Latvian town Valka and Estonian town Valga are twins, developing themselves as one destination.
Latvian town Valka and Estonian town Valga are twins, separated by the Estonian/Latvian border but using the slogan "One Town, Two Countries". Until 1920 it was one town but since 1920 and during the Soviet time the town was splitted and separated with well-defended border.
2005-2007 within the project “Valga-Valka: 1 town, 2 countries” common development plans, marketing and branding strategy were worked out, joint Valga-Valka Joint Secretariat was formed.
2008-2010 within the project “Increasing attractiveness of Valga-Valka” joint cross-border infrastructure (light traffic roads, sports and playgrounds, recreational and parking areas) were developed, marketing activities implemented.
2012-2013 within project “Renovation of Valga-Valka railway station” joint railway station was renovated and access for trains to connect Estonia and Latvia was created. Now inhabitants and tourists can change trains in one station.
2017-2020 within the project “Development of Valga-Valka twin town” both parts of the town of Valga- Valka will be integrated into a single central area and pedestrian street to support cross-border movement and create a common urban space. The so-called joint central square as well as the pedestrian street should encourage the development of small businesses and promote the return of everyday life to the historic city center.
Formerly separated twin towns work now for visitors as one destination.
6,7 million € was spent within all projects for common strategies and implementing activities to join 2 parts of the town and develop into one destination.
Evidence of success
Joint development activities are planned, regular weekly meetings between EE and LV municipalities of Valga-valka are held, joint infrastructure is successful, joint cultural events are organised, twin-town is marketed as one destination, number of visitors and tourists has increased significantly.
Different legislation and restrictions that cannot be solved on municipality level.
Potential for learning or transfer
Cross-border areas usually make mirror projects. Valga-Valka in best practice of cross-border cooperation and joint activities.
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