7 things you didn't know about Latvia

Sunny, musical, digital 7 things you didn't know about Latvia

Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis is on a state visit to Germany. His homeland offers many surprises – here are seven things you probably did not know about Latvia.

1. Latvia has a landmass of almost 65,000 square kilometres, making it about the same size as Bavaria.
It is home to about 2 million people, only about 15 per cent the population of Bavaria. Latvia’s population density is the fourth lowest in the EU. The population consists of 62 per cent of Latvians, 27 per cent Russians, as well as Belarusian, Polish and Lithuanian minorities.

2. Latvia is sunnier than Germany.
Latvia enjoys about 1,800 hours of sunshine a year, almost 10 per cent more than Germany. But it is colder in Latvia: the average annual temperature is 5.9° Celsius. The average in Germany is about 2 degrees higher.

3. In terms of women executives, Latvia leads Europe.
In 2017, 46 per cent of executive posts were held by women. The European average was 34 per cent.

4. Riga, the capital of Latvia, is the European city with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture (40 per cent).
It also boasts almost 4,000 wooden buildings dating from the 19th century. The historic centre of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Tourists find traditional hearty Latvian cuisine fairly bland.
But not because Latvian have poor taste. Traditional Latvian cuisine does not use many herbs and spices, generally relying on salt, caraway, onions, garlic and mustard.

6. In many parts of Latvia internet access is free.
Throughout the country more than 800 libraries offer free internet. And Riga was proclaimed the "Free WiFi capital" in 2014. There are over 900 hotspots in the city.

7. Latvian culture offers more than 1.2 million folk songs and poems.
The collection of "Dainas", under the name The Cabinet of Folksongs, is inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.