From 23 to 26 August Latvian Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde paid a state visit to the Czech Republic, beginning at the premises of the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia to the Czech Republic.
On 23 August, the day of commemoration of Stalinism and Communism victims, the day when the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with its tragic consequences was signed, the Latvian Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde, together with the Czech Minister of Culture Daniel Herman and the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia to the Czech Republic Alberts Sarkanis, laid wreaths at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Újezd street and at the grave of Václav Havel, the former Czechoslovakian and Czech president and an advocate for democracy, in the Vinohrady Cemetery. On the same day the Minister discussed Latvian and Czech cultural policies as well as cooperation between the two states in the field of culture with the Vice-President of the Senate of the Czech Republic Jiří Šesták and the Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions Zdeněk Papoušek.
On 24 August at the seat of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic in Nostitz Palace the Minister Dace Melbārde met the Czech Minister of Culture Daniel Herman and the Deputy Minister for Legislation and International Relations Petra Smolíková. Both representatives spoke about the mutual cooperation thus far, especially in the field of music and literature. Special attention was paid to EU news from culture and media sphere and to the whole year 2018 when Latvia as well as Czechia are going to celebrate their first century of existence as a republic. In the non-governmental organisation European Values a discussion was held on media policy with experts from Czech institutions.
As part of the cultural program of the state visit the Minister has visited the just several years ago opened Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region GASK in the town of Kutná Hora, the remarkable Centre for Contemporary Art DOX (founded in a former Prague industrial zone by the entrepreneur Leoš Válka after his return from Australia), the just recently renovated Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, concert hall Rudolfinum, Laterna magika of the National Theatre and the Czech Museum of Music.
On the last day the Minister visited the town of Ratibořice and the Náchod Chateau. Both of them are historically closely related to Duchy of Semigallia and the family of the duke Peter von Biron. The Embassy of the Republic of Latvia to the Czech Republic annually takes part in the autumn Curland Festivities in Náchod. During the meeting with the Náchod’s mayor Jan Birke it was pointed out that the cooperation between two towns – Czech Náchod and Latvian Bauska – should serve as a good example for other Czech and Latvian municipalities to build their partnerships and thus further develop contacts between the two countries.