About Riga 2014

Riga – Umeå’s twin town
Each year the EU selects two cities to share the title of capital of culture. One of the two must be in a new member state. The European capitals of culture in 2014 are Riga in Latvia and Umeå in Sweden. Riga is the Latvian capital and with its population of about 700,000 it is the biggest city in the Baltic region. Riga was founded in 1201 and the oldest part of the city with its distinctive medieval influence has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Central Market, in which old zeppelin hangars have been converted into covered markets, is one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

Riga’s application to be a European capital of culture was based on the three principles of creativity, border expansion and new forms of interaction. The motto for Riga’s initiative is the legal phrase ‘Force Majeure’. This is an expression of the desire to enhance the importance of culture as an instrument for improving cities and people’s lives.

Two countries host the European Capital of Culture each year. The candidate cities are judged by an international jury of experts who decide which city to recommend. It is the national government of the chosen city that formally makes the nomination to the EU and, finally, the EU Council of Ministers awards the title European Capital of Culture.

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