2. Current cultural affairs
Last update: September, 2019
The preparation of the centennial celebration of the Republic of Latvia started in 2014; it is celebrated from 2017 to 2021. Since 2014, there have been series of public discussions with various target audiences and this laid the foundation for cooperation with the local authorities, institutions, organisations, and with broad society in and outside Latvia. The celebration covers all sectors – culture, education, economy, as well as environment, sports, welfare, health, defence, agriculture and other sectors. It marks the major events in every sector, and thereby reflects the events of the past hundred years.
The concert hall Latvia in Ventspils (which also houses the Ventspils Music School) and the concert hall Great Amber (which also houses the Liepaja Symphonic Orchestra and the Emils Melngailis’ Music Secondary School) opened in respectively 2019 and the autumn of 2015. These concert halls are the epicentres of important art, music, and other creative events and were built using the European Regional Development Fund fundraised by the Ministry of Culture. In line with the concert hall Latgale Embassy Gors in Rezekne and Vidzeme concert hall Cesis, the Great Amber and Latvia are suitable for diversified professional cultural services, and for amateur art and interest education activities.
In 2015, the Ministry of Culture has established the Media Policy Unit which undertakes the development of the media policy.
Last update: September, 2019
Cultural rights are stated in the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, Chapter 8, 113: "The State shall recognise the freedom of scientific research, artistic, and other creative activity and shall protect copyright and patent rights." 114 states: "Persons belonging to ethnic minorities have the right to preserve and develop their language and their ethnic and cultural identity."
The Law on Free Development of National and Ethnic Groups and their Rights on Culture Autonomy (1991) defines that there are autochthonous inhabitants Livs and national and ethnic groups. This law guarantees rights to cultural autonomy.
In 2005 the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (Council of Europe, 1995) was ratified specifying the interpretation of the concept ‘national minorities’. Since the term 'national minorities' is not defined in the Convention, the Saeima agreed that under the Convention this term “refers to those citizens of Latvia who differ from Latvians in terms of culture, religion or language, who have been traditionally living in Latvia for generations, who consider themselves as belonging to the state of Latvia and the Latvian community, and who would like to preserve and develop their culture, religion and language”.
When defining the notion of ‘national minorities’, Latvia relied on
definitions by the states parties to the Convention, adding an important
element – unless specific exceptions are prescribed by the law, “persons who are not citizens of Latvia or another State but who permanently and legally reside in the
Republic of Latvia, who do not belong to a national minority within the meaning of the Convention as defined in the declaration submitted by Latvia, but who identify themselves with a national minority that meets the definition contained in the declaration, enjoy the rights prescribed in the Convention”.
Upon ratifying the Convention, the Saeima also adopted two declarations stating that Latvia regards as binding paragraph two of Article 10 and paragraph three of Article 11 of the Convention governing the spheres of use of certain minority languages, provided they do not contradict the Satversme (Constitution of Latvia) and other laws and regulations effective in the Republic of Latvia and governing the use of the official language.
In addition, the main national planning documents recognize culture, cultural heritage, and rights to participate in cultural activities and develop creativity as the basic values.
Since 2007, the Ombudsman institution is in charge of protection of the rights of Latvian inhabitants. See also chapter 4.1.1.
Last update: September, 2019
In general, artists in Latvia have artistic freedom to express their views, on the condition that they respect statutory rules (see chapter 2.2. about cultural rights). In public debate, artists admit financial conditions and self-censorship as prevailing limitations.
Remuneration of artists and cultural workers has always been a topic in public debate and public policy discourse.
The government proved its willingness to increase salaries in the cultural sector by signing the Memorandum (2005) that guaranteed an increase in the average salary in state cultural institutions until 2010. In 2009, due to the economic crisis, salaries in public administration decreased by 11%, while salaries in the public cultural sector decreased by 35% (both compared to 2008). Since then, the gap between salaries in public administration and public cultural sector has gradually decreased (in 2018, average salary in public administration was 1 032 EUR and 912 EUR in public cultural sector).
In particular, individual and freelance cultural workers have difficult working conditions. The study on the Status of Creative Persons in Latvia in 2012 (Latvian Academy of Culture, 2013) indicates that 18% of the respondents are self-employed; while 25% are employed illegally (for 61% low renumeration is the reason for not paying taxes).
