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‘Allow the devil into church and he will climb into the pulpit.’

Latvian proverb.’


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Many commentators considered it strange that Valdis Dombrovskis, Latvia’s Prime Minister should be so set on taking his country into the Eurozone and adopting the euro as its currency. Latvia fulfilled all the necessary Maastricht criteria for membership; its currency, the Lats,  has been ‘pegged’ to the euro for some ten years and most of its international debt is euro designated. Of that, Mr Dombrovskis could be proud. There was less cause for pride, however, in Latvia’s not so recent economic history. At the end of 2008 it had gone cap in hand to Brussels and to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to seek a €75 billion bail-out. So while everything looks to be fine and dandy on paper, the harsher reality is that on the streets of Riga unemployment and poverty prevail. 


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- Timeline

- Political structure

- Population,

- Education  

- Health

- Welfare

- Main cities

- Languages spoken

- Media

- Economy

- Agriculture

- Industry and manufacturing

- Tourism

- Mining,

- Hydrocarbons

- Energy

- Financial markets

- Banking and insurance

- Time

- Geography

- Climate

- Dress codes

- Entry requirements

- Health (for visitors)

- Hotels

- Credit cards

- Public holidays

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- Social customs and useful tips

- Security

- Getting there

- Getting about

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Key Facts

Key Facts:

Key Facts
Official name: Latvijas Republika (Republic of Latvia)
Head of State: President Raimonds Vejonis (since 8 July 2015)
Head of government: Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (since 22 January 2014)
Ruling party: Coalition led by Vienotiba (Unity) with Zalo un Zemnieku savieniba (ZZS) (Union of Greens and Farmers) and Nacionala Apvieniba (NA) (National Alliance)
Area: 64,589 square km
Population: 2.03 million (2014)* (2,070,371; 2011; census figure)
Capital: Riga
Official language: Lettish
Currency: Euro (€) = 100 cents
Exchange rate: €0.89 per US$ (Sep 2015)
GDP per capita: US$15,729 (2014)*
GDP real growth: 2.36% (2014)*
GDP: US$31.97 billion (2014)*
Labour force: 983,000 (2014)*
Unemployment: 10.84% (2014)*
Inflation: 0.69% (2014)*
Balance of trade: -US$3.24 billion (2014)*
* estimated figure


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