Pick from a range of interesting facts and detailed information about Scotland and the Scottish people.
Scotland is known the world over as a place of history and heritage as well as cutting edge art and culture
- Studyin Scotland
Live & Workin Scotland
Key information on the practical aspects of moving to Scotland and where to get advice. Plus read about the experiences of people who have moved to Scotland from all over the world.
Scotland is renowned across the globe for its rich culture and heritage, and its contribution to the world past and present. From its thriving contemporary arts and music scene to its achievements in industry, medicine, science, law and literature, Scotland's story is one of immense achievement
Regardez la tour du port
- May 2007 Alex Salmond was elected as First Minister
was signed in London on April 8, 1904, to mark the end of colonial disputes between France and Great Britain. It now symbolises the friendship that exists between the two countries and has become a by-word for the spirit of co-operation and offers a good model for more harmonious international relations.
Scotland has had a special relationship with France 'The Auld Alliance' for over 700 years. Based originally on political expedience the relationship shifted in the late Eighteenth Century when, referring to the exemplary thought emerging from the Scottish Enlightenment, Voltaire famously said: "We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation". Today, with the French Assembly looking to give French regions more say over their affairs, they are looking with interest to the Scottish experience of devolution.
France is also one of Scotland's most important business partners and represents its second biggest export market it is the largest market for Scottish food and drink and the third largest market for Scotch Whisky.
In celebration of these strong on-going links there is, quite naturally, a Scottish programme of events for the 100th Anniversary of the Entente Cordiale which was launched by the First Minister, Jack McConnell, last month in Edinburgh. A Paris launch took place in mid February. The Scottish programme, which complements the UK/French Programme includes trade fairs organised by ; tourism fairs and events organised by VisitScotland; a cancer research conference in Edinburgh; an exhibition of the Scottish Colourists in Paris; a season of Scottish architecture in Paris; and a Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition and literature programme for Languedoc-Rousillon.
And there's an exhibition running until April 18 at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh that celebrates a Scottish intellectual and Francophile who promoted the Entente Cordiale and whose far-sighted social and environmental ideas are still relevant and influential today. He also provides the link to the projected images of crustaceans in Wick.
Patrick Geddes: The French Connection
Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) was a botanist, ecologist, sociologist, town planner and cultural impresario. He has been hailed as one of the founders of modern town and regional planning but as the brief summary of interests suggests he was much more. He was probably best described as a visionary thinker and man of action whose achievements were many and varied. He was profoundly influenced by France and saw it as a model for Scotland's cultural revival he perceived French culture as an active culture and as Duncan Macmillan said in The Scotsman on 27 January "he saw the Auld Alliance as an example of how the proper and dignified relationship between peoples and nations is intellectual and imaginative, not political".
Geddes, along with being Professor of Botany at Dundee University, founded an artists' colony in Edinburgh's Ramsay Gardens (which he also designed to help regenerate the slums of the Old Town); created Edinburgh's Camera Obscura; founded the Franco-Scottish Society and re-established the ancient Scots College in the French town of Montpellier; helped design Edinburgh Zoo; and sowed the seeds of the Edinburgh International Festival.
The exhibition explores the multiple connections Geddes cultivated with France and is a fitting celebration of the intellectual cross-fertilisation between the two cultures in this Centenary Year.
This inspiring polymath's ideas have current purchase today, influencing much planning practice, regional economic development and environmental management. In particular his focus on the triad 'Place Work Folk' is fundamental to contemporary debates and research into regionalism and locality, economic and community regeneration, environmental quality and sustainable development and social inclusion. If any of the 124,000 annual French visitors to Scotland move off the beaten track of festivals, museums, castles, lochs and glens and find themselves in Wick, the Telford and Miller Street development is a great example of community regeneration.
It could be argued that the greatest ideas are those that affect everyday life. Voltaire was dazzled by David Hume's analysis of human nature and Adam Smith's analysis of wealth and both men have subsequently enormously influenced philosophy, psychology and economics, which in turn have affected the way Western Society thinks about these subjects.
Geddes, one hundred years in the wake of these men, and himself influenced by French radical thought as well as the Scottish Enlightenment, was above all else a pragmatist whose vision of society was one which managed its resources sensibly, in harmony with the environment, art and literature, and recognised the value of a happy, healthy workforce. "We live not by the jingling of our coins but by the fullness of our harvests" is how he summed up the tension between what we now call consumerism and the environment.
Part of building such a society in earnest means closing the gap between affluent and disadvantaged communities. is an agency whose main aim is to work with others to improve the quality of life for people in Scotland by regenerating disadvantaged communities and helping to deliver better housing. Social justice is at the heart of this work and regeneration is one of its most potent instruments. The Wick project is one of many such innovative and imaginative projects across the country.
The project involves a community arts project alongside a housing development by Pentland Housing Association. Communities Scotland has granted 26,000 towards the arts project and 960,000 towards the housing development.
Using the creative skills of the town's young people, the first component of the arts project is a writer's workshop which will look into past and present dialect as well as writings about the sea. Selected quotes, phrases and words will then be sandblasted onto the flagstone walls of Telford and Miller streets.
Tinsmiths' workshops will follow. With inspiration from the town's old fish trade the young people will create templates to allow punchwork to be done on the copper cladding for the old fish hatches in these streets.
Finally, a number of 14-25 year olds will then be trained in deep sea diving and underwater camera work. They will then dive in the coastal waters and photograph various images that will be projected onto the harbour tower at special points during the year. (Hopefully when some French tourists are in town!)
The housing development and the arts project are both due to be complete by April. Maybe Voltaire would still look to Scotland for ideas of civilisation.