The Council of the Creative Unions of Latvia initiated the debate and the development of legislation concerning social security of freelance artists. A public debate took place in 2012. As a follow up, the Ministry of Culture established a working group. In 2015, the drafting of the Law on the Status of Creative Persons and Professional Creative Organizations was completed. The Law has been in force since 2018. The aim of the law is to provide support to creative persons who due to the specific employment nature do not receive regular income or are experiencing temporary loss of capacity to work (long-term unemployment or illness). Assistance is provided directly to so-called freelance artists or creative persons who are not employed by an employer, but receive a payment based on the author contract. The law will be applicable to about 4000 persons in 28 creative organisations. Support is administered by the Council of the Creative Unions of Latvia in cooperation with the State Culture Capital Foundation.
Last update: September, 2019
In 2003 the state agency Culture Information Systems was established under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture. The Agency has initiated intense work to stimulate the use of new technologies, especially in museums, archives and libraries.
Since then, significant projects have been developed in the field of digitalisation of memory institutions and developing other services in cultural field. Many of these projects have been co- financed by the EU Structural Funds. The following activities feature important developments in the field:
Municipal public library development project
In order to hasten the development process of Latvian libraries, a huge project in the field of IT and culture was started in 2006. Within the framework of the Global Libraries Initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Republic of Latvia has received a grant of USD 16.2 million to provide about 800 Latvian public libraries with broadband Internet connections, to build a Wi-Fi network for library users, to provide 4 000 computers to meet an anticipated high demand, and to offer basic computer training for library librarians. Microsoft Latvia has donated the software. For the first time, significant technical investments were made in the Latvian Library for the Blind and its regional branches have been equipped with computers for blind people.
As the result of the project, public libraries have become social and information centres as well. The study on Latvian public libraries and the internet (2013, available in Latvian here) suggests that 17% of respondents use libraries for printing, scanning, copying documents and 15% use the internet on computers at libraries.
Unified Archival Information System
The aim is to launch an integrated system for all the archives in Latvia, making them freely available to society.
This is an integrated technical infrastructure unifying museums in Latvia: it is a catalogue of holdings of all accredited museums (state, local, autonomous and private museums) of Latvia. Overall, there are more than 5.9 million items in Latvian museums. Only about 5% of them are exposed in the permanent and temporary exhibitions. The remaining 95% of them will be available with the help of the Joint Catalogue. The project is implemented with the support of the European Regional Development Fund.
Latvian culture mapping project
The Culture Mapping Project began in 2005. It is a complex database of cultural infrastructure and services all over Latvia. Since 2010, the statistical data on cultural institutions are collected through this website, although public accessibility of statistics is still provided by the Central Statistical Bureau.
The aim of this 2012-2014 project (with the financial assistance of the Estonia - Latvia - Russia Cross Border Cooperation Programme within European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument 2007
- 2013) was to create a digital environment to access 19th century documents from the archives of Estonia, Latvia and Russia.
There are other initiatives in the field of digitalisation, such as technical administration of the library information system - Aleph500 and the State Integrate Library Information System. The National Film Centre in collaboration with the state agency Cultural Information Systems has made Latvian films available free of charge in all public libraries all around Latvia. With the support of EU structural funds, the archives of public radio and TV are to be digitalised and made available through the network of public libraries. During the years 2009-2011, an integrated information management system was elaborated to unify information about cultural institutions.
In addition, the project “Creating a Multilingual Corps and Machine Translation Infrastructure to ensure the availability of e-services” has been launched with the support of ERAF and in cooperation with the Centre for Cultural Information Systems and the language technology company Tilde. Technology currently provides automatic translation for Latvian, English and Russian languages, providing high security for personal data. The service is available on the www.hugo.lv website.
Many new technology projects and culture related internet portals are supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation.
Cultural developments and digitalisation
Digitalisation has left a significant impact on production models in several sectors (for example the audiovisual and publishing sector). In addition, digitalisation has changed management practices, such as online ticketing systems, mobile apps or audio guides. Development of artistic products, especially in museum exhibitions, have also benefited from digital advancements. However, the most significant impact of digitalisation is on communication models and the interaction with audiences in Latvia.
Access to internet was available in 82% of households in Latvia in
2018, according to the information provided by the Central Statistical Bureau.
A culture consumption study of 2018 (Latvian Academy of Culture, available in Latvian) suggests that the
computer and internet is one of the most popular leisure time activities among
Latvian population (as mentioned by 44% of the respondents). Meanwhile, only
22% of the respondents use internet to look for information related to cultural
activities, 14% are followers of social network profiles and 9% check websites
of the cultural institutions. This may indicate that cultural operators do not
sufficiently use opportunities offered by digital technologies.
