In terms of design, the Latvian lat is one of the more unusual and attractive currencies in the Western world. Storks, ants, mushrooms, chimneysweeps, and other motifs grace the coins, which have become popular collector's items.
Latvia's paper money tells the story of its coming into being as a modern, European country, with deep roots into the past. The banknotes emphasize what has been historically important to Latvia:
- a stately oak tree, in reference to Latvians' traditional attachment to nature;
- a scenic view of the Daugava, Latvia's "river of fate";
- a wooden farmstead in reminder of the people's agricultural roots;
- a sailing ship emphasizing Latvia's role as a centre of trade and commerce;
- the "father of the dainas," Krišjānis Barons, who was instrumental to the collection of Latvia's folksongs and to the preservation of Latvian culture;
- and the mythical Latvian maiden, popularly known as "Milda," who symbolizes the hard-won freedom of the nation. She also graces the summit of Riga's Freedom Monument.
Keywords: money, Latvia, Riga