Report creation date: 14.10.2008 - 10:50
Countr(y/ies): Latvia
Chapter(s): 1,2,21,22,23,24,241,242,243,244,245,246,3,31,32,33,4,41,42,421,422,423,424,425,426,427,428,429,4210,43,5,51,511,512,513,514,515,516,517,518,519,52,53,531,532,533,534,535,536,537,538,539,5310,6,61,62,63,64,7,71,72,73,8,81,811,812,813,82,821,822,83,831,832,84,841,842,9,91,92

Latvia/ 1. Historical perspective: cultural policies and instruments

During the 20th century Latvia experienced several drastic metamorphoses. These include the creation of an independent state in 1918, two consecutive occupations during the Second World War and the regaining of independence in 1990.

During the first half of the 1990s, Latvia passed through a transition period from a totalitarian to a democratic society that brought forth crucial social, political, and economic changes. These changes resulted in the introduction of democratic processes, administrative reforms, liberalisation of the economy and introduction of a free market, stabilisation of the new political and economic institutions through privatisation of cultural enterprises, decentralisation of cultural processes and introduction of new legislation.Riga Daugava

Latvia became a member of UNESCO in 1991, and joined the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe in 1992; became a signatory to the Berne Convention in 1995. The Memorandum of Co-operation between Latvia and UNESCO was signed in 1998.

Latvia submitted its application on accession to the European Union in 1995. This marked the beginning of considerable work to implement the necessary procedures and laws as part of the accession process. 2004 Latvia became a member state of the EU.

The first cultural policy document The Main Cultural Policy Proposals of Latvia (1995) outlined the most important tasks of state cultural policy for the first 10 years after regaining Latvian independence, i.e.: not to interfere with the regulation of creative process, simultaneously ensuring favourable conditions and necessary resources for the development of cultural process and cultivation of creative initiative.

The next important document was developed in 2000 - The National Programme Culture. The Programme sets more specific aims and serves as a complex long-term target-programme for the period until 2010. The general cultural priorities defined in this document are- provision of continuity of cultural process and encouragement of the development of new cultural processes in the future; improvement of the cultural administration system and infrastructure; decentralisation of the cultural administrative system; improvements in the cultural financing system and diversification of financial sources; promotion of accessibility and participation in cultural life; development and strengthening the role of cultural education; and encouragement of cultural integration. The Programme comprises descriptions of 10 sub-branches: Cultural heritage; Museums; Libraries; Visual art; Traditional culture and amateur art; Theatre; Music and dance; Literature; Film; Cultural education, which fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture. In many points, the programme Culture was appreciated as an ideal, as important totality of guidelines, yet, it lacked linkage to the economic situation and legal procedures in the country, and it was not always harmonised with other normative acts.

The development of each sphere of culture needed to be reviewed and improved, taking into account the new emphasis and the strategic aims of the national cultural policy. The new document - State Cultural Policy Guidelines (2006 - 2015) - calls for a better integrated approach to the planning and implementation of culture policy (see 3.3).

Latvia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.1 Organisational structure (organigram)

Organisational structure of the Ministry of Culture

Latvia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.2 Overall description of the system

The institutions that set the general policy guidelines, legislation and budget of the Republic of Latvia are: the Saeima (Parliament, 100 members voted every four years) and the Cabinet of Ministers (highest executive body of the country, formed by a Prime Minister invited by the State President). At present there are 18 Ministers and 15 Ministries in Latvia.

According to its Constitution (Satversme) Latvia is a unitary state, made up of 4 regions (Vidzeme, Latgale, Kurzeme and Zemgale), which are prescribed by international treaties and are not administrative territories. Therefore, in Latvia there is no administrative division similar to federal states in the EU.

The administrative territorial picture is fragmented in Latvia. There are two territorial levels of local administration. In 2006, there were 553 local governments: 530 municipalities (7 large cities and 53 towns, 433 parishes, 26 amalgamated local municipalities) operating at local or first territorial level; 33 municipalities (26 counties and 7 large cities) operating at regional or second territorial level. Both levels of local government function independently within the limits of their competence set out in legislation.

The Law on Local Governments (2000) ( defines the division of labour and responsibilities between the state and local authorities in providing services, including those in the cultural field. Decentralisation in the field of culture is connected to the long and complicated process of regional administrative reform, to be completed in 2009. Step by step, municipalities are developing their own cultural policies and are becoming more independent regarding the content and character of cultural life in the regions.

The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia is responsible for strategic development, implementation and supervision of cultural policy and cultural education policy. The Ministry co-operates with municipalities and with non-governmental bodies, such as consultative councils, creative unions, funds etc. The Ministry of Culture and municipalities share responsibility for co-operation programmes and financing in the cultural field in Latvia.

In 2000, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a government directive which gave the Ministry of Culture responsibility / jurisdiction for the following sectors: Libraries, Museums, Music, Fine Art, Folk Art, Theatre, Literature, Film Arts, Cultural Education, and the Protection of Monuments and Archives. The Ministry of Culture is also responsible for the operation of institutions and organisations in each of the respective sectors (see also 3.1 concerning the Ministry of Culture). See also

According to the state policy planning system the main long-term policy document is going to be the Sustainable development guidelines of Latvia. At the present moment this document is being formed for the time period of 25 years and will be approved by the Saeima during 2008. The main medium-term policy document is the National Development Plan 2007 - 2013. (See under The National Lisbon Programme of Latvia for 2005-2008 ( is a policy planning document, which shows how Latvia will promote growth and employment in the medium-term and how it will implement Integrated Guidelines approved by the European Council in July 2005. The most important political guidelines are included in the Governmental Declaration for the governance period of the respective government. At the moment all high level policy planning documents in Latvia include essential paragraphs on culture.

Latvia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation

The Ministry of Culture in Latvia is responsible for the arts and heritage as well as for arts education including higher education in the cultural field. Other ministries are responsible for certain cultural institutions such as the Latvian War Museum which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and the Museum of Nature which is responsible to the Ministry of the Environment. The Ministry of Culture co-operates with cultural institutions set out in the existing cultural legislation.

The Ministry of Culture works together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on issues related to international cultural co-operation and with the Ministry of Justice on issues related to copyright legislation. The Ministries co-operate on developing the national programmes in the "National Development Plan 2007 - 2013" and other policy planning documents. Further inter-ministerial and intergovernmental co-operation is planned within the framework of the "Cultural policy guidelines 2006 - 2015" (see 3.3 and 3.1 for further details).

In order to coordinate the state cultural policy in the regions and local municipalities there are employees of the Department of Regional Cultural Policy of the Ministry of Culture working in 5 regions and in 27 cities and districts.

Latvia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

The main institutional structures involved in the processes of international cultural co-operation are The Ministry of Culture, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Latvian Institute.

The main priorities in the field of international cultural co-operation in recent years have been: 1) the creation of appropriate circumstances for cultural exchange; 2) developing Latvian involvement in international projects, networks and institutions; and 3) sourcing additional financial support from international institutions and programmes.

"The Cultural Policy Guidelines 2006 - 2015" set the vision for the development of Latvian international co-operation: 1) sustainable cultural exchange, based on co-operation projects and co-productions, thus furthering the professionalism of cultural operators, and encouraging creativity and excellence in all cultural branches; 2) increase in the recognition and competitiveness of Latvian cultural products; 3) Latvia as active participant and contributor to the cultural processes in the EU and the wider international community.