The same study informs about digital cultural consumption patterns in Latvia in 2018. In total, 62% of respondents use internet for digital cultural consumption. The most popular activities include watching films online (34%), listening to music online (32%), buying tickets online for cultural events (23%), searching information about cultural events (22%), watching cultural broadcasts (19%). (See also the study Digital cultural heritage market research, “Corporate Consulting”, 2017, available in Latvian.)
Last update: September, 2019
General awareness of the topic of intercultural dialogue in Latvia is limited. Although Latvian society is shaped by a wide variety of cultures (about 150 different nationalities live in Latvia), there is a lack of understanding and knowledge between groups, which may stimulate further collective prejudices and stereotypes.
Cultural rights of national minorities are supported by the Constitution (see chapter 2.2.). In 2005, the Parliament ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe. The Ministry of Culture provides some financial assistance to cultural minority associations.
Meanwhile, in cultural policy documents, interculturalism is mainly understood as transnational collaboration, participation in networking and international co-operation instead of developing intercultural dialogue within the country. Although public policy documents include the principles of intercultural dialogue and stress the need for a dialogue, understanding and diversity on a political level, mainstream discourse supports the idea that the state has to strengthen national identity through policy measures. Integration is based on the official language (Latvian) that is stipulated in several documents, including the Official Language Law (2000) and the Electronic Mass Media Law (2010). Latvian language courses are organised by several public institutions, namely Latvian Language Agency being the most important operator in this respect. Other stakeholders are the Society Integration Foundation and the State Employment Agency of Latvia.
Since 2011, the Ministry of Culture is responsible for integration. In 2011, Guidelines of National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy were adopted.
Through research, publications and debate, part of the public and media discourse promotes interculturalism as a future strategy for the development in Latvia. A major debate concerns bilingual education. In 2004, an important change was that more lessons were taught in the Latvian language at Russian schools, which provoked opposition in the Russian speaking community. In 2018, the Parliament amended the Education Law (1998) and the General Education Law (1999) introducing Latvian language as the only instruction language in the secondary schools in Latvia.
At present, the national policy towards intercultural dialogue and promotion of tolerance is being implemented by various state and local authorities and NGOs active in the field of human rights and diversity. (See also http://www.integration.lv/en)
Last update: September, 2019
Diversity education is not a particular focus of culture and arts education. See chapter 2.5.1. about bilingual education in Latvia.
Last update: September, 2019
Policy and legislation
The new Electronic Mass Media Law was adopted in 2010. The previous Law on Radio and Television (1995) was outdated and not in accordance with the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive. This law has been heavily debated both in society and in the Parliament. Only its revised version was enforced by the President. The law has been criticised because it does not ensure political and economic independence of public media, and transparency in administering public media. In 2018, new amendments went into force. The main aim of the amendments was to defend national information space from disinformation. Moreover, public media will be withdrawn from the advertising market from 2021 onwards.
In addition, the law stipulates the requirements for the use of the official language (Latvian) and distribution of European audio-visual works in media: the national and regional electronic mass media shall ensure that in the programmes produced by them, at least 65% of all broadcasts are in the official language (except for the commercials). Moreover, the national and regional electronic mass media shall ensure that in the television programmes produced by them, at least 40% of the transmission time of European audiovisual works is reserved for audiovisual works in the official language (except for news, sports events, games, and commercials).
Anti-trust measures to prevent media concentration are stipulated by the Competition Law (in force since 2002) and the Electronic Mass Media Law (2010). The Electronic Mass Media Law stipulates that abuse of a dominant position of an electronic mass medium is prohibited (exceeding 35% of the particular market share is considered dominant). The purpose of the Competition Law is to protect, maintain and develop free, fair and equal competition in the interests of the public in all economic sectors by restricting market concentration.
The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the development and coordination of the national media policy to promote freedom of expression in Latvia.
- diversity of media environment,
- quality and accountability of the media environment,
- education and training of media professionals,
- development of media literacy,
- resilience of the media environment.
TV and Radio
There is one public TV organisation (Latvian Television) and one public radio station (Latvian Radio) that are supervised by the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP). A number of commercial (private) TV companies and commercial radio companies operate in Latvia. Cable TV and transnational satellite TV companies function as well.
