Lithuania sees Germany as a partner with which it has close and friendly relations and as an important point of reference within the EU. 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. Defence cooperation within the NATO framework was intensified after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and stepped up yet further following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
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.