This year, the annual Nordic Days are taking place in a city connected to the Nordic countries through shared historical events – Bauska. Every autumn, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia, in cooperation with the Nordic embassies in Latvia and the Danish Cultural Institute in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, offers a festive programme filled with various events centered around Nordic themes.
On September 28, the events were inaugurated by a visit from the Nordic delegation to the Bauska region. The delegation included Morten Jespersen, Ambassador-designate of the Kingdom of Denmark, Ine Måreng, Ambassador of Norway, Jaakko Koivusaari, Deputy Head of Mission of the Finnish Embassy, Karin Höglund, Ambassador of Sweden, Stefan Eriksson, Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia, and the team of the Danish Cultural Institute. First, they visited the manufacturing plant of the local company Vizulo in the Iecava district, and then they met with representatives of youth organizations from the Bauska region discussing their achievements and planned initiatives.
Subsequently, representatives from Bauska’s local government presented information about the city and the region, tourism attractions, business, education, culture, services available to residents of Bauska, as well as challenges and opportunities for regional development. They also discussed existing cooperation with the Nordic countries, particularly co-operation agreements with the municipalities of Tøreboda and Hedemora in Sweden. Other topics included plans to increase the participation of youth and community in elections and involvement in addressing national issues. Gints Jankovskis, the youth affairs specialist of Bauska municipality, informed about the intention to establish a youth council in Bauska, where representatives from each public general school in the region would work on current issues together with municipal and parliamentary deputies.
“I have often travelled through Bauska, going from Riga to Vilnius and back from Vilnius to Riga. I must say that I discovered the city itself only this year when, at the beginning of the year, we visited the municipality to plan this event. I visited Bauska Castle, which is truly remarkable. Today is my first visit to the Bauska’s Town Hall. Before the trip, I learned a bit about the city’s history, which is quite complex yet rich in exciting events,” noted Stefan Eriksson, Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia.
The added value of annual Nordic Days is the joint visit by the Nordic ambassadors to a different city in Latvia and the chance for them to become better acquainted with the particular area of Latvia and promote Nordic culture and traditions to the local population, emphasizing the similarities and unifying aspects in our mentality, nature, and history. On this particular visit, the delegation met also with students from the Bauska State Gymnasium and participated in the opening of two exhibitions. The photo exhibition “Future Voices” by the Danish photographer Martin Thaulow was opened at the Bauska Cultural Centre and was attended also by Anatolijs Kucevols, Ambassador of Ukraine to Latvia. The opening of the exhibition “Finnish Jaegers in Latvia” by the Latvian National Archives in Bauska Castle was attended by Māris Skanis, Director of Bauska Castle Museum. The Nordic Days launch day was concluded with a concert by the Kjell Gunnar Hoff and Madars Kalniņš jazz quartet in Bauska Castle’s ceremonial hall. The concert was available to everyone free of charge.
On September 29, the second part of the “Future Voices” exhibition was opened in the amphitheatre of the Rundāle Multifunctional Centre. Various Nordic-themed exhibitions will be on display for several weeks in different locations throughout the Bauska region, including the Bauska State Gymnasium, Grenctale library and other municipal libraries, as well as in “Gaismas” and diverse public spaces in the city. As part of the festivities, public screening of the Nordic film selection took place at the Bauska Cultural Centre.
The Nordic countries are close to Latvia not only due to their geographic proximity but also because of historical events, climate peculiarities, and the distinctive personality traits of their inhabitants. The purpose of Nordic Days is to highlight the commonalities and build bridges between Latvia and its northern neighbours. The exchange of knowledge and experience, along with strong network of contacts, is a valuable resource that provides immeasurable opportunities. Currently it holds enormous untapped potential.
The Nordic delegations’ annual visits to the regions of Latvia serve as a reminder and encouragement for those residing outside the capital to put to use opportunities steming from cooperation with the Nordics. The Nordic Days in Latvia have now been held for eight consecutive years popularizing the Nordic countries and their culture, fostering mutual contacts, and strengthening regional cooperation among municipalities, entrepreneurs, cultural and non-governmental organisations.
All the Nordic Days events are free of charge.