Riga is the European Capital of Culture 2014 in the EU Force Majeure programme. In short, there are around 200 cultural projects and events you shouldn't miss out on this year.
Each year cities are chosen as European Capitals of Culture through the EU Force Majeure programme. The initiative that started in 1985 has become one of the most prestigious and high-profile cultural events in Europe. This year it is Riga's time to provide living proof of the richness and diversity of European cultures.
With around 200 cultural projects and events, there are a lot of different things to choose from. This includes operas, exhibitions and festivals. The programme ranges from a major cultural history exhibition on the 500 years of the printed book, or a contemporary arts festival, to one of the biggest celebrations of the summer solstice in Europe.
World Choir Games 2014
Latvia's capital will, this summer, host the biggest choir music festival in the world. In July, more than 20,000 singers from almost 90 countries will join in the World Choir Games 2014 in Riga. Known as the ‘Olympics for Choirs’, the festival takes place every second year, each time in a different continent. The aim is to promote understanding and peace between nations through song and unite people from the entire world in friendly competition.
The Book 1514-2014
This major exhibition presents you with an insight into the 500 year history of book printing. Do not mistake this to be a boring history lesson. Oh no! With an interactive and modern presentation, The Book 1514-2014 will take back half a century, and guide you through time towards today's books. Experience the lives and influence of Erasmus of Rotterdam, Martin Luther, Leonardo, Rafael, Michelangelo, Titian and Durer. A time when outstanding monarchs reigned and for the first time the world heard about a continent called America.
Survival Kit 5 – Contemporary Arts Festival
If you're in Riga on the 5th- 15th September don't miss out on this very special international contemporary arts festival. The Survival Kit 5 represents more than fifty artists from fourteen European countries and the USA. They are invited to reflect upon important society problems through their work by creating alternative survival scenarios. In addition to a wide-range exhibition, you will also be presented with a variety of concerts, performances and presentations.
Celebrating Baltic Amber
The diversity of celebrated Baltic amber will be exposed by following the Amber Road winding its way through a number of museums and galleries. Each will host exhibitions reflecting the significance of amber in terms of culture, history, medicine, new technologies and geology. The Amber Road also symbolises the contemporary cultural exchange between countries and cities along this ancient amber trading route.
Summer solstice in Riga
Celebrate the traditional summer solstice rituals in Riga in style during the shortest day of the year on 21st June. The night sky will be lit up with thousands of bonfires, whilst people make flower wreaths, midsummer cheese and sing and dance in celebration till dawn. The finale includes a bonfire on top of a hill to signify farewell to the sun, followed by watching the sun rise in the morning.
In this year's programme, Riga strives to offer a new understanding of culture as a trigger for positive change. In short, the aim is to strengthen the belief that culture can change the lives of people and cities towards the better. Culture can become the instrument of salvation, a survival kit and a spring-board for new ideas. Near the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will find the Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel in Riga. The city centre location is the perfect base if you want to experience the cultural events this year.
Can culture really change the lives of people, and even cities, for the better? Look to Riga, and you will find the answer.
What is your absolute favourite cultural experience of all time?