Foreign policy Egils Levits

Esteemed Rector of the Uppsala University, Mr Anders Hagfeldt, Esteemed Director of the Library, dear ladies and gentlemen,

I am happy to mark the centenary of the diplomatic relations between our both countries, Latvia and Sweden, here at the Uppsala University and its library, a place long popular with Latvians.

Latvians have always looked up to Sweden as a country that has familiar Nordic spirit and high levels of education and prosperity, which have been a constant source of inspiration for us.

As a university town, Uppsala was also a home and a workplace of many academically educated Latvian refugees who chose Sweden as their place of exile after the Second World War.

Right here, at the Uppsala library, we can find the oldest printed book in Latvian, the first Catholic Catechism printed in 1585, and books from the 16th century Riga Jesuit Library.

These books are significant for Latvian culture and history, but they also belong to one of the oldest book collections here at the Uppsala University Library.

Collection was recently reconstructed, its catalogue digitised, and now books from the Riga Jesuit Library collection are more accessible for research and studying.

National Library of Latvia was the project partner on our side.  It is yet another successful partnership between the institutions of both countries, which shows that a common idea and values can make any obstacles disappear.

As time goes by, we might have to add or change the books that can be currently found in the collection of Riga Jesuit Library.

That is up to researchers to establish. Still, we can feel satisfied – we have done everything possible to preserve this heritage and give it contemporary and future use.

I wish Uppsala University Library to continue to be this loyal and competent guardian of collections with significant cultural and historical value, while also actively contributing to evolution of contemporary information society!

I hereby declare the Riga Collection inaugurated!

Thank you!