Jelgava Latvian Society

The Jelgava Latvian Society was founded in 1880. The Soviet regime closed the Society after the occupation of Latvia similarly as hundred other social organisations. The Jelgava Latvian Society renewed its work on June 10, 1990.

The work of the Jelgava Latvian Society leads the Board consisting of 9 members. Since 1999 the Chairman of the Jelgava Latvian Society has been Pauls Rēvelis.


Pēteris Alunāns suggested establishing of the Latvian Society in Jelgava. In 1872 the meeting was called, where 103 founders participated, who promoted the establishing of the Society and made the contemporary committee with a task to develop Society’s statutes and achieve their approval. However, the Statute Development Committee could not achieve the approval of the statutes in Parliament. For 8 years the Society did not receive the permission to establish the organisation, however, the committee continued its work finding the way that was approved by the Tsar’s government – on August 30 – in the name day of the Tsar Alexander – the anniversary of the liberation of peasants in Kurzeme was celebrated in a large event. Alongside the work continued to achieve the approval of the statutes. Except the Committee of August 30 Celebrations, the second organisation, that promoted the establishing of the Jelgava Latvian Society, was Kurzeme Beekeeping Society founded in 1856. In 1875 for the first time the Latvian was elected as its Chairman – the editor of the magazine “Baltijas lauksaimnieks” (Baltic’s Farmer) Māteru Juris. Under his leadership the general meeting decided to change the statutes in 1880 and call the organisation “Kurzeme Latvian Society”. With statutes developed by Māteru Juris and the good references received from the governor Lilienfelds the farmer and Chairman of the parish Kalnciems Jānis Neimanis went to Pēterpils and achieved that Russia’s Minister of Internal Affairs signed the statutes of the newly established Jelgava Latvian Commonwealth Society on May 7, 1880.

On June 10, 1880 the Jelgava Latvian Society was founded. Jānis Neimanis was elected as the first chairman of the new Society. The Society established the mixed choir and constant Latvian theatre in Jelgava, longer or shorter period of time Literature, Agricultural, Industry and Handicraft Sections were working.

Also the latest first President of the Republic of Latvia Jānis Čakste participated actively in the Society’s work. He was the chairman of the Society from 1887 to 1901 and from 1904 to 1906. In June 1895 IV Latvian Song and Music Festival took place in Jelgava. Jānis Čakste donated the building plot on which the Jelgava Latvian Society House was built and opened in 1910.

Well known cultural workers and economists have managed the Jelgava Latvian Society, between them were Jānis Bisenieks, Andrejs Stērste, Jānis Veismanis (Pavasaru Jānis), Jānis Mazvērsītis. In the work of the Society have participated Ernests Dinsbergs, Līgotņu Jēkabs, Ādolfs Alunāns, Rainis and next President of Latvia Alberts Kviesis.
The Society House was working as Jelgava culture centre until 1940. During the First Latvian State period Jelgava theatre was working there. After the Soviet occupation the Jelgava Latvian Society was liquidated on November 4, 1940 and the Society House was nationalized.  During the Second World War the Society House was destroyed and was not rebuilt.  
The Jelgava Latvian Society renewed its work in 1990.  

After the renewing of the Jelgava Latvian Society in 1990, the Society got its premises in Lielā Street, where the Society’s archive and library are situated and Board meetings take place.

In the framework of the Society work Finance, Documentation, Culture and Events, Economical, Tourism and Social Commissions. Under the wings of the Jelgava Latvian Society work the poetry club „Touch”, club „Sendienas” (Bygone Days), Jelgava Latvian Society amateur theatre, senior dance group „Autumn rose” and Jelgava Latvian Society youth group. The Society organises its own events and participate in Jelgava town’s cultural life, State events, traditional and annual events.


Jelgava Latvian Society, Lielā Street 13 -15, LV-3001

Phone: +371 20610082
E-mail: vilis.biedriba@tvnet.lv

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