18 February 2018
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Searching for the Holy Grail?

Forget Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. Forget the Louvre Museum in Paris. If you're among the millions who have read Dan Brown's book 'The Da Vinci Code', you have probably also made some reflections on how the Holy Grail disappeared, virtually without a trace, after Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519. In that case I will now give you some hints and clues that you can begin to investigate.

Let me first put on the table some facts Dan Brown missed in his book. Brown, and many with him, thinks of Florence, Rome and Paris as the cities da Vinci was linked to. Most people forget that he lived and worked in Milan for many years, and that it was precisely here he painted ‘The Last Supper’ that Dan Brown so strongly emphasizes in his evidence collection.

Brown also does not mention that da Vinci for many years lived in the house of the Sforza family that ruled Milan at that time. But it is in this house the solution to the riddle lies. For it was here 42 year old Leonardo had the pleasure to live when a beautiful baby girl was born in 1494. Bona was the name she was given, and she and 'uncle Leonardo' had a lot of fun together while she grew up. But not just fun. Leonardo had great pleasure in sharing many of his thoughts and ideas with the wise little girl, so when she was a grown young lady of 20 she was quite well informed about many of ‘uncle Leonardo’s’ undertakings, not only in the public sphere but also in the secret. The future Grand Duchess of Lithuanian did, indeed, get a top education...


Category : The world in Lithuania

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My personal experience with Slobodan Milošević

(20 August 1941 – 11 March 2006)

Slobodan Milosevic officially became Serbian president in 1989, in elections widely
regarded as rigged. He abolished Kosovo's autonomy the same year.

An article by Dr. Ichak Adizes
Published in 1999

In July 1991, Mr. Zelenovic, the Prime Minister of Serbia at the time, invited me for consultations on the breakdown of the Yugoslav Federation. I was well known as someone who knew Yugoslavia well. I published two books on Yugoslavia, which were translated to several languages.

When I arrived, I met with a joint session of the cabinet and the leadership in the Parliament of the Socialist party, which was and still is in power. I did an interactive diagnosis of the situation with them.

My conclusion was that the problem was not Slovenia nor Croatia, which were seeking independence (Bosnia was not awaken yet), but that it was Kosovo. It had 2 million Moslems who did not wish to be part of Yugoslavia. With a population plagued by low literacy, high unemployment and high birth rate, the highest in the world with an average of 9 children per family, it was costing Yugoslavia 1.5 billion dollars a year to provide health, education and unemployment benefits.

"How can you keep doing this?" I asked. "While Serbian hospitals have no medicines, you are spending a fortune on Kosovo where people hate you. You yourself say that few years back the Albanians were only 400 000, now they are two million. When will this geometrically expanding wave reach Belgrade? Kosovo is the Serbian gangrene. True, 500 years ago Kosovo was the valley where the Serbian nation was born. OK. I accept your claim that it is the Serbian Jerusalem and one does not give up motherhood's help; but wouldn't you cut your own right arm if it had gangrene or would you let it spread?"


Category : The world in Lithuania

What makes a person attractive?

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Dr. Ichak Adizes

A blog by Dr. Ichak Adizes

If you ask a man what makes a person attractive, you will get different answers than if you ask a woman.

Men, as I understand, usually focus on physical attributes: the legs, the breasts, etc.

Women tend to focus on the brain and on a man’s ability to support and defend, etc.

I have another idea, which I hope both sexes can agree to. (And if you predict that it has something to do with integration, you’re right.)

When a person has it “all together”––i.e., is integrated––none of their energy is wasted. This person exudes energy, while a person who is “falling apart” takes energy from the people around him or her.

Who is attractive? Those that give you, not take from you, energy.

People who “have it together” are attractive. Those that are “falling apart “ are not.


Category : The world in Lithuania

17 May is Norway’s National Day

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17 May celebration at Karl Johan's street in Oslo.
The Royal Palace in the background.

The Norwegian Constitution Day is the National Day of Norway and is an official national holiday each year. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as syttende mai (meaning May Seventeenth), Nasjonaldagen (The National Day) or Grunnlovsdagen(Constitution Day), although the latter is less frequent.

The Constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll (a small town 60 km north of Oslo) the 17th of May 1814. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent nation.