The Ministry of Culture has signed agreements with several non-governmental organisations (The Latvian Literature Centre, The Music Information Centre, The New Theatre Institute of Latvia, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art etc.) delegating to these institutions the organisation of Latvia's representation at big international events such as the Venice Biennial of Art, Venice Biennial of Architecture, San Paulo Biennial of Art, MIDEM, Frankfurt Book Fair etc. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the Foreign policy guidelines (2006 - 2010) (, indicates that culture is one of the main resources and most effective instruments in establishing a positive image for the state. The guidelines point out that Latvia must develop a network of cultural attachés in those countries that are of strategic importance in terms of co-operation.

The Latvian Institute ( int. al. offers special assistance to international journalists, editors, producers, researchers and other professionals.

Considerable international cultural co-operation is also undertaken in the non-governmental sector in Latvia. Individuals and organisations co-operate through networks, co-operation projects as well as through personal contacts.

Latvia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

See also 2.4.1.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, international cooperation is becoming stronger and more diverse and very fruitful contacts have been established with the Baltic and Nordic countries, as well as with several cultural representations of foreign countries (the British Council, the Danish Culture Institute, the Cultural Centre of France, the Goethe Institute, The Nordic Council of Ministers' Office, etc.). There are around 10 foreign cultural representations and 34 embassies situated in Riga that are significantly enriching the cultural life of the country.

The cooperation programme for the period 2006 - 2008, between the Culture Ministries of the three Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia), was signed to improve cooperation on the regional level. The Cultural Committee of the Baltic States has initiated several projects that are successful e.g. chamber orchestra Kremerata Baltica, Baltic Film and Media School, Baltic Museology School (see 2.4.4).

The Ministry of Culture has signed intergovernmental and interministerial agreements and programmes with approximately 30 countries to encourage cultural exchange and co-operation between professionals working in the field of culture. 

Municipalities have their own international culture cooperation activities mainly as part of cooperation agreements with partner cities or towns. 

Public financial support for international cooperation is available from the Ministry of Culture and State Culture Capital Foundation. The Ministry of Culture organises the exchange of exhibitions, concert activities, performing arts tours and other cultural undertakings. On a competition basis, the Ministry also finances some international cultural projects and supports the participation of Latvian cultural institutions and professionals in international organisations and programmes e.g. CHAIN, EU Youth Orchestra, International Theatre Institute, EDN, DOMITOR, EUREKA, FIAF, EURIMAGES, UNICA, FIPRESCI, "Culture 2000", Baltic Films, etc.

Important support for the implementation of international cooperation activities is provided by the State Cultural Capital Foundation (CCF). The Foundation supports organisation of international projects as well as running the Travel Grant Support Programme that enables individuals and groups to participate in short-term scientific, creative and study programmes abroad.

The state guarantee system for major international museum exhibitions (due to fulfil the EU Action Plan for the Promotion of Museum Collection Mobility and Loan Standards) should be developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Finances and approved by the Cabinet of Ministers during 2008.

Latvia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

Latvia became a member of UNESCO in 1991, and joined the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe in 1992. In 1995, Latvia became a signatory to the Berne Convention. The Memorandum of Co-operation between Latvia and UNESCO was signed in 1998. In 2004, Latvia became a member state of the EU.

In 2007, Latvia ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The responsible body for the implementation and monitoring of the convention is the Ministry of Culture.

Latvia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.4 Direct professional co-operation

Direct professional cooperation in the field of culture in Latvia operates in many fields; some examples are:

The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art is organising several art events (2006-2007) under the title Trajectories - which attempt to explore the changing role of art and institutions, including their interaction both in a local and global context. The project is an integral part of an international art and culture project TRANSFORM (organised by the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies) taking place from 2005 to 2008 in different European cities - Vienna, Linz, Barcelona, Naples, Ljubljana, Eindhoven, Malmo, Tallinn and Riga. Altogether, TRANSFORM includes 13 art projects and 11 discursive events (workshops, symposia and conferences), a web magazine devoted to the topic of institutional criticism, and a series of articles in visual arts magazines and books ( The project is financially supported by Culture 2000, the State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, the Ministry of Culture of Latvia, The Goethe Institute, The British Council, Riga Municipality Culture Department Culture Project Competition etc.

One of the most active institutions in trans-national cooperation is The New Theatre institute of Latvia (NTIL). In Riga during the International Festival of Contemporary Theatre Homo Novus 2005 a discussion on festivals took place with the aim to analyse the role of the festivals and to share the experience on what objectives may or may not be attained through a festival. The discussion in Riga initiated a series of discussion in eight European festivals that have joined in a project F.I.T. - Theatre Festivals in Transition ( Supported by Culture 2000, Goethe Institut, Allianz Kulturstifftung and other national, regional and local institutions.

The NTIL is also member of Temps d'Images (time of images) - an interdisciplinary network ( unifying various European arts and cultural centres. Temps d'Images aims at creating space for activities in drama and visual arts, facilitating international exchange and expanding the horizons of the audience. Temps d'Images was initiated by ARTE, and La Ferme du Buisson, a centre for arts and culture. In 2003, Temps d'Images festival started with four projects in partnering countries. In the next three years, within the Temps d'Images project framework supported by Culture 2000, eleven other cultural organisations were involved representing Europe, Canada and The New Theatre Institute of Latvia among them.

The Culture and Information Centre K@2 ( organises events in the framework of the multi-network Crusading ( Crusading is a network involving a multi-faceted series of events and activities: exhibitions, seminars, on-line discussions, workshops and publications aimed to reflect on the topics of borders, power and control, political culture across the globe. As a project, Crusading forges a network of international institutions and individuals, committed to exploring and working with these topics. The project is organised and administered by Bildmuseet, a Museum of Contemporary Art and Visual Culture at Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Baltic Films ( is a cooperation platform, that comprises the three film bodies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and it functions as an umbrella organisation promoting films from these countries internationally. Besides participating at the key film markets, Baltic Films awards a prize to the best Nordic film at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck. Baltic Films promotes the films in their member countries and cooperates in programming film days and festivals.

In the field of cultural education there are two successful projects to mention on the level of Baltic cooperation - Baltic Film and Media School and Baltic Museology School.

The Baltic Film School ( opened at Tallinn University (Estonia) in 2006; its launch was supported by the ministries of culture of all three Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the Nordic Baltic Film Fund etc.). The Baltic Film and Media School is an innovative educational centre for the audiovisual sector in the Baltic Region. In its admission policy, the school maintains approximately equal numbers of students from each of the Baltic States. The teaching, research and other academic activities are developed in three main directions - film arts, TV broadcasting, audio-visual media and communication management. The Baltic Film and Media School actively carries out projects and exchange programmes with universities, TV and film studios internationally as a way of involving academic and professional expertise. 

Baltic Museology School (BMS) ( is organised in cooperation between the Ministries of Culture of all three Baltic countries, the State Authority of Museums of Latvia and ICOM - Europe (International Council of Museums). The BMS is a long-term Baltic States collaboration project for the life long education of museum professionals. Each year there is a week-long educational programme focusing on one aspect of museum work, and linking museum theory with practice. The aim of the school is to develop and strengthen museological thought in the Baltic States, by linking theory and practice, in order to become more professional, contemporary and accessible to society.

In many cases the direct cooperation activities are supported by the programme Culture 2000. Sixty-one projects organised or co-organised by Latvian cultural institutions have been supported since 2001, when Latvia became eligible for support under Culture 2000.

Latvia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

During recent years, the government has initiated several trans-national culture co-operation projects. In 2005, the festival Étonnante Lettonie took place in France; in 2007, a festival Un Printemps Français took place in Latvia for a period of 3 months and included more then 90 events. Both festivals were initiated by the presidents of the respective countries.

