Latvian association formed in Switzerland

A new Latvian association has been formed in Switzerland, home to at least 500 Latvians, and will be based in Zürich.

The Latvian Association of Switzerland (Lettische Gemeinschaft in der Schweiz) was founded on Jan. 18, Secretary Axel C. Scherrer told Latvians Online in an e-mail. The association will be officially chartered when Latvian Ambassador Aivars Groza, who is based in Austria and serves in five countries, visits Switzerland.

About 550 Latvians live in Switzerland, according to 2004 data compiled by the Swiss government. About half as many again live in Switzerland but are not registered, Scherrer said.

Historically, Switzerland was a refuge for Latvians after the failed 1905 Revolution. Among famous Latvians who once lived in Switzerland were the writers Jānis Rainis and Aspazija, who resided in Lugano from 1905 until their return to Latvia in 1920.

The aims of the new association are to maintain contact amongs Latvian of all ages in Switzerland, to promote Latvian culture in Switzerland, to organize regular guest speakers from Latvia, and to help Latvians in need in Switzerland.

The group will be creating a Web site, Scherrer said.

Latvia has an honorary consul, Ragnar Granelli, who is based in Zürich.

For further information about the association, contact Scherrer by e-mail at

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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