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Netherlands Embassy in Riga launches project on Dutch-Latvian relations, invites submissions

Call for materials on Dutch-Latvian relations since 1200.

Press release from the embassy

From the Hanseatic League to the European Union: Dutch-Latvian relations since 1200

The Netherlands Embassy in Riga has decided to collect as much information as possible about the long historical ties between the Netherlands and Latvia. Long before we were independent states there were interesting contacts, notably already in the early Middle Ages.

Part of these findings will be used for a book that the Embassy wishes to publish as a promotional gift. We aim for a book that will consist of approximately 150 pages and will cover Dutch-Latvian relations on a great variety of topics over a period of the last 800 years. Writing is scheduled to be finished in January 2006; the book is scheduled to be printed in May 2006.

To realise this project we are looking for people and organisations that can help us. Any kind of help is welcome: ideas about topics to include, corrections or comments on information that we already have found, written contributions about aspects of the relationship between the two countries and/or personal stories or experiences.


Topics will generally be ordered chronologically but of course some topics overlap more than one historical period. Our idea is to divide the book into the following periods of Latvian history:
– Middle Ages
– Reformation and Swedish/Polish period
– Russian period
– Independence between the World Wars
– The Second World War
– Soviet Union occupation
– Regained independence

Each of these chapters will contain shorter and longer texts about aspects of the Netherlands-Latvia relationship that have special relevance to that period. Potential topics:

– Diplomatic relations during the centuries.
– The Hanseatic League and its influences until the present day.
– Dutch-Baltic trade in wheat and wood.
– Dutch shipbuilding in the Baltic Sea region.
– Mutual religious influences.
– Mutual linguistic influences.
– Architectural influences, as in Riga and Amsterdam.
– The influence of Dutch painters on Latvian art.
– Mutual musical influences.
– Dutch-Latvian co-operation after Latvia’s regained independence to admit Latvia into the European Union.
– Translations of Dutch and Latvian literature into each other’s languages.
– An overview of political and economic treaties.
– An overview of important political events between the two countries.
– An opinion poll on knowledge and perception of Dutch and Latvian people towards each other.
– Important achievements in sports that connect the two countries.

Intertwined with these serious topics there will be personal stories about people who themselves embody or embodied the relationship between the Netherlands and Latvia. Furthermore we want to include maps, photos and other non-textual material.

The texts will be written by different authors, varying from the Netherlands Ambassador in Riga to historians specialised in areas relevant for the project. So far 15 Latvian and Dutch experts have promised their co-operation.

Earlier calls for suggestions have yielded articles about the competition between Dutch and Latvian colonists for the island of Tobago; a Dutch cleaner whose code of arms comes from a Mayor of Riga in the 16th century; a Dutch private person who wrote a book about his travels to Latvia in 1939. Others have committed to write about Dutch coins in Latvia or Dutch copper engravings in sacral art.

We’re looking forward to your reactions! Please mail to:


From the middle of September onwards we plan to make this an interactive process with our visitors to the web site ( Starting then we will regularly update the information on the web site to report on progress and the latest developments. Visitors are invited to comment on submitted texts.

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