In 2006 Latvia participated at the International Culture days in Dortmund (Germany). The preparation has begun for the Culture Days of Germany in Latvia 2008 as well as Latvia's culture days in Russia and Culture Days of Russia in Latvia.

There are no special government programmes to support specific transnational activities of young people or youth groups. The Ministry for Children and Family Affairs ( works with the youth policy of Latvia, which emphasises education and informal education, employment, health, volunteerism, the creation of a friendly environment for the youth and coordinates the participation of Latvia at the Youth Culture Day in the framework of the "All different - All equal" campaign.

See 4.2.3.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Latvia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.6 Other relevant issues

The Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Society Integration Republic of Latvia has elaborated the state programme Support Programme for Latvian Diaspora 2004 - 2009. The main aim of the programme is to strengthen the links of the diaspora with Latvia, creating a system to support cooperation. There are many diaspora organisations abroad, around 40 from them are working actively in such countries as Australia, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Lithuania, Russia, USA etc. The government allocates financial support for the activities of NGOs of the Latvian diaspora in other countries.

After joining the EU, many people are emigrating from Latvia to other EU countries. Official data lists the number of emigrants at 50 000, with approximately 15 - 20 000 choosing Ireland as their destination. The diaspora questions in Ireland are therefore of special significance.

Latvia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.1 Main elements of the current cultural policy model

Ministry of Culture

The Latvian cultural policy model is still centralised around the Ministry of Culture, ( which is the main institution formulating and co-ordinating state cultural policy. However, there have been some changes towards decentralisation and involvement of non-governmental organisations and the public in the cultural field. The Ministry of Culture has signed several agreements with non-governmental organisations (e.g. The New Theatre Institute of Latvia, Latvian Literature Centre), delegating a number of specific functions. There are advisory boards or councils in most areas of the cultural sector which include culture operators, experts and representatives of other ministries, municipalities and non-governmental organisations, who actively participate in the policy making process and allocation of financial support.

Councils and Advisory boards

The National Board of Culture, established in 1995, is the most important advisory body to the Ministry of Culture. Its main tasks are to promote public participation in cultural life and to enhance co-operation between the state, public institutions and individuals. Its functions are to analyse and make proposals regarding the strategic direction of some cultural sectors, to participate in the preparation of the cultural budget, draft plans for laws and investment policies.

In relation policy making and implementation, the Ministry of Culture must consult with non-governmental organisations to further social dialogue and has to involve society members in the state administration. It carries out this role via boards and working groups; the boards have consultative functions; and the working groups are created to solve specific tasks during the specified period of time.

Advisory councils to the Ministry include the Council of Literature and Publishing (2003); Latvian Music Council (2002); Advisory Board for Supervision of Organisations devoted to the Collective Administration of Property Rights (2001); National Council of Theatres (2000); Latvian Film Council (2004); Visual Arts Council (2001); National Council of Museums (1998); National Library Council (1998); Latvian Design Council (2006); Culture Heritage Committee of the Baltic States. There are also several boards presiding over funds, boards of various cultural establishments, groups of counsellors etc.

State Cultural Capital Foundation (CCF)

The establishment of the Culture Capital Foundation, ( which started operating as an arms length body in 1998, was a major milestone in Latvian cultural policy and completely changed funding patterns in the cultural sector. The financing of cultural projects which had previously been the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture were delegated to the CCF.

The projects submitted for funding to the CCF are evaluated by expert bodies which report to the Council of the CCF. These bodies also monitor how the allocated grants are utilised. There are seven experts in eight cultural fields (see below), who are replaced every 2 years. The experts are nominated by governmental and non-governmental cultural organisations.

The Foundation Council is the main administrative body of the CCF and its members are affirmed by the Council of Ministers. The members are - the Minister of Culture, a representative of the Ministry of Finance, a representative of the National Board of Culture, a representative of the Creative Union Council, representatives of Latvian Municipality Union and the head of each expert body. The term of office of the Foundation Council is also 2 years. The Council decides the strategy for the CCF, defines the priorities for the cultural projects, announces project competitions, and allocates financial resources for implementation of cultural projects.

The goal of the CCF is to provide financial support and promote balanced development of creative work in all sectors of culture and art and encourage the preservation of cultural heritage. It also facilitates the development of international relations and promotes Latvian art and culture world wide. Until 2003, the CCF was financed from the excise tax imposed on alcohol (3%) and tobacco products (3%), as well as gambling and lottery tax. In 2003, the government decided to change how the CCF is funded and since 2004, it is now funded directly by the Ministry of Culture.

The CCF announces project competitions four times a year in eight fields - literature; music and dance; theatre; cinematography; visual arts and photography; cultural heritage; traditional culture; and interdisciplinary projects.

There is also a Travel Grant Support Programme that enables individuals and groups to participate in short-term scientific, creative and study programmes abroad. The Lifelong Scholarship Programme of the CCF supports outstanding individuals in the cultural field. Since 1999, more than 280 artists have received a state grant via this programme.

In 2001, the CCF introduced a new initiative to implement cultural policy priorities set out in the National Programme Culture (2000 - 2010). Every year approximately 30 target programmes are announced, to guarantee the functioning of cultural institutions and ensure the development of national cultural products.

The total budget of the CCF in 2006 was ca. 6.08 million LVL, the planned budget for 2007 is ca. 6.5 million LVL, and for 2008, ca. 7.6 million LVL.

Cultural Policy documents

For the period of 2000 - 2006, the most important national cultural policy document was the National Programme Culture (2000 - 2010), which was developed in 2000 in co-operation of the Ministry of Culture and independent experts.

The new cultural policy planning document The Cultural Policy Guidelines (2006 - 2015) were adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers in April 2006.

See also 3.3.

Latvia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.2 National definition of culture

The Cultural Policy Guidelines (2006 - 2015) (see 3.3) use the broad definition of culture that corresponds with the conclusions of the World Conference on Cultural Policies (Mexico 1982), the World Commission on Culture and Development Report (1995), and the Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development in Stockholm (1998). The definition that is approved by 190 countries, which have supported the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, is: "In its widest sense, culture may now be said to be the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterise a society or social group. It includes not only the arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs."

Latvia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.3 Cultural policy objectives

The Cultural Policy Guidelines (2006 - 2015) set 7 strategic aims for cultural development in Latvia:

Latvia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

The main public policy priorities in the field of culture in recent years are:

The most active public debates have been on the topic of the new cultural infrastructure projects (time, costs, justification, reasons and willingness to build the National Library, Contemporary Art Museum and Concert Hall), intangible heritage issues (concerning the Song and Dance Festival - since 2003 proclaimed as a UNESCO Masterpieces of Intangible Heritage of Humanity) and of course salary questions within the public cultural sector (see also 4.2.7). See also under:;;;; and

One of the important challenges discussions of the culture policy in Latvia is connected to the digitisation of cultural resources as set in a very prior position of the policy implementation process.

The prior cultural policy issues were discussed and marked also during the intense cycle of seven conferences under the title "Septiņas māsas" (Seven sisters), which took part from September till December 2007 in Riga.

Latvia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.1 Cultural minorities, groups and communities

Table 1:     Inhabitants of Latvia dividend by ethnic origin, 2006




% of total


1 345 995

1 348 982



18 182

31 124



1 529

2 531



30 239

86 007



359 633

650 429



15 934

58 264



40 860

55 139



6 519

10 386



26 291

46 061



1 845 182

2 288 923


Source:      Inhabitants Register of Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, August 2006.

