Nordic Days in Valmiera
On 11-14 October the northern city of Valmiera hosted the annual Nordic Days festival. Over several days Valmiera was the venue of multiple seminars and discussions, exhibitions, film screenings, theater and musical performances.
Nordic Days in Valmiera are organized by the Nordic embassies in Latvia, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia and the Danish Cultural Institute in the Baltic states in collaboration with the local municipality with the aim of strengthening regional cooperation, initiating a regular and coordinated dialogue and sharing good Nordic practices.
Nordic Days started on 11 October when the Ambassador of Denmark Hans Brask, Ambassador of Norway Kristian Ødegaard, Ambassador of Finland Marja Riitta Korpivaara, Ambassador of Sweden Annika Jagander, as well as the Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia Stefan Eriksson, and the Director of the Danish Cultural Institute in the Baltic states Simon Drewsen Holmberg met with Chairman of the Municipal Government of Valmiera Jānis Baiks and other representatives of the municipality to discuss ways for closer regional collaboration. After the meeting, Jānis Baiks guided the delegation on a tour around the city of Valmiera.
While the ambassadors got to know Valmiera, children in Valmiera had the opportunity to see a play “Waffle Hearts” at the Valmiera Integrated Library at 12:00. The play is a visualisation of a book with the same title, written by the Norwegian writer Maria Parr, and it tells a story about the friendship and adventures of two children with very different characters. The lead role will be played by Laura Siliņa. The director Jānis Znotiņš has intended the play for children aged between 5 and 10.
In the afternoon the Nordic countries’ delegation visited the Valmiera State Gymnasium and met with the students to discuss different current social and political topics about the global migration trends and the collaboration between the Nordic and Baltic countries. For a week the students have been watching different films on the topics and have a basis for discussion. Whereas in the Valmiera Pārgauja Gymnasium a “Nordic week” was held and the students were learning about the Nordic countries. The Norwegian Ambassador to Latvia Kristian Ødegaard visited the school and met the students who are learning Norwegian.
On the evening of 11 October, several events were taking place in the renowned Valmiera Drama Theatre. At 17:30 the Nordic countries’ delegation met with the representatives of regional media. The exhibition “Nordic Block”, which present fine selections of Nordic contemporary architecture, was opened. The exhibition is an explication of the latest trends in urban district planning in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The exhibition is on display 11-31 October.
Later in the evening ,in the Great Hall of Valmiera Drama Theatre a concert called “Under My Influence” (Manā varā in Latvian) took place, starring the composer Jānis Lūsēns and singer Ineta Rudzīte. The concert programme consists of new songs by Jānis Lūsēns, inspired by 14 outstanding Latvian female poets, whose poems are now in the lyrics of the songs. The songs were in six languages: Latvian, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Finnish and Swedish.
An informative seminar on Nordic-Baltic mobility programs took place on the 12th of October at the Valmiera Culture Centre. The seminar addressed a wide audience of those interested in the financial support available within the different modules of Nordic-Baltic mobility programs. The Nordic-Baltic mobility program “Culture” supports artist residencies, long-term and short-term cooperation networks, study trips of professional artists and practitioners in all cultural fields. The Nordic-Baltic mobility program “Public Administration” supports experience sharing among civil servants and public officials in order to promote the exchange of best practices and stronger cooperation networks. The Nordic and Baltic NGO programs aim to foster cooperation among the non-governmental organisations around the Baltic Sea whereas “Nordplus” supports education projects that promote knowledge sharing and building new cooperation networks.
At nature and technology park “Urda” in Daibe (just outside Valmiera) at 9:00 a seminar on the circular economy was taking place. A consultant within waste management, sustainability and urban development Daina Millers-Dalsjö from Sweden presented the “Good and not-so-good examples from the Nordic countries - an inspiration for the Vidzeme region”. Whereas the panel discussion “Where are we, and where are we going?” was joined by several local businessmen: the owner of “Valmiermuiža alus” craft brewery Aigars Ruņģis, the board member and production manager of AS “Valmieras Stikla šķiedra” Ģirts Vēveris, as well as the director of the functional food company SIA “Felici” and the board member of the Latvian High Added Value and Healthy Food Cluster Alise Balgalve. The seminar was moderated by Kristaps Ročāns, board member of the Latvian High Added Value and Healthy Food Cluster. The working language of the seminar will be Latvian.
The same day at 13:00, public relations specialists were welcomed to the workshop “How Are You Helping the Climate?” led by the artist Diāna Dimza-Dimme. The workshop is related to the Swedish and Latvian political cartoon exhibition “One on One with the Climate”. The exhibition is on display 1-31 October at nature and technology park “Urda”.
There are two other great exhibitions taking place in nature and technology park “Urda”. One of them - the exhibition “Copenhagen Solutions” through photos, facts and a multitude of Copenhagen`s architecture projects, presents the many solutions that are not only making Copenhagen a greener and more livable city but are also inspiring urban development worldwide. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is internationally recognized for its green profile as well as its leadership and excellence within the field of integrated urban solutions. For decades these solutions have promoted a high degree of livability, healthy environments and general economic prosperity in this Scandinavian capital. Another exhibition “Biosphere models” illustrate how designers, researchers, artists and other specialists from different fields, can build a dialogue about sustainability. The exhibition presents the latest achievements of Swedish researchers and the local community’s involvement in the sustainability dialogue. The exhibitions will be available to public the entire October.
The Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (Tērbatas iela 10) is hosting two exhibitions - photo exhibition “Nordic Countries: Known and Unknown” and an exhibition dedicated to the Danish bicycle culture called “The Good City”, opened on 12 October 15:30. The exhibitions will be available to public the entire October.
Also Valmiera Integral Library was the venue of two exhibitions – the exhibition “Nordic Visions”, a display of selected translations of Nordic literature and the photo exhibition “Svalbard”, which has been prepared in cooperation with the TV program "Cognitive Impulse" - journalist Sandra Kropa and operator Maris Maskalans. In the February of this year, they went on an expedition to this far north area, where the inspiration for this photo story originated. On 12 October, 17:00 you are welcome to join the Evening Conversation with Sandra Kropa, Paula Gulbinska and Māris Maskalāns.
During October a photo exhibition “Portraits of migration - Sweden beyond the headlines” were displayed at Valmiera State Gymnasium. Photographer Alexander Mahmoud travelled around Sweden to find stories of migration. The people he met shared their experiences of flight, trauma – and hope. Beyond headlines of chaos and collapse, beyond politics and public authorities, there are people who try to build a life in a new country. These portraits of migration are their stories.
The four days in Valmiera was full of high-quality Nordic cinema as well. Norwegian and Swedish films were screened at the film theatre “Gaisma”.
In the previous years, the Nordic Days have taken place in Daugavpils and Liepāja.