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About Alien Latvians

When Latvia became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, only ethnic Latvians were granted citizenship. Russians who lived in the area were only offered an `alien passport`. Today, I am travelling to the mainly Russian city of Daugavpils, in the east of Latvia, to find out about the relation between Latvians and Russians.

Posted by Bruno

Spare time activities

Life is not as simple everywhere as it is in Ireland. While the Irish are largely satisfied having a church, a pub and a sports pitch around, their Latvian counterparts have many different activities at hand. Here`s a short overview of what Latvians do when they are not working or studying.

Posted by Bruno

What the papers say

I still have some interesting topics to cover in Latvia, but this morning I will let the newspaper decide what the subject is going to be. Before taking the bus from Ventspils to Kuldiga, I choose one out of many Latvian and Russian newspapers. It’s Diena (The Day), and I later find out that it is one of the two most popular countrywide newspapers in Latvia. One problem: I can`t read a word of it. Assistance required and I do manage to get some although it takes me a while to locate English-speaking people in the small town of Kuldiga.

Posted by Bruno

I am in Ventspils today, one of Latvia`s seven university cities. Anda (22) and Sandra (23, ) are MBA students at Ventspils University: I have found myself two experts in Latvian student life.

Posted by Bruno

Latvia in the EU

The year 2004 marked a new start for Latvia. It first became member of the NATO, then joined the EU on May 1st. At the time of joining, it was the EU`s poorest country, but it has shown the highest growth figures ever since. A large share of that may be considered a result, direct or indirect, of the EU membership. Today, I am trying to find out how the EU membership has affected people`s lives and whether they are happy to be in the EU.

Posted by Bruno

Baltic neighbours

During the previous days, I have been told how Lithuania and Latvia are very similar, while the third Baltic state Estonia is not. While crossing the Lithuanian-Latvian border in northerly direction, I am trying to find out how the southern Baltics compare to each other.

Posted by Bruno

What Women Want

Women make up more than half of the Lithuanian population. Statistically, that would also mean they make up half of the working class but they do not. Women still tend to get paid less then men if they have the same job. On top of that, it is more difficult for them to get access to high-level company jobs: two good reasons to find out more about the position of women in Lithuania.

Posted by Bruno

The post-Soviet economy

Money lets the world go round but it is not a very welcome subject of conversation in Lithuania. I have taken a look at Lithuania`s recent economic growth and asked around for people`s experiences.

Posted by Bruno

Compulsory army service

I have come to know Lithuania as a peaceful country, with hardly any police and soldiers around to keep the order. Knowing about the compulsory military service for young men, I was expecting to see at least some uniformed young lads in the street, but have not been able to find any of those today.

Posted by Bruno

Discovering Lithuania

With so many emigrants coming back to Lithuania after they earned some pocket money abroad, there must be something about Lithuania that makes it distinctively different from other countries. I have not come across a lot of nationalistic rituals, but there is definitely a feeling of national pride. Today`s question: why should people come to Lithuania and what should they go see and do?

Posted by Bruno