In 2013, a decision to develop public service broadcasting in Latvia (merging public broadcasters Latvian Television and Latvian Radio) has been taken by the National Electronic Mass Media Council. It is outlined as a strategic aim also in the National Development Strategy of the Electronic Mass Media 2018-2022. Since 2013, Latvia's united news portal lsm.lv is operating; it is a unified news portal of Latvia's public television and radio services in Latvian, English and Russian languages.
Latvian Television is the state capital company. About 60% of its financing comes from the national budget, while the rest must be earned by the television station itself through its activities and the sale of advertising. This is a regularly debated issue, as commercial TV companies argue it to be an unfair situation and they are even accusing public TV of price dumping in the advertisement market (public media will be withdrawn from the advertising market from 2021).
An annual contract between the public broadcasting companies and the National Electronic Mass Media Council stipulates the public remit. According to the annual report, cultural and religious programmes made 4% of total broadcasted hours in 2018.
Latvian Radio is the state capital company. It has 5 programmes and several artistic structural units (Latvian Radiotheatre, Latvian Radiochoir and children vocal ensemble).
Several factors have aggravated the situation of printed media during the last decade. Firstly, economic crisis 2008-2010 has left an impact on consumption patterns. Many long-time subscribers are giving up their newspaper and magazine subscriptions, as well as choosing not to buy press from a news-stand. In 2011, 72% of the Latvian population read newspapers at least once a week, compared to only 60% in 2013. Secondly, advertising revenues across all media have dropped with 46% in 2009 (if compared to 2008) reaching a drop of 57% in newspapers (see more detailed data of the Latvian Advertising Association; see also the website of TNS Latvia). Thirdly, internet usage has continued to grow. In 2008, 57% of individuals used the internet regularly (at least once a week) and in 2018, the number of internet users has grown to 81% (source: Central Statistical Bureau). Fourthly, the changes in VAT increased the costs of the printed media (see chapter 4.1.4).
The combination of a dramatic drop in revenues and aggravated changes in media consumption habits has led to deep transformations in the print media market, the most shattering event in 2009 being the departure of the Bonnier Group, a major foreign investor and the owner of the main daily Diena and its businesses (Dienas Mediji) – a printing house, several regional newspapers, a newspaper distribution company and a magazine division. In 2010, the largest Russian daily "Telegraf" changed ownership too.
The influence of oligarchs and consequent self-censorship of journalists have been widely discussed.
In addition, the situation with the printed cultural press has been complicated. In 2011, the only cultural weekly "Kultūras Forums" ceased to exist. However, at the end of 2011, the Ministry of Culture announced a competition and assigned a public subsidy for publishing cultural content in dailies. Because of a significant decrease of the budget of the State Culture Capital Foundation, many of the cultural magazines discontinued their publications in 2010 or 2011. Some of them are to be continued in electronic format.
The State Culture Capital Foundation has been the main supporter of cultural broadcasts and cultural publications in the printed media in Latvia. The State Regional Development Agency has a support programme for regional and local media. The Society Integration Foundation distributes grants to support different media projects in Latvian language.
See also the studies of The Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism Re:Baltica; Media Literacy of the Inhabitants of Latvia - A quantitative study, 2017; Research on the Media Literacy of Children and Adolescents Aged 9-16 in Latvia (2017).
Last update: September, 2019
The Official Language Law (2000) names Latvian as the official state language.
Special status is given to the Livonian language spoken by the original inhabitants of Latvia to keep it from dying out. The population census of 2011, carried out by the Central Statistics Bureau, shows that the population in Latvia consists of more than 160 nationalities. The prevailing spoken languages are Latvian and Russian.
The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the general management of the implementation of the policy of the state language. Major tasks of the Ministry are to develop the state language policy with the objective to strengthen the status of the Latvian language and ensure sustainable development of the language; and to organise the implementation of the state language policy, including provision for learning the state language, availability of international documents in the state language, by means of coordination of the implementation of the state language policy and encouraging multilingualism of the citizens of Latvia.
Since 1996, a state programme for learning Latvian has been in effect and is carried out with governmental and donor funding. Since 2009, the Latvian Language Agency (supervised by Minister of Education and Science) implements the state language policy, which is formulated in the Guidelines of the State Language Policy for 2015 – 2020.
The Official Language Law determines that information in posters, banners, signs etc. have to be in Latvian. Where other languages are used, the text in the state language must be given priority placement and cannot be smaller than the text in other languages. See chapter 2.5.1. about the requirements of the use of the official language in the media according to the Electronic Mass Media Law (2010).
