Reburial of Miķelis Valters, an initiator of the idea of Latvia’s statehood

23.09.2020. 15:35

On 23 September 2020, a memorial ceremony will be held in Riga Castle for Miķelis Valters, the first Minister of the Interior, diplomat and statesman, prior to his reinterment at the First Meža Kapi (Forest Cemetery).

During the commemoration ceremony in Riga Castle, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, will address those present, alongside the President of Latvia, Egils Levits; the Speaker of the Saeima (Latvian Parliament), Ināra Mūrniece; and the Minister of the Interior, Sandis Ģirģens. Historian Toms Ķikuts will make a presentation on Miķelis Valters’ life and political scientist, Rasma Kārkliņa, will deliver closing remarks. The boys’ choir of Liepāja Secondary School for Music, Art and Design will give a musical performance.

The reburial ceremony at the First Forest Cemetery will be attended by Miķelis Valters’ family, representatives of the President, the Saeima, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, the Chairman and officials of Liepāja City Council. A guard of honour will be provided by the Ministry of the Interior and the Fraternitas Lataviensis student fraternity.

In preparations for this special occasion, the Ministry of the Interior arranged the layout of Miķelis Valters’ gravesite and memorial at the Forest Cemetery, including the crafting and installation of the monument. The memorial site design by the sculptor Valts Barkāns was selected in a competition.

The body of Miķelis Valters was exhumed from the Eastern Cemetery in Nice, in France, on 11 August 2020, and transported to Latvia for reinterment by an airBaltic flight on 14 August.

In 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Latvia in France, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and Miķelis Valters’ family, began planning Miķelis Valters' reburial in Latvia. In recognition of contribution by Miķelis Valters to the establishment of the Latvian state, a conference titled Un centenaire à l’heure de l’Europe. La Lettonie was held in Nice on 22 March 2018. The conference, organised by the Latvian Embassy in France in association with CUM, the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen, was one of the events in the public diplomacy programme coordinated by the Latvian Foreign Ministry in France to mark the centenary of the Republic of Latvia.

Background information

Statesman Miķelis Valters (1874-1968) was Latvia’s first Minister of the Interior, a politician, diplomat, journalist and literary figure. He had a major role to play in the formulation of the idea of an independent Latvia and in the establishment of the state. From October 1919, Miķelis Valters was a diplomatic representative for Latvia in Italy, in March 1921 – and became Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Italy in November 1921 – as well as non-resident Minister to Spain and Portugal. Miķelis Valters had also been posted as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to France, Poland, Hungary, Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as Consul to Königsberg (East Prussia).


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