Rūjiena is the northernmost town in Latvia, located at the border between Latvia and Estonia. Rūjiena is the administrative centre of Rūjiena territorial division that unites 5 parishes (Ipiķi, Jeri, Lode, Vilpulka and Rūjiena) and is part of Valmiera municipality government administrative territory. 95% of inhabitants are Latvian, other nationalities include Russian, Estonian, Ukrainian etc. The population of Rūjiena has decreased by 16.9 per cent over the last 10 years (in 2013 – 3,287 inhabitants), which sadly is in line with the overall trend in Latvia.
In the Culture and Resilience Action plan the top priority is to set the conditions for an open, democratic and civically active society and socially resilient community. In essence – to know our neighbour’s name and to be sure that we can turn to them when we face a crisis. Starting small – from getting to know our neighbours, to community activities in villages and rural areas, and finally, cooperating with the cross-border community in Estonia, we plan to build a new model of cooperation based in the bottom-up principle with the aid of municipality.
The second priority is to build intergenerational dialogue, skills and knowledge transfer, taking advantage of the fact that Rūjiena is a “seniors’ town” and their knowledge can be packaged in a modern, interesting way for young people.
Our third priority is to strengthen people’s sense of belonging, thus ensuring in the long term that they do not leave regions and rural places, essentially finding them interesting and attractive, seeing an untapped potential rather than a perpetual struggle in the countryside. People in rural areas already have to look for extra motivation to be there – a title like BSR Cultural Pearls tells the community that they are relevant, taken seriously and are noticed. They feel proud of the place, the progress and creation of their plans and visions, and it can even encourage them to return.