania and foreign countries.

In 2008, following the "European Capital of Culture" as a prototype model, a new initiative to organise a "Lithuanian Capital of Culture" was launched. Each year, one city of Lithuania is selected by competition. The project's aim is to stimulate cultural development in municipalities, especially in regions and small cities, to involve local communities and institutions into cultural partnership projects, to stimulate international cooperation, etc. Panevėžys City, located in the North-East of the country, became the "Lithuanian Capital of Culture" in 2014. Deliberately taking the wishes of Panevėžys' residents into consideration, the project's initiators took the theme for the whole year, "Panevėžys – Lithuanian Capital of Culture. The Crossroad of Culture". The commitment is to boost the culture of different nations as a value encouraging a better knowledge of their own culture and to learn about less known ones, to open wider horizons of seeing and thinking. It also covers an active process of learning and showing that Panevėžys is a creative, friendly and tolerant European city (see: http://kulturapanevezys.lt/en/apie-mus).

Lithuania is de facto a country of emigration. Lithuania's emigration rate is among the highest in the European Union. Around 788 000 people or one fourth of the population have left the country since independence in 1990; the highest level was in 2010, when the number of emigrants was 83 200 people. A striking increase in emigration numbers in 2010 and 2011 was partly due to an introduced mandatory health insurance contribution applicable to all permanent residents of Lithuania. This encouraged those who had emigrated earlier to declare their departure in 2010 in order to avoid payments.

Lithuanian communities living abroad are registered in 35 countries. They are united in the World Lithuanian Community (WLC), a non-governmental organisation with the centre in Vilnius. Many of communities have developed educational, cultural, social infrastructures: schools, culture centres, archives, publishing houses, museums, churches, youth organisations, folk festivals, etc. Several websites of Lithuanian communities abroad have been established during recent years, which offers not only actual information on jobs or social issues, but also introduces cultural activities (see: in Great Britain (http://www.labas.co.uk/blog/category/lietuviai/; Denmark (http://www.lietuva.dk/); Norway (http://www.lietuviainorvegijoj.com/). The main countries of emigration for Lithuanians are UK, Ireland, Norway, Germany, Spain.  


Chapitre publié: 28-11-2014

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