Latest News Lithuania: Passports Come of Age

New identity documents are devised to defy counterfeiters by Liw Magazine

Steven Paulikas

At first glance, travel documents appear to be the most benign of objects. Sporting merely a photo here and a few stamps there, a passport seems nothing more than a bland collection of official papers whose most redeeming feature is that it gets its owner from one place to another. But behind the deceptively innocuous passport cover lies an entire world of historic and modern-day struggles to make sense of the world, and the people in it. For Lithuanians, the right to hold a passport not issued by a foreign government was just an abstract dream 15 years ago. And even in its short history, the contemporary Lithuanian passport has been transformed from a proud symbol of …

Made by Wind, Sand and Hands – LIW Magazine Investigates

A natural wonder is threatened by human activity

Irena Jomantienė

Legend has it that Neringa, a giant goddess, created the Curonian Spit to shield fishermen from the Baltic Sea.
Fishing has been the main trade on the spit for centuries and also the way of life, and it now bears the name Neringa.

Although fishing is gradually giving up its position to tourism, the spit has preserved the original architectural styles of a fishing village. Perched on the edge of the lagoon are single-story wooden structures with gabled roofs of red tile or thatch. The walls are painted brown, white and blue, and decorated with ornamental weather vanes, which used to be identifying marks on fishing boats. These reflect the functional needs and the aesthetic sensibility of the Kuršiai …

LIW Magazine News: A New Dynamism for the European Union

Membership of the EU gives a boost to the economy

Raműnas Vilpiđauskas

On 1 May 2005, Lithuania, together with nine other new member states, celebrated its first year as a member of the EU. Accession had been a policy target of these states for more than a decade, providing stability and consistency to the reforms undertaken after the collapse of communism.

Hopes have been high, and the public has been among the most enthusiastic, voting overwhelmingly in the 2003 referendum to join. What does the situation look like after the first year of membership? Are the benefits being felt in the economy and in society? What are the main concerns?

Optimistic about membership

Opinion polls reveal that the Lithuanians are still quite satisfied with their country’s performance in the …

Bonan Tagon, Amiko – LIW Magazine Culture and Society Update

Esperanto opens the door

Laimius Stražnickas

Bonan tagon, amiko [Hello, friend]. Are you going on the boating trip?”

This question to young Lithuanian Esperantists is like the herald of spring.

In early May, the trip is all you hear about, along with telephone calls from Esperantists from neighboring countries to ask about the weather in Lithuania.

Everybody takes it for granted that the traditional boating trip in the Aukštaitija National Park will take place. Even the program is always the same, with boating during the day and entertainment at night.

Around a hundred Esperantists spend three days on the lakes, rivers and streams, visiting museums and other places of interest. Birthday celebrations for those born in May, and the initiation ceremony for new members, take place every year.

The tradition …

LIW Magazine Arts: Seize the Fading Image

A distinguished painter and collector returns to the land of his youth

Laima Kanopkienë

At first the eyes try to resist it. Soon, however, they follow the laws of subtle and playful “tremolo”.

Endless shimmering slowly turns into strange, decorative and repetitive combinations that invoke something close and dear to us, and which is difficult to put into words. This something may look like ingenious decoration on ancient doors, or a kind of carving on shutters, tables or chairs.

There is no distinct center. The constituent elements pulsate and spread towards the edges. It is a rhythmic, harmonious and never ending movement.

The third dimension

The canvases of the painter Kazys Varnelis shimmer, flicker and move in a wavelike motion. But this is only an illusion. In reality they hang …

Winners Take All

It”s never a prize too many

  • Giedrė PutelytėCompanies in the food products, financial, information technology and advertising sectors have won numerous prizes in international competitions, proving that Lithuanians are capable of producing quality products.Awards enhance the reputation of a company, as well as that of the country it represents. They also serve as an indicator of the development of different Lithuanian industries and their compliance with international standards.La crème de la crèmeEuromoney, Global Finance and The Banker, some of the world’s most respectable finance magazines, have repeatedly named SEB Vilniaus Bankas, the country”s largest bank, which is owned by the Swedish SEB Group, the best commercial bank in Lithuania. It has been rated by Euromoney for five years in a row as the best bank, and by Global Finance for

The Head of State is Impeached

Lithuanian News in English – It is a time of mixed blessings on the political front

Arnas Lazdauskas

In spring this year, Lithuania entered a new phase. It was a new phase in many senses, a time many people had been anxiously waiting for.

Integration into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union represent the achievement of two fundamental foreign policy goals. People believe that membership of these institutions will help Lithuania stabilize and consolidate its still fragile statehood, as well as increasing their well-being.

Yet the country and its people, a majority of whom supported entry into Nato and the EU as serving the national interest, were by no means as ecstatic as one might have expected. Neither, it seems, were its Nato allies and EU partners. …

Three Seconds of Heaven and Hell – LIW Literature Corener

Tragedy and comedy are a potent mix in the work of Sigitas Parulskis

Jonas Ohman

Lithuanian literature is rising if not from the dead then at least from an existence in the shadows. In recent years we have definitely been able to feel the creative heat from several writers in deep need of expressing their experience of a society in transition.

This has not gone unnoticed in other countries. The most significant signs are the presentation at the main European book fair, in Frankfurt in 2002, and now at the end of September at the biggest Scandinavian book fair, in Göteborg in Sweden.

One of the most notable contributors is Sigitas Parulskis, a poet and essayist on a somewhat rough journey through life, something which I felt at our meeting …

Where Storks Rule the Roost

Country holidays have become the fastest-growing business in rural areas

Jolanta Paškevičienė

“Today, rural tourism is the leading business in the countryside,” says Regina Sirusienė, president of the Rural Tourism Association. This can be seen from the statistics: over one year the number of households involved in it has tripled.

Three years ago, 24,000 people spent their holidays on a farm. In 2001, it was 67,000. Last year the number increased to 110,000. This means that rural residents have found a new source of income, and that those who live in the cities can afford such holidays.

The people who start this type of business are usually families living in the countryside, and all members of the family are involved. They are versatile people who very often do not have …

A Metaphor for Philosophy LIW Magazine Arts Corner

A collection of rare photographs has recently come to light

Valdonë Kupstaitë

Last year, to mark Sartre’s 100th birthday, a photography exhibition traveled round several European cities. The photographs had been taken by the then unknown 26-year-old photographer Antanas Sutkus, during Sartre and de Beauvoir’s trip to Lithuania in 1965.

Since then, the photographer himself has achieved world recognition. He has held over 60 solo exhibitions and published 14 books. Now, at 66, is a holder of three Grand Prix and three FIAP gold medals. In his own country, he is perhaps the best-known photographer.

If you have ever visited the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris, on entering the courtyard, your eye should have been caught by an expressive bronze sculpture of a bent figure fighting against wind and sand.…