UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)



Latvian belongs to the Baltic group of the Indo-European language family and is spoken by 1.5 million people, mostly living in the Republic of Latvia. Its closest living relative is Lithuanian. It is written in the Roman alphabet and its spelling is very regular. Latvia’s fascinating history is reflected in the modern language. Latvia lies on the Baltic coast of northern Europe. During the last thousand years Latvia was dominated by Germans, Swedes and Russians (including the Soviet occupation from 1940 until 1991). Our language courses provide a basic knowledge of Latvian language, culture and history.

Interesting Facts & Figures

Latvian flag

  • Latvia had the first woman president of an East European country - Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga (2000 to 2006)
  • In the early 20th century Riga had an Englishman, George Armistead, as a Mayor
  • Latvia ranks 2nd best in the world in the global Environmental Performance Index.
  • The most famous Latvian invention is the jet engine.