Category : The world in Lithuania

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President Dalia Grybauskaitė on state visit to Norway:

The vast opportunities for cooperation must be used

At the second day of her two-day state visit to Norway in early April this year, President Dalia Grybauskaitė was accompanied by King Harald V on a visit to the Fiskerstrand Shipyard in the city of Ålesund in Western Norway.

"This first state visit to Norway has revealed plenty of perfect but unused opportunities for cooperation with the Nordic countries, both in politics and in developing concrete business projects. Joint projects between shipbuilders of Ålesund and Klaipėda in constructing the most advanced ferryboats and between textile producers of the Sula Municipality and Panevėžys are just a few examples of successful economic cooperation. Norway's Prime Minister, other highest politicians of the country as well as businesspeople whom I met confirmed Norway's strong intentions to develop cooperation with Lithuania," President Dalia Grybauskaitė said.

Over-100-years-old Fiskerstrand Shipyard focuses on innovations, ship architecture, construction, repairs and testing. This Norwegian company has been cooperating with Klaipėda's Western Shipyard for 11 years already. The Lithuanian and Norwegian partners are currently carrying out a 90-million-euros-worth project of constructing sea-going ice-resistant ferryboats. Moreover, last year the Fiskerstrand Shipyard contracted the Western Shipyard of Klaipėda to build the world's largest gas-powered ferryboat using advanced technologies.


Category : The world in Lithuania

Roosevelt’s ‘Look to Norway’ speech

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King Haakon VII of Norway 
(1872 – 1957)
Reigned from 1905 to 1957



US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
(1882 – 1945)
In office from 1933 to 1945

The "Look to Norway" speech by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was given during the handover ceremony of the Royal Norwegian Navy ship HNoM King Haakon VII at the Washington Navy Yard on 16 September 1942.

In the speech the President said:

"If there is anyone who still wonders why this war is being fought, let him look to Norway. If there is anyone who has any delusions that this war could have been averted, let him look to Norway; and if there is anyone who doubts the democratic will to win, again I say, let him look to Norway."


The speech served as an important source of inspiration to Norwegians fighting the German occupation of Norway and the rest of Europe as well as for the resistance fighters of other small countries during World War II.


Category : The world in Lithuania

Global financial meltdown? Not in Norway

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One European nation escaped the worldwide financial meltdown and recession more or less unaffected. That was Norway, a country which saved its money - rather than spent it - through the boom years. As a result of frugal financial management, Norwegian housing prices and consumption have been on the upswing and interest rates affordable also during the deepest global crisis the latest years. Norway’s fiscal responsibility of its income from enormous oil and gas reserves has allowed the nation to build one of the globe’s largest investment funds.

After large deposits of gas and oil were discovered in the 1970s, Norway didn’t go on a spending spree, and channelled its revenues into a state investment fund (The Government Pension Fund). As of the valuation in June 2007, it was the largest pension fund in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. As of 31 December 2010 its total value is NOK 3,077 billion ($525 billion), holding 1 per cent of global equity markets. With 1.78 per cent of European stocks, it is said to be the largest stock owner in Europe. The government - with very few exceptions - can spend only four percent of those revenues annually.

Beyond its oil and gas revenues, strict banking regulations - tightened after a banking crisis in the early 1990s - shielded Norway from the credit crisis. Norwegian banks made loans wisely and stayed away from exotic investments and financial products over the past decade. “They (the United States) got all the bright guys to make all kinds of fantastic products. Very creative. And it turned out it was maybe not the best solution in the end,” Mr. Amund Utne, a director of Norway’s Finance Ministry, said, with typical Norwegian understatement. “I think Norwegian banks are not as creative. In this situation, it may be good to be somewhat boring.”

Norway also was immune from the housing bubble. According to Bjorn Erik Orskaug of DnB NOR, Norway’s largest bank, “Housing prices are back up. Consumption is up. Banks are lending normally to the household sector and interest rates are staying low.”…


Category : The world in Lithuania

Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevicius was my cousin

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My grandfather Jonas Sladkevicius and grandmother Dominyka Juskeviciute Sladkeviciene 

          In 1960, my father told me that a member of our family was a bishop in Lithuania.  It was there, when part of Czarist Russia, where my grandmother and grandfather had been born sometime in the last decade of the 1800's, from where they emigrated to Rhode Island in the United States where they would meet and marry in 1915.  The information about the bishop came from the two Lithuanian-born priests at our Providence, RI church, Saint Casimir’s, where my father attended mass daily since he was a child.  Dad also told me, “Don’t tell anybody”.  We never again discussed the subject. 


