Lithuania - education
Following Lithuania's independence in 1991, comprehensive reforms of the
entire education system have been launched. Central goals of the reform efforts
are democratization and strengthening of both the national Lithuanian content of
education and international relations. There are very few private schools. The
Russian and Polish minorities have their own schools, which, however, must also
follow the national curricula.
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The education system includes a preschool that is applied for by approximately 33%
(1994). Then follows a primary school with nine years of compulsory
schooling. Schooling can be completed in one of several parallel school forms,
including the four-year primary school pradinė mokykla or the 12-year vidurinė
mokykla, which includes both primary school and postgraduate
education. The 2-4-year youth educations, which can be general or vocational,
require nine years of schooling and are applied for by approximately 80% (1994).
In addition to 11 other higher education institutions, there are seven
universities (1997); the oldest, the University of Vilnius, was founded as an
academy by the Jesuits in 1579.
OFFICIAL NAME: Lithuanian Republic
CAPITAL CITY: Vilnius
POPULATION: 2,794,090 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 65,200 km²
Residents PER KM²: 42.8 (2020)
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Lithuanian
RELIGION: Catholics 77%, Russian Orthodox 4%, Protestants 1%, others (including
Baptists, Muslims, Jews) 2.4%
NATIONAL DAY: February 16th
HEAD OF STATE: Gitanas Nauseda (President)
PRIME MINISTER: Saulius Skvernelis
CURRENCY CODE: EUR
ENGLISH NAME: Lithuania
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Lithuanians 86.4%, Poles 5.7%, Russians 4.5%, Belarusians and Ukrainians
2.5%, others 1%
GDP PER residents: 16,924.29 Euro (2018)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 70.9 years, women 80.6 years (2018)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.869 (2018)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 34
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .lt
Lithuania, Baltic Republic. Lithuania is the southernmost of the three Baltic
states that regained independence in connection with the dissolution of the
Soviet Union in 1991. Lithuania was in union with Poland until both countries
were incorporated into Russia in 1795, and as in Poland the population is
predominantly Roman Catholic. The country gained independence in 1918, but was
occupied by and incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940. Lithuanian, like
Latvian, belongs to the Baltic language group.
Lithuania - Constitution
The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania is from 1992, adopted after a
referendum. Legislative power lies with the parliament, which is elected for
four years. Parliament has 141 seats, of which 70 are allocated to political
parties in proportion to their share of the vote, while the remaining members
are elected in 71 constituencies, where they must obtain more than 50% of the
vote; if this is not achieved, there is a re-election between the two leading
The president is elected by direct election for a five-year term. The
executive power lies with the government headed by a prime minister, who is
appointed by the president with the consent of the parliament; the ministers are
appointed by the president on a proposal from the prime minister.
Lithuania - political parties
The political system in Lithuania has been characterized by a polarization
between two parties, the Conservative Fatherland Union, which originates from
the Popular Front, Sąjūdis, and the former Communists, the Lithuanian Democratic
Workers' Party (LDDP).
There have been no traditional right-left divisions, but rather different
views on the Soviet past and on the speed of economic liberalization.
In the 1996 election, the LDDP was sharply reduced, and the Fatherland Union
won about half of the Parliament's 141 seats. The Christian Democrats became the
second largest party, while the center party Lithuanian Center Union and the
Social Democrats became as large as the LDDP.
A total of 14 parties are represented in parliament. In the 1996 election,
the threshold was raised from 4% to 5% and for coalitions set at 7%.
Lithuania (Judicial system)
Since 1990, a number of laws have been introduced that bring the country's
law into line with Western European law. The latest Civil Code is from 2000 and
came into force on 1 July 2001. Property rights are inviolable, apply to freedom
of contract, and the rules on termination and fulfillment of agreements as well
as on breach are similar to those that apply on the rest of the continent.
As in the other Baltic countries, the Constitution and the Citizenship Act of
1991 have ensured that persons who were Lithuanian citizens in 1940, as well as
their descendants, regain Lithuanian citizenship. Furthermore, the laws impose
strict requirements on foreigners wishing to obtain Lithuanian
citizenship. Among other things, it is required that the applicant has been
resident in Lithuania for ten years and can pass an examination showing that he
or she can read and speak Lithuanian and is familiar with the Constitution.
Lithuania - economy
After the annexation of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union in 1940,
Lithuania was transformed into an orthodox planned economy, and relatively
large and advanced industries were established in the country primarily due to
its relatively well-developed infrastructure.
As a small open economy, Lithuania had been strongly integrated into the
world economy in the interwar years, but soon became totally dependent on the
Soviet Union; Thus, about 95% of foreign trade with other Soviet republics took
place in 1990.
When Lithuania regained its independence, a market economy reform program was
launched, which, among other things, entailed a rapid liberalization of trade
and prices as well as a gradual privatization of state-owned enterprises. The
reform program combined with the dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in a
dramatic decline in GDP, hyperinflation and high unemployment.
