The unique peaceful demonstration, the Baltic Way, occurred on 23 August 1989. Then almost a million people joined their hands to form an over 600 kilometer long human chain across the three Baltic countries, linking Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in their drive for democracy and freedom. The event proved the three Baltic States' strong will to restore their independence.


The first steps to make the event be remembered for all the humanity were taken in Gdansk (Poland) in August of 2003 at the regional Baltic Sea meeting of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. Lithuanian participants of the meeting suggested to Estonia and Latvia to put the forces together and prepare the nomination for the Memory of the World Register.


Regional preparations for the inscription started in the fall of 2005, when a working group of experts from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania started to expand on the idea in consultation with the Polish and German colleagues.


The Baltic working group brought together representatives of National Archives, National Libraries, Ministries of Culture, National Memory of the World Committees, National Commissions for UNESCO and museums – Museum of the Popular Front of Latvia and Museum of Occupation from Estonia. The nomination would not have been possible without the valuable contribution by Dr. Česlovas Laurinavičius, Dr. Vladas Sirutavičius, Loreta Čaplinskienė, Inga Vizgirdienė, Angonita Rupšytė, Asta Dirmaitė and Danguolė Reikaitė from Lithuania; Mari Siiner, Indrek Jürjo, Ivi Tomingas, Heiki Ahonen, Dr Olaf Mertelsmann, Doris Kareva, Margit Siim and Kerli Gutman from Estonia; Andris Vilks, Meldra Usenko, Aldis Pūtelis, Andrejs Vasiļjevs, Uldis Straujums, Inta Rudzīte, Valdis Muktupāvels, Rolands Ozols and Anita Vaivade from Latvia; Prof. Wojciech Falkowski, Wladyslaw Stepniak and Tomasz Komarowski from Poland, Christine M.Merkel from Germany. The National Commissions for UNESCO are also grateful for the useful technical comments made by Abdelaziz Abid and Joie Springer from UNESCO Secretariat in the nomination process.


Documentary heritage of the Baltic Way is among the 35 items of documentary heritage of exceptional value that have been added to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register on 30 July 2009. This brings the total number of inscriptions since 1997 to 193.