On Friday 27 April, The Crown Princess Couple visited Latvia to observe the centenary of the restoration the country's independence in 1918.
The day in Riga began at Riga Castle, where The Crown Princess Couple were welcomed by Latvia's President Raimonds Vējonis and his wife Iveta Vējone. The welcoming ceremony was followed by a private meeting between The Crown Princess Couple and the Presidential couple.
After the meeting, The Crown Princess Couple and the Presidential couple attended the unveiling of a portrait of Erik Dahlbergh.
For her degree project, artist Kristīne Ķibermane – who has trained as an art conservator and restorer at the Art Academy of Latvia – painted a copy of one of David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl's portraits of Erik Dahlbergh. Dahlbergh was Governor General of Livonia (and had his residence in Riga) between 1696 and 1702, and was responsible for Riga's fortifications, traces of which still exist in the city.
The President then hosted lunch at his official residence in Riga Castle. During the lunch, The Crown Princess gave a speech of thanks.
Read The Crown Princess's speech of thanks here.
After lunch, The Crown Princess Couple visited the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga where they spoke with students from the Future Leaders Academy, a leadership programme for young future politicians and societal leaders, discussing topics including the importance of the UN's global sustainable development goals. The Stockholm School of Economics in Riga was founded at the initiative of the Swedish Government and the Stockholm School of Economics in 1993.
The Crown Princess Couple then visited the National Library of Latvia, also known as the Castle of Light, where Director Andris Vilks showed them the Cabinet of Folk Songs, a collection of around 200,000 Latvian folk songs that have been written down, and the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection. The Crown Princess gave a speech and presented a copy of Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna by Erik Dahlbergh for the library's collections.
The National Library of Latvia
The National Library of Latvia was opened in January 2014, in connection with which a human chain of 30,000 people moved 2,000 books from the old library to the new one. The library is a glass structure in reference to the Castle of Light, a castle mentioned in Latvian choral works and folk tales. Light is a metaphor for knowledge and wisdom. According to legend, the castle sank into the River Daugava and would not emerge again until the people of Latvia were free from the intellectual darkness that prevailed during centuries of war and occupation.
The Crown Princess Couple concluded their day in Riga with a visit to the Latvian National Museum of Art, where The Crown Princess opened the exhibition Portable Landscapes – an international art project with exhibitions in Riga, New York, Gotland and Berlin. The exhibition traces Latvian and Baltic art in exile and emigration from the early 20th century to the present day.
2018 marks one hundred years since Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania declared their independence, and this anniversary will be celebrated during the year. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – just like Finland – became national states following the disintegration of the Russian Empire in 1917-18.
The Crown Princess Couple took part in the celebrations in Lithuania on Friday 16 February, and will take part in the celebrations in Estonia on Sunday 19 August.