Culture plays an essential role in human intellectual development and personality growth, it helps to build various skills for the development of creative activity, promotes not only personal, but also regional identity and sense of belonging. The cultural environment is not only an important resource for the sustainable development of the region's economy and society, but also a factor influencing the quality of life. Tangible and intangible cultural heritage, as well as newly created cultural values, are an essential resource for the development of a quality living and working environment in cities and rural areas.
In terms of rich tangible and intangible cultural and historical heritage, the territory of the Zemgale planning region includes the majority of the cultural and historical Zemgale district, a large part of the historical land of Selia, as well as a small part of the historical lands of Vidzeme and Latgale. This diverse cultural and historical environment and cultural space should be further preserved, maintained and developed.
More than 20 accredited museums operate in the region, including one state museum (Rundāle Castle Museum with a branch in Jelgava Castle). Out of more than 1,500 libraries in Latvia, almost 250 libraries are located in the Zemgale region, including a library for the blind. Libraries function as multi-faceted centers of education, culture and information, they also host professional development and educational events.
Ensuring continuity of the traditional cultural and amateur arts process in the region involves cultural centers. Latvian traditional culture - singing, playing music, theater and dancing - has solid foundations.
Looking back in history, it can be seen that the region is rich with notable personalities of different times: A. Brigadere, M. Sieverts, J. Čakste, G.F. Stenders, Aspazija, Rainis, V. Plūdonis, J. Jaunsudrabiņš, Juris and Adolfs Alunāns, etc.
The development programme of the Zemgale Planning Region for the period 2021-2027 sets “cultural environment and identity” as one of the priorities.
The main task of the priority is to ensure the versatility of the cultural life, the preservation of traditional values, to create a development-oriented regional cultural environment.
The following objectives have been set to achieve the priority:
- Preservation of cultural and historical heritage and sustainable development for creating a quality living environment and strengthening community belonging.
- Improving the functionality of cultural objects, cultural places, and related public outdoor space, promoting the involvement of citizens in cultural processes.
- Development of culture and creative industries, promoting the transfer of creative potential and culture-based innovations to business.
- Promotion of cultural export of the region, promoting the cooperation of the cultural sector with other sectors.