Lithuania sees Germany as an important member of the European Union, as an economic powerhouse and as a partner with which it has close and friendly relations. The country has special historical ties with Germany owing to the fact that the former Lithuania Minor, or Prussian Lithuania, which included the cities of Klaipėda (Memel) and Šilutė (Heydekrug), was part of the German Reich. Bilateral relations are based on solidarity and partnership in the EU and NATO as well as on a close-knit network of contacts in business, science and academia, culture and society.
Germany remains one of Lithuania’s principal trading partners and is a major investor in the country.
Cultural relations between Germany and Lithuania are based on the cultural agreement signed in 1993. The Goethe-Institut in Vilnius plays a particularly important role in these relations. Interest in the German language in Lithuania has been growing in keeping with the positive development of the country’s ties with Germany. The German Language Days initiated by all the German institutions active in Lithuania are held annually throughout the country.
In addition to the 60 or so town twinning arrangements and regional partnerships, there are lively school, university and youth exchange programmes between the two countries. A German-Lithuanian war graves agreement was signed in 1996 and since then several German military cemeteries have been inaugurated and restored.
The Republic of Lithuania does not have its own document recording its declaration of independence one hundred years ago (16 February 1918). To mark the centenary of Lithuania’s independence in 2018, a document from the Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office announcing the country’s independence and asking for it to be recognised was loaned to Lithuania. This letter, a state document, is a unique treasure of great historical and political value. It is now on display in the House of Signatories, where it was originally drawn up and where it will remain for five years.