Ah, Lithuania. Not only is it the home country of our CEO and co-founders (spoiler alert), it’s also steeped with beauty and one of our biggest markets. Last month, 12% of our total money flow went to Lithuania. And on average, the money we transfer to Lithuania is twice as much as the amount we transfer out. (Which is wonderful news for the Lithuanian economy).
So how much do you really know about the Baltic country? Here are 7 things you might not know about Lithuania.
It’s our birthplace
Since we’ve kind of given this one way already, let’s start with the fact we’re most proud of. Our co-founders Daumantas, Edvinas, Justinas and Arnas all hail from Lithuania.
Interestingly though, they didn’t actually meet there. And they didn’t launch TransferGo there either. This all happened in the UK, where Justinas and Daumantas met during their studies at Lancaster University. Later, they went on to meet Edvinas and Arnas and the rest, as they say, was history.
It has famous connections
Not only is Lithuania tied to TransferGo, but it also has many celebrity links. Famous musicians connected to Lithuania include Pink, Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Bob Dylan. Pink has a little Lithuanian in her heritage (along with Irish and German), while Keidis’ grandfather was Lithuanian and Dylan’s mother had Lithuanian-Jewish ancestry.
Meanwhile, in the acting world, comedy actor Jason Sudeikis is a quarter Lithuanian, while revered comedian and actor John C. Reilly is an American of Lithuanian and Irish descent. And let’s not forget Hannibal Lecter. The fictional villain of The Silence of the Lambs was born in Lithuania.
They’re big on basketball
Select a random house in Lithuania and peer in their backyard and it’s likely you’ll spot a basketball rim. The sport is so popular that it’s considered the nation’s second religion. And they’re good at it too. They’re currently ranked 8th in the world, but they have ranked higher in the past.
As for the players, several Lithuanian basketball stars have gone up to the NBA’s Hall of Fame including Jonas Valanciunas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Domantas Sabonis and the legendary Arvydas Sabonis, who’s consistently recognised as one of the best European basketball players of all time.
Lithuanian is the oldest language
If you thought the likes of Greek, Latin, German, Celtic and Slavic were the oldest languages in the world, think again. Lithuanian is considered to be the oldest surviving Indo-European language and the only Eastern Baltic language, aside from Latvian, that’s still spoken.
Approximately 3 million people speak Lithuanian (the country’s population is just under 2.8 million) with most Lithuanians learning other foreign languages. They’re still rather proud of their mother tongue though. The influential Lithuanian linguist, Jonas Jablonskis once said, “Maža garbė svetimom kalbom kalbėti, didi gėda savos gerai nemokėti“, which means, “There is no honour in speaking a foreign language; there is a great shame in not knowing your language perfectly”.
It has one of the fastest internet connections in the world
Looking for good WiFi? Head to Lithuania. Its enviable internet speeds are among the best in the EU, with speedy WiFi available for free in most public places. Granted, the rest of the world is quickly catching up but Lithuania was a true trailblazer when it came to the deployment of fibre-optic internet.
Lithuania was also the first country in Europe to introduce Local Breakout (LBO) technology, enabling cheap mobile internet for travellers so they can avoid big data roaming charges. There’s reason #7636 to travel to the country once international Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted then.
It has strong ties with nature
Boasting serene lakes and beautiful national parks, Lithuania is full of natural beauty. In fact, a third of the country is covered in forestland including many protected regions and nature reserves. It’s also home to Europe’s oldest oak tree. Standing 23 metres high, The Stelmuze Oak is over 1,500 years old. Wow.
And if moving sand dunes are your thing, Lithuania is your country. Measuring 98km long and located on a seashore, The Curonian Spit is one of the largest sand dunes in Europe. Its unique beauty and vulnerable sandy landscape is truly breathtaking.
Lithuanians love a beer
Enjoy a cold one at the end of the day? In Lithuania, you’ll be in good company. With its fresh and crispy taste, Lithuanian beer is important to its natives. There are currently close to 100 breweries operating in the country, and many of them have won numerous accolades over the years.
Other popular beverages in the country include gira (a non-alcoholic soda made from rye bread) and kisielius (a fruity cranberry drink). And of course, we mustn’t forget to mention mead. This honey wine is the oldest alcoholic drink among European and Asian nations. In Lithuania, it varies in strength from 10% to 20%.
We recommend enjoying a glass with an appetiser and raising a toast to this beautiful country.