Category : The world in Lithuania

Vytautas Sliupas (80) and his farm project in Northern Lithuania

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Vytautas J. Sliupas at the farm and farm project he founded in 2002, 
‘The Auksuciai Farm & Forest Center’ near Siaulia in Northern Lithuania.


After the death of his wife Liudvika, Jonas Sliupas married Grasilda Grauslytė in 1929. After settling in Palanga, their son, Vytautas, was born to them on the 24th of October 1930.

Their son, Vytautas J. Sliupas, later became an irrigation, drainage and water resources engineer. Now retired for many years, he lives in California, USA, but visits Lithuania every summer.

I have the great honour and pleasure to call Vytautas Sliupas my friend. As I understand and feel it, he has the same strong love of Lithuania, which his father had. This despite the fact that he was forced to flee from Lithuania with his parents in 1944 and since has lived virtually all his life in the United States. 


Vytautas Sliupas’ farm project in Northern Lithuania

The US non-profit Auksuciai Foundation was established to help small scale Lithuanian farmers become more self-sufficient and competitive in a free market economy. A primary way that Foundation is working to achieve this goal is through support and advisory involvement with a model farm facility (the Auksuciai Farm and Forest Center, a Lithuanian non-profit), that allows participants from academia, business, government, and the farm community to share information and technology regarding environmentally sound management (including forests) and commercial agricultural production practices. Additionally, the Foundation organizes farmer-to-farmer and agricultural student exchanges; farmer mentoring; and in country workshops between the agricultural and forest communities of the U.S. and Lithuania.


Category : The world in Lithuania

Karaims and Tatars; Turkish nationalities in Lithunia

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Typical Karaim houses in Trakai, 30 km from the centre of Vilnius

A senior Tatar Muslim cleric (akhund)

Since the 14th Century two Turkish nationalities – Tatars and Karaims – have been living in Lithuania. From linguistic and ethno genetic points of view they belong to the oldest Turkish tribes - Kipchaks. This ethnonym (Kipchak) for the first time was mentioned in historical chronicles of Central Asia in the 1st millennium BC. Anthropologically ancient Kipchaks were very close to Siberia inhabitants Dinlins, who lived on both sides of the Sajan Mountains in Tuva and the northern part of Gob. In 5th century BC Kipchaks lived in the West of Mongolia, in 3rd century BC they were conquered by Huns. Since the 6 - 8 centuries, when the first nomadic Turkish empires were founded, the Kipchak’s fate is closely connected with the history and migration of the Middle Asia tribes. In Turkish literature they are known as Kipchaks. The history of Karaims is connected with Lithuania since 1397-1398. According to the tradition, The Great Duke of Lithuania Vytautas, after one of the marches to the Golden Horde steppes, had to bring from the Crimea several hundred Karaims and settle them in the Great Duchy of Lithuania. Transference of several hundred Karaim families and several thousand Tatars was not done once. It was in connection with the state policy of The Great Duchy to inhabit the empty areas, build towns and castles and to develop trade and economic life. Initially, Karaims were settled in Trakai between the two castles of The Great Duke, present Karaim Street. Later they were found living in Biržai, Naujamiestis, Pasvalys and Panevėžys. However, Trakai has always been the community's administrative and spiritual centre for Karaims in Lithuania, nowadays more and more also for Karaims throughout the world.…


Category : The world in Lithuania

The amazing Italian influence on Lithuania since 1323

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The exceptional relationship between Italy and Lithuania, which was especially evident for the period of 1300 – 1800, will never come back, but will always remain as a remarkable memory, and leave its unique hallmarks in and on Lithuania forever.

It is a myth that Rome and Vilnius both were established by wolves. But it is no myth that the Italians have put an indelible mark on Lithuania, and when Gediminas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, in 1323 decided to put down roots in what is now Vilnius city, a Franciscan monastery was already in place – at the foot of Castle Hill where the Cathedral today is located. Since then, for hundreds of years, the spirit of Rome and Italy played a main role in the development of Vilnius and to a certain degree also of Lithuania.

