The Kuldīga Needle Factory



In Kuldīga municipality, the town with the largest number of cultural monuments from different eras is Kuldīga – its historical centre is an urban development heritage site. The territory houses a historic monument of national significance – the Kuldīga Needle Factory, an ensemble of buildings on Kalpaka Street with significant evidence of Latvia’s history.

From the 1860s, the Kuldīga Needle Factory was a major supplier of sewing needles to the Russian Imperial market and a key player in the development of the region’s economy and employment. Over time, the building’s functions changed: it housed a police board, a post and telegraph office, officials’ apartments, a German infirmary and, from 1930 to 2003, Kuldīga Hospital.

The building is located next to a square that should have displayed a monument to Latvian Riflemen: its foundation stone was laid in 1935, but the monument itself was never erected.

From September 2022, the Needle Factory became home to young and active people – students of the international Master’s service design programme SDSI and woodworking prototyping workshops, as well as a permanent exhibition programme.

Service Design Strategies and Innovations is the only service design study programme in the Baltic States, implemented by 4 partners: Art Academy of Latvia, University of Lapland in Finland, Estonian Academy of Arts, and Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. Moreover, it is the only study programme in Latvia to have been awarded the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters status by the European Commission.

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Improvements made within the project

The project carried out the reconstruction of the building at the historical Needle Factory at 4 Kalpaka Street, as well as developed the adjacent square where a memorial to the Latvian Riflemen will be installed, the base of the monument preserved, conserved and a memorial plaque made.

The Needle Factory stands out as a distinctive and isolated structure, and the project aims to highlight and preserve the cultural and historical values located in the complex: the historical urban and spatial layout of the buildings, the unique structures and the architectural and decorative façade solutions, including the valuable layers of later construction periods, and their role in creating the character of the space. Based on the architectural and artistic survey, the renovation preserved historical elements in the interior, joinery, historical murals, Terrazzo flooring, coving and other historical interior details, and removed poor quality overlays added later.

In September 2022, the Needle Factory came into the active use of students and prototyping workshops.

Investments – EUR 4,069,191.17

Of which:

ERDF funding – EUR 1,800,000

state budget grant – EUR 412,664.62

municipal funding – EUR 1,856,526.55

The project was implemented by Kuldīga Municipality Local Government.

Photographs of the renovated object: Ansis Starks



Kalpaka Street 2 and 4 Kuldīga


Working time

The premises and the exhibition will be open from 1 July to 15 September, Wednesday to Sunday from 12 to 6 PM.


Getting there

Take the public bus to Kuldīga central bus station, then walk 400 metres to 4 Kalpaka Street, alternatively, park your car at Kuldīga Town Square and walk 200 metres to 4 Kalpaka Street.