State Visit to Croatia
Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja are conducting a State Visit in Croatia on 12-13 May. The official welcoming ceremony was held outside of the Presidential Palace on Thursday morning.
Croatian President Ivo Josipović and Dr Tatjana Josipović welcomed the King and Queen to Croatia outside of Villa Zagorje, the Presidential Palace in Zagreb. The city of Zagreb dates back a thousand years, and has served as the capital of Croatia since the nation gained its independence in 1991.
After the official reception, the King and Queen and President and Dr Josipović continued into Villa Zagorje for an official exchange of gifts and discussions.
The State Visit continued with bilateral talks. King Harald and President Josipović headed the discussions between the delegations.
Later during the day, King Harald met with the President of the Croatian Parliament Luka Bebić and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor.
Opened an exhibition at the Mimara Museum
Queen Sonja and Dr Josipović had a parallel programme focusing on cultural exchange between Norway and Croatia.
Following a guided tour of Villa Prekrižjem, the Queen visited the Mimara Museum where she opened an exhibition entitled “Constructions and Paradigms” which featured Norwegian arts and crafts. In her opening remarks, the Queen noted that the average person can easily relate to this form of artistic expression:
This exhibition presents garments, vases, dishes, knives and handbags – the very things we, the public, have in our own homes and see, touch and use every day. The artists’ versions – well, rather interpretations – of these familiar objects may surprise us, even provoke us a little. But still, there is a feeling of recognition on our part; we are on common ground. These works of art and their creators can - and do speak to us directly. And that is what international cultural cooperation is all about: To create privileged meeting-places, where there is room for dialogue and sharing.
Visited the Ivan Meštrović Gallery
The Croatian artist Ivan Meštrović (1883-1962) is considered to be one of the most significant sculptors of the 1900s, especially in the area of religious art. His work shows clear influence from Auguste Rodin, whom he met in Paris. The gallery is located in a 17th century building where the artist lived from 1922 to 1942, and it houses about 300 of his works. Queen Sonja was given a guided tour by the museum’s director Andro Krštulović.
Spoke at a business seminar
During the day, representatives from the Norwegian and Croatian business sectors met to exchange their knowledge and experience in a variety of areas. In the afternoon, King Harald and President Josipović joined the gathering and made official remarks to the participants.
King Harald emphasised the many areas of interest shared by Croatia and Norway, and expressed a desire to strengthen cooperation between the two countries:
Today’s events have focused on some special areas of interests:
- Renewable energy
- Tunnelling technology
- Defence industry
- Geographic information for development
These are areas of common interest to our two countries and should be developed further through academic cooperation, scientific and technological research, and business projects.
This evening, the King and Queen will be the guests of Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor at an official banquet at the Pongratz city palace.
Facts about the Republic of Croatia
Capital city: Zagreb
Largest cities: Zagreb, Split and Rijeka Total area: 56 542 km²
Population in 2011: 4.4 million
Official language: Croatian
Form of government: Republic Head of State in 2011: President Ivo Josipović
Diplomatic relations between Norway and Croatia were established in 1992. The State Visit by the King and Queen in May 2011 is Norway’s first official visit to Croatia. Former President Stjepan Mesić visited Norway in 2005.
Collaborative projects between Norway and Croatia have focused primarily on maritime cooperation and demining activities.
Approximately 135 000 Norwegian tourists visited Croatia in 2010, and these numbers have been increasing in recent years.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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