Maritime focus in ibenik
Their Majesties The King and Queen spent the second day of the State Visit to Croatia in the seaside town of ibenik. Their programme revolved around joint interests and projects in the maritime sector.
ibenik is located on the coast of Dalmatia, approximately 80 kilometres north of Split. The deep bay off the coast has made ibenik a natural harbour town.
Opened maritime centre
His Majesty King Harald opened the iNAVIS maritime innovation centre, where Norwegian and Croatian authorities will work together to develop the maritime sector in Croatia. The centre will facilitate cooperation between government authorities, businesses, and educational and research institutions.
King Harald opened the centre by unveiling the plaque on the front of the building. In his remarks, the King emphasised how shipping and marine-based activities have played an essential role in the collaboration between Norway and Croatia and that today Croatia is an equal partner in the further development of the maritime sector.
In recent years, Croatia has developed at an amazing pace. With the establishment of the ibenik Maritime Innovation Centre as a joint Croatian-Norwegian enterprise, Croatia has become a partner country with which Norway cooperates on equal terms. (
I believe that iNavis will provide a good basis for further development and promotion of our shared and long-established expertise in the maritime sector and shipping industries.
Christened Hedda and Hælge
From the iNAVIS centre, the King and Queen continued on to the Nautical Center Prgin, where Queen Sonja christened the boats Hedda and Hælge.
The Nautical Centre Prgin is a corporation comprised of 10 companies, all in the maritime sector. The centre began its operations in 1995 by offering charters. Today the corporation also conducts shipbuilding activities and operates a marina and is responsible for organising the Adriatic Boat Show.
Hedda and Hælge belong to Nordic Aqua Boats, a Norwegian company, and were built in ibenik.
ibeniks historic town centre
The King and Queen arrived in ibeniks historic town centre following a guided tour on the sailboat M/Y Kadena. They disembarked on the pier at the Cathedral of St. Jacob, where they were welcomed by Bishop Ante Ivas.
ibeniks history dates back to 1066. The town suffered severe damage during the civil war in the 1990s when both the old town and cathedral were bombed. The Cathedral of St. Jacob was completed in 1536 and is considered to be the most important structure in Croatia from the Renaissance period. In 2000, the cathedral was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the damage from the bombing has since been repaired.
King Harald and Queen Sonja were given a guided tour of the old cathedral. A local choir then performed for the King and Queen.
Concluded after an official luncheon
King Harald and President Ivo Josipović met with members of the media at a concluding meeting on the town square, after which they attended a luncheon hosted by Mayor Ante upanović at the restaurant in City Hall.
Following the luncheon, King Harald and Queen Sonja said their good-byes to President Josipović and formally concluded the State Visit to Croatia.
Facts about the Republic of Croatia
Capital city: Zagreb
Largest cities: Zagreb, Split and Rijeka
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
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.