Russian speakers account for almost 40% of the total population; in Riga more than half of all inhabitants are Russians. Liivs are ancient inhabitants of Latvia who have been assigned a special status as the original people. Most of the ethnic minority groups are established communities, while the number of newly formed groups of immigrants is low.

The cultural policy of Latvia supports the formation and operation of national culture communities, associations, and schools in Latvia as well as religious freedoms. All ethnic minority groups have equal rights to participate in cultural life.

The main laws providing civic and cultural rights to national minorities are: the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and the Law on Free Development and Rights for Cultural Autonomy of National and Ethnographic Groups (1991), which aims to ensure rights pursuant to international norms, for cultural autonomy, and cultural self-governance for national and ethnic minority groups.

The main policy documents addressing national minority groups are: the Guidelines on Societal Integration in Latvia (2006-2010); the National programme On Supporting Tolerance (2005-2009); the State Programme Romany in Latvia (2007─2009) and the long term state target programme Liivs in Latvia (1999). Guidelines on Social Integration in Latvia were defined in 2001 and they described the main actions in the fields of social and regional integration, civil society development, education, language and culture, information of society. There is work going on to develop new document "Guidelines of Society integration policy 2008 - 2018". The State Programme Romany in Latvia is created to diminish the existing stereotypes and to improve the involvement of Romany in the social activities, the main directions of the programme are - education, employment and human rights

The main aims of the state target programme Liivs in Latvia are - to maintain the Liiv ethnoss, the ancient inhabitants of Latvia, their language and culture heritage. This programme has a very specific task, since the number of Liivs living in Latvia nowadays is very low (1999 - 0.008% from the total number of inhabitants of Latvia, apr. 185 persons).[1][1].merkp.pdf

In 2005 Latvia adopted a Law to ratify the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

There are more than 200 schools for minorities in Latvia and several centres to support bilingual teaching at schools, financed by municipalities.

The Ministry of Special Assignments for Society Integration Affairs supports regularly the NGO's for ethnic minorities - in 2006, it granted LVL 144 600 (in 2003, it was LVL 39 372, and in 2005 - LVL 98 695). 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.

All minority groups and organisations are eligible to apply for grants to the State Cultural Capital Foundation and the Latvian Society Integration Foundation.  

Latvia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.2 Language issues and policies

The Law on the State Language (2000) ( names Latvian as the official state language. Special status is given to the Liiv language spoken by the original inhabitants of Latvia to keep it from dying out. The population census of 2000, carried out by the Central Statistics Bureau, shows that the population in Latvia consists of more than 150 nationalities. The prevailing spoken languages are Latvian and Russian.

Since 1996, a state programme for learning Latvian has been in effect and is carried out with governmental and donor funding. In 2003, the "State Language Agency" ( was created under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science. The main tasks of the agency are to analyse the position of Latvian as the official language and to facilitate learning and use of the language in Latvia.

The Law on Radio and Television (2001) ( determines that programmes broadcast on the first channel of Latvian Radio and Television must be delivered in Latvian. In other radio and television channels (except cable television and radio and satellite television and radio) the broadcasting time for foreign languages is not permitted to exceed 30 % of the total broadcasting time in a month. Films are required to be dubbed or have Latvian subtitles and children's films are required to be dubbed in Latvian. TV programmes in foreign languages, except live broadcasts, retranslations, news and language teaching programmes are required to have Latvian subtitles.

The Law on the State Language determines that information in posters, banners, signboards etc. have to be in Latvian. Where other languages are used, the text in state language must be given priority placement and cannot be smaller than the text in other languages.

Latvia/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.3 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes

The competence of the population on the topic of intercultural dialogue in Latvia is limited. Cultural diversity topics are still underrepresented in public discourse. Although Latvia society is shaped by a wide variety of cultures, there is a lack of understanding and knowledge between groups, which stimulates further collective prejudices, stereotypes and intolerance. There is a contradiction between existing cultural diversity and its lack of representation at all levels of the public sphere, such as politics, media, curricula, activities of NGOs of various cultural groups etc.

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. Among the key actors are:  

The Ministry of Special Assignments for Society Integration Affairs coordinates the implementation of several ICD programmes, e.g.: the State Programme Society Integration in Latvia; the National Programme for Promotion of Tolerance; the State Programme Gypsies (Romany) in Latvia. The Secretariat recently elaborated the National Strategic Plan for the 2008 Year of Intercultural Dialogue Making diversity accessible: intercultural dialogue in Latvia. In order to promote diversity as an advantage for Latvia and to avoid further invisibility of cultural diversity, the following objectives of the national strategy have been defined: to introduce and promote the idea of cultural diversity among schools, universities and NGOs of the ethnic majority by supporting initiatives of various actors; to intensify manifestation of cultural diversity in everyday life in all spheres of Latvian society, especially its racial, ethnic and religious dimensions by supporting projects of intercultural exchange; to involve the Latvian media in mainstreaming diversity by supporting projects aimed at representing different cultural groups both in the content and in media work, especially in cyberspace; to introduce diversity in rural and remote areas where the level of cultural competence can be limited or low, in order to create preconditions for decentralising diversity policy.

State Cultural Policy Guidelines 2006 - 2015 include the principles of intercultural dialogue and stress the need for dialogue, understanding and diversity.

The State Culture Capital Foundation ( and The Latvian Society Integration Foundation ( int. al. also support cultural activities and institutions of national minorities.

There are examples of good practice in the field of intercultural dialogue in Latvia: Kopā / Together is a series of activities including a project competition for pupils to promote intercuturalism, diversity and inclusion through sports and the arts. Schools can submit projects that promote understanding, cooperation between different groups of children - ethnic minorities and disabled people. The best projects receive prizes - financial support for the implementation of the projects. The total amount of support is 4 500 LVL. The project is supported by the Embassy of the UK and the British Council.

Since September 2007, there will be series of broadcasts on the 1st channel of the Latvian television station, ETNOSI. TOLERANCE.LV, related to the topics of tolerance and ethnicity.

For more information, see:
Database of Good Practice on Intercultural Dialogue and our Intercultural Dialogue section.

For more information on the government's National Strategy for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue please see:

Latvia/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.4 Social cohesion and cultural policies

Information is currently not available.

Latvia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.5 Media pluralism and content diversity

Public and commercial broadcasters in Latvia are listed on the following site: There is one public TV organisation (Latvian Television) and 26 private TV companies, 34 private radio companies and 1 public radio organisation (The Latvian Radio), 42 cable TV and radio companies; and 2 satellite TV companies.

Latvian Television ( is a non-profit limited liability company which is owned by the state. Approximately 60% of LTV 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. Latvian Television is a public broadcasting organisation whose work is supervised by the National Radio and Television Council.

There are three daily newspapers that issue a weekly culture supplement, one weekly cultural newspaper Kultūras Forums ( and one monthly newspaper Izglītība un Kultūra (

There are several cultural magazines: Studija (visual arts;, Māksla+ (interdisciplinary;, Rīgas Laiks (philosophy, interdisciplinary, Mūzikas Saule (music;, Teātra Vēstnesis (theatre;, Dizaina studija (design), Foto Kvartāls (photography; http://www.fotokvartā, Latvijas arhitektūra (architecture, design, environment).

There are no special arts and culture channels in Latvia. On the 1st channel of public TV, there is a regular live 30 min. culture broadcast that runs 4 times a week called 100 g kultūras (100g of culture;

The Culture Capital Foundation is the main supporter of cultural programmes broadcasted and cultural items in the printed media in Latvia.

To obtain the main media related topics of public interest in Latvia look under:;; and

There are no specific training programmes for journalists to sensitise them to culture related issues. There is currently no information about anti-trust measures to prevent media concentration and share of domestic vs. imported media programmes.

