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500th anniversary celebrations

From 2021 to 2025, we are celebrating the 500th anniversary of Latvian publishing. In 1525, the first book was printed in Latvian and this launched five centuries of development for Latvian book culture. Latvian book culture became one of the nation’s cornerstones, therefore the history of words written in Latvian and printed in books is an important period for Latvia and Latvians, which we are now celebrating, 500 years after the first book.

The written word is also the spoken word, the sung word. The spoken and sung word even preceded the written word. Through music and theatre, we can promote the “experiencing” of words.

Dagnija Baltiņa

Director, NLL Special
Collection Department

The 500th anniversary of Latvian books is also the 500th anniversary of the Latvian people’s
self-discovery. The understanding too, that Latvia had long been a part of a larger cultural space.

Guntars Prānis

Rector, Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music

In Latin, the root of the words libro and liberta corresponds with the Latvian words grāmata (book) and
brīvība (freedom). So, writing, books give us freedom and expand our world.

Sarmīte Ēlerte

Advisor to the President

grāmatniecība Latviešu grāmatai 500


From words hand written in manuscripts, from words sung and heard in readings to text in
newspapers and books – we
dedicate the 500th anniversary
events to a variety of manifestations and changes in publishing.

The written word

At a time when integration and simplification are at the fore, we mention our differences – language and the written word. Thinking about how the written word has influenced and shaped us, and about the Latvian language’s future prospects.

lasītais vārds latviešu grāmatai 500

The read word

Written and printed words were first heard in readings, when one read and many listened. Later, in the 18th and 19th centuries, quiet reading on one’s own began to spread, turning to religious, scientific and popular scientific, as well as entertaining texts.

500-year timeline

The first printed book and the first translations, the first public library, publishing
houses and the first encyclopaedia – significant events in the development
of Latvian publishing over five centuries.

Laika skala
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