No wonder that Vilnius sometimes is referred to as
“The world’s most Italian city outside Italy”.


Category : The world in Lithuania


Have your say. Send to:

  • Comments to our article 'Look to Norway'

    "During my visit to Lithuania in January 1991, while the Soviet troops surrounded the Parliament and the TV tower in Vilnius, our Norwegian delegation brought with us a letter from Oslo's mayor confirming that Oslo was ready to be Vilnius' first sister city in the west. Later, many Lithuanian and Norwegian cities, municipalities and counties have established friendship agreements. But in most cases only with words, little action."
    Aage Myhre

  • And that was how things started during the collapse of the USSR and the dawn of Lithuanian freedom!

    I was invited to serve as the economic reform expert (actually to lead the effort) by The International Baltic Economic Survey Commission, a "blue ribbon" advisory formed by the Swedish PM Mats Karlsson; we worked out of the Swedish PM Office with very frequent travel for field work to the Baltics, esp. Estonia and Latvia in my case.
    However, the Lithuanian reforms were since 1992 effectively hijacked (using the brainwashed, Sovietized older voters, esp. vulnerable to propagation of the Soviet kolkhozes by Brazauskas, etc) by the Soviet nomenklatura for a reason: to create a Russian/Latin American style oligarchic, mafia-style system that would fully allow bolsheviks to continue rent-extracting policies (A. Kruger and M. Voslensky term) and to rule Lithuania for the nomenklatura benefit (beggaring the people of course) long after the USSR collapse as they obviously did with minor exceptions since, almost totally excluding younger (nationally and Western minded) generations from any governance roles in the society and brutally driving them to leave the country.
    Valdas Samonis

  • The same people who were used to the Soviet style of thinking and work ethic kept their jobs, even if they were doing nothing or even doing harm

    Former president and prime minister of Lithuania, Algirdas Brazauskas. who died last year

    The idea is excellent, but the problem is that the majority of the people in the positions where the change could be initiated were from the Soviet times. The fact that Brazauskas was really good at public relations and was able to retain his power for so long meant that the same people who were used to the Soviet style of thinking and work ethic kept their jobs, even if they were doing nothing or even doing harm. To them, changing the way how things are done meant undermining their own position, so of course they did nothing.

    My hope is that with time the things will clean up, and these changes will occur. It will take time, though.

  • Greetings from Venezuela!

    Dear Mr. Aage Myhre:

    Kindest regards from Venezuela! First of all, let me introduce myself: my name is Vytenis Folkmanas and I'm writing you from Venezuela. As you might realize from my name, I'm son of a Lithuanian emigrant who arrived with his parents and sister to Venezuela in 1948. I'm very proud of my Lithuanian heritage and actually I'm the President of the Lithuanian Community of Venezuela, in an effort to rescue the traditions, customs, and language within our small community.

    I'm also very happy to be one of the worldwide privileged receiving VILNEWS. Right now, I've just finished reading your wonderful article "LOOK TO NORWAY" and it makes me sadder because I compare it to what is happening here in our country Venezuela and find a similar situation. Although our country could be one of the richest countries in the world just thanks to oil income, the internal situation doesn't reflect it AT ALL!!! I think that it couldn't be worse!! As you mention the situation with Lithuania and how Norway has tried to help them, here is the same. Our country is seeking help and support from countries as Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Libya, and China in economic, social, energetic, tourism and industrial topics instead of from developed countries. Just with the tourism, Venezuela could gain the same or more income than with the oil production, as we have one of the most blessed countries, geographically speaking, in the world, but our governments have always been blind to this industry (tourism)...That is just a small example. How I wish that they could see the example of Norway, Finland, and other countries, especially if they offer their cooperation. Here we say that is a "false pride" not to receive support and advice from others!

    And speaking of Lithuania, is also true , specially the comment of Mr Sliupas when he wrote:

    "One of my American colleagues, who was sincerely trying to help Lithuania, said "Sending e-mail to Lithuania is like sending it to the black hole of the universe. Everything goes one way and nothing comes back". That is so true. I myself wrote emails to Lithuania, to the ministries, etc offering to help them promote Lithuania as a tourist destination here in Venezuela, as here is almost as unknown country and never had no answer at all. Is very sad, and I love everything what Lithuania means.