See also 5.3.8.

Latvia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.6 Culture industries: policies and programmes

In 2004 - 2005 the Ministry of Culture has taken a more active position on the development of the culture and creative industries - several public discussions and conferences have been organised. The importance of the creative industries is identified in the new cultural policy guidelines and their role is stressed also in the National Development Plan of Latvia.

In recent documents, the creative industries are mainly defined as industries of the national economy, which are based on individual or collective creativity, skills and talents and are able to increase welfare and create jobs, by way of creating and/or using intellectual property. Creative industries create, develop, make, use, demonstrate, disseminate and preserve products, which possess economic, cultural and / or entertainment values.

Currently there are three significant research papers concerning the culture and creative industries in Latvia: The Economic Contributions of Copyright-based Industries in Latvia (WIPO, Robert G. Picard and Timo E. Toivonen), Design for Latvia (by Mollerup Designlab A/S, Denmark) and Creative Industries in Latvia (research institute BICEPS of the Economic School of Riga, 2007).

Research has shown that the copyright-based industries in Latvia have contributed considerably to the Latvian economy in 2000:

According to the study Creative Industries in Latvia, at present there is data on 3 900 enterprises of creative industries in 2005, while in 2001 there were only 2 534 such enterprises. During the period from 2001 to 2005, the proportion of enterprises in the creative industries in Latvia increased from less than 6.23% to 7.02% of all enterprises. In the creative industries there is a relatively high proportion of self-employed people - 9.0% of all the self-employed in Latvia. Their number has increased since 2002 on average by 18% per annum. The proportion of the creative industries in the labour market is constantly growing. In 2005, 4% of all the employed persons were employed in the creative industries included in the statistics for Latvia. Proportionally, impressive growth in the turnover may be observed outside Riga (within four years it grew threefold). The fastest growing creative industry sectors are recreation, entertainment and other cultural events: the increase in turnover from 2002 to 2005 increased by 224%, which corresponds to 34% of the average industry turnover per annum. The turnover in the polygraph industry (NACE 2225) has increased even faster - by 67% of the average per annum. The major added value generators are: the architectural industry (66.9 million LVL) (data on the added value single out the industry of services of architecture, design and consulting (NACE 742) jointly with the industry of technical control, measurements and analysis (NACE 743)), the advertising industry (37.6 million LVL) and the literature sector.

Support for culture and creative industries

The Cultural Capital Foundation ( see also 3.1) regularly supports the culture industries such as film, media publishing, book publishing, and music recordings in its project competitions and special target programmes.

The Latvian Investment and Development Agency has started important state support initiatives in the field of industrial design in 2006 (see:

Latvia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.7 Employment policies for the cultural sector

Various information sources indicate different numbers of employees working in the cultural sector. The data collected by the Ministry of Culture shows that currently there are approx. 18 500 employees working in public cultural institutions, about 7 000 of them working in organisations directly under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture.

The Central Statistics Bureau of Latvia has collected data on approx. 500 self-employed persons in cultural sector, but it does not reflect the real number of self-employment in the field of culture. Many avoid registering officially as self-employed because of the bureaucratic and difficult procedures.

Table 2:     Number of employees in public cultural institutions, 2004

Public cultural institutions

Number of institutions

Number of employees

State and municipal museums


1 913

Culture houses


6 002

Municipal libraries and libraries of the Ministry of Culture


2 258

Professional art / music schools


2 852

Professional cultural education institutions


1 643

Cultural / arts education universities



State theatres



Municipal theatres









Concert organisations










1 777

18 412

Source:      Information and Analysis Unit of the Ministry of Culture, 2005.

Although the number of employees in the different cultural branches is increasing slightly in recent years, there is still a great need for competent cultural specialists in many areas. The government has approved its willingness to increase the salaries in the cultural sector by signing the Memorandum that guarantees the increase of the average salary in state cultural institutions until 2010.

There is no comprehensive research made on the comparability of the salaries in the cultural and other sectors.

Latvia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.8 New technologies and cultural policies

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. See also the Latvian report to the culture digitalisation network MINERVA

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 all 874 Latvian public libraries with broadband Internet connections, to build a wi-fi network for library users, to provide approximately three computers per library to meet an anticipated high demand, and offer basic computer training for approx. 7 700 library patrons and librarians. The Latvian national government has committed USD 21.2 million to this project, and Microsoft Latvia has committed USD 7.9 million in software.

Many new technology projects and culture related internet portals are supported by the Culture Capital Foundation. For further information on the new technologies in the arts see also:

Latvia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.9 Heritage issues and policies

See also 5.3.3 and 4.2.8.

The recent debate on cultural heritage has broadened the current heritage concept. As well as the cultural monument protection branch, libraries, archives, museums, and the intangible cultural heritage ( are now recognised as important resources for the development of the knowledge society and for cultural tourism.

The Ministry of Culture's budget for heritage protection increased significantly during the last two years. For example, a special programme Heritage 2018 has been approved and is being implemented since 2006. The aim of the programme is to restore and modernise all more than 100 architecture heritage objects in state property till the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Latvia: first turn (2006 - 2009) 25 objects (14 in Riga and 11 in the regions). It is planned to invest during the 1st turn 42.6 million LVL, but during the 2nd turn (2010 - 2011) - 16.4 million LVL. There are also a few special heritage protection and development programmes regularly supported by the Culture Capital Foundation. Another important financial source for development of the cultural heritage is the EU Structural Funds.

The main institutions that work together in the area of heritage policies are:

For more information, see
European Heritage Network: Country profile Latvia

Latvia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.10 Gender equality and cultural policies

The topic of gender equality is not a major topic for political discussion, nor is cultural policy. There are no specific regulations. However, women are very actively involved in cultural processes both on national and local levels. Approximately 70.8 % of the employees in the cultural sector are women: the majority of cultural administrators in Latvia are women; for example, civil servants of the Ministry of Culture are mainly female as are also most theatre and art critics and curators in Latvia.

The Council of Gender Equality (under the direction of the Welfare Minister) was established to encourage, protect, and resolve problems of gender inequality at the governmental level. The Council set out a programme for gender equality for the period 2003-2008 which includes the application of gender equality principles in the normative documents and political programmes of Latvia. In 2002, the government of Latvia signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the European Commission regarding its participation in different sub-programmes that support the integration of gender equality principles into state policy.

Latvia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

There is a very intense debate in Latvian society about the major Cultural Buildings Project called Jaunie trīs brāļi (The New Three Brothers, as a reference to the "old" Three Brothers - a grouping of three houses from the 15th-18th centuries in the old town of Riga). The New Three Brothers is a newly established state agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture which is responsible for building a new National Library (, Contemporary Art Museum ( and Concert Hall in Riga, ( in the coming years ( (See also 7.3).

The Culture Mapping Project began in 2005 to identify the availability of cultural objects and services to the population in Latvian regions. The project is realised in cooperation between the Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government and the Ministry of Culture. The first stage of the project is available under

Recently there is a research published by R. Ķīlis Economic significance and impact of the cultural sector in Latvia, Riga, 2007. Concerning the direct impact of culture, it is concluded, that in 2005 1.61 % of the economically active population is employed, in 2006 - 1.79%. Income in the culture sector - LVL 63 082 224 in 2005, LVL 96 368 245 in 2006.

Latvia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.1 Constitution

The Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, Chapter 8, 113 states: "The State shall recognise the freedom of scientific research, artistic, and other creative activity and shall protect copyright and patent rights." and 114 states: "Persons belonging to ethnic minorities have the right to preserve and develop their language and their ethnic and cultural identity."

