Baltic Sea Library

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The Baltic Sea Library (also known as Virtual Baltic Library) is an online library with an Open source character. It is run by the registered association Forum Mare Balticum. The library consists of literary texts and essays from the Baltic states, all of which are available in up to 14 languages. The translation of the texts into the languages spoken in the Baltic region serves to establish a cultural common denominator and creates a basis for a transnational literary history in the region.

Founding and management

The idea of founding a transnational Baltic Library came to co-founder and editor Klaus-Jürgen Liedtke as early as 1992 during a Baltic Sea cruise with 400 authors and at the subsequent annual meeting in Visby on the island of Gotland. In the fall of 2008, a meeting was held with all of the editors from the International Writers and Translators' House, Ventspils, in Latvia, during which the criteria for choosing content were discussed. In early 2010, the Virtual Baltic Library[1] was launched, on which texts from all Baltic states were published, including works from Astrid Lindgren, Johannes Bobrowski, and Tomas Tranströmer. The works are sorted both alphabetically by author as well as by place of origin. Since its inception, the online library has remained a work in progress, with new texts continuously being added. The texts from different genres, e.g., prose, lyrical poetry, and essays, share a so-called “balticness”, which was the only criterion set in the meeting in 2008. Consequently, all texts in the Baltic Sea Library, from old Icelandic epics to Karelian literature, have a "Baltic Identity", i.e., a connection to the Baltic region in all its many facets.

The library is an Open source project, meaning its publications are accessible and redistributable for free.

A conference was held at the Schleswig-Holstein State Representative Office in Berlin from the 5 to the 7 of April 2011 with the title "Cultural Diversity, Languages and Digital Content". The aim was to promote the perception of a common cultural identity in the Baltic region and to provide a basis for a transnational literary history of the Baltic region.[2]

Awards and projects

In 2011, the Baltic Sea Library received the "ARS BALTICA Logo", a seal of quality granted by the ARS BALTICA Network for particularly impressive transnational culture and art projects in the Baltic region.[3]

In December 2020, the Baltic Sea Library started a new project titled "Nord Stream 3" (December 2020-November 2021). It was made possible by the German Translation Fund and its program Neustart-Kultur” of the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media.[4] This project focused on a comprehensive expansion of the Baltic Sea Library to include essayistic texts from in and around the Baltic region from 1990 to present day. The project aims to investigate the question: Despite all of the problems the Baltic region faced throughout the years, can a shared identity exist in the region? Particular attention should be paid to the border regions in North Eastern Europe – Lapland, Karelia, Ingria, Setomaa, Latgale, the Suwalki-area, Masuria, Kashubia, and Livonia – areas whose culture has often been threatened.


Texts published in the Baltic Sea Library can be read in up to 14 languages, including: Danish language, German language, English language, Estonian language, Finnish language, Icelandic language, Latin, Latvian language, Lithuanian language, Norwegian language, Polish language, Russian language, Sámi languages, and Swedish language.


  • Klaus-Jürgen Liedtke: Die Ostsee. Berichte und Geschichten aus 2000 Jahren. Berlin: Galiani 2018.


  1. "Home - Balticsealibrary - site - Baltic Sea Library". Baltic Sea Library. January 29, 2021.
  2. Gustafsson, Unn (June 27, 2012). "about "Balticness"". Baltic Worlds.
  3. "The Virtual Baltic Sea Library". Ars Baltica. January 29, 2021.
  4. "Erste "Neustart"-Förderungen und Herbstvergabe". Verband der Übersetzer. January 29, 2021.

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