General Information

Living in Europe | Access to the culture of the host country/language courses | Latvia

Latvia - a country in north-central Europe and on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea.

Approximately 2.5 hours by plane from London, Paris or Rome, Latvia offers a wealth of contrasts. It only takes about 8 hours to drive across the country from West to East, but on your way you will have the possibility to experience both untouched nature and hi-tech settings; the possibility to experience a mix of ancient traditions and modern knowledge; finally - the possibility to experience something fresh, clean and in its natural state, without losing the connection to civilization. Latvia is bridging the past and the future as it moves into a modern EU, NATO, and ERA, ready to take its place in the global community.

 

Latvians are the indigenous people of Latvia, and the Finno-Ugric Livs (or Livonians) are the only indigenous minority. The present ethnic mix of Latvia is largely a result of massive post-war immigration.

In all, there are more than 1.5 million Latvians in the world. Around 90% of them live in Latvia, while others can be found in the UK, Ireland, the USA, Russia, Australia, Canada and Germany, as well as Brazil, Lithuania, Sweden and Estonia.

Particular Latvian character traits: reserve, self-reliance, independence and persistence. Latvians may seem somewhat anti-social to others, they may seem like overly reticent individualists but in fact it is simply that Latvians need more time to develop trust and friendship. As in many parts of Eastern Europe, so too in Latvia, ethnic consciousness is very pronounced, sometimes even predominating over national or religious consciousness. Regardless of whether they live in cities or the countryside, all Latvians display a deep reverence for nature: the land, sea, animals, and especially flowers and trees.

  • Population (2019): 1 919 968; Urban 68%, Rural 32%
  • Population density: 30 /sq.km or 79/sq. Miles 
  • Ethnic composition: 59% Latvian, 28% Russian, 13% other nationalities
 

 

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