Latvia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction

The Ministry of Culture is responsible for most of the legal cultural competence in Latvia. There are legal provisions for cultural organisations defined in special laws, which subordinate the respective cultural branches to the Ministry of Culture even if the organisations are established and administered by the municipalities. For example:

The Law on Local Governments (2000) ( defines the division of labour and responsibilities between the state and local authorities in providing services, including those in the cultural sector.

Decentralisation in the field of culture is connected to the long and complicated process of regional administrative reform, expected to be completed in 2009.

State Administration Structure Law (2003)

Latvia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.3 Allocation of public funds

The Law on the Cultural Capital Foundation ( defines the legal status of the CCF as a public foundation, the establishment and the procedures for the accumulation, management and utilisation of its resources. The law was first adopted 1997, determined that the budget of the CCF was to be supplemented from a 3% alcohol and tobacco excise tax. In 2003, a new law on the CCF was adopted which changed its legal status to a public foundation and changed the source of its funding. It was decided that the CCF would be part of the budget of the Ministry of Culture. According to the recent amendments to the Law on the CCF, the budget of the foundation should increase every year: in 2005 and 2006 it increased by 10% each year.

Because of the rapidly increasing inflation in Latvia, in 2006 a special state action plan to fight against inflation was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers; it does mean certain financial restrictions for the field of culture also. For that reason, it is very important to define clear priorities for the investments. The actual Declaration of the Intended activities of the Cabinet of Ministers includes quite large cultural topics ( The agenda of The Cabinet of Ministers on mid term state budget goals and priorities of development for 2008 - 2010 include cultural and creative industries issues.

Latvia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.4 Social security frameworks

The social protection of artists in Latvia is regulated by general legislation and by the Labour Law There are no special provisions for self-employed artists to have access to the social security system. Many artists have to work in other fields to earn a living, for example in education, mass media, or advertising.

In 2004 a Law was adopted on "Long-service pensions for performing artists employed by state and local government professional orchestras, choirs, concert organisations, circuses and theatres". The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the implementation of the law.

The Law on the Status of Creative Persons and their Social Protection Framework is at preparation stage for some time without any major success.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Latvia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.5 Tax laws

The Law on Value Added Tax (1995) stipulates a standard VAT rate of 18%. A reduced rate of VAT at 5 % was introduced for some product groups - e.g. newspapers, magazines, licence fees for commercial TV and radio stations, book delivery etc. VAT is not imposed on theatre and circus performances, concerts and events organised by cultural institutions, library services, museums, exhibitions,  zoo and botanical gardens, events intended for children, amateur art group events, charity events, scientific researches that are financed by public foundations, state or municipal budget or international organisations.

The Law on Income Tax of Individuals (1995) determines an income tax level of 25% of annual incomes. This taxation concerns all wage earners, artists included. The income tax excludes expenses that are connected with the creation and publication of art works (author's expenses), if the author receive payment for their work. The amount of an author's expenses varies in different branches according to the Regulations of the Council of Ministers e.g.: sculpture, paintings, music - 40 %; literary works - 15 %; graphics and photographs for publishing - 30 %; architecture - 20%; applied arts, theatre set designs, design projects - 20 %.

The Law on Income Tax for Enterprises (2004) provides income tax reductions of up to 85% on sums donated to institutions, associations and foundations which, according to the Law on Public Benefit Organisations (adopted 2004), have a "public benefit organisation status". However, the overall tax reduction cannot exceed 20% of the overall taxable amount due to the state.

The Law on State Social Insurance (1998) determines the status of self-employed people, who earn their income by individual work (includes self-employed artists). The total rate of social insurance payable is 33 % - 24 % by the employer and 9 % by the employee. Regulations of the Council of Ministers each year determine the minimal amount of social insurance payments for the self-employed.

The social security system has no special provisions for freelance or self-employed artists to pay their social security fees.

Latvia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.6 Labour laws

For more information, see our Status of Artists section.

Latvia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.7 Copyright provisions

In 2000, a Division for Copyright and Neighbouring Rights was established at the Ministry of Culture, .

Recent amendments to the Copyright Law are related to the EU directives: .

Latvia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.8 Data protection laws

The Data State Inspection is responsible for the implementation of the data protection legislation:

Latvia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.9 Language laws

See 4.2.2.

Latvia/ 5.2 Legislation on culture

Latvia has introduced the following laws in the cultural sector:

1)    Laws setting out cultural policy frameworks

2)    Laws establishing the operations, governing structures and procedures for financing cultural institutions

3)        Laws providing financing

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.1 Visual and applied arts

There are no specific laws for visual and applied arts.

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.2 Performing arts and music

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

See also 7.2.

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.5 Architecture and environment

A Law on Architecture is in the preparation stage.

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.6 Film, video and photography

A Law on Film is in the preparation stage.

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.7 Culture industries

There are no specific laws for the culture industries.

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.8 Mass media

In 1999 the National Broadcasting Council ( was established as an independent administrative authority to observe the implementation of the Law on National Radio and Television ( A list of very important cultural events for broadcast to Latvian citizens was drawn up and included in the Law on Radio and Television in 2003.

Activities of the Press in Latvia are regulated according to the Law on Press and Other Mass Media (1990, amended 1997).

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.9 Legislation for self-employed artists

There is no comprehensive legislation in Latvia that provides a legal framework for artists and guarantees their social security. See 5.1.5.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Latvia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.10 Other areas of relevant legislation

Information is currently not available.

Latvia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.1 Short overview

See 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4.

The share of the state budget allocated to culture in 2005 was approximately 2.16 % (the budget of the Ministry of Culture - 52 071 LVL; without the culture budget of the other ministries and municipalities).

From 2004 to 2005, the average gross salary for an employee increased from 109.6% to 116.5%, while the recreation and culture-related expenditure of residents increased from 6.2% to 6.7% per year.

Latvia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.2 Public cultural expenditure per capita

Public (state) culture expenditure per capita in 2005 was 18.7 LVL. It corresponds to 0.56% of GDP.

Table 3:     Economic indicators, in LVL, 2002-2005






 Public culture expenditure
 per capita (in LVL)





 GDP (mill. LVL)

5 691.0

6 322.0

7 359.4

9 059.0

 Gross state expenditure
 (fixed assets in '000 LVL)

928 654.9

1 063 270.2 

1 567 000.0

2 056 235.2

 State expenditure
 for culture ('000 LVL)*

24 431.7

31 743.8 

42 977.4

47 987.0

 Ratio of cultural expenditure
 of GNP





 Ratio of cultural expenditure of
 total state expenditure





Sources:    Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture, Central Statistic Bureau.
*                 Expenditure of the Ministry of Culture.

Latvia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.3 Public cultural expenditure broken down by level of government

Table 4:     Public cultural expenditure: by level of government, in LVL, 2005

Level of government

Total expenditure

% share of total

State (federal)

60 567 440


Regional (provincial, Länder)



Local (municipal)

43 079 654*



103 647 094


Source:      Information and Analysis Unit of the Ministry of Culture, 2006.
*                 Information is not available from all municipalities.