As part of the stabilization of the economy, Lithuania introduced a parallel
currency to the Russian ruble in 1992, and in 1993 the country acquired its own
currency, the litas, which in 1994 was made fully convertible and
pegged to the dollar. At the same time, a currency board system was
introduced, which must prevent monetary financing of government budget
The tight economic policy had social costs but limited public debt (39% of
GDP in 2013) and resulted in a fall in inflation from over 1200% in 1992 to 1.1%
Since 1994, the economy has been booming, however, interrupted by a 2%
recession caused by Russia in 1999; the period 2001-05, on the other hand, had
record high growth of 6-9% per year. From 1996, unemployment was declining
(around 5% in 2005), which must also be seen in relation to a significant
reduction in the employment rate. In connection with the Financial Crisis from
2008, unemployment rose to 17.8% in 2009. Since then, it has fallen to 11.8%
At the turn of the century, the privatization process was well advanced; it
was estimated that approximately half of the economy was legal and market-driven, a
third black and the rest state-owned. A major problem is related to the
development of the balance of payments, which has shown large deficits since
1995 as a result of a deterioration in competitiveness and a generally large
import need in the transition phase from planned to market economy.
Even after the Russian crisis in 1998, Lithuania has retained this country as
its main trading partner, accounting for about a fifth of foreign trade in 2013,
but Lithuania has nevertheless managed to reorient most of its foreign trade
towards the EU; the other most important trading partners in 2013 were germany,
poland and latvia.
Lithuania strives for further integration into the world economy, is a member
of the WTO and from 2004 of the EU; The currency was pegged to the euro from
2002, and the country's entry into EMU was planned for 2007, but has had to be
postponed until 2015 due to slightly too high inflation.
In 2013, Denmark's exports to Lithuania were approximately 2.78 billion DKK, while
imports from there were 3.13 billion. kr.
Lithuania - social conditions
As in other former Soviet republics, the transition from a planned economy
after independence in 1991 was hampered by the at the same time broken economic
ties with suppliers and customers throughout the former Soviet Union.
Violent inflation in the early 1990's eroded population savings and nearly
halved real wages, while increasing economic inequality. All wings of political
life, however, sought together solutions that entailed a social balance, which
meant a moderate continuation of some of the social benefits of the Soviet
Already the Constitution of 1992 established a number of social rights such
as disability pension, national pension for men from 60 years, women from 55
years, sickness benefits and as something new - as in the Soviet era there was
formally no unemployment - unemployment benefits. In addition, there was a child
allowance scheme. All services are at a relatively low level, also compared to
the other two Baltic countries. Businesses, land and housing were privatized
early on, and almost all Lithuanians own their own homes.
The state budget is based on a tax system with both income and consumption
taxes, but the absence of control has tempted extensive tax evasion, which has
led to a lack of state revenue.
Lithuania (Health conditions)
Lithuania, like other parts of the former Soviet Union, has experienced a
deterioration in health after 1990. Life expectancy in 1994 was 62.8 years for
men and 74.9 years for women. In 1989, the corresponding figures were 66.9 and
76.4. Infant mortality was 13.8 per 1,000 live births in 1995, which is 29%
higher than in 1989.
Morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease are significant, and
deaths due to suicide and accidents are also frequent. Alcohol-related mortality
is high, including due to acute poisonings.
Since 1990, the health service has undergone significant changes with a
partial decentralization and in 1997 the introduction of compulsory health
insurance. The country spent 4.8% of GDP on health care in 1994, of which at
least 20% was paid directly by patients. In the same year, there were 11
hospital beds and about four doctors per. 1000 residents, far above
corresponding Danish figures.
Lithuania - mass media
The publication of Lithuanian newspapers was hampered by the Russian
authorities' order to print Lithuanian text in Russian (Cyrillic) letters,
introduced in 1864 after the Polish-Lithuanian uprising. Newspapers and
magazines were published in exile, such as the national liberal Ausra
(Morgenrøde), which was published in 1883-86 and smuggled in from German East
After the abolition of the order in 1904, Vilniaus Žinios (Vilnius news)
became the leading daily newspaper. During the period of independence, press
freedom was curtailed after the coup in 1926, and after the Soviet occupation in
1940 and again in 1944, the media was placed under the Communist Party.
The Lithuanian media were quick to take advantage of the
Soviet glasnost after 1986 and fight for real freedom of the press. They
supported the People's Front Sąjūdis' freedom struggle, but also Soviet faith
The number of newspapers and magazines peaked in 1990 at 456, many of whom
have since entered. Leading are Lietuvos Aidas, Respublika and Lietuvos
Rytas. Some newspapers also have Russian editions, while the Polish minority has
In addition to the public radio and television stations, there are several
private ones. The media is free but financially pressured, and several have been
victims of terrorist activities by criminal groups.
