Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Latvia
Welcome ! Sveiki !
On behalf of the government of the Republic of Latvia, thank you for visiting the website of the Florida Consulate and for your interest in Latvia. The Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Latvia to the State of Florida was established in 2005. The mission of the Consulate is to promote cultural, economic, educational and other linkages between the Republic of Latvia and the State of Florida.
The Consulate also endeavors to raise general awareness of Latvia, its culture and its role as a member of the European Union and N.A.T.O. and Latvia's role as a key ally of the United States. Approximately 5% of Latvia's armed forces have been deployed abroad to support U.S. operations and international peacekeeping missions in various theaters. Latvia also recently increased the size of its military contingent in Iraq. It is an honor to represent a nation with such a distinguished history and culture and which has steadfastly displayed such friendship toward the U.S.
Latvia possesses many economic attributes including one of the strongest economies and fastest growth rates in the E.U., the most stable currency in the world, a modern infrastructure, a well-educated workforce among whom English is widely spoken, and it is an increasingly important center for international trade, banking, and tourism. Tourists or businesspeople in the U.S. would be hard-pressed to find a more positive or hospitable overseas environment than Latvia.
Given Florida's international significance as a cultural, tourist and trade center and Latvia's importance within Europe and the international community, it is appropriate that Latvia now has representation within the state. Please explore the website and its links to learn more about Latvia, its history, culture, and environment and please consider Latvia when planning your next vacation abroad. My schedule permitting, I am always pleased to speak to civic and educational organizations about Latvia and would welcome invitations from groups in the south Florida area.
Dr. Barry Mowell - Honorary Consul
Latvian Embassy to the
Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.am.gov.lv/en
Latvian Tourism Office: http://latviatourism.lv
Latvian Investment and Development Agency: www.liaa.gov.lv
American-Latvian Association: www.alausa.org
United States Embassy to
ABOUT THE REPUBLIC OF LATVIA:
Latvia is located in Northeastern Europe across the Baltic Sea from Sweden in the west and bordering Russia to the east. Latvians (and their Lithuanian cousins to the south) are "Balts". The Baltic people and language are distinct from both Germans and Slavs and the Baltic language family is among the oldest Indo-European languages.
In the Middle Ages, Latvia and the Baltic States were conquered by Germanic Crusaders who built castles and fortifications throughout the region and converted the population to Christianity. In fact, the custom of decorating Christmas trees originated in Latvia. Many of the place names and sir names found in Latvia today, reflect the period of German influence as does the prevalence of the Lutheran faith among Latvians. Latvia was later absorbed into the Russian Empire with much of the rest of northeastern Europe.
Latvia obtained full independence from Russia in 1918, but it was illegally occupied during WW II, regaining its independence in 1991. During the period of occupation (1940-1991) many foreign governments including the US continued to recognize the rightful sovereignty of independent Latvia, and Latvian diplomatic missions abroad including the Latvian Embassy to the United States continued operation. In 2004, Latvia became a full member of both NATO and the EU. Since regaining independence, Latvia has functioned as a key US ally and Latvian armed forces have been deployed in support of international peacekeeping operations in many theaters including Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2004, Latvia became a full member of both NATO and the EU. Since regaining independence, Latvia has functioned as a key US ally and Latvian armed forces have been deployed in support of international peacekeeping operations in many theaters including Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Latvia has a population of 2.3 million, of which around one-third live in the capital Riga, the principle cultural and economic center of the Baltic region. Riga, which recently celebrated its 800th anniversary, has been described as the "Paris of the Baltic". Riga is simultaneously a modern thriving city and a historical and cultural treasure containing one of the world's largest concentrations of Art Nouveau and Classical architecture. Of the more than 100 museums in Latvia, around half are found in the capital.
Latvians enjoy nature and take advantage of their country's pristine forests , lakes and beaches, which as yet remain largely undiscovered by tourists. Uncommon in Europe, most of Latvia's territory is idyllic countryside, either farmland or untouched and unpolluted natural habitat, providing year-round opportunities for outdoor recreation.The Latvian people are well known for their friendly and courteous disposition and have favorable attitudes toward the United States. As English is spoken by the majority of the population, American tourists and business travelers will find Latvia a very welcoming international destination and one in which they can easily function.
Consulate Press Release # 1 - Establishment of
Consulate Press Release # 2 - Academic Linkages Between Latvia and Florida
Consulate Press Release # 3 -
FOR LATVIAN NATIONALS:
In the event of an emergency and the Consul cannot be reached OR if you require assistance with visa or passport matters, please contact the Embassy of
Phone: (202) 328-2840 Fax: (202) 328-2860
***PLEASE NOTE that US nationals who require assistance with visa, passport, or customs matters or with certification of international legal documents should contact the Latvian Embassy in Washington.
***IMPORTANT: Latvian nationals in need of assistance with visa or passport matters in order to enter the US must contact the United States Embassy in Riga (a link with contact information is provided above). Please note that visas to enter the US are issued exclusively through the US government/embassy, NOT the Latvian government.