Europe’s capitals of culture are Riga and Ikea

Europe’s capitals of culture are Riga and Ikea


norman lebrecht

January 01, 2014

Riga. You’ve heard of it. Capital of Latvia. Home to some good classical musicians. Big on stag parties.

The other is Umea.

You read that right.

Not Ikea. Umea. It’s somewhere in northern Sweden. Famous for… not much. It is home to the heavy metal band, Meshuggah.


Maybe they should have picked Ikea.


  • Eva says:

    Dear Norman,have no idea about parties,but Riga is a gorgeous city with a good musical tradition,a surprising number of a world top class artists for a barely 2 million nation,and Latvian choirs are a jewel.I really wish you come and visit once! And a great New Year for you and all the music lovers!

  • mark winn says:

    Umea is an important Swedish town….please leave your faintly patronising comments in the 20th century….

  • Sally Funnell says:

    Umea is also home to a thriving and dynamic opera and ballet company which seems to have managed to present more new works in the past 5 years than most major houses have in more than twice that. [redacted]

  • mark winn says:

    Here, you will find what’s on that matters in 2014!!

  • francois grillot says:

    UNEA has the most famous jazz festival in that part of the world!! I was there and so were a whole lot of famous jazz musicians, American and other!! it’s true, not much of a town!!! ūüėČ

  • Thaddeus Watson says:

    And a very large and important university….