Twins from Riga, famous for their tattoos, provided with Lithuanian citizenship

“I, Normunds Macius, I, Nauris Macius, becoming a citizen of Lithuania, swear to be fully loyal to the Republic of Lithuania, to follow the Constitution of Lithuania and its laws, to protect the independence of Lithuania, its territorial integrity, and its constitutional system. I promise to respect Lithuanian national language, culture, and customs, and to strengthen the foundations of Lithuanian democracy and the juristic state. So help me God. “

That was the oath spoken by Latvian twins Normunds and Nauris Macius on Friday, 1 February, at 11 a.m. in Lithuania’s Ministry of Internal Affairs’ white hall. For three years, they have been shown on Lithuanian TV and written about in newspapers and magazines, writes referring to

On 28 April, the twins, who refused Latvian citizenship, will celebrate their 43rd birthday. The Lithuanians became famous because of their tattoos of  Lithuanian basketball players, their faces and signatures, and club emblems and TV shows. Normunds and Nauris tried to declare their love for the birthplace of their father Kazys and Lithuanian basketball to everyone. In particular, the second religion of Lithuania and Lithuanian journalists helped them to become Lithuanians.

A few people know the movie-like history of Macius family. A specialist in land reclamation, Klaipeda native Kazys Macius had been draining land in the Abuokalnis countryside, which is 1,5km from the Lithuanian border, when he met and fell in love with his future wife, Valentina. First, twins Normunds and Nauris were born, then twin sisters Santa and Sanita, and finally the youngest, Oksana. The beautiful and hardworking family built a new house from their savings and later lost everything.

One night, a jealous, drunken neighbour set the house on fire. Luckily, all family members survived. However, the heartbreaking disaster destroyed the family, and the six-year-old brothers were sent to a state orphanage, finding no love and respect.Image

The best basketball players in school, Naormunds and Nauris were 13 when they saw their father again, who took them to Klaipeda after the school year. Their joy was short-lived;  horrible news informed them that their father died suddenly. They attended the funeral but had nowhere to stay in Klaipeda, so they returned to Latvia.

Fourteen-year-olds Macius brothers, cultivating basketball and athletics,  were taken to the famous Muriani sports school, thanks to a caring Latvian coach. Both were invited to the Latvian junior athletes’ teams, and their results in the 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter races were among the best in the country. However, the twins lacked wealth and a home, and could not continue to pursue athletic achievement.

They came to Riga on their own at 18. They would search for a job during the day and slept in train stations. Selling foreign sports boots, Normunds and Nauris later became smart, wealthy businessmen in Riga.

After a long search seven years ago, Nauris found their mother, Valentina, and now takes care of her. Their sister, Santa, also lives in Latvia; Sanita lives in Germany, and Oksana lives in Ireland.

For the Latvian twins, Lithuania was and still is the dream country. In Latvia during their spare time, they play basketball and are happy for the victories of Lithuania’s teams – Zalgiris and Lietuvos Rytas. In honour of Lithuanian basketball, the first tattoo of Saulius Stombergas was born 12 years ago, and then the paintings for the European champions of 1937 and 1939 —  Lithuanians.

When Normunds lived and worked in the United States for five years, he watched, in the gym or at home, every game of Arvydas Sabonis. Since 2002, after returning to Latvia, he goes with Nauris wherever the Lithuanian national basketball team plays. He always dreamed to get to meet the most famous Lithuanian basketball players. First, their desire was fulfilled when they met Saulius Štombergas. In Klaipeda 28  years ago, the twins met Valdas Štombergas, Saulius brother, on the soccer field, and now they are like brothers.

On Friday, in Vilnius, Saulius and Valdas Štombergai, twins Darjušas and Krzysztof Lavrinovič will participate in a long-awaited event when Normunds and Nauris will swear allegiance to the state of Lithuania.

Other well-known basketball players and journalists (who also helped them to become Lithuanians after 42 years)  will congratulate the twins from Riga who become Lithuanian citizens. It’s a pity that their friend Jonas Valanciunas lives in Toronto. The NBA player was the last one tattooed on Normund’s back, and the “portrait” of Šarūnas Marčiulionis is now a “possession” of Nauris.