Lithuania - visual arts and architecture
Large castles with square floor plan embossed 1200- and 1300-ts landscape
painting; a prominent monument is the Medininkai Castle from the late
1200's. In Vilnius, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Church of St. Bernard and
the Church of St. Anna were built in the 1300's and 1500's. The first public
buildings are also from this time, Perkunashuset from the
1400's. and Kaunas. The defensive wall in Vilnius and the bastion castles in
Biržai and Nesvyžius were built in the 1500's. alongside residences for the
nobility and several public buildings. Vilnius houses numerous baroque churches
built after a fire in the 1600's; a high baroque building style is reflected in
the Church of St. Peter and Paul (1668-84) as well as in the Sapiegu Palace
(1691-1897). In the late Baroque (1730-90), the old churches were reconstructed,
such as St. Catherine's Church and the Missionary Church, both with richly
decorated interiors. Among the most prominent buildings in the classicist style
is the town hall of Vilnius (1785-99), designed by L. Stuoka-Gucevičius
(1753-98), one of Lithuania's most important architects of the time. The
architectural idiom moved between historicism and modernism in the 1800's,
replaced by neoclassicalbuildings in the 1900's, such as the Lithuanian Bank
(1929), the art school (1929) and the main post office (1930's), all in
Kaunas. Another prominent edifice is the Čiurlionism Museum (1936) in
Kaunas. During the Soviet period (1940-91), among other things, Vilnius Opera
and Ballet Theater (1974).
The cultural connections between Lithuania and Central Europe left their mark
on 1500's visual art; Italian, Dutch and German renaissances prevailed in
painting and sculpture, not least in the design of tombstones. Around 1900, art
and culture were characterized by the versatile work of MK Čiurlionis; in his
work, symbolism was combined with folk art. In the interwar period, art was
dominated by a nationally emphasized modernism, but various setbacks arose,
e.g. with the painter J. Vienožinskis (1886-1960) and the sculptor J. Mikėnas
Lithuania - literature
The oldest book in Lithuanian is Martynas Mažvydas' (1510-63) catechism from
1547. In 1735 came the first complete Bible translation. Kristijonas Donelaitis'
epic The Seasons (1765-75, printed posthumously 1818) became a
milestone in the development of secular literature. In the 1800's. aroused
interest in the rich, oral traditions of the common people, and in 1825 the
first collection of folk songs, dainos, was published. The
national consciousness was nurtured by poets such as Simonas Daukantas
(1793-1864), who was also a historian, and Antanas Baranauskas (1835-1902),
whose romantic poem The Pine Forest in Anykščiai (1860-61) is a
masterpiece of Lithuanian poetry.
The Russian policy of repression from 1863-1905 was circumvented by illegal
magazines and by the theater, which went underground and organized the so-called
Lithuanian evenings. The dream of freedom was the great theme of the time,
in Jonas Maironis' (1862-1932) collection of poems Spring Voices (1895). Julija
Žemaitė (1845-1921) contributed with her depictions of folk life to the
development of realistic prose. In the early 1900-t. the modernist currents had
a breakthrough with poets such as Salomėja Nėris (1904-45) and Vincas
The first republic in the interwar years was marked by prosperity, but also
by national and social problems, portrayed by novelists such as Ieva Simonaitytė
(1897-1978) and Petras Cvirka (1909-47). The Soviet occupation in 1944 drove
many writers into exile, including Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius and Henrikas Nagys
(1920-96). The thaw began with Eduardas Mieželaitis' (1919-97) collections of
poems Min nattergal (1956) and Fremmede sten (1957). Excessively
daring experiments with form and expression, however, continued to be slowed
down by Soviet censorship, which forced e.g. Tomas Venclova (b. 1937) to
emigrate to the United States in 1977.
Many writers were active in the "singing revolution" of the 1980's, including
the poet Sigitas Geda (b. 1943). When Lithuania regained its independence, a
difficult process of transition began, marked by clashes between inherited
values and Western mass culture.
Lithuania - dance
The traditional dance repertoire, which was in use in several places until
World War II, can be divided into four main groups: rateliai (chain
and circle dances performed in different spatial figures with simple
steps to own vocal accompaniment), žaidimai (dance doctor), šokiai (various
couple dances, quadrilles, etc., which were mainly danced to instrumental music)
as well as sutartinės (polyphonic dance songs performed in canon by
three to four women).
The dance music has usually been in two-part tempo and moderate tempo. During
the 20th century, many folk dances were adapted and used for stage use. In the
1920's and 1930's, a repertoire based on a combination of ballet, Lithuanian
folklore and modern dances emerged.
The Lithuanian folk song has played a major role in the preservation of
Lithuanian language and identity during the periods of Russian and Soviet
rule. In the 1990's, folk music still lives on among older people in the
countryside and is also cultivated by numerous music groups and associations. A
large repertoire of old folk songs has been preserved, the polyphonic dance
songs sutartinės. The newer Lithuanian folk dance and fiddler music
have much in common with the Danish.
The first significant classical composer in Lithuania is MK Čiurlionis. His
national tone was continued by the composers during the period of independence
Music after World War II developed in relative isolation from the new musical
currents in the West. A number of Lithuanian composers went their own way, which
for many led to the use of elements from folk music and to a strongly original
music that after independence has aroused interest in the West. Music by
Bronius Kutavičius (b. 1932), Osvaldas Balakauskas (b. 1937) and Mindaugas
Urbaitis (b. 1952) were performed in 1992 at the festival Musikhøst in Odense.
Vilnius has a wide musical life with conservatory, philharmonic orchestra,
opera, musicals, chamber and choral concerts. In May, the city is the scene of a
major folk music festival.