Last update: September, 2019
The topic of gender equality is not a major topic for political discussion. In line with international and European legal documents, gender equality is guaranteed in the legislation of Latvia in all spheres of
life. Most important of these legal norms is Article 91 of the Constitution stating "All human beings in Latvia shall be equal before the law and the courts. Human rights shall be realised without discrimination of any kind." The most important sectorial laws containing new norms promoting gender equality came into force in 2002, namely, the Labour Law.
More specifically, norms of equal pay, equal access to employment, vocational training and promotion, working conditions, parental leave, burden of proof in cases of discrimination based on sex, protection of pregnant workers, protection against harassment and sexual harassment, and non- discrimination based on gender are part of these documents. In line with general political and legislative processes in the European Union, an increasing number of national laws are amended to include clauses of equal treatment due to gender. Likewise, laws to regulate provision of goods and services and insurance provided by private insurance companies are amended in order to prevent gender-based discrimination.
Women are very actively involved in cultural processes, both on national and local level. The majority of employees in the cultural sector and cultural administrators are women. Eurostat data on employment in 2014 suggests that cultural employment of females has been 4.3% of total employment, which ranks Latvia in the sixth place in Europe following Luxembourg, Iceland, Estonia, Finland and Sweden.
The Ministry of Welfare is the responsible institution for the development of gender equality policy in the government. The Council of Gender Equality (under the direction of the Welfare Minister) was established in 2002 to encourage, protect, and resolve problems of gender inequality at the governmental level. In 2010, a new Committee of Gender Equality was established instead of the Council. Its main functions include coordination of all the stakeholders, such as ministries, NGOs, social partners, municipalities. The Plan for the Promotion of Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men for 2018-2020 (adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers in 2018) aims to implement efficient and well-considered national policy for the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men.
Last update: September, 2019
The Ministry of Welfare is the responsible institution for the development of policy for persons with disability. The policy is in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations and its purpose is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. The Cultural Policy Guidelines 2014 – 2020 refer to the Convention as well, though cultural policy does not provide elaborate measures or any specific strategies to support people with disabilities as professionals in the cultural labour market.
Last update: September, 2019
The rights of ethnic minorities are recognised on a cultural policy level (see chapter 2.2.); other cultural minority groups based on common interests such as gender or sexual orientation are not on the agenda of cultural policy.
Native inhabitants of Latvia are Latvians. Only one ethnic minority is recognised as an autochthonous minority: the Livonians or Livs that were the indigenous inhabitants of Livonia, a large part of what is today north-western Latvia and south-western Estonia. Only a small group of them have declared officially they are Livonians: there were 8 Livonians living in Latvia in 2019 (Inhabitants Register of Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, 2019). The other minorities living in Latvia have general cultural rights (freedom of artistic expression) and the rights of ethnic minorities ("to preserve and develop their language and their ethnic and cultural identity") recognised by the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia (1922, c. 8).
However, the ethnic representation is not homogeneous. Latvians constitute less than 2/3 of the inhabitants. According to data of year 2018, 25% of the population of Latvia are Russians, but the Russian speaking population is approximately 1/3 of total population in Latvia, because a majority of Belarusians and Ukrainians also have Russian as their mother tongue. Since 2000, the proportion of the population speaking in Russian has decreased – by about 4,4%, while at the same time by about 4,5% the proportion of Latvians increased (Central Statistical Bureau, 2019).
In 2013, the Advisory Board for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals was established at the Ministry of Culture, in order to promote discussion and cooperation between the institutions in the field of integration of third-country nationals. The Advisory Board also facilitates the participation and involvement of non-governmental organisations by representing them in developing the state policy in the field of integration of society. In Latvia, the number of third-country nationals is not large (approximately 3.7% of the population in 2017). According to data of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, in 2017, the largest third-country nationals’ communities are Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Uzbekistan and Chinese.
The vision of a national culture policy aims at active participation and inclusion in cultural activities of the most part of the society. Concerning ethnic minorities, Latvia has chosen the ‘social cohesion approach’ – a strategy aimed at integrating immigrants and having them learn the language and traditions of the host country. Since 2011, the Ministry of Culture is responsible for integration (in 2009-2010 it was the Ministry of Justice).
The Guidelines for Social Integration Policy have been in the development phase for several years and experienced many alterations and editions. Finally, the Ministry of Culture elaborated a new proposal and, after public debates in 2011, the Cabinet of Ministers has endorsed the National Identity, Civil Society and Community Integration Guidelines 2012-2018. The Guidelines have been criticised because of their excessive focus on Latvians and identity issues. Guidelines include also some of the national Roma integration policy measures.
