General Information:Capital: Riga
Political system: a parliamentary republic with a prime minister (prime minister), who represents the executive branch, and a head of state (president), who performs mainly protocol tasks.
Population: 1.9 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Official language: Latvian
EU single emergency number: 112
Rescue service: 113
Cultural differences and advice from Intercultural Communication Coach:
Latvia was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940 and did not win independence until 1991. The historical development of Latvia has been influenced mainly by two cultures. The south was under the influence of Catholic Lithuania and the north was largely associated with Protestant Estonia. A referendum was held in 2003 and it joined the EU under the leadership of its popular president, Vaira Vike-Freiberga.
To visit Latvia means to visit the Gauja National Park. Gauja National Park offers beautiful hiking trails, hills and cliffs by the river. Another natural point of interest is represented by the most watery and wildest waterfalls in Europe “Ventas Rumba”.
The Latvians belong to the cultures whose behaviour is very reserved outside their family and circle of friends. They even make fun of themselves because of it and voluntarily admit that they avoid strangers. Latvia is one of the countries dominated by the creative industries such as art, advertising, architecture and fashion design. They belong to the top countries, even at EU level.
Latvian business behaviour is sometimes compared to German people. The Latvians also behave in a reserved way during introductory meetings and later move on to friendly relations. The German punctuality is also reflected in the organization of meetings and urban transport. The basis of successful co-operation is to build trust, which is based on professional knowledge and gradual development of mutual relations. Latvia as a country is becoming more and more popular for many foreign companies. They appreciate the great initiative of the Latvians and their overtime work rejected by other cultures.
Recommendations for Co-Operation with Colleagues from Latvia:
Topics not recommended in the introductory conversation are related to their communist history and relations with Russia.
The Latvians prefer a structured course of business meetings or negotiations for which they prepare thoroughly.
Business meetings usually start and end on time and each participant is expected to be ready.
The Latvians are among the experienced negotiating partners and find it difficult to change the attitude they have chosen.
Many events, even outside the company, are perceived rather formally.