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The Latvia Days in Germany concluded this past weekend in Hamburg, where Latvia participated as a partner country at the Hamburg Port Anniversary. The event showcased an extensive array of cultural and business activities. Latvia Days in Germany occurred from May 7th to 12th and was organized by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) in collaboration with the Embassy of Latvia in Germany, the Hamburg Ministry of Economics and Innovation, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, and the Port of Hamburg. The events attracted over 1.5 million participants.

Photo: Latvijas dienas Vācijā

“A significant business delegation of 30 individuals participated in the Latvia Days in Germany, fostering optimism for fruitful future collaborations. North Germany has identified our region as one of the main focuses for economic cooperation. During meetings with companies in logistics, ICT, and various other sectors, we identified potential areas for future collaboration. Hamburg shows a keen interest in advancing digital projects and energy development. Germany presents an almost unlimited export market for green energy producers and is actively seeking new partners to collaborate on digital services," said Iveta Strupkaja, Acting Director General of LIAA.

The Latvian business delegation was headed by Transport Minister Kaspars Briskens. The business delegation represented the ports and logistics sector, which is actively seeking new cargo flows and investors to offset the disruptions caused by the shifts in cargo flows from the East due to the conflict in Ukraine. Companies from the ICT, construction, and various other industries were also in search of new connections in Germany.

Ilze Upatniece, Head of the LIAA Representative Office in Germany, also played a crucial role in the Latvia Days, highlighting the importance of such events for the development of future business relations. "The North German federal states are open to cooperation with the Baltic region. We see a particular interest in the development of renewable energy projects, digitalization and innovation." 

Following the visit, Igor Udodov, Deputy Executive Officer of the Freeport of Ventspils, noted that the Port of Hamburg ranks third largest in Europe and plays a significant role in global supply chains. "Ports in Latvia and the Port of Ventspils are currently seeking a fresh identity, focusing on cargo flows and the expansion of new production infrastructure, such as green energy production. We have taken the first steps to develop cooperation, and we look forward to a return visit from our Hamburg colleagues at the Port Days in Latvia in July."

Arturs Lindenbergs, Head of the Innovation Development Division at LMT, emphasized we are already ahead of the Port of Hamburg in several technological aspects. "In cooperation with LVR flote, a company that operates ships in the Port of Riga, we have established a 5G war network coverage in the port's water area, which allows to significantly improve the efficiency of ship crews and analyse data on various processes in online mode. This is an area where we see opportunities for cooperation with Hamburg."

During the Latvia Days in Hamburg, a Business Forum was also held, during which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Riga Technical University (RTU), Riga Business School, the Latvian IT Cluster, and the Hamburg Artificial Intelligence Centre (ARIC). This is an opportunity for Germany to innovate faster by testing the most suitable solutions. Latvia, on the other hand, can offer its experience in developing major IT and AI projects in the public and private sectors. Liene Briede, RTU Vice-rector for Innovation, says that one of the areas of cooperation in artificial intelligence will be the defence industry: "Defence is currently a focus both in Latvia, where this initiative is being promoted by President of Latvia Edgar Rinkevics, and in Germany, so we see the prospect of cooperation in this area, working on research issues. We also see a lot of scope for cooperation on integrating new knowledge into the curriculum."

As a partner country of the Hamburg Port Anniversary, Latvia offered an extensive cultural programme and other activities. The Latvia Days included performances by the honorary organist Iveta Apkalna, violinist Baiba Skride, Carnival Youth, and Dagamba. The event agenda also featured various activities designed to accommodate participants of all ages. There was a special event for the youngest to meet with beloved Latvian characters Tuta, Fox, and Fenek. Attendees also had a chance to draw inspiration from six-time Guinness World Records holder and adventurer Karlis Bardelis, the first person in the world to cross the Pacific Ocean from South America to Asia in 715 days by rowing boat. 

The festival provided an opportunity to learn about Latvian folk music and dance traditions, the almost forgotten craft of basket weaving, and tempting culinary creations - traditional Latvian dishes served in a modern street food style. Market stalls offered products from Latvian companies, including jewelry, ceramics, and sustainable toys.

The photo attraction of Riga's Golden Rooster in full flight was highly popular and warmly welcomed all festival visitors.

During Latvia Days in Germany, efforts were made to promote Latvia as a tourist destination, as Germany is the third most significant country for inbound tourism, following Lithuania and Estonia.

Latvia Days in Germany were organized by LIAA in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Transport. The event was part of Latvia's external marketing strategy #MissionLatvia.