Welcome to the website of the British Croatian Society
Dobro došli na web stranice Britansko-hrvatskog društva
Croatia is a jewel, increasingly well known in Britain. We aim to further cultural understanding between Britain and Croatia by bringing like-minded people together for a series of lectures, exhibitions, concerts, dinners and other events throughout the year. Please see the events page for a list of forthcoming dates, as well as examples of events we've organised in the past.
Our members have varied interests and backgrounds, and while we have a cultural focus as a society, our events often recognise other aspects of Croatia such as its outstanding natural beauty and thriving tourism industry.
We like to keep our members in touch with items of news we believe would be of interest. Members automatically receive emails from time to time with news and information as well as invitations to events. We also keep our members in touch with additional items of news we believe would be of interest to them.
Becoming a member couldn't be easier. Please see the membership page for details on how to do that.
We hope you enjoy browsing our site, and we look forward to welcoming you to one of our events in the near future.
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BRITISH-CROATIAN SOCIETY - a review of 2017
The Athenaeum Club on Pall Mall, one of the most prestigious clubs in London, was the venue for the British-Croatian Society’s summer reception. It was a suitably British setting for us to say farewell to the departing ambassador and Mrs Grdesic, as well as to thank them and embassy staff for their invaluable help to the Society. It was also a chance to see inside a grand London club. The Society presented the ambassador, a keen photographer, with a copy of Gordana Johnson’s photograph (shown here).
Flora Turner's illustrated talk looking at the art and life of Ivan Meštrovic was such a huge success when she gave it at the National Portrait Gallery that we arranged for her to repeat it at Europe House. Ivan Meštrovic's one man show in 1915 at the Victoria and Albert Museum was a sensational event received by public and critics with great acclaim. In her talk Flora revived the memory of the art and life of this exceptional artist through a discussion of his portraits.
At a time when the UK's relationship with EU countries will change as part of Brexit, we had the opportunity to listen to Britain's new ambassador to Croatia, Andrew Dalgleish. At an event we held at Europe House under the title First Impressions of Croatia he outlined the positive aspects of the UK-Croatian relationship.
Several talks had a strong academic content. Dr Ante Batovic’s book ‘Croatian Spring’ was the feature of a joint event with London University’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Dr Bojan Aleksov of SSEES and Dr Batovic ranged widely over a topic that is hardly covered in Croatian or English publications. The ‘Croatian Spring’ was the national liberal movement of de-centralisation and democratisation that began in the mid-sixties after the fall of the vice president and head of the Yugoslav secret police Aleksandar Ranković. Dr Batovic’s book chronicles these developments in communist Yugoslavia, placing them in the wider context of the Cold War and Yugoslav relations with the Soviet Union and the United States. Researched academic publications are clearly much needed on topics that are emotionally charged and Dr Batovic’s work was welcomed by a large and interested audience.
The outstanding internationally-acclaimed violinist Bojan Cicic plays Venetian, Croatian and Viennese baroque music. In conversation with the Oxford musicologist Dr Bojan Bujic, he talked about the baroque violin and played on a violin made around 1680 by F Rugieri. Bojan graduated from Zagreb’s Academy of Music, then went on to study at the Paris Conservatoire and the Guildhall School of music.He is Leader of Florilegium as well as being much in demand as a baroque violinist.
Peter Sanfey gave the first Chris Cviic memorial lecture at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2011 on the theme ‘Remaking the Balkans’. He returned to the British-Croatian Society with an update under the provocative title ‘Does South East Europe have a prosperous future?’ Peter provided facts and figures and, while not hiding the problems for Croatia, was cautiously optimistic - depending as always on a favourable international context and wise choices being made by the government in Zagreb.
CalendarCroatia has become a popular annual event with the publication in November of a calendar alongside an exhibition at the embassy. Photographers of all ages, nationalities, both professional and amateur, have produced something that is both beautiful and shows Croatia in all its diversity. This year for the first time we produced a British-Croatian Society Christmas / New Year card from one of the calendarCroatia photographs.
‘A Great Love’, the story of Olga Watkins’ extraordinary life, was the subject of a talk when the Sunday Times journalist James Gillespie, who co-authored the book with Olga, was in conversation with Flora Turner. Olga Czepf's real life story is as good as any thriller. It is an incredible story of love against the odds. When the Gestapo seized 20-year-old Olga’s fiancé she was determined to find him and set off on an extraordinary 2,000-mile search across Nazi-occupied Europe up to the barracks of Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps. It is also a very personal insight into life during the Second World War in Croatia, Hungary, Austria and Germany. Later in London Olga became a friend of Flora Turner and James Gillespie.
Following his hugely successful publication of ‘The Silk Roads’ and his Chris Cviic memorial lecture last year, Peter Frankopan returned as guest speaker at the British-Croatian Society’s annual dinner at The London Rowing Club. The Club was founded in 1860. The Great Hall, the venue for the dinner, has sweeping views over the Thames.
Most of our talks included an opportunity afterwards to socialise over a glass of Croatian wine. In addition regular Meet-Ups brought people together with a common interest in Croatia.
The British-Croatian Society provides an opportunity for people in the UK with an interest in Croatia to know more about the country. In addition to our own programme, we also email information about other Croatian events in the UK.