The main cultural policy instruments concerning the rights of ethnic minorities are legal and financial instruments.
The main laws providing civic and cultural rights to national minorities are: the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia (1922) and the Law on Free Development and Rights of Cultural Autonomy of National and Ethnic Groups (1991), which aim to ensure the rights in accordance with the international norms for cultural autonomy and cultural self-governance of national and ethnic minority groups.
In 2005, Latvia adopted a Law to ratify the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe, and in 2007 a Law to ratify the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions.
The main financial instrument is direct subsidies to cultural and other institutions of ethnic minorities.
The Ministry of Culture regularly supports the Association of National Culture Societies of I. Kozakēviča, which unites more than 20 organisations of ethnic minorities, called national culture associations or unions. These subsidies are mainly intended to maintain the ethnic identity of diverse nationalities, and for the most part to preserve traditional culture (folk groups, dance, festivities etc.).
As to public institutions, public support is allocated to the mainstream cultural organisations of the ethnic minorities, such as theatres producing and presenting performances in the Russian language. The Ministry of Culture supports the Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian theatre, and the Russian language productions at the Daugavpils City Theatre and the Latvian Puppet Theatre. For the most part, cultural diversity is supported by the allocation of public support to the organisations of ethnic minorities. There are no programmes or financial support schemes that would encourage other cultural institutions to carry out audience development activities or cultural programmes to address cultural diversity and achieve more diverse audiences. The staff of Latvian cultural institutions tends not to be culturally diverse.
Some mainstream organisations pursue cultural diversity at least in the language sphere, offering educational programmes. All minority groups and organisations are eligible to apply for grants to the State Cultural Capital Foundation and the Latvian Society Integration Foundation.
Last update: September, 2019
Disparities in the quality of life, as well as the quality and quantity of the economic and social infrastructure in large cities, their vicinities and in other territories of the county, considerably increase.
The Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030 (Latvia 2030, available also in English) maps out the spatial development perspective, setting as one of the objectives to create equal life and work conditions for all inhabitants regardless of the place of residence by facilitating entrepreneurship in regions, developing transport and communications infrastructure and public services.
The National Development Plan of Latvia for 2014-2020 includes a priority "Growth for Regions" aiming to create preconditions for sustainable and balanced economic development in the cities and regions of Latvia and to provide for the smart and efficient management of the available resources, the use of opportunities for territorial development and the minimisation of threats. The priorities includes also the strategic objective of "Sustainable Management of Natural and Cultural Capital" and proposes the definition of a "basket of services" that contains the prospective assortment of public services (including cultural services) based on the level of settlement (infrastructure and services). The planning document in the field of culture Creative Latvia 2014-2020 is harmonised with the priorities of the National Development Plan of Latvia 2014-2020 and The Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030. As one of four priorities, it promotes the development of creative territories and the accessibility of cultural services.
Support to cultural initiatives and organisations in the regions
- Since 2006, there are support programmes for cultural projects in four regions. Since 2007, the money has been allocated by the State Culture Capital Foundation to regional representatives that announce a local open call. Therefore, the decision-making and distribution of money have been decentralised.
- The Ministry of Culture has signed agreements with several city councils concerning the distribution of professional arts activities in the regions.
- The annual contracts between the Ministry of Culture and national art institutions (theatres, orchestras) stipulate a certain share of performances that has to be presented outside permanent venues of the institutions.
- Since 2011, the National Film Centre has supported projects of film distribution in the regions.
- Since 2012, the State Culture Capital Foundation has established a funding programme that supports distribution of professional art events in the regions.
- There are other measures to financially support municipal institutions and activities, such as public library network, amateur art activities, cultural heritage and museums.
Last update: September, 2019
Cultural sustainability appears in the public policy discourse. For example, The Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030 (Latvia 2030, available also in English) is based on the concept of ‘capitals’, integrating sustainable development principles, culture heritage and creativity, the ability to cooperate and to something jointly being part of these principles.
An evident example is the programme of Latvia’s centenary stating that sustainability of the state is dependent on the participation of individuals and communities in the development of national identity, consolidation of the society and related activities. The programme was designed by Latvian citizens and many activities directly involve individuals too.
Cultural sustainability is also manifested in some of the cultural activities, mainly in international cultural projects. There are not a lot of other programmes aimed at facilitating cultural sustainability.
Last update: September, 2019
See chapter 2.1.