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Culture is going north
Riga, Latvia’s capital, and Umeå, a university town in northern Sweden, are celebrating being named Europe’s “capitals of culture” with a year absolutely packed with cultural events. Among Riga’s 200 events include one of Europe’s biggest summer solstice celebrations, and mid-November’s Staro Riga light festival. There are also plenty of exhibitions and galleries to see at the capital’s national museums and new national library. Umeå, a six-hour train ride north of Stockholm, is the northernmost capital of culture ever. Their year is divided into the eight seasons of the Sami people, and plays up Sweden’s hip, progressive image with the UxU crowd-funded music fest (July-August), the contemporary circus festival (August 29-September 7) and the Liet minority-language song festival (October-November), “a polyglot alternative to the Eurovision song contest.” riga2014.org; umea2014.se/en.
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