    Once again, thank you very much for sending me your VILNEWS, many regards and I remain here at your disposition!

    Vytenis Folkmanas

  • Listen to Scandinavian advice, not arrogantly assuming that we the Lithuanians know best

    Hello Aage
    I have just read the latest edition of VilNews, thank you for another good job. I agree with your editorial comments. In particular: "Being a Norwegian, I believe Norway and the other Scandinavian countries would have been willing to stretch to great lengths to provide help and advice for the crisis–hit Lithuania and the two other Baltic States. But they had to be asked. Our Lithuanian leaders should refrain from arrogance and avoid ignorance by seeking advice where good help and advice is to be found, domestically and internationally. Can they do that, there is every reason to foresee a bright future for this nation."

    I have two comments to make on that. First, I believe that even now it's not too late to ask the Scandinavian countries for help. But you are exactly right: the Scandinavian countries would want in return a guarantee that whatever help they give will be used wisely, listen to Scandinavian advice, not arrogantly assuming that we the Lithuanians know best. Closely linked to this is the second thing: no one wants to give help if they think it's going to be wasted corruptly. Lithuanians need to be able to give the Scandinavian aid-givers a chance to supervise what is going on, the right to inspect and audit, to make sure that the aid is being used as agreed, and not to build the villas of mafiozai and corrupt politicians and public servants on land that they have misappropriated from public forests and lakefronts.

    Which brings me back to my key theme (sorry if I'm repetitious): Lithuania will not make much serious progress until bigger efforts are made to stamp out bribery and corruption.

    Gintautas Kaminskas
    Wollongong, Australia

Easier to obtain an audience with the pope, than with a minister for foreign affairs of Lithuania

You have lived long enough in Lithuania and must realize that many of the problems of the present day Lithuania are due to their reluctance to learn from the Western countries or accept advice from Lithuanians who lived and studied in the West. The relative success of Lithuania after World War I was largely due to the replacement of Russian educated officials by those who got their degrees in the West. My own father was the first Lithuanian with a degree in forestry from a Western university and introduced major reforms in the forest management, which survived even during the Communist occupation.

Alas, after 20 years of restoration of independence to paraphrase Kipling "The East is East, the West is West and the twain shall never (so far) meet". I spoke to a number of Lithuanians with degrees from top Western universities, who don't want to return to Lithuania - according to them, the "natives" know everything better.

I might add that for me it was easier to obtain an audience with the Pope, than with a Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.

Ambassador Algirdas Žemaitis, Vilnius – Rome

Event calendar
What's up in Lithuania's international community?

The event calendar will be constantly updated with event programmes etc from the different clubs, chambers and organisations dealing with the international community in Lithuania. Each organisation will be presented by logo, address, email, telephone – and of course the name/time of the event in question :)

Let us know about upcoming events in YOUR organisation!


Lithuania's single number for all kinds of emergencies is 112. You can call from mobile phones, fixed phones and public pay phones. Never forget this number:

The Foreign Ministry's list of embassies in Lithuania:



TODAY: From Krister Castren, Honorary Consul of Finland in Klaipeda

VilNews will over the coming months invite a number of honorary consuls from different countries to write commentary articles. What we want to learn more about is what characterizes the cooperation between the countries the consuls represent and the towns/districts the consuls live in here in Lithuanis. We would also like to know more the consul's connections with Lithuania, and we are eager to listen to the his or her thoughts and opinions on current topics and news from Lithuania.

First to write, is the Honorary Consul of Finland to Klaipeda, Mr. Krister Castren.
Read his story here...

Short stories

Here you will find short stories from and about the expatriate society in Lithuania.

The stories might be short reminders about events going to take place, it might be stories with reference to some funny or sad experiences, or other information-in-brief that the editorial team for this section wants to make known to our local and worldwide readers.

VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the
Code of Ethics: See Section 2 – about VilNewsVilNews  is not responsible for content on external links/web pages.
All content is copyrighted © 2011. UAB ‘VilNews’.

مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی گن لاغری شکم بند لاغری تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ بوی دهان بوی بد دهان