Latvia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.4 Sector breakdown

Table 5:     State cultural expenditure: by sector, by level of government, in LVL, 2005

Field / Domain / Sub-domain

Direct expenditure and transfers to institutions

(to other levels of government)


% of total

Cultural Goods

14 046 668


14 046 668


Cultural heritage

7 257 484


7 257 484


Historical Monuments

1 290 662


1 290 662



5 966 822


5 966 822



3 030 455


3 030 455



3 758 729


3 758 729



10 583 651


10 583 651


Visual Arts (including design)

598 566


598 566


Performing Arts

9 985 085


9 985 085



5 626 416


5 626 416


Theatre and Musical Theatre

4 358 669


4 358 669



11 780 434


11 780 434


Books and Press

1 026 466


1 026 466



788 732


788 732



237 734


237 734


Audio, Audiovisual and Multimedia

10 753 968


10 753 968


Audio, Audiovisual and Multimedia

17 840


17 840



2 086 599


2 086 599



3 227 169


3 227 169



5 422 360


5 422 360



15 947 206

8 209 481

24 156 687



13 957 674

8 209 481

22 167 155



4 348 823

349 874

4 698 697


Cultural Relations Abroad

111 474


111 474


Educational Activities

9 497 377

7 859 607

17 356 984


Not allocated by domain

1 989 532


1 989 532



52 357 959

8 209 481

60 567 440


Source:      Information and Analysis Unit of the Ministry of Culture, 2006.
Note:         The budget of the Ministry of Culture and other ministries, including the Culture Capital Foundation and state transfers to the National Broadcasting Council.

Latvia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.1 Re-allocation of public responsibilities

In 2005 there were four cases of the reallocation of public functions to non-governmental organisations. Contracts were made between the Ministry of Culture and the New Theatre Institute, the Music Information Centre, and the Latvian Literature Centre. In 2006, there were approximately 10 agreements with NGO's concerning the reallocation of certain public responsibilities to the non-governmental sector.  

Latvia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.2 Status/role and development of major cultural institutions

The Law on Cultural Institutions has been in effect since 1998. It defines the type of Latvian cultural institutions (state, local government, private), their legal status, commercial activities, and funding sources.

In 2004/2005, there was ongoing major reform of the legal status of all state museums. In accordance with the Law on Public Agencies, museums are being reorganised into state agencies to provide them with more financial and administrative independence.

In 2005, the legal status of the six state-founded theatres, Circus of Riga and three important state music institutions was changed in to State Ltd. Companies.

See also 5.1.3 on the legal status changes to the Culture Capital Foundation.

Latvia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.3 Emerging partnerships or collaborations

In 2004, the Maecenas Council at the Ministry of Culture was established and the area of public - private partnership (PPP) in the cultural sector is becoming a more and more important topic in cultural policy. For example, the "Three Brothers" project (see 4.3) will be carried out as a PPP. Also, the new "Cultural Policy Guidelines 2006 - 2015" include many issues relating to PPP in the cultural sector.

Foundations and artistic associations established in the 1990s, have already initiated collaboration between organisations in certain professional art sectors, e.g. in visual arts, music, and theatre, resulting in combined funding sources from public, local government, and the private sector.

At present few municipalities directly subsidise professional theatres through two and three-sided agreements to cover management and administration expenses.

Latvia/ 8. Support to creativity and participation

8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

The financing of creative activities has substantially improved since 1998, when the Culture Capital Foundation was established (see 2.2).

Members of the creative industries are entitled to receive a certain share of their royalties resulting from the creation, publishing, performance or other artistic activities tax-free; the share of which varies depending on the artwork (15-40%).

Latvia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.1 Special artists funds

The State Cultural Capital Foundation (CFF),, supports the creative work of artists by providing "creative scholarships" awarded via project competitions. Individual artists cannot apply for these scholarships. Instead, artists have to be involved in a project submitted by a juridical person / legal body in order to receive a creative scholarship from the CFF. Creative scholarships are exempted from tax. There are other target programmes at the CCF that also support the creative work of artists, e.g. "Scholarships for creative work and studies in visual arts" (2005 - LVL 40 000) and "Scholarships for the translation of literature" (2005 - LVL17 300).

In 2004, a Law on "Long-service pensions for performing artists employed by state and local government professional orchestras, choirs, concert organisations, circuses and theatres" was adopted, which provides security for performing artists when they retire.

Latvia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.2 Grants, awards, scholarships

The main public grants and awards currently available to Latvian artists are listed below.

The following grants are available from international and national private organisations for individual artists in Latvia:

There are annual awards, initiated by the unions of the respective branches and partly financed by the Cultural Capital Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, in almost all the cultural branches, some of which include money prizes: the Grand Music Award, the National Film Festival, the Award for Achievements in Professional Theatre, the Annual Art Prize in Visual Arts, Literature Award, Cultural Heritage Award, The Big Folklore Award, Book Publishers Award, Architecture Award etc. In 2005 a new award was established by the Latvian Art Directors Club (

Latvia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.3 Support to professional artists associations or unions

The 16 creative unions in Latvia, such as the Union of Artists and the Union of Writers, receive very little direct financial support from the Ministry of Culture.

Table 6:     Examples of state subsidies to professional artists' associations and unions, 2004 - 2006

Name of organisation

amount in LVL

amount in LVL

amount in LVL

Latvian Writers' Union

2 893

1 502

4 450

Latvian Composers' Union

3 101

1 285

1 991

Latvian Artists' Union

20 337

19 065

18 737

Latvian Theatre Workers' Association

1 874

1 711

7 414

Latvian Designers' Union

1 268


5 141

Latvian Filmmakers' Union

1 876


1 072

Latvian Architects' Union

3 136

2 072

1 685

Latvian Creative Unions' Council

1 400

11 030

5 394

Source:      Ministry of Culture, 2007.

Latvia/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.1 Trends and figures

Since 1990, there has been a drastic decline in the number of people participating in cultural life. Data from the Ministry of Culture shows a general stabilisation and improvement in participation levels in recent years. In 2004 there were approximately 1 570 state and municipal cultural institutions in Latvia, with a total volume of 19.1 million visits, which increases every year by 2% on average. Since the gross incomes of inhabitants increased from 109% to 116.5% from 2004 to 2005, the expenditure for culture grew from 6.2% to 6.7% per year. Further growth of cultural consumption is expected.

The most important reasons for the current changes in the trends of cultural consumption / participation are: increasing cultural tourism volume; depopulation and increasing access to diverse leisure time activities. Since the introduction of several publicly assessable IT services, libraries are becoming more important as information centres within the municipalities.

In 2003, the Time Use Survey was conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau.

In 2006, a survey was completed on cultural values and activities within Latvian and Russian youth groups in Latvia (University of Latvia, Faculty of Social Sciences: Cultures. Youth. Media. Riga, 2006; see online in Latvian under: The survey has considered on the shared culture information and consumption space, on common and different interests of the Latvian and Russian speaking youth groups in Latvia. In the survey were analysed some typical media and culture products consumed by both groups, and were made recommendations for the policy making and implementation, as well as for the improvement of the culture and media products in order to bring nearer and to integrate both quite separate groups.

In 2007, the cultural consumption research was carried out in commission of the State Culture Capital Foundation: R. Ķīlis. Culture Consumption in Latvia. Riga, 2006; see online in Latvian under: The comprehensive report includes a number of very important figures and facts on culture consumption in Latvia. Some of them are made for the first time - for instance the correlation between the social status and music consumption in the society of Latvia or willingness to pay in support of the National Opera and national cinema processes. Further findings state that 61% of the respondents are satisfied with the accessibility of cultural activities. The survey distinguishes 4 types of culture consumers in Latvia: far and wide active, consumers of ‘high culture', travellers, traditionalists. Another key finding is the general support of the consumers due to the piracy - an illegal use of the audiovisual products.

In 2007, a continual cultural accessibility and consumption research was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture (first research of this shape was made in 2001): Baltic Institute of Social Sciences. Accessibility of culture in the regions: interrogatory and expert interviews. Riga, 2007; see The large report states the tendency of growth and increase of intensity in culture consumption and participation within the last five years (in 2001 - 87%, but in 2007 - only 61% of respondents mention obstacles to take part in cultural activities). The report further indicates characteristic differences in preferences of cultural products in different regions. Another part of the findings is connected to the psychological feeling and working circumstances of cultural operators in the regions, the influences of demographical changes to cultural participation etc.

There is still a lack of comprehensive cultural audience research carried out in Latvia on any regular basis, but it seems to improve every year.

Table 7:     Visitor numbers in different public financed cultural branches, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005






2005/per capita

Public museums

3 740 000

1 328 700

1 481 800

1 892 000


Movie theatres

19 748 000

1 200 000

1 457 000

1 679 446


Professional theatres

1 442 400

598 800

643 500

607 800


National Opera

116 500

30 000

114 172

152 000


National Library

19 900

30 200

44 700

52 400


Internet users


50 000

150 000

830 000


Source:  Ministry of Culture, Latvian Internet Association, 2007.

Latvia/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.2 Policies and programmes

Since the broad definition of culture is used in the State Culture Policy Guidelines 2006-2015 and in the National Development Plan 2006-2013, participation in cultural life, at least in political documents, is linked to the issues of civic participation, citizenship, social capability, cohesion etc. The idea of the minimum "basket of culture" - the standard of culture services appropriate to a specific level of administrative territorial classification - is raised.

Support for participation in cultural life is offered through the project competitions and programmes of the Culture Capital Foundation, The following programmes of the CCF have been supported specifically to increase participation in cultural life: Theatre Guest Performances in the Regions, (2005 - LVL 40 000; 2006 - LVL 50 000; 2007 - LVL 50 000), "Children's jury" programme for reading promotion (2005 - LVL 50 000), Amateur theatre (2005 - LVL 38 000; 2006 - LVL 41 770; 2007 - LVL 35 700).

There is a Riga Card available that includes discounts for sightseeing tours, transport, and free entrance to most museums in Riga, .

Most of the museums have a free entrance day each week. Since 2001 Latvian museums also participate in the international museums action Printemps des Musées.

There are long traditions of Art Days and Poetry Days in Latvia - these include series of public events throughout Latvia which attract large audiences.

See also 8.4.1 and 8.4.2.

Latvia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.1 Arts education

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for development and coordination of the implementation of education, science, sports and state language policies. See also

The Ministry of Culture  is responsible for arts and cultural heritage education in Latvia. The State Arts Education Centre, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, implements state cultural education policy and supervises public art education schools. Arts education is available on 3 levels:

(See also the Information on the State Arts Education Centre under

According to the new Cultural Policy Guidelines 2006-2015 the system of cultural education in Latvia should be developed in 3 directions:

Following state independence in 1990, a number of changes took place in the organisation and curricula of art schools and universities - e.g. new programmes on the history of culture, traditional culture and folklore, theatre science, theatre and movie directors, arts management, museology, etc. have been developed.

There are several arts education study programmes also at other state and private universities.

Latvia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.2 Intercultural education

The Latvian Academy of Culture regularly provides special programmes of intercultural education e.g. BA sub programmes Intercultural Relations Latvia - Great Britain;
Latvia - Spain; Latvia - Germany; Latvia - Sweden; Latvia - Italy; Latvia - Poland; Latvia - Nordic countries etc.

Intercultural education with regard to the national minorities is administered by the Secretariat of the Special Assignments' Minister for Society Integration Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science and the respective municipalities. 8 ethnic groups have about 200 schools and classes (Russians, Polish, Jews, Lithuanians, Estonians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, and Romany) situated all over Latvia.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Latvia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.1 Amateur arts

Traditional and amateur art is linked to culture houses and cultural centres located throughout Latvia (see 8.4.2).

The State Cultural Policy Guidelines 2006 - 2015 recognise the very important role of amateur arts in the life-long learning processes of every individual.

Latvia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.2 Cultural houses and community cultural clubs

Culture houses are the main support base for cultural processes outside of Riga. In 2005, there were 547 cultural houses in Latvia with 3 685 active amateur arts groups, involving more than 63 000 participants. The Latvian Song and Dance Festival, (, is made possible by this huge and stable framework. To keep the tradition alive and maintain the quality, culture houses and amateur arts groups are partly supported by the state - either via the Ministry of Culture or via the Culture Capital Foundation.

Culture houses and cultural centres are mainly financed by the municipalities - which provide 80% of their budget. The State Folk Art Centre carries out government policy in the field of traditional culture and amateur arts and co-operates with cultural institutions, folk art and amateur groups, and individual artists, regardless of their type of activity and position. In 2005, the first conference on cultural houses took place looking at their role in modern society.

In 2004, there were 71 public financed youth centres in Latvia. The State Youth Initiatives Centre (under the Ministry of Education and Science) coordinates extra-curricular education for children and young people, including cultural activities. The Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Celebration ( is one of the most important projects in this field.

Latvia/ 9. Sources and Links

9.1 Key documents on cultural policy

Cultural Capital Foundation: Annual reports of the Cultural Capital Foundation. 1998 - 2004 - .

Ķīlis R. Culture Consumption in Latvia. State Culture Capital Foundation Riga, 2006 -

Ķīlis, R. Economic significance and impact of the cultural sector in Latvia. Riga: SIA Analītisko pētījumu un stratēģiju laboratorija. 2007

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia: Baltic Institute of Social Sciences. Accessibility of culture in the regions: interrogatory and expert interviews. Riga, 2007 -

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia: Culture Legislation. Riga: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, 2000 -

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia: National Programme "Culture" 2000-2010. Riga: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, 2001. 

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia: Public Reports of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia. Riga: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, 1998 - 2004.

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia: State Culture Policy Guidelines 2006-2015. Riga: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, 2006.

Mollerup, Per: Design for Latvia. Copenhagen: Mollerup Designlab, 2004. -

Picard, Robert G. and Toivonen, Timo E.: The Economic Contributions of Copyright-based Industries in Latvia. Riga: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, 2005.

University of Latvia, Faculty of Social Sciences: Cultures. Youth. Media. Riga, 2006.-

Vanags, A. / Miķelsone, A. / Gubin, S.: Creative Industries in Latvia. Riga: Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, 2007.

Latvia/ 9. Sources and Links

9.2 Key organisations and portals

Cultural policy making bodies

Ministry of Culture

The National Board of Culture

Ministry of Finance

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Secretariat of Minister for Special Assignments for Society Integration Affairs

Latvian National Commission for UNESCO

Professional associations

The Creative Union Council

Latvian Authors
(See the links to all creative unions under:

Performers and Phonogram Producer's Collecting Society (LaIPA)

Latvian Museum Association

The Association of Latvian Academic Libraries

Latvian Publishers' Association

Grant-giving bodies

Cultural Capital Foundation

Social Integration Foundation

International Writers' and Translators' House

Cultural research and statistics

Ministry of Culture

Central Statistics Bureau of Latvia

The Public Policy Site

Transparency International Latvia

Culture / arts portals

Latvian Culture Portal

Cultural Mapping Project in Latvia

Latvian Literature Centre

Music in Latvia

The New Theatre Institute of Latvia

State Concert Agency Latvijas Koncerti

Latvian Music Information Centre

Contemporary Art Centre

Latnet Art Gallery

Latvian Institute

Public Policy Portal

Tolerance Library Online


The Council of Europe/ERICarts "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 9th edition", 2008