Valmiera is a city disposed to development, showing significant progress in all sectors in which it operates. It is characterised by an extensive educational provision, innovative companies, creative cultural life, well-developed sports infrastructure, high-level sporting achievements and a green urban environment.
The year when construction of St. Simon’s Church began – 1283 – is considered to be the year when the city was founded.
Valmiera was a member of the Hanseatic League in the past. Internationally significant trade routes, connecting Russia and western Europe, went through Valmiera – a city of traders and craftsmen at that time. Since 1992, Valmiera has also been a member of the renewed medieval union of Hanseatic cities. Valmiera has retained its spirit of entrepreneurship. It is a city of rich cultural heritage and active social life. Natural beauty combined with an industrial urban environment creates a picturesque landscape and provides all the favourable preconditions for an enjoyable city living.
Valmiera is the eighth largest city in Latvia. It is also the administrative centre of the Vidzeme region. Valmiera is strategically located in the north-eastern part of Latvia, next to the A3 highway connecting Latvia with Estonia. Area: 19.35 km2. Population: 24,954. Distance to Riga, the capital of Latvia: 115 km. The environment in Valmiera: 1/3 natural territories, 479 ha forests, 4.6% water bodies.
Lāčplēša Street 2, Valmiera, LV–4201
Valmiera has always been a city of rich industrial traditions. It is a thriving knowledge, talent and financial centre. The city’s ambition is perpetually focused on the constant growth of companies within a dynamic business environment.
Valmiera is currently ranked Latvia’s third largest industrial city. The city’s GDP per capita is 14,922 euros, the second in Latvia after the capital Riga. Thanks to the top-notch infrastructure – the A3 highway connecting Latvia with Estonia, railway, main gas pipelines, power transmission lines, fibre-optic communication cable, closeness to ports and Riga airport – and ever-welcoming, open attitude, Valmiera is the proud host of 120 foreign capital companies, which collectively account for 11% of the city’s total workforce. The city has attracted foreign investment from countries including Germany, Sweden, Russia, the USA, Italy, the UK, Luxembourg, Estonia and Lithuania.
In 2018, Valmiera was recognised by fDi Magazine, published by the Financial Times, with the award of third place in the European Micro Cities category for its outstanding FDI strategy. According to the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Valmiera is also the most business-friendly city in Latvia in 2018.
Valmiera is becoming a regional magnet city with its dynamic business environment attracting talents and professionals from the Vidzeme region, the whole country and abroad. Around 7000 people commute to Valmiera every day from surrounding municipalities. The city offers an outstanding quality of life and leisure activities.
Valmiera’s extensive educational system is the core of the city’s innovations and entrepreneurship. Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences is one of the country’s biggest universities outside Riga. Valmiera Vocational Education and Training School, as well as Valmiera School of Art and Design, are modern educational institutions that work closely with employers and industry.
Valmiera is located on the banks of the river Gauja and is the northern gateway to the Gauja National Park, the country’s largest and oldest. The Steep Banks of the Gauja river (Gaujas Stāvie krasti) and Goat Rapids (Kazu krāces) are famous tourist attractions in the city, near to which are to be found the Park of the Senses (Gaujas Stāvo krastu Sajūtu parks), the Trail in the Trees, the Gauja river tram, a rowing slalom track and the Museum of Valmiera. St. Simon’s Church, the ruins of the Livonian Order Castle and the history of ancient Valmiera – a fascinating story of the city – add remarkable value to the tourism offer.
The active tourism season is rich in events designed for boaters, cyclists, gourmets, culture-vultures, theatre-goers and sports or nature enthusiasts. In developing tourism destinations, Valmiera collaborates with a tourism cluster of Gauja National Park and the surrounding counties. It is not only recreation, exploration and leisure activities, but also health promotion offers for business people and various cultural events that attract